Taylor Swift comes home to Nashville

Friday was the night thousands had been waiting for when the doors of Bridgestone Arena opened for Taylor Swift’s first of two concerts in Nashville.

After impressive opening sets from Vance Joy and HAIM, music played over the loud speaker as the lights began to dim. After “Feels So Close,” a song by rumored-boyfriend Calvin Harris, the lights shut off and the giant boom box onstage began to light up.

The foundation of the building seemed to shake as the crowd of 15,000 began to scream. Amid the busted eardrums and smoky stage lights, Taylor arose from underneath the stage as the opening sounds of “Welcome to New York” began to play.

“Hello, Nashville! I’m Taylor,” she said as the crowd erupted in a feverish scream. “And I think it is safe to say that I have been looking forward to playing to you tonight since the beginning of this tour.”

Those words began the rest of the show, which saw her singing her recent hits “Blank Space” and “Style,” all on a massive catwalk that went from one end of the arena floor to the other. Other classic songs got remixed to fit the sound of the show. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” got a heavy metal remix which saw Swift playing the electric guitar so well Joan Jett would be proud. “Love Story” received an ‘80s inspired remix, with the music sounding like something you would find on a Madonna or Cyndi Lauper album.

Halfway through the show, the giant catwalk was raised and Swift strapped on an acoustic guitar to play “You Belong With Me,” which turned in to a massive sing along for the whole crowd.

Although the majority of Swift’s shows are light and carefree, the show took a serious turn when Taylor gave an emotional pep talk of sorts to the crowd.

“You are not the opinion of someone who does not know you,” Taylor said. “I wrote this song when I was trying to find happiness, when I wanted to be clean.” With that, Taylor launched into “Clean,” one of her strongest songs to date.

There were also surprises along the way that would make any music fan scream. A fourth of the way through the show, Taylor brought rising country singer Kelsea Ballerini out to sing her No. 1 country hit, “Love Me Like You Mean It.” Midway through the show, the dads in the crowd got excited when Swift brought out Steven Tyler for a rendition of “Don’t Want to Miss A Thing.” Toward the end of the show, as she sat at a piano, Swift began singing “When You Say Nothing at All,” and soon enough Allison Kraus was onstage with her violin.

Vocally, Swift has never sounded stronger. Her range has become quite impressive, and her performances of “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “Out of the Woods” showcased how much the star has learned in her 10 years in the spotlight.

The 25-year-old songstress has sold out four world tours, but this version is the artist’s largest spectacle yet. The larger than life theatrics, booming pop beats and a revolutionary, state of the art stage make it easy to see why Taylor Swift is the pop icon she has become and why she is the ultimate inspiration to millions worldwide.