Taylor Swift played the Civic Center in Moline, Illinois, on Saturday, May 8th, at 7:00 p.m. bringing one of crossover country’s hottest acts to the U.S. Cellular Center (formerly the Mark of the Quad Cities.) Swift is so hot, that the state of Illinois even proclaimed it “Taylor Swift Day.” Grammies, American Country Awards, you name it: she’s Forbes magazine’s 69th most influential celebrity endorser of 2009 and earned $18 million last year, not only with her songs, but with endorsement deals with such giants as Sony and Toyota.
Opening acts were “Gloriana” and Kellie Pickler from “American Idol.” (On her album notes, Taylor calls the slightly beefed-up version of Pickler “you’re the sister I never had” (Ms. Swift has a brother, Austin, who is going off to Notre Dame in the fall.)
Ms. Pickler was dressed down in a pair of tight black spandex pants that displayed her Jennifer Lopez-like derriere assets and a blue top, which she had worn in her concerts in Minneapolis and Des Moines. Those concerts preceded the one in Moline, which sold out in 8 minutes.
The buses left flooded Nashville (Swift donated half a million dollars to flood relief there, just as she donated $100,000 to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after their 2008 record-breaking flood) and drove 12 hours to Des Moines to perform on May 6th. The 126 roadies and musicians finished reloading the impressive act, left Des Moines at 3 a.m., arrived in Minneapolis at 7 a.m., and began setting up all over again. After Minneapolis, Moline was the final stop on Swift’s “Fearless 2010” tour before a return to Nashville.
Taylor emerged dressed as a majorette to sing “You Belong With Me,” her face projected on a giant screen behind her. She followed up with “Our Song” and “Tell Me Why,” with the word “Why” projected on the screen behind her multiple times. “Teardrops on My Guitar” and “Fearless” were next with “Forever and Always” following.
Then came “Hey, Stephen,” which had, as its setting a giant schoolroom set, where Taylor complained about how Stephen didn’t know she was alive in high school, but would talk to her—about his girlfriend. “Fifteen” followed and “Tim McGraw,” an early Swift hit, came next.
“White Horse” with its lyrics (“I’m not a princess; this ain’t a fairy tale”) allowed the dancers and Taylor to dress in period costumes with a castle-like background. “Love Story (Romeo and Juliet) was, again, grist for the castle backdrop, but, at a certain point, the elaborate period costume Swift wore was removed, onstage, to reveal a simple white gown beneath.
“The Way I Loved You” brought yet more costume changes: glittery silver dresses, glittery purple dresses, glittery red dresses, guitarists with hair like Adam Lambert’s. “You’re Not Sorry/What Goes Around” followed “The Way I Loved You” and then “Picture to Burn.”
A humorous video was shown on a flat screen TV off to the side during one costume change, and it featured 3 male actors trying to impress upon the audience that they weren’t really Steven and/or Drew. Tim McGraw even appeared in the funny video, saying that Taylor’s early song about him had “plucked him from obscurity.” That got a big laugh. Screams were ongoing throughout the concert from the young set present. Taylor also sang “The Best Day” from a stage at the opposite end of the arena, reworking the song so that it honored her mother, Andrea, on Mother’s Day. (Mom did not know that the lyric “I have an excellent father” would be changed to honor Mom this night).
After “Picture to Burn” (see burning stage special effects) the encore set featured “Today Was A Fairytale” and “Should’ve Said No,” which featured Taylor walking through an artificial waterfall (water is caught in an absorbent mat) that has actual words appearing within the water.
Taylor ends up drenched and, usually, greets her fans backstage wet, with special heating devices employed to keep her from chilling, but, this night, she was flying back to Nashville on her private jet, so no backstage passes for the youngsters in the crowd. But plenty of guitar picks featuring Taylor’s lovely face, thrown to the crowd by the guitarists.
A 2-hour show from great seats (courtesy of the daughter on the tour bus).