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21 Moments You Won't Forget From Taylor's 1989 Tour

Crazy outfits, the rotating stage, hot backup dancers, even hotter celebrity friends: WE'VE GOT IT ALL.

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Taylor Swift's 1989 world tour is this summer's hottest ticket...but what are you really in for if you've snagged a coveted seat? And what if you WON'T be able to see Taylor at one of her sold-out shows?

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That's what I wanted to figure out when I saw Taylor live on August 25 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. What does Taylor have in store for her fans? Here's what I experienced...

1. She kicks things off with "Welcome to New York."

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Everyone screams the lyrics and the arena is ROCKING. But should she really be opening the show with this song? I mean, her stage with the New York backdrop and street signs WAS awesome, but it was a little weird being welcomed to New York...in California. There are SO many songs she could have opened with, but she chose this one.

And the cherry on top of the sundae: She probably will NEVER sing this song on this tour in NYC unless she adds new dates at Madison Square Garden — her New York tour dates were actually at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. PROBLEMATIC.

I rest my case.

2. Then she launches into the SEVERELY underrated "New Romantics."

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"New Romantics" is amazing. It's only on the deluxe edition of 1989 but real music fans KNOW it should be a single, and hearing it live only confirmed that notion. It's peppy, upbeat, and will have you shaking your booty. HEED OUR PLEAS, TAYLOR!!!

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3. "Blank Space" is her third song of the night, and it's a good, if not knock-your-socks-off performance.

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It's pretty good live, but not the performance you remembered at the end of the night — especially because the sets and choreography are less colorful and impressive compared to what you'll see the rest of the night. The 1989 stage, you'll quickly learn, is the perfect amount of "awesome" without distracting from Taylor's performance.

4. Next up is a hella awesome remix of "I Knew You Were Trouble" complete with these smoke jets and shirtless backup dancers.

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This was probably the most risqué moment of the evening (it was definitely kind of sort of really homoerotic?!?!) — the audience DEFINITELY skewed younger, and Taylor played to that. But if you're going to be introduced to a world of rippling biceps and shredded abs, it may as well be at a Taylor Swift concert.

5. Actually, let's pause and reflect on those backup dancers for a moment.

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Let's just say Taylor has A+ taste in backup dancers. These boys have MOVES. There's more to see at this show than just one of the world's biggest pop stars.

6. She then proceeds to go through some of 1989's deeper cuts.

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Following "Trouble," Taylor plowed through "I Wish You Would," "How You Get The Girl," and "I Know Places." The audience was a little less into these songs but Taylor still brought it. There were some crazy-awesome outfits that actually LIT UP during "How You Get The Girl." And then "I Know Places" was an appropriately eerie performance.

7. Actually, the show is REALLY all about showcasing 1989. Which makes sense...it's called the1989 world tour, after all!

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Swift played 18 songs at the show I went to. Two of those were covers — more on that later — and of the remaining 16 songs, just three were NOT from 1989. That means she left off a lot of her biggest hits, from "You Belong With Me" to "22." Is that a bad thing? In some ways, no — 1989 is an ICONIC album and to hear most of it live is an amazing experience. But it would have been nice to have heard another song or two from Taylor's back catalog — after all, those are the major songs that made her a star in the first place!

Also, this is that light-up dress from "How You Get The Girl." It was REALLY cool.

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8. Taylor's other outfits are 🔥🔥🔥.

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I mean, really.

This girl really has STYLE.

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Please excuse my cheesy joke.

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9. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Taylor's friends lend her a hand throughout the show.

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During breaks in between songs when Taylor went off-stage to change, messages from her celebrity friends appeared on a big screen on stage. Lena Dunham, Cara Delevingne, Lily Aldridge, Karlie Kloss, HAIM, Jaime King, and of course SELENA GOMEZ, along with Taylor's longtime (non-celeb) friend Abigail Anderson.

At various points in the evening they talked about what it's like being friends with Taylor, what they do when they hang out, how they met, when they first heard 1989, Swift's struggles with the media, and female friendship. Swift's gaggle of female friends have famously become a part of her persona, so it made sense on paper that they were there (at least, videos of them). But with the exception of Lena Dunham (who's hilarious) and Abigail (who has known Swift for a LONG-ASS time) it didn't really feel organic to the concert-going experience, especially because their appearances weren't music-driven — it was more about Swift's public persona than her music or craft.

10. The celebs who DO show up — Taylor's famed surprise guest appearances — can be hit or miss.

There is nothing cooler than @st_vincent soloing while pyro goes off in the background. #1989TourLA

A well-chronicled aspect of the 1989 tour is that Taylor brings out a bevy of celebrity guests at each of her shows — some to perform, some just to walk the stage. The first two guests at my show were Beck and St. Vincent. Both are incredibly talented — seeing St. Vincent play the guitar live was life-changing — but their audience skews older, for sure. When they were performing, I turned around to the women sitting behind me and asked if they thought any of the largely teenage audience knew either performer. They did not.

Having a guaranteed surprise guest sounds AMAZING...in theory. The problem is since you know it's coming, you spend a lot of the show anticipating their arrival, and there is no real spontaneity to the so-called "surprise." When they do show up, you judge who you saw at your show against all of the other shows. When Beck and St. Vincent stepped on stage, I felt a little let down — I was hoping for someone more along the lines of Lorde, The Weeknd, or Selena Gomez and Justin Timberlake, WHO I MISSED BY JUST ONE NIGHT. But then I thought more about it, and realized how RIDICULOUS my disappointment was. Also, I came here to see Taylor Swift — why was I so hung up on some performers who were only on stage for five-ish minutes? To be honest, the whole "guest performer" thing probably does more experience-wise for Taylor than the audience. And that's fine, she's earned that right.

Long story: The surprise guests don't make or break the show — and they shouldn't.

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11. That might be because these guest appearances are very last-minute.

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John Legend sang "All of Me" later in the show, right before "Wildest Dreams." There was a MUCH stronger reaction for him than Beck and St. Vincent — sorry, guys — which shouldn't be surprising, I guess. After he performed, Taylor talked about how she had been texting Legend's wife Chrissy Teigen before the show, and she asked her if John would come on stage and perform. Apparently — APPARENTLY — he was only confirmed to perform a half an hour before Taylor went on stage. So maybe the crazy variety of names who have appeared on stage throughout the tour — everyone from Julia Roberts to Russell Wilson — has more to do with who's attending shows than anything?

12. Mid-show, she slows things down with "You Are In Love" and "Clean."

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Things slow down for these songs, and Taylor starts to really *connect* with the audience.

13. This is also where she starts preaching her message of endless optimism to the audience.

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"I can see every single one of you," Taylor says at one point in the show. She's referring to these light-up wristbands that you're given that illuminate at various points in the show, but she also could be talking about how she's trying to connect with every member of the audience. She talks a lot about not giving into bullies, believing in yourself, and getting through bad days. It's relentlessly positive and totally folds into Taylor's public image. But we wanted the hits!

14. Her stage is INSANE. Like, she ends up RIGHT above you.

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At the start of the show, Taylor's stage looks pretty normal, with a long catwalk. OK, she walks into the audience, cool! you think to yourself. BUT YOU ARE SO WRONG. Not only does the stage elevate high into the arena, it ROTATES, so at several points in the show, Taylor is either facing you directly OR she is right above you, no matter where you're sitting in the arena. In that sense, there's really not a bad seat in the house...which is pretty damn cool.

15. "Love Story" is one of the few throwbacks.

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It's an updated version for this tour, and it's pretty catchy — especially considering it utilizes Taylor's amazing stage to full effect — she flies over you like the pop superhero she is.

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16. Hearing "Style" live is pretty cool.

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This is where Taylor USUALLY brings out some of her surprise guests to walk the stage, whether it's Kobe Bryant, Ellen, or one of her many model friends. Unfortunately for our show, there was no celeb cameo. We had to settle for her rollerblading backup dancers...which wasn't a bad thing!

17. And "Bad Blood" is an intense, militaristic performance that is one of the many highlights of the night.

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In terms of choreography, "Bad Blood" is arguably the strongest point of the show. For most other songs, Taylor's stage movement is pretty straightforward — she struts her stuff back and forth along the stage like the sass machine she is. But for "Bad Blood", she dances and climbs on these cool glass panels that are carried around by her hunky backup dancers. Her squad of female besties weren't on stage — neither was Kendrick Lamar — but it kind of felt like the badass "Bad Blood" music video had come to life.

18. But Taylor REALLY gets rocking during "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."

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Taylor gave a rock-ified performance of her hit single from Red. It was definitely one of the highlights of the show, and only furthered the argument that a few more of her older hits — even remixed versions — would have been really, really solid additions to the show.

19. Taylor slows things down toward the end with "Wildest Dreams."

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This was right after John Legend came on stage. Taylor still kept the momentum of the show going, which is no small feat after an Oscar winner walks off stage. "Wildest Dreams" is pretty good live, and it was a great way to slow things down before the final two big numbers.

20. Then she gets majestic with "Out of the Woods."

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Video can't really do "Out of the Woods" justice. Her backup dancers fly these huge paper airplane kits above the audience, paper-airplane shaped confetti is blasted from the ceiling, and Taylor gets the audience to chant along toward the end of the song. If there is one song on 1989 meant to be sung live in an arena, it's this one...and Taylor DELIVERS, and then some.

21. 21. Finally, she'll close out the show with a rousing rendition of "Shake It Off" that will have you getting down to THIS. SICK. BEAT.

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Because, DUH, and it looks amazing (her stage goes up and rotates) and sounds even better (you're dancing your ass off). And it's a great way to end the show...even though you wish she could perform for another two hours.

22. Correction

The writer attended Taylor's show on Aug. 25. An earlier version of this post misstated the date of the concert.

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