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In the week Taylor Swift re-emerges with topicality, calculation, moments of brilliance and self-absorption, Wind Back Wednesday takes a short step back to Peak Swift in 2015.

(And if you want to see that the path was set some time before with Ms Swift, click on the link at the end for a preview/prediction in 2012.)



ANZ Stadium, November 28

"Dear diary, was there ever a night like this? Like, you know, in history? Surely not. Ever."

Certainly not for a good portion of the 76,000 here for whom this was a long, extended moment of ecstasy. Ecstasy in white ballerina outfits and wedding dresses, in pixie ears and satin robes, like a raft of Swift filmclips come to life.

This was a night likely to wear out the exclamation mark key on every phone. A night where all things were expressed in capital letters. EXCITEMENT!! DELIRIUM!!! O.M.#LOADBEARING G!!!

Just how excited, or excitable, is a Taylor Swift crowd? Even opening act Vance Joy, a man so mild mannered he makes Clark Kent look like The Joker, had them bouncing on and out of their seats.

Not surprisingly, when she emerged from beneath the stage, behind a dozen male dancers, to tell us "welcome to New York, it's been waiting for you" the stadium owners would have been grateful they never put that roof on this joint for by song's end it would have been sailing somewhere down the Parramatta river.

The crash-bang-squeal start, the dance to the edge of the runway, the almost instant (seamless) outfit change, the props and the posed look over the shoulder, held long enough to register knowingness rather than coquettishness.

It was all there. Everything you expect from the high end pop show. Including the significant use of massed backing vocals to make any "live" element in her singing irrelevant as a question.

Spectacle though, that ain't in short supply brother. And calculation.

Kylie's muscle boys and Janet Jackson's choreography, Beyonce's dramatics and Bon Jovi's shamelessness, U2's technology and Madonna's controlled sexiness, Metallica's rolling thunder and Rolling Stones' savviness, Cher's bombast and (whisper it) some of Michael Jackson's megalomania.

Oh yes, and also a few steals from films old (Singin' In The Rain) and oldish (Tron).

This is one of the most spectacular stadium shows I have seen. Nothing is missed.

Add to those, Swift's own brand of careful manipulation of devotion, including the repeated use of screened testimonials from the famous gal pals (who talk girl bonding while everyone silently acknowledges who is chief Heather here) and there is no corner in which to hide.

Not that anyone is looking to hide. Hell no. Too. Much. Fun.

Like watching her rise above the crowd on a crane as she plays an acoustic guitar to a sea, no, an ocean of wrist lights (handed out as we entered and activated by her tech crew) glowing blue.

Or singing along with her own version of Romeo And Juliet as the stadium turns pink and remembering that Swift's romantic songs have never been those of a pie-eyed optimist.

Or shouting out the self-affirmation mantra-in-song of Style because we are all in this as individuals you know, and there is a t-shirt to buy later to prove it.

By the time Bad Blood arrived 90 minutes in, in a mix of old and new urban leather chic, it was hard to see how this could get bigger. Ha! Foolish thought.

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together done as a pop Joan Jett was a direct injection of energy. Wildest Dreams, with every voice raised, felt like all the 15 year olds in the world were at your shoulder.

And then of course there came Shake It Off, that behemoth of pop that didn't even need the amazing spinning platform of Swift and dancers above the crowd. There is no resisting it, and why would you? Some fun is perfect.

Ruthless, efficient and winning in 2012

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