BY DAN GARCIA
Sorry Lady Gaga, but Taylor Swift put together a Super Bowl Weekend performance in Houston last night that no artist will be able to top. Performing for AT&T’s DIRECTV Super Saturday Night, Swift put on memorable show for a crowd of 9,000, comprised of her biggest fans from all around the world and a number of her celebrity peers and VIPs.
As part of her huge multi-year, multi-faceted deal with AT&T, the stage was set for a one-of-a-kind fan experience. And when we say the stage was set, the stage was literally set. If last night’s venue, Club Nomadic, doesn’t ring a bell, it’s because the upscale 62,000 square foot venue wasn’t there just a few weeks ago. Built specially for it’s big lineup of pre-Super Bowl parties, Club Nomadic, went from a blank space to one of the nicest venues in the country in only a matter of months.
And if you imagine a pop-up venue as a stage and floor space, you couldn’t be more wrong. The beautiful setting for last night’s festivities included multiple floors with upscale design, an open bar, stations for fans to design their own unique merch, video projectors, and an impressive set up of lights and stage design. When filled with thousands of Taylor fans dressed to the 9s, Club Nomadic was the place to be on Super Bowl Eve.
But well before the doors opened for the night’s performance, the day began for many, as Taylor Nation came out in packs to line up early for the show, with some fans waiting in line to check-in over 12 hours before doors opened. But Swift’s fans were happy to invest their time, as they did not need to invest their money this time around. While a number of tickets were given out to VIPs and affiliated sponsors, the bulk of those in attendance won their tickets, through online “Swiftstakes” and local Taylor fan parties, to see their favorite singer live in a night that they’ll never forget. No amount of money or Ticketmaster pre-sale code could have bought your way in last night.
For the really lucky fans though, some in attendance were able to attend the night’s pre-party, which included a photo booth, make up stations, and most importantly, food. Not just any finger food either, as the party had special Taylor themed dishes and treats, including “Loving Him Was Red Velvet Cupcakes” and “Bad Blood Orange Cheesecake Bites”.
As the time began to pass and the lines began to grow, it was time for the doors to open. And as fans entered, they were treated with PixMob LED bracelets, which fans who went to Taylor’s “1989 World Tour” are more than familiar with. For those who haven’t been to a Taylor Swift or Coldplay show though, they are LED light-up bracelets that are linked up to the show’s music and provide a unique light show throughout the entire crowd.
But after fans received their wristbands, it was what happened next that separated the mega Taylor fans and the casual fan who was just enjoying their Super Bowl Weekend. As some decided to lay low, enjoy the open bar and mingle with friends, Taylor’s biggest and most daring fans rushed to the stage. Whether along the catwalk, in front of the stage, or stage-right or stage-left, fans fought for positioning to get the best possible view for the night.
While fans waited patiently, everyone in attendance was treated to a surprise DJ set from Australian model/DJ, Ruby Rose. Rose got the crowd moving and ready, spinning some of her best mixes while also playing some of Taylor’s favorite records for the Houston crowd, including a few spins of Taylor’s friend and former collaborator Ed Sheeran’s new #1 single, ‘Shape Of You’.
As the Club got settled, and celebrities and athletes like John Legend, Tony Romo, Alex Rodriguez, Simone Biles, Vince Vaughn and Chris Evans finished walking the red carpet, it was soon time for Taylor Swift to greet her fans. Opening with her 1989 track, ‘New Romantics’, Taylor emerged from below the stage in a Versace dress, as the crowd filled the venue with screams.
Taylor then continued to kick off her set with hit after hit, performing tracks like ’22’, ‘Blank Space’, ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ and ‘Style’. Next, Taylor gave Club Nomadic an extra special treat, with an acoustic performance of her new single, and Zayn collaboration, ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Forever’, a song from the upcoming film, “Fifty Shades Darker”. Swift joked about letting the crowd down, as Zayn wasn’t there to perform the track with her. However the crowd certainly helped fill in for the former One Direction star, as the entire Club sang along, word-for-word.
After a performance of ‘You Belong With Me’, Taylor dedicated a portion of her set to her recent success in writing songs for other artists. Although Taylor told the crowd she loves to write for other musicians, she admitted that she misses out in not being able to perform the songs for her fans. Taylor decided to rewrite this rule however, and to the crowd’s instant pleasure, Taylor subbed in for Rihanna with a performance of ‘This Is What You Came For’, a song that Swift penned with former boyfriend, producer Calvin Harris, as well as her first ever performance of ‘Better Man’, a track which Taylor wrote for country music’s Little Big Town.
Other highlights of the night included Taylor’s mashup performance of her 1989 song ‘Wildest Dreams’ and her 2010 Speak Now track ‘Enchanted’, which Swift performed on the piano, full of energy and hair flips, and a rare performance of her 2012 track ‘Red’, a song which Taylor only performed once on her huge 2014 world tour. And of course, the crowd was full of life during Taylor finale performance of her mega single, ‘Shake It Off’, where Taylor strongly encouraged the entire venue to let loose and dance with her.
Although Taylor joked earlier in the night, that since last night was her only (currently) scheduled show of 2017, the crowd was in-effect attending all of her 2017 shows, it would be a shame if Taylor doesn’t extend her live show to more crowds this year. Swift told the crowd that “this will be the crowd (she) daydreams about” for quite some time, which was very fitting because last night was like a dream. Everything about the night was perfect, from the unique and beautiful pop up venue, to the crowd’s energy, and of course the woman of the evening, Taylor Swift.
Last night hopefully was not Taylor Swift’s last performance of 2017, but if it is, Club Nomadic’s Saturday crowd of 9,000 are even luckier than they already appeared to be. Only one team, the Patriots or Falcons, will win tomorrow night, but Taylor Swift and all of Houston won last night.
I Knew You Were Trouble
I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Acoustic)
You Belong With Me
This Is What You Came For
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
All Too Well
Wildest Dreams / Enchanted
Out of the Woods
Shake It Off