The lights go down and the screams of 20,000 teenage girls rattle the Manchester Evening News Arena’s structure, these screams aren’t for Taylor Swift though, these screams are for the 15-year-old YouTube phenomenon Justin Bieber.
The 15-year-old became such a hit on the Internet he attracted the attention of major artists and record labels. After posting his own rendition of Chris Brown’s ‘With You’, Brown personally called Bieber and congratulated him on his YouTube recognition. Not long passed before Bieber released his Debut album ‘My World’, and this is what tonight was all about for him - to show the UK what he has to offer.
From behind the curtain Bieber hobbles out and across the stage introducing himself and thanking Manchester for the warm welcome, before explaining that he fractured his foot during the show at Wembley the day before and says he’ll do his best for everyone. Bless!
Opening with ‘Favourite Girl’, it took me by surprise how well a 15-year-old boy with an injured foot took to an arena stage and showed no nerves. For most of his set he was sat on a stool, but at times he joined in with the other dancers, doing the best he could with his leg in a cast.
He went on to perform ‘Love me’ featuring the chorus from The Cargigans‘ hit ‘Love fool’ to which the army of teenage girls join in singing the chorus ‘love me, love me/ say that you love me/ fool me, fool me’, definitely scoring some points with anyone who hadn’t seen JB before.
Closing with his debut single One Time, girls scream his name and he thanks Manchester and Taylor for having him, and you know what, for an injured teenager, Justin really did a brilliant job of getting the party started… and I’m sure we will see a lot more of him in the future.
Anyway, time ticks on and the clock strikes 8:30, signalling the time for Taylor to come to the stage and show us what she is all about, what has made her so successful in the US, the UK, in fact the whole world!
Her second album ‘Fearless’ has already exceeded 10 million global album sales; somewhat impressive for someone at only 19, but then again, this is also believable because of her determination from an early age when, at just 11, she had her family taking her to Nashville to send out demos to record labels.
The curtain rises and unveils a structure surrounded by cheerleaders, the music starts and the cheerleaders begin to perform the well choreographed movement, before the words ‘Your on the phone with your girlfriend’ begin to sound through the speakers summoning Taylor to rise from within the structure, all amidst screams of Taylor Swift-mad fans! Brilliant!
After ‘Forever and Always’ Taylor and the band disappear off stage and the screens light up, on which a video starts to play entitled ‘Crimes of Passion’, the video features interviews with her ex-boyfriends, referring to Taylor’s songs in which she names and shames the culprit boys within her lyrics.
Then screams begin to rise from the back of the Arena as Taylor is now stood at the very back and begins to perform ‘Hey Stephen’ whilst being mobbed by hundreds of eager fans. After the song Taylor walks down the stairs and cuddles fans on her way, being guided by two bouncers she makes her way to another stage at the back of the arena.
There she belts out a couple more tracks, including her latest single ‘15’ before making her way back to the main stage where she is cheered for at least ten minutes, constant cheers - the screens show a close up of Taylor’s face and she appears to have tears in her eyes, it was a very special moment that rendered her speechless only managing to whisper the word ‘Manchester’.
Before we know it the curtain had come down again and Taylor and her bandmates have disappeared, but as they are hoisted up again there is a fairytale-like-castle in the middle of the stage which is the centrepiece for ‘Love Story‘. Proving just what a massive voice she has with ‘Your not sorry’ and ‘Picture to Burn’ I felt as thought I could have stayed here all night, but it’s not to be as Taylor makes her exit and we think it’s all over.
The fans here obviously aren’t willing to let her go without a fight and begin chanting her name, screaming, cheering and stamping their feet, so once again, Taylor steps onto the stage, this time for her final song, the song that will put the icing on the cake for the night’s events…..
‘Should’ve Said No’ begins and Taylor gives it her all; midway through, the song breaks and Taylor and a dancer begin to beat steel drums, breaking down to a silence. Cheers and whistles break out, music kicks back in and Taylor walks to mid stage where water begins to shower over her before she brings the song to an end with an almighty reaction from the crowd.
In all, ‘Fearless’ is a fitting word for this tour, Taylor has overcome her issues from school and followed her dream - no matter what was getting in the way - she has made it, proven by the amount of awards on her fireplace. Fearlessness has been the key to her success and Taylor deserves absolutely all of it.
Words & Photos - James Arnold
Tagged in Taylor Swift