by K.C. Libman
Taylor Swift is far from just a female-only icon at this point. The erstwhile country star's crossover appeal has placed her firmly inside the pop pantheon, and it's more apparent than ever that Swift's infectious sound is the definition of radio-ready. Show me a red-blooded American male who doesn't know at least the chorus to "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and I'll show you a liar.
Men, there's no shame in loving Taylor Swift. You may even go as far as to count yourself in the ranks of the number of dedicated male "Swifties," if that kind of fandom suits your taste. For the less-involved, there's no reason why you should protest when your wives, daughters, girlfriends, or combinations thereof ask you to join them for Swift's second date at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale -- you may not want to admit it, but you'll be glad you tagged along.
1. Taylor Swift delivers a hell of a live show
Swift tells stories onstage while telling stories with her songs. On her 2011 Speak Now tour, stage sets shifted between a full wedding ceremony, a down-home jamboree on the veranda of a Southern plantation home, and an actual bridge that hosted a full string section. It's not just the music that fans go for -- Swift can play her heart out while still engaging fans on a visceral level.
It's a live performance that's akin to a full-tilt traveling Broadway spectacle, complete with a dizzying number of costume changes and elaborate stage sets. If the success of Red is any indication of how Swift's live show should evolve, patrons can expect nothing but a grandiose performance that easily will top Speak Now.
2. Taylor Swift can actually sing
Few pop stars have been lampooned and skewered for their vocal talent like Swift has. She's completely aware of the criticism, going so far as to call out her detractors on "Mean."
She writes songs about the controversy for her albums, but her concerts are the living, breathing, belting proof that she's a bona fide vocalist who deserves respect as a professional, if nothing else.
Her chops may be put to the test at times, like on the emphatic post-chorus of "I Knew You Were Trouble," but at this point in her career, it's safe to say that Swift is well-prepared for the task.
3. Taylor Swift epitomizes modern fandom
This is the double-edged sword to end all concert-going debates. You've never seen something that borders so closely on Beatlemania as you will the reaction of 17,000 screaming fans at a Taylor Swift show, but if you value your high-frequency hearing, bring along a pair of earplugs and a high tolerance for Swift's legion of tween girls.
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It can be grating. But there's something transcendent about singing a song you know along with a stadium full of people, and a Taylor Swift show is a damn fine example of that kind of event, regardless of your gender or preconceived expectations about the singer herself.
Taylor Swift is scheduled to perform tonight at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale.