Taylor Swift’s Dublin show suffers from blank space

Pop star’s 3Arena gig pleases her adoring fans but drags between her clever songs

It’s a tweenage rampage at Dublin’s 3Arena - school is out, and the queues have been starting from early afternoon.

There doesn't seem to be a young girl in Dublin who isn't here – they are all dressed up with somewhere special to go, with flowers in their hair, and with a special kind of sisterly love for Taylor Swift.

Swift is the Pennsylvanian-born singer who has, over the past five years, radically changed her image and music style from a smart’n’sassy country singer-songwriter to a smart’n’savvy pop star who sells bucket loads of albums in a marketplace that seems to be suffering from shrinkage.

Last week, Swift proved her might as a music industry player when she withheld her 2014 album, 1989 (named after the year of her birth) from Apple Music's new streaming service.


The tech giant capitulated in jig time, showcasing Swift’s new powers as an industry force to be reckoned with.

Last night’s gig at 3Arena may not have been the forceful display of a pop star at the top of her game that many expected, but there was enough going on to please the tweens.

That said, when it was shaky, it was like San Andreas; in other words, there were moments between some really clever pop songs when the show threatened to fracture.

Young audience

Notwithstanding the demands of such a young audience - they seemed happy, more or less, with pulsating light-up bracelets and the usual blockbuster gig delights of fireworks, smoke plumes and stage sets that resembled Broadway shows - between songs there were energy sapping platitudes aplenty from Swift, whose admirable ideas of empowerment got lost in lengthy monologues.

Even the young girls in front of me were affecting yawn signs, such was the boredom setting in.

Added to this were numerous video clips from Swift's self-proclaimed friends (including Lena Dunham, Haim, Selena Gomez), whose sisterly love also proved too much for the more pragmatically minded in the audience.

This being said, Swift puts on a reasonably good show of sincerity, much of it well aimed at her demographic. A bit too much oversharing, perhaps, and far too much chat, but as major gigs go, Swift kicked it into touch.

Taylor Swift plays Dublin’s 3Arena tonight. The gig is sold out.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture