Luke Matthews

Taylor Swift dazzles, Ed Sheeran impresses

swift

If last night’s crowd at Wells Fargo Arena has anything to say about it, Taylor Swift isn’t going anywhere soon and Ed Sheeran just gained about 10,000 new fans.

sheeran-smWe got a preview of Ed Sheeran’s performance earlier in the day at an intimate STAR Acoustic Lounge. He’s a personable, friendly, and very funny guy. He’s the kind of artist you should want on your list of people with which to sit down and have a beer. Or, in the case of our staff, sushi! Ed invited Mr. Allen and promo guy Mike to have sushi with him and his peeps at the new Akebono downtown. Mr. Allen will fill you in on all of those details.

At the show, Ed came out all by himself and put on a clinic for solo performing. His 40 minute set had fans screaming and singing along. He definitely made a fan out of me. During his set, he sported the “Des Moines: French for the Moines” shirt from Raygun. This was a gift from us at STAR earlier in the day. Ed likes to wear shirts from each city and he entrusted us with getting that shirt. I’d say it went over pretty well. Ed put on a fantastic set, but he sold me when he did a cover of the 90s R&B classic, “No Diggity.”

Ed Sheeran’s Set List:

Give Me Love
Grade 8
No Diggity
Lego House
You Need Me, I Don’t Need You (Thrift Shop interlude)
The A-Team

What else is there to say about Taylor Swift? This is my fourth time seeing her perform and she just gets better and better. She has the true concert experience down to a science. She and her people know that if you’re paying upwards of $100 per ticket, you want to be overly entertained. You don’t just come on stage and sing songs. Her stage setup was elaborate with giant video screens, a large egg-shaped walkway stretching from side to side of the arena floor, multiple moving platforms including one in the rear of the arena, and even a floating mini stage that dangled above the crowd.

Since it is the “Red Tour,” Taylor focused primarily on songs from her latest album. Of the 16 songs she performed, 11 of them were from the new album. Noticeably missing were hits like “Mine,” “Back to December,” and any songs from her self-titled first album. The low point for me was the performance of “You Belong with Me” which she has transformed into an almost R&B doo-wop. On the “Fearless” tour, it was a huge production – the opposite of what she did last night. It was still a nice version, but such a great song deserves a bit more in concert.

The highlights of the show for me were her performances of “22,” the finale of “We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together,” “Everything Has Changed” which brought back Ed Sheeran, and my favorite performance of the night was her solo acoustic rendition of “Ours,” a song that ranks among my favorite T-Swift songs. It was almost a crime that “Ours” was put out only as a bonus track on the Target versions of the “Speak Now” album.

Taylor Swift doesn’t just perform concerts, she puts on a SHOW. It’s entertaining for kids and adults alike. She’s backed off on the “I’m so surprised you like me” face and now uses her looks towards the crowd to stir them into a frenzy. She’s truly mastered the art of commanding 14,000+ people with just once glance. She definitely had me in the palm of her hand again, eagerly awaiting her next Des Moines performance.

If you have time, check out our extraordinary photos from the show last night.

Taylor Swift’s Set List:

State of Grace
Holy Ground
Red
You Belong with Me
The Lucky One
Mean
22
Ours
Everything Has Changed (with Ed Sheeran)
Begin Again
Sparks Fly
I Knew You Were Trouble
All Too Well
Love Story
Treacherous
We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together

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