Ahead of Clean, a moving track from her new album 1989, Swift, suspended above the crowd on a glowing blue platform, spoke to her audience about the meaning behind the song, exhorting them to remember that they shouldn’t be defined by the opinions of others, and reminding them that “making mistakes doesn’t mean you’re damaged goods”. It could have easily felt like a string of platitudes – and yet her words seemed strangely sincere, creating a cathartic, almost religious atmosphere.
When she finally launched into the song, a gut-wrenchingly emotional ballad of addictive love, pain, and purification - “rain came pouring down when I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe” - there were more than a few tears in the audience - and they certainly didn’t all belong to sign-waving, cat-wearing teenagers.
The Telegraph UK on Clean and Taylor’s Clean Speech
Hidden amongst the magical gardens, oak trees and whispering fountains of the Middle Temple, this wintry Elizabethan dining hall is the only surviving building in London where Shakespeare’s plays were actually performed during his lifetime (Hampton Court Palace was not in London). In 1602, Twelfth Night debuted under its hammer-beam roof with Shakespeare himself, also an actor, performing.
This is one of those nights where I’m aware I’m going to be taking mental snapshots so I can remember this night for the rest of my life. I love hearing you sing, dance and jump around. I will remember this night for the rest of my life.
Taylor to the crowd tonight during her 1989 London Show (6/27/15).
It’s no secret that Swift’s songs are unusually personal, but during an exuberant, yet palpably emotional rendition of single Blank Space, and a plaintive All You Had To Do Was Stay, the diary-like, unashamedly emotional appeal of her lyrics was even more evident than usual. Updates of older songs were also effective: a metal-infused We Are Never Ever Getting back Together gave the song a grittier, angrier edge, while old favourite Love Story was given a musical makeover to fit in with Swift’s new 80s-pop vibe, but lost none of its uplifting, knowingly-naive sweetness.