Taylor Swift at American Airlines Arena in Miami, November 13

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See the full 28-photo Taylor Swift at the American Airlines Arena slideshow.

Taylor Swift

With Needtobreathe

American Airlines Arena

Sunday, October 13, 2011

Better Than: Anything we expected. Like, a lot better.

Let's note that this review is being written by a former pop-loving tween. In between the ages of 10 and 13 years of age, I saw N'Sync seven times. And a couple of times on the same exact tour. What can I say? Justin Timberlake's curls really got my training bra in a knot.

So if Crossfade was going to send anyone to judge a country-pop concert at an arena packed with screaming tweenage girls, I was the right choice.

You know what was striking about arriving to Taylor Swift's Speak Now show last night at the American Airlines Arena? I have never seen so many white people in our life! Sure, there was a small Latin presence. But mostly, it was a lot of boots, flannel, and homemade "We Love Taylor" shirts. And after a while, everyone started to look the same.

Also, getting a drink at a concert has never been easier. When most of the audience is out past their bedtime, you can score a vodka and soda almost instantaneously. No surprise that there were a shit ton of kids there.

But there were also ladies of all ages at the AAA. I even met two 30-year-old women boozing at the bar and they informed me that this wasn't their first Taylor Swift concert. They had already seen this tour ... Twice. Meanwhile, sitting in front of me, there was a couple of drunk cougars, who were kid-less by the way.

And don't think there weren't men there. Oh, there were quite a few. And all different kinds.

1. The Gays: Every gay man loves a diva. And Ms. Swift is on her way to being one. So the young homosexual population was out and proud last night.

2. The Dads: Every father knows the way to winning his daughter over for life is tickets to a pop concert. Any dad who brought his little girl to Taylor's show last night just ensured a pretty sweet Fathers Day gift.

3. The Straight Men: While getting dressed for the show, I thought, "What is the point of looking good when there will be no straight men there." I was wrong. But every straight man was with his girlfriend. And it was adorable to watch them bobbing their heads to the music, because you know they were thinking, "God, this better get me laid." Or maybe they were wondering, "Dude, Taylor is hot. Is she legal?"

As an adult at a Taylor Swift concert, you expect the show to be good. There is no arguing that this girl has real talent. But last night's concert was ridiculous. She has won entertainer of the year two years in a row at the Country Music Awards and we now see why.

She started with her current number one hit, "Sparks Fly," and they took the song title very seriously. Sparks were actually flying, thanks to Taylor's hotshot pyrotechnics.

But this wasn't just a concert; this was a full-blown production. At one point, they put on a mock wedding with bride, groom, bridesmaids, and a mini-chapel. For a couple of songs, there were Cirque du Solei dancers that came out of the roof. For the last couple of songs, she took her song "Enchanted" to another level with a "Swan Lake"-like performance.

Oh wait, did we mention that Flo Rida came out and performed "Right Round" with her? And did we also mention that a few of her fans almost died? And no, it wasn't from overwhelming joy.

At one point in the show, Taylor walked through the audience to climb a tree in the middle of the arena and strum her guitar. Along the way, she shook her fans' hands. And as you can imagine, everyone and their mother tried to get as close as possible to catch a glimpse of Ms. Swift. But neither the barricade, nor security could hold up the Swifters.

A gaggle of girls fell to the floor right in front of Taylor. And as her security told her to run, she helped a few of them up and made sure they were OK. Yeah, she is kind of a class act.

Later, before the last song, "Long Live," was over, fans had already started to chant, "One more! One more! TAYLORRRR!" Or that's what I think they were saying. My hearing had gone to shit at this point.

Swift took a little bit of a break, and gave her fans exactly what they wanted -- not one, but two more songs. Then before leaving the stage, she thanked her fans.

Call me a softy. But it looked genuine.

Critic's Notebook

Unfulfilled Wish: Well, we were a little sad Kanye West didn't come out and say, "Hold up, Imma let you finish..."

Personal Bias: It's easy to make fun of Taylor Swift. She writes too many love songs. And have you ever seen a story about her in Us Weekly? A part of me also hates her because she's dated Jake Gyllenhaal and John Mayer. But the girl performed for two hours, kept us constantly entertained, and rocked a very sexy-yet-appropriate wardrobe. If your kids wants to love T. Swift, let them. And if you yourself love her, don't be ashamed. After watching her along with 12,500 other fans, we can say she is pretty legit.

Taylor Swift's Setlist

-"Sparks Fly"


-"Story of Us"

-"Our Song"


-"Back in December"

-"Better than Revenge"

-"Speak Now"


-"Last Kiss"

-"You Belong"

-"Dear John"



-"Long Live"



-"Love Story"

-- Stacey Russell

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

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