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Review: Taylor Swift is simply the best
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Review: Taylor Swift is simply the best

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Taylor Swift in Concert - Los Angeles

Taylor Swift performs during the "1989" world tour at Staples Center on Aug. 22 in Los Angeles.

OMAHA -- Taylor Swift has the total package. She writes her songs, sings them, plays guitar and keyboards, knows how to put on a show and really, really connects with her fans.

All of those were on display Friday at CenturyLink Center, where Swift delivered an impressive 80-minute performance largely made up of songs from "1989," the album she released last year that rocketed her from country princess to the biggest star in the pop firmament.

So her show had huge -- and flawless -- production, a dozen dancers, a trio of backing singers, a six-piece band, about a dozen costume changes and a relentless, infectious energy.

Strutting up and down a runaway in the middle of the floor, Swift sang song after song from "1989," chatted with the audience about how much she likes Omaha and danced like a pro.

Among the highlights:

Swift wore a lighted dress and the dancers carried lighted umbrellas on the sharply choreographed "How You Get The Girl," with the audience members waving their arms adorned with the lighted bracelets that were taped to every seat. From her point of view, Swift said, the bracelets transform the audience from a "sea of darkness into 14,000 individuals, which kind of blows my mind."

She picked up an acoustic guitar and rode a crane up above the crowd for a solo "Fifteen," then shared her advice about recovering from heartbreak to start "Clean." Strolling to the opposite end of the crane, she stepped up to a keyboard for a remixed take on "Love Story."

And, surprisingly, Swift strapped on an electric guitar and kicked off a rocked-up "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together Again."

That was real guitar, keyboards and piano (on a beautiful "Wildest Dreams") played at a pop show -- a rarity these days. In fact, little if anything was heard in the music that seemed prerecorded or looped.

Unlike her last two Omaha appearances, when she started a tour, Friday's show was the 65th of her "1989" tour that is set to wrap up in the U.S. at the end of the month.

But it still felt fresh, and Swift, who is as sincere as a performer can be, appeared to be as into playing for her friends as they were into her and the show.

There was no special guest at Friday's show, but that was no big deal.

The show flew by. Swift had the crowd with her from start to finish, singing every word to every song and turning the place into a party on the closer, "Shake It Off."

Swift will play CenturyLink again Saturday. Scrounge up a ticket and see her. She is simply the best.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or kwolgamott@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSWolgamott.

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Entertainment reporter/columnist

L. Kent Wolgamott, the recipient of the 2018 Mayor’s Arts Award, has written about arts and entertainment for Lincoln newspapers since 1985, reviewing thousands of movies and concerts and hundreds of art exhibitions.

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The CenturyLink Center’s a favorite venue for Taylor Swift, who opened her 2013 “Red” tour and 2011 “Speak Now” tour with sold-out, two-night stands there and also stopped there on her 2009 “Fearless” tour. But Swift is much bigger today than she was two years ago.

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