Several hundred very lucky fans of Taylor Swift got a special treat in New York the week her new album, Red, was released. The singer performed an intimate set at the famed Ed Sullivan Theater, in a show simply titled Live from New York City. And if you missed it in person, you can still watch it right now on demand (see below).
Clad in a red dress and gold heels, Taylor took to the stage walking through the crowd, high-fiving fans, and singing her hit “You Belong With Me.” And during a set that included songs from her new album as well as some of her classic hits, she also took time to bring fans into her world by taking questions from the audience. Additionally, she revealed the story behind many of her compositions, and what a day in her life is really like.
“Well hi, guys. My name is Taylor. Thank you for being here,” she said once she finished “You Belong With Me.”
Watch Taylor Swift’s entire Live from New York City performance right now on demand:
As she strapped on a banjo for her Grammy-winning track “Mean,” she told the story behind the song.
“This is a song that I wrote about a critic who hated me,” she said. “When you write a song you never know where it’s going to go. You never know what it’s going to mean to people. And, you never know if in your lowest moment of feeling totally completely rejected and this guy hates you and you can do nothing and you’re helpless and you’re in this horrible place and you write a song. Then, a year later you win two Grammys for it.”
Taylor proved that she had the last laugh this time around as fans sang along word for word.
“You guys are fun. I like you a lot. I like you so much that I feel like I’d love to talk to you,” she said before taking her first question of the night.
Asked what inspired her to be a singer, Taylor expressed that she never realized she could sing about her life until she dug deeper into songwriters of the ’90s like Melissa Etheridge, Sarah McLachlan and the Dixie Chicks.
“It’s been my absolute favorite thing to do ever since so thank you for liking it,” she said.
“This song is about moving on and finding out who you are,” Taylor explained as she prefaced new single “Begin Again.”
Her whispered vocals alongside fiddle and mandolin accompaniment showcased a more mature sound for the singer.
After a fan asked how she came up with the title of her new album, Red, Taylor explained that it came from the song of the same name.
“The title came from the song ‘Red’ that I wrote about a really awful breakup,” she said. “It was the best thing ever and the worst thing ever all at the same time, but I finally wrote a song that explained why I couldn’t forget it. The intense emotions is what this album is about.”
Luckily for Taylor not all songs are inspired by heartbreak. The familiar and hopeful “Love Story” saw Taylor nearing the edge of the stage shaking fans’ hands, while the bombastic “Red” transformed the venue with heart-pounding drum beats and impressive guitar riffs.
One fan wondered how fame has affected Taylor’s life, and despite what the gossip magazines report, she had only praises.
“After having experienced it . . . now it’s the sixth year so I had a little while to get used to it,” Taylor admitted. “[I've realized] when you leave the house it’s going to be a social situation . . . it is a responsibility. The reality is it’s made my life so awesome, so thank you for that.”
As she closed her set with her chart-topping single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor profusely thanked her fans.
“I’m stuttering so much this week because I’m so excited! I will never ever ever forget what you’ve done for me this week,” she said. “Thank you so much for being here tonight to celebrate Red. I love you so much and I”ll see you on tour!”
-Annie Reuter, CBS Local