Taylor Swift had 11,000 concertgoers on their feet at the Intrust Bank Arena on Tuesday night.
Swift’s fans showed their love and appreciation in dozens of creative ways. Some held homemade signs decorated with battery-operated Christmas lights and displaying messages such as “Taylor, Let’s Paint Wichita Red.”
“Red,” the title of Swift’s latest album, was a common theme when it came to the evening’s fashions among concertgoers. Red bandanas, tied Rosie-the-Riveter style around freshly curled hair; red dresses; red cowboy boots; red sneakers; and red lipstick. Lots of red lipstick.
Chloe Pope, 14, and her mother, Dana Pope, 44, both of Lubbock, Texas, decided to forgo the red theme in favor of matching homemade T-shirts and thick-rimmed plastic glasses, both modeled after Swift’s outfit in a music video. They both wore strings of battery-operated Christmas lights around their necks.
“These are the best seats we’ve ever had,” Chloe Pope said.
She and her mother saw Swift perform the last time she was in Wichita in 2010.
The stage was shaped like the letter “U,” with a catwalk down the middle, which created two pockets where fans could get close enough to touch the stage. In the moments before Swift took the stage, the “pits,” as they were known, were a frenzy of picture-taking and hair twirling.
When the lights dimmed and the sound system’s bass thudded through the concrete floor, the arena erupted in screams. Swift’s familiar silhouette was lit from behind a gauzy red curtain; one glance at the outlines of her trademark felt hat and high-waisted shorts told her fans the show was about to begin.
And a show it was. There were indoor fireworks, elaborate video setups and three costume changes in the show’s first 30 minutes.
In between all the special effects, Swift had a couple of distinct messages for her fans.
“I write lots of songs about my feelings, and I tend to think a lot about emotions,” Swift said into her red-sequined microphone. “These emotions can be so intense they drive people mad. But experiencing them can help turn us into the people we’re supposed to be.”
When Swift asked the audience what color best described those crazy emotions, it wasn’t difficult to figure out what the answer would be.
“Red!” they screamed.
Swift then launched into the album’s title track. A couple of songs later, she had another message for the crowd.
“I used to think meanness was something that people grew out of,” Swift said.
She was seated on a plastic bench and periodically strummed her banjo.
“But I found out that’s not true. There’s always going to be somebody picking on you,” Swift said. “The only thing that’s up to us is how we respond to it, and one way to respond is to make a mental note to never treat anyone else the way this person has treated you.”
Nods of appreciation and a few teary-eyed looks of recognition showed that Swift was speaking a language her audience could understand.