Live: Taylor Swift at BankAtlantic Center, June 2

Taylor Swift
with NeedToBreathe
BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise
Thursday, June 2, 2011

Better than: a real relationship

Taylor Swift is like any other dramatic 21-year-old girl. Except she has the ability and the means to turn her imagination into a reality.
That's exactly what happened during her June 2 show at the BankAtlantic Center, the first of two Fort Lauderdale dates. Swift's imagination spewed all over the stage with elaborate sets, nine outfit changes, and a slew of gymnasts acting out her songs. 

The crowd could have been a picture straight out of the height of the Beatle's fame. Girls were screaming and crying. But instead of worshipping a group of British men, here they were fawning over a young, female wunderkind who is growing up fast. 

Compared to Swift's BankAtlantic stop last year, she was more sure of herself this time, bouncing and gliding across the stage like a perky ballerina. You could see it in her eyes that the year between her first headlining tour and her second, the Speak Now tour, made her more confident. But she also remained humble, staring in awe at the crowd for a good 30 seconds after the third or fourth song. 

The one gripe I have with Taylor Swift's shows is that the intricate setups take your eyes away from the beautiful and accomplished young woman on stage. Half the time you don't know whether to pay attention to the ballerina in a wedding dress or her curly ringlets flinging around in time to the strumming guitar.

The great thing about her concerts and her songs is that you can live vicariously through them. The girls who idolize her realize that she'll say she loves them when no man will admit it. Her songs like "Fearless" and "Sparks Fly" let them feel what it's like to be devastatingly in love while songs like "Last Kiss" remind us all what it's like to feel a broken heart. 

​Aside from her band, Swift had at least six other performers with her last night doing everything from performing acrobatics while suspended from large Liberty-like bells to getting married - complete with a "gown shaped like a pastry." Those same performers held sparklers from their perch in the rafters, letting it rain gold upon the band. 

Swift ended her performance in typical extravagant fashion. A faux balcony flew down from the ceiling and she stepped elegantly inside. We all watched with suspense as the balcony was lifted up and she continued to sing while floating above the screaming crowd like a Disney princess.

"I'm glad she's ending it this way," my friend told me. "Because I was just thinking 'how's she going to top a waterfall?"

Critics Notebook

Personal bias: Someone needs to turn up Taylor Swift's microphone. At times it was really hard to hear her over the surging estrogen. 

Overheard in the crowd: A father told his daughter "Hold the sign so Taylor knows it's your third birthday!" 

The crowd: For last year's show I shelled out some hefty change to sit high in the

rafters. So it could be I didn't get an accurate reading of the crowd

from the nosebleed section. This year's crowd was young. Seriously,

there was a three-year-old sitting behind me. So either the crowd got

drastically younger, I aged more than I thought, or their parents love

them too much.

One thought: The video of Taylor Swift on the big screen was a little delayed so if you were only looking at the screen it looked like she was lip-syncing. She wasn't.

Seen: Taylor's mother came out and greeted a few girls right in front of me. She looked very proud.

Random Detail: Taylor Swift was definitely crying while singing "Dear John."

Set List:
Sparks Fly
Story of Us
Our Song
Back to December
Better than revenge
Speak Now
Dear John
Long Live
Love Story
Last Kiss
You Belong With Me
Dear John

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Devin Desjarlais