Perhaps the saddest sight of the evening: a pre-teen girl walking slowly through the parking lot at Cowboys Stadium, limping behind her friends in her Taylor Swift-inspired cowboy boots.
So. Worth. Every. Blister.
The pop princess, along with her band and a bevy of dancers, dominated the imposing stage at Jerry World on Saturday night. The heavily female spectacle made for a busy night in Arlington, with the Rangers across the street, busy beating the Tigers in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
Token memories of the night: tiaras, fingers drawn into a heart shape, and more sundress/cowboy boot ensembles than the law should allow.
Also, one odd question, put to us repeatedly: “Do you know where the Tea Party is?”
Did Sarah Palin have something to do with Taylor Swift, and we’d missed the memo?
If anyone could explain, it would be fans Kristina Garner and Anna Truttier, who we spied bouncing through the lobby carrying a huge paper cutout in the shape of a guitar (trimmed in peacock-blue feathers). On the front: “Taylor Swift/We love you!” On the back: “T-party?”
Ohhhh .... "T-party." T for Taylor ...
So, what is this T-party, we asked.
“Apparently they’re having people going around scoping people out that are the most spirited,” Garner said, “and she has a room set up for a meet-and-greet after the concert for all her biggest fans. So we’re hoping that’s us.”
Garner and Truttier came all the way from Houston; they bought their tickets almost a year ago, the first day they went on sale.
So how long did it take them to put together their outfits for the evening?
“A long time,” Garner said, laughing. “A long time. I was going to wear a tutu, but I thought I’d look like an idiot with a sign and a tutu. But I figured this was more practical, considering we’re sitting in these seats where you could fall over just by standing up the wrong way.”
Swift opened the show with Sparks Fly, from her newest CD, Speak Now. She shimmered in a gold fringy flapper-style dress — a harbinger of the costume changes to come. (We lost count, but the number hovered around 10; the crowd favorite was when she pulled on a Cowboys jersey over her ball gown.)
When she closed out Sparks Fly, the crowd roared in adoring approval, and you couldn’t miss Swift’s reaction on the 72-foot Mitsubishi screen. Her jaw dropped, she adjusted her earpieces, and quietly mouthed: “Oh my God. I love you so much.”
No matter that the audience would see this exercise repeated throughout the evening; sure, her patter was a little corny, obvious and ingratiating, but Swift is a grade-A charmer. As she flirted, strutted, diva’d out and expertly worked the camera, her fans ate giddily out of her hand (which sported a blue, glittered “13,” her favorite number).
Swift is also savvy with her shout-outs — her live version of Back to December features a little One Republic sample; Fearless has a touch of Train’s Soul Sister. But our big question going into the show was: which local artist is she going to cover? In Detroit, she played an Eminem song. In Jersey, she’s done Springsteen and Bon Jovi.
So, in DFW, we guessed maybe Kelly Clarkson, Norah Jones or the Dixie Chicks. So we were a smidge surprised when she said: “There’s a brilliant songwriter who lives here — Don Henley,” and then launched into The Boys of Summer. (Henley, a native of Linden, has a home in Dallas.)
But the coolest surprise of the night was an unexpected guest Swift brought onstage: Atlanta-based rapper B.o.B. They dueted on his 2010 hit, Airplanes. (UPDATE: We found pretty good video on YouTube):
As she sailed through her hits, and many songs from Speak Now, she switched from guitar to banjo to ukulele, and her pleasant voice stayed strong (props for not allowing herself to be swallowed by the size of the room).
Swift closed out her 21-song show with her Romeo and Juliet-inspired chart-topper, Love Story. By then, the band had all donned Cowboys jerseys, and as throughout the night, there were loads of fun, engaging scenes being played out on stage by the energetic dancers. The only problem: Cowboys Stadium is so cavernous, that if you didn’t have good enough seats, you missed a lot of that. For the most part, the ginormous screen kept focus on Taylor Swift.
But judging from the colossal eruptions of joy and applause, that was more than OK.