Just when you thought Taylor Swift might have been running out of celebrities to join her onstage during the 1989 tour, she went and did it again. On the third date of a five-night run at Los Angeles’ Staples Center (Monday, August 24), the pop juggernaut introduced the screaming crowd to some of her influences from the 1990s. First up was Natalie Maines, lead singer of celebrated/infamous country trio the Dixie Chicks, whose songs Swift used to perform at talent shows and record in the demos she sent to Nashville label heads as a child.
“If not for this woman and her band, I would not have known that you could be quirky, be fun, be yourself, be outspoken and brave and real,” Swift said as she introduced Maines. “I wouldn’t have, when I was nine years old, gotten my first CD. I wouldn’t have dreamed the things that I dreamed, and I wouldn’t be standing on this stage today.” Maines, who is significantly shorter than Swift (especially since Taylor was wearing sky-high heels) came out to sing ‘Goodbye Earl’ dressed in black, her dark pixie cut a dramatic transformation since those early days of the Chicks. However, she sounded just as vocally strong as she did 15 years ago, as admittedly did Taylor, whose recently developed lower register came out in force as they swapped verses. Swift could have done without the overly theatrical playing out of the lyrics (including pretending to punch herself when she first mentions the abuse), but otherwise it was a great performance of a song many of her young fans are unlikely to know.
Next up was Ellen DeGeneres, who during a performance of ‘Style’ was invited to the stage by Swift, billed as “pop superstar Ellen DeGeneres”. Decked out in a silver sparkly number complete with floaty white skirt, she looked quite the picture, and danced while Taylor finished the song.
Finally, it was time to welcome Alanis Morisette to the stage. With Swift in a leather jumpsuit and Morissette gone full rock chick with leather pants, a flowing white shirt and loose black blazer, the pair paced purposefully up and down the stage as they alternated on vocals for Alanis’ angsty hit ‘You Oughta Know’. Now 20 years old, that song is older than half of Swift’s fanbase! It didn’t stop everyone from getting fully into it though, after Taylor told them that she “defined the music of her decade”, and “taught us you could get really, really mad if you want to”.
Taylor Swift concludes her run at the Staples Center tonight (August 26). She’s sure to go out with a bang.