Review Summary: Taylor Swift’s enchanting live component to Speak Now proves she is a force to be reckoned with on the stage as well as in the studio.
By now, we all know that Taylor Swift isn’t your ordinary pop star. Despite unbelievable accomplishments, she has maintained an image as a complete innocent – a girl who tells it like it is and is genuinely surprised by her success. Some may find it more believable than others, seeing as it could just as easily be a marketing ploy as it could be her actual personality. But the twinkle in her eye at the end of the DVD portion’s ‘Sparks Fly’ screams volumes about the authenticity of her character that her soft-spoken demeanor never would. Standing in front of a massive crowd of thirteen thousand, adorned in a golden dress and her favorite number “13” stamped on her right hand, Taylor can almost be seen blushing. Her eyes glisten with excitement as the words “oh my god” escape her mouth under the deafening roar of the audience, and more than once does she beam uncontrollably at the sight of everyone that has gathered before her. Just as actors and actresses are educated in the ways of feigning sincerity, pop stars and celebrity figures can do the same. However, all the little signs seem to suggest that Swift may actually
be as real as she seems, and that alone is quite refreshing. On the Speak Now World Tour
, Taylor seems like someone who has adapted to the lifestyle of a pop superstar, but has not been spoiled by its riches. If anyone is getting spoiled, it is her fans, who have been treated to three superb country-pop albums and are now having the ultimate live CD/DVD bestowed upon them to accompany Swift’s latest multi-platinum selling record.
And what a fantastic live album it is. Speak Now World Tour
manages to deliver exactly what is promises while adding some fresh twists in the process. Both the CD and DVD halves of the collection are predominantly centered around Speak Now
tracks, with the DVD featuring a few extra songs that were excluded on the audio portion. There really aren’t too many “highlights” to discuss because, to be honest, the whole thing is pretty damn good. From the opener ‘Sparks Fly’ to the closer ‘Long Live’ (or ‘Love Story’ on the DVD portion), Swift’s voice shatters any prior notion from critics that she can’t sing live. Her supporting cast is also excellent, with multiple guitarists on stage to relieve her when she isn’t the one playing and a wide array of backing vocalists and dancers. The performances are skillfully arranged, fun to watch, and most importantly, enjoyable to listen to. The best thing about Speak Now World Tour
, however, may be its insistence upon delivering new and unexpected material. A cover of Onerepublic’s ‘Apologize’ is included in ‘Back to December’ as a cleverly placed outro that fits perfectly within the song’s theme. The DVD even includes renditions of Jason Mraz’s ‘I’m Yours’ and Train’s ‘Hey Soul Sister’ at the end of ‘Fearless’, along with tons of bonus footage ranging from the making of the ‘Mean’ video to home movies. All of it is expertly performed and captured with crystal clarity for our listening and viewing pleasure; and between the faithful delivery of hit singles like ‘Story of Us’ and other rather unanticipated elements, Speak Now World Tour
manages to exceed expectations.
Despite its designated purpose of covering Speak Now
in its entirety, this release is a perfect example of why so many people gravitate towards Swift. She could have phoned this thing in and still sold millions of copies, but instead went the extra mile (surely with plenty of extra effort from the album’s producers) to ensure that it would go above and beyond. There is so much to be seen and heard that it couldn’t possibly all fit in a description this brief, and the overall compilation begs multiple listens and views. So drop everything now. Taylor Swift’s latest effort is a bedazzling and spellbinding live affair that truly captures the essence of her “magical” celebrity persona. It is the live follow-up to her magnum opus that fans have been waiting for, much like “Bullet In a Bible” did for Green Day’s American Idiot
back in 2005 and “H.A.A.R.P.” did for Muse’s Black Holes and Revelations
in 2008. The Speak Now World Tour
combines Swift’s unmistakable voice and charismatic stage presence with near flawless production to create a must-own CD/DVD for millions of fans across the globe.