Seeing Red: Taylor Swift Stuns Manila the Second Time Around

Seeing Red: Taylor Swift Stuns Manila the Second Time Around

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Taylor opening the show with ‘State of Grace’

It was rare, I was there, I remember it all too well.

Screaming girls. Tears. Sing-alongs. Cheers and shouts from an excitable crowd. That was only a few of the many things I witnessed as Taylor Swift brought songs from her fourth studio album (and crowd favorites like Love Story and You Belong With Me) to life in Manila during her Red Tour. The stage sets were magnificent, elaborate, and carefully planned. The back-up singers, dancers, band and crew were just as enthusiastic. Taylor Swift decked in numerous costumes while belting out her hits with some killer dance moves and endless energy.

Having been a fan of her for 6 years now, it was a delight to witness all of these things only a few feet away from where I was standing, taking every moment in bit by bit, trying to capture everything, to remember–June 6, 2014 was definitely one for the books for all of the people who filled up the seats at the SM MOA Arena.

Performing Red with her electric guitar

Performing ‘Red’ with her electric guitar

I still remember the crazy anticipation when I got to the venue at around 5 pm as boys and girls dressed up in their craziest costumes were already lined up at the side of the arena, engaging in numerous sing-alongs and crowd cheers whenever a videocamera passed by. I felt how happy everyone was, how excited, how enthusiastic. It didn’t even matter that the show started a bit late, at around 9 in the evening, as some people from the VIP and Patron seats had some trouble getting in.

As the lights went down and the crowd sparkled just like the way Taylor wanted it to, the screaming doubled as the spotlight shone on the red curtain, later on revealing her silhouette and finally giving way to the 5-foot-ten blonde girl with red shoes, lipstick, and a microphone.

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Seeing Red: Taylor Swift Stuns Manila the Second Time Around


There was never a dull moment in the arena. The fans (me, included) made absolutely sure that their 90 precious minutes were enjoyed well, either by singing along or by capturing moment by moment through their camera phones. It was the occasional pause before or after a song when Taylor would just stop and stare at the crowd wearing this look of disbelief on her face that I would feel that undeniable connection with her fans the most–it was almost like the fans were showing her that, no matter what happened, they would still be there for her, rooting for her. Taylor did the same.

As she recounted her own experiences with bad days in All Too Well and not fitting in with Mean, it strongly felt like she was simply chatting with her closest friends. That was how she made a 20,000-strong Manila crowd feel so small and intimate. She let everybody in and made each and every person in the arena feel like she was someone they could count on.

Taylor tells the crowd that she belongs with them during 'Mean'

Taylor tells the crowd that she belongs with them before singing ‘Mean’

During the dance-heavy number '22'

During the dance-heavy number ’22’

I had my magical moment right when she finished her acoustic set at the B-stage and she was coming down to the center aisle for her second walk-through to get to the main stage. Through some unbelievable stroke of luck, I was able to reach out and touch her hand, tell her my admiration, and have her talk back to me. I was literally doing everything I could to hold it in and not freak out (because one does not simply freak out in front of Taylor Swift) but I know I looked (and sounded) crazy anyway. Those few seconds of communication and eye contact just reinforced why I’ve stayed by her side through all of these years.

I have nothing else to say but that I had the time of my life with you, Taylor. June 6, 2014 was a night I will never forget and I’m pretty sure all of  the other people who were there with me to watch you do what you do best – sing about your life and everything that happens in-between – will agree. This just proves that distance and language barriers don’t matter at all when you have that one universal language that binds people all over the world together: music.

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It’s a love story…

To those who haven’t been able to catch her during her two visits in Manila, don’t fret: this seven-time Grammy winner is showing no signs of stopping as a fifth album release is just on the horizon. She is bound to come back when she embarks on her next successful world tour as she’s already seen how loved she is by our country. And live show or not, just supporting her in any way you can through listening to her music and echoing her ideals is more than enough.

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If you were there at the concert, feel free to fangirl with me on Twitter: @celinamarie__ (I’m still recovering from my PCD. IYWIM.)



Seeing Red: Taylor Swift Stuns Manila the Second Time Around