Pop star Taylor Swift swung her trademark blonde curls, swiveled her hips and skipped from one end of the Intrust Bank Arena to the other during a high-energy, adorably youthful performance in front of more than 13,000 squealing fans Thursday night.
A good number of those fans were girls age 12 and under, decked out in cowgirl boots, swinging glowsticks and munching on cotton candy as Swift traveled through her catalog of radio hits, including “Fifteen” and “Teardrops on My Guitar.”
The show — part concert, part carefully orchestrated music theater — showcased 20-year-old Swift’s girl-power, boy-crazy image and elicited more than two hours of collective audience screaming that was several octaves higher than any arena crowd to date has produced.
Swift opened the show with her hit “You Belong With Me,” appearing at the top of a multilevel stage, dressed in a bulky high school band uniform, her curls tucked underneath.
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A group of dancers dressed as cheerleaders bounced around the stage, then suddenly Swift ripped off the hat and tore off the uniform, revealing a short, sparkly silver dress. She danced around the stage, playing a coordinating sparkly guitar and singing “Our Song,” “Tell Me Why” and “Fearless.”
A few costume changes later, Swift suddenly appeared at the back of the arena, at the top of the lower bowl. When a spotlight revealed her, wearing a yellow dress, the fans nearby went crazy. She performed a few songs right there on the stairs, then traveled down them, hugging fans and signing autographs as she traveled to a remote stage at the back of the arena.
Even though she’s been headlining shows for more than a year and has been on her current “Fearless” tour for nearly two months, Swift often appeared in awe of the fans screaming for her. If she’s becoming used to the adulation, she’s not showing it.
After singing “Tim McGraw,” she stood on the stage and soaked in a three-minute ovation.
“Thank you, Wichita,” she said when it was over. “I’ll never forget that.”
The rest of the set included dancers dressed in period costumes as Swift performed “Love Story” in a flowing white gown. Other songs included “White Horse,” “Hey Stephen,” “Forever and Always” and “Tell Me Why.”
Among the fans at the show was Marita Soucie, a Wichitan who bought tickets well above face value on stubhub.com after failing to get them the day they went on sale. Her niece, Jackie Sporer, 10, and Jackie’s friend, Nicole Scheetz, 10, traveled four hours from Oakley to attend the show.
It was Nicole’s first concert.
“She’s my favorite friend’s aunt,” Nicole said.
Rising country band Gloriana opened the show, and fans stood in a long line to get the band members’ autographs on the concourse between acts. Kellie Pickler of “American Idol” fame also was an opening act, and earned an enthusiastic response to some of her twangy country hits, including “Red High Heels.”