When Taylor Swift took the stage Thursday night for opening number Welcome to New York, a sea of 15,000 glowing wristbands in a sold-out Nationwide Arena twinkled in time to evoke the song’s Big Apple landscape.
Compliments of the headliner, of course, the accessories (whose choreographed pulsations elsewhere might indicate that your table is ready at the Cheesecake Factory) signaled something more: The pop star was in total control of her presence and narrative, down to the last detail.
No longer the faux-ingenue who performed here wide-eyed in 2013, Swift spared little expense or costume change in letting a squealing crowd know that she’s a grown woman with full grasp of her wide reach.
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As always, the singer took several moments at the microphone to offer empowering missives about self-reliance, friendship and broken hearts. She also gave a few shout-outs to her keyboardist and musical director David Cook, a central Ohio native.
Fans — some of whom dressed as Swift’s two pet cats and others wearing enough battery-powered strands of Christmas lights to cover the Griswolds’ house — hung on the songwriter’s every knowing, expertly delivered word.
That, more than any dance move or sick beat, evidenced the true sway of Swift.
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