Taylor Swift, “One Red Night” (No Label)
Disc 1; Intro / State Of Grace / Holy Ground / Red Intro / Red / Interlude / The Lucky One / MC / Mean Intro / Mean / Interlude / 22 (B Stage) / Mine (B Stage) / You Belong With Me (B Stage) / Sparks Fly (B Stage to Main Stage) (54:39)
Disc 2; Interlude / I Knew You Were Trouble / All Too Well Intro / All Too Well / Interlude / Love Story – Encore – Interlude / We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together / Outro
Bonus Tracks – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together / 22 / I Knew You Were Trouble / Love Story / Shake It Off (54:31)
Live at Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan 1st June 2014, bonus tracks recorded at the iHeartRadio Music Festival, MGM Grand Theatre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA 19th September 2014.
I must admit it – for an April fools joke a couple of years ago, I was considering writing a a Ke$ha review for a bootleg that didn’t exist. It would have been a little leg pull for the fans around here but would realistically have been a waste of reviewing time so thankfully I saw sense a little later. I didn’t see me writing a Taylor Swift review a few years later however – pastiche or not, the country cuteness has morphed in to pop’s prom queen and through a series of brilliantly circumnavigated career moves and a few column inches appearances, Taylor has become one of music’s top pop idols without the aid of any Cowell circumstance but with the help of a fruitful social life and a close narrative with her fans. get this, the also plays her own instrument – Beat that One Direction!
The no label company have made the curious move of putting out a Taylor Swift bootleg – Orlanthe, Avril Lavigne, et al have all succeeded in sales over the last few years – we know people in the Far East like a proper pop group – but for a label that have prided themselves on McCartney, Springsteen, Rolling Stones and Who boots in the past few years, this is quite the sharp turn.
Here is an audience recording from the show at Saitama Super Arena, the only trip to Japan on Swift’s Asian leg of the ‘Red’ tour – titled after the name of her fourth album – and a completely sold out show. A decent enough recording for a pop concert, including just a snippet of the pre-show music, there are a few stray claps from the audience that annoy at first but it’s not long before they drift away. the waves of cheering do a little to dissuade from the music but, like all white noise, you learn to blank it all out after a while.
The music itself, is maybe not as furious, spacey, wild and weird as you, the CMR reader, are used to but it’s a rather special pop that taylor produces – there’s a touch of the heartbeat about it all, it’s earnest and supportive, certainly not horny and dirty tripe. Sure, the teenage diary entries (the ’interlude’s) are a little cloying but there is still an undeniable charm about all this and slowly you’ll find yourself drifting through, even mouthing along with the choruses. The country edged tinge will have you tapping your feet, thinking wistfully of Lucinda Williams or Gillian Welch, you’ll start to listen more attentivley to the lyrics, of which the Guardian newspaper in the uk, called Swift’s ‘Springsteenesque narratives of escape and the kind of doomed romantic fatalism in which 60s girl groups.’
The show reaches peeks and troughs but the narrative is excellent for the type of show it is. Taylor is increasing ernest about her love for Japan – maybe it’s the cynic in me that thinks that this is obviously a tale that’s wrung out in each and every country but Taylor’s honour and complete lack of ego makes you believe that she really is indebted to her hosts. The best is saved to last with the albums biggest hit, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, primed for the show closing experience after a twee but amusing circus effect introduction. The outro is an announcement in Japanese – If anyone can help with that one it would be appreciated but it isn’t Taylor so it’s a mystery as to why it’s here.
The extras are from the iHeartRadio Music Festival, presumably from a broadcast rather than soundboard recording, a greatest hits set of sort, Taylor swings through the bigger songs from her catalogue including the newest single, rousing, ‘Hey Micky’ twinned with ‘My Sharona’, stomp along, “Shake It Off”. The set comes complete with the obligatory hail to the radio, empowering words to the love lorn and some exquisite pop production.
This is the first pressed Taylor Swift boot I’ve ever seen, sure to appeal to your sons and daughters who might be less shy of admitting that, yes, just like early phase Madonna, these are great tunes without the headline capturing breathlessness or antics. A great boot for the curious or devoted, the previously reticent or fanatically religious.