Live Review: Taylor Swift, Vance Joy

11 December 2015 | 3:32 pm | Taylor Yates

"Swift starts with Welcome To New York and instantly we notice that there's something wrong with her voice."

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Melbourne's Vance Joy makes his entrance by wandering on stage and peering at us sheepishly, acoustic guitar in hand. "Melbourne, good to see you. My name is Vance Joy," he says, as if we don't know who he is. Joy kicks things off with some lovey-dovey tunes, running through his best-known songs and finishing up on Riptide. Joy acts as a nice palate cleanser after the repetitive footage of how much Taylor Swift loves cats and mints.

The animation freezes and suddenly there're quite a few police officers in the arena. A helicopter hovers overhead and Fine Young Cannibals' She Drives Me Crazy followed by Calvin Harris' Feel So Close (awkward) blares out of the speakers, and everyone's pumped up and ready to go. Swift starts with Welcome To New York and instantly we notice that there's something wrong with her voice. It sounds squeaky and chipmunk-esque and, by the time she gets into Blank Space, things aren't looking up. The pre-recorded vocals she sings over give it a real karaoke vibe. 

Around the middle of her concert, Swift is on her own. There are no dancers, nothing other than an acoustic guitar. Can she redeem herself? Absolutely. Swift plays You Are In Love and her voice is flawless. It's deep and has this real gentle quality to it, the kind that makes you want to just sit and listen to her for days on end. Swift sounds clean and sophisticated, the guitar adding a very pure quality.

From here on in, it's like something has happened to her voice. During Clean and Love Story the audience is mostly still, swaying slightly, completely mesmerised. In her white two-piece, Swift appears angelic raised above the crowd, alone on a crane with a few of her own instruments. It really brings us back to the old Swift. Around this point, the sound team must have worked out the difference it makes to not have her voice so heavily produced and every song from this point on is slightly stripped-back, vocally; even the beat-heavy Bad Blood. At the end of this two-hour musical rollercoaster, Swift ends on Shake It Off, which gets everyone up and dancing, and waves goodbye, bowing with her dancers and crew. But not before one last shimmy and some fireworks, of course.

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