Paul Kelly Praises Taylor Swift: ‘She’s Got Steel, She’s Got Edge’

22 February 2024 | 12:44 pm | Ellie Robinson

“She’s like the girl next door, with a pistol in her purse.”

Paul Kelly / Taylor Swift

Paul Kelly / Taylor Swift (Supplied)

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Paul Kelly was among the 96,000 punters at the first Melbourne (Naarm) show on Taylor Swift’s Eras tour last Friday (February 16), and in a new interview, he affirmed that the show was indeed worth all the hype.

Speaking to The Australian, Kelly said of Swift’s sold-out performance at the Melbourne Cricket Ground: “I thought it was an amazing show, in lots of ways: she was great, the band was great, and it was an event as much as it was a concert.

“Even though it was a big stadium show, its essence was simple. For a three-and-a-half-hour concert, it never really sagged, and that’s a testament to the range, the colours and the variety of the songs – and obviously, her deep connection with the audience. She works really hard, and she totally delivers.”

Kelly went on to praise Swift’s presence and the way she elevates her performance above what’s typically expected from a concert. “It’s probably a strange parallel to make,” he said, “but there was something about those shows that took it beyond a concert.”

Pondering exactly what it is that makes Swift as popular as she is, Kelly offered: “She’s like the girl next door, with a pistol in her purse. She’s got steel, she’s got edge; she’s kicking against the pricks in quite a few of her songs, and all the young women in the audience loved it, and were singing along to every word.

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“But she kicks against herself, too; there’s push-back in her songs. It’s not ‘me against the world’, because she’s critical of herself in her songs, as well – and we can all relate to that.”

The Australian leg of the Eras tour will continue in Sydney (Eora) with four back-to-back dates at Accor Stadium beginning tomorrow (February 23) – head here for more info on those shows.

Reviewing the same show Kelly attended, Christopher Lewis wrote for “From Bon Iver’s woodland shack in folklore to the revenge dress era of 1989, Swift excels at playing into the narrative of each of her lifetimes through choreography, detailed stage sets, and her myriad of glittery, sequinned costumes.

“This allows her not only to relive her past eras with a wink and a nod but also enables those fans who connected with them so purely to fully immerse themselves in the emotional turbulence they remember. It’s a rare but special kind of fan service. And it’s mirrored in the passionate conviction of her singing.”

Meanwhile, Kelly recently showed his fandom to Swift with a cover of her Midnights single Anti-Hero, performed as part of a Triple M special that also featured tributes by The Screaming Jets, Sarah McLeod, Ian Moss, Birds Of Tokyo and more.