Keith Urban stopped by INTRUST Bank Arena on August 16 for his 2011 Get Closer Tour. Keith kicked the night off with “Put You in a Song.” Alongside his own hits, Keith performed covers including “American Girl” and U2′s “With or Without You.” Keith left the crowd wanting more even after his encore.
The date was August 14, 2010. The stage was set for Dave Matthews Band’s Summer Tour. Dave got the arena roaring as the band opened their set with “Minarets.” Dave and the band went on to play an incredible 19 songs ending the night with “Grey Street.” This was a night that Wichita will never forget.
Submitted by Ashley Dorf
Rascal Flatts has become one of country’s biggest trios. They have released 9 albums, including their greatest hits collection, 26 singles, which have all ranked 20 or higher on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs, and more recently, a successful list of live shows on their most recent tour schedule.
Lead singer Gary LeVox, guitarist Joe Don Rooney and bassist Jay DeMarcus have set out on their Live And Loud Tour, presented By Farmer’s Insurance, to promote their new album “Changed.” The Band Perry and Cassadee Pope, Season 3 winner of the NBC reality singing competition The Voice, were the two opening acts for the show.
When I arrived at 5:00 to pick up my VIP passes, people were already lining up for the doors to open. Many people had signs and shirts to show their admiration for one (or all) of the group. Others sported bandanas, cowboy boots, and tons of merchandise. When I returned later in the evening, the concourses inside were filled with Farmer’s Insurance booths to have a chance at winning some prizes. People were handing out fans with the faces of the band members on it. I was lucky enough to collect all three and complete my mini ensemble! You could also take a picture with “Rascal Flatts” in the photo area, using cardboard cutouts of the band.
I can’t tell much about Cassadee Pope, as I was backstage listening to acoustic performances of Rascal Flatts (that was AMAZING, by the way). I did hear her recent single “Wasting All These Tears” which sounded awesome to my ears.
I was certainly anxious for The Band Perry, having seen them twice before, but both of those times were before “Pioneer” came out. They opened their set with the catchy smash hit “Done”, that certainly got the crowd on their feet! They performed older singles, like “You Lie,” and of course, “If I Die Young,” as well as newer songs from “Pioneer”. Many of the songs were mixed with other artists. “Forever Mine Nevermind,” written with Brad Paisley, was mixed with The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey,” while “All Your Life” included a clip of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” They finished with yet another medley, consisting of “Some Nights” by fun. and “Better Dig Two”. Kimberly (Perry) referred to the audience as a “family” and throughout the set, much hand waving, clapping, and boot stomping occurred.
After a break between sets, where I saw Cassadee Pope signing autographs (YAY!), it was Rascal Flatts time! Gary, Joe Don and Jay were off to an upbeat start, with “Life Is A Highway.” The “back” of the stage opened to reveal a platform moving forward with the trio on it. This contraption was used several times throughout the duration of the show. Most of the crowd was on their feet for the first four or five songs, with “Banjo,” “Here’s To You,” “This Everyday Love,” and “Love You Out Loud.” Things dialed down a bit when they played the highly successful song “What hurts The Most.” Cassadee Pope joined Rascal Flatts for “Easy,” a song originally with British recording artist Natasha Bedingfield.
The band continued their show with an inspirational performance of “Stand.” One of my favorite parts of the night was certainly humorous. When 2008’s “Bob That Head” started to play, large bobbleheads of Gary, Joe Don and Jay appeared on the screen. People in the audience even started to not only bob their heads, but also their fans with the band’s faces!
They ended their regular set with “Fast Cars and Freedom,” but I thought, “This can’t be over yet!” Sure enough, they once again emerged from the side of the stage and sang “My Wish.” Immediately following, the familiar guitar riff of “Summer Nights” began to play. The crowd went insane; people started to clap, stomp their feet, and even slow dance! Before I knew it, the three of them were already back on their platform, going back into the gap in the stage. Of course, no finale is finished without confetti!
Rascal Flatts was a wonderful concert. It certainly kept me going and wondering what was going to happen next. I am so glad that I was able to go to this concert, and I hope to see them again here in Wichita on another tour.
Submitted by: Brianna Mullen
Taylor’s concert Tuesday night kicked off with a fairly short performance by Casey James. He is new to the music scene, (well known for “Let’s Don’t Call it a Night”) and what a way to get started than by touring with Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran?!
Sheeran was the second to perform. Most of his songs had a unique alternative-pop feel, but he also played a beautiful jazz song called “Be My Husband” by Nina Simone. Later, catching the audience off guard, he threw some “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore into another song. Energetic Ed did a fantastic job pumping up the audience for miss Taylor Swift.
Taylor’s entrance to the stage was nothing less than grand with a huge spotlight shining from behind showing her silhouette on a Broadway-like red curtain. After her opening song “State of Grace”, she looks off into the crowd. She frequently gazes off as if taking in what is happening. Sometimes she even gets teary eyed. After pausing, she gave relatable speeches about life, bullies in it, and love. Taylor is harshly criticized in the media for one thing: her relationships. Her struggles are common struggles. She connects with the audience on such a personal level. It brings tears to the eyes in the crowd. I think It’s such an amazing thing that a huge celebrity like her is able to connect with everyone in the room through emotion. Her emotions are in her lyrics.
As for the showmanship of these songs, it’s untouchable. She is the entertainer of the century. Her sound through the years is something that has changed. Starting off in the country genre back with the release of her first album simply titled “Taylor Swift” in 2006, she has moved to the pop genre with “RED”. Her most popular songs “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “22″. Another change was Taylor’s fourth song of the night: a twist on her classic “You Belong With Me”! She performed it in an old-broadway-like girl group style rocking another outfit change- a sparkly sequin red dress.
She rolled on with a total of 10 outfit changes! Halfway through during the song “22″ she paraded to the back stage on dancers shoulders where she surprised us with “Tim McGraw” from her first album and an appearance by Ed Sheeran for “Everything Has Changed”. Swift continued to surprise as she hovered above the audience on a small, round, moving platform back to the front stage during “Sparks Fly”. She played a total of 16 songs for the night (set list below)
1.State of Grace
4.You Belong with Me
5.The Lucky One
9.Everything Has Changed
12.I Knew You Were Trouble
13.All Too Well
16. She concluded with the song “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”.
Her finale was just like the rest of the night: dazzling.
Submitted by: Trisha Adams
It was a hot and humid Tuesday in August when Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Casey James graced Wichita with their presence. The lines outside the arena were clear to the street, every one filled with people dying to see their favorite pop/country crossover star. Everywhere you looked you could see signs and posters covered with glitter bearing lyrics and phrases that were hopefully memorable or unique enough to catch the eye of Taylor, her family or her crew. The doors opened letting the people flow in, a sea of red clothes and sequins flooded the arena ready to live one of the most memorable nights of their lives.
Before the actual show began, fans could shop at the souvenir stand or partake in many of the fun set-ups that allowed people to have photos with pictures of the dazzling Miss Swift or with her costumes which were lined up along the concourse for our viewing pleasure. But the real excitement was in the arena itself where thousands of fans prepared for the fun to come by dancing, screaming, talking, or flashing their signs in hopes that a member of Taylor’s crew or family would come and invite them into the elusive Club Red.
Casey James was the first to perform, his heartfelt set getting fans on their feet to dance and sway with his undeniable beat. After Mr. James left the stage, it was only minutes until Ed Sheeran made his appearance. At first we were a bit baffled, he only had a guitar. There was no band or equipment other than two microphones, one guitar, a foot peddle, and this amazingly talented man. Even though it was only him, he made it sound like there was an entire band backing him by recording beats and chords then replaying them using the foot peddle. Before long he had the entire arena singing along with him, encouraging them that if they didn’t know the words it was ok to improvise. He finished his set to thunderous applause and the eager screams that came from fans knowing what was next.
Now the concert had been great up until this point, but when the lights went down and that sign that spanned the entire stage started flashing the letters R E D, that was when the night took a turn for fantastic! As the sign rose into the air a beat played, so strong that your heart couldn’t help but pound in sync. That’s when Taylor appeared, a dark silhouette against a red curtain, her voice so clear and pure it invaded your senses and whisked you away to one of the many romances that left a mark on her heart.
Things only went up from there! In a set complete with aerialist drummers, sparkling costumes, crowd surfing, flying platforms, fireworks, and confetti, Taylor took us to a world all her own giving us a personal tour of the ups and downs she has experienced since the release of her previous album. Through it all, one thing was clear: Taylor poured her heart and soul into this concert bringing with the amazing set her emotions laid bare to the world. Many times as I looked around the arena I was struck by how many tears of joy and hurt I saw, all brought on by Miss Swift’s ability to tell a tale and make it personal for whoever was listening.
I’ve seen Taylor twice before and every concert has been absolutely amazing! But this RED Tour is on a whole other level. I’ll never forget what I saw or the looks on my nieces’ faces as they enjoyed their first arena concert experience. And one thing is certain, August 6, 2013 will always be a day painted RED in my memory.
Submitted by: Sarah Blosser
Seven time Grammy winner, Taylor Swift brought her highly anticipated “Red” tour to INTRUST Bank Arena on Tuesday August 6, 2013. Taylor, has been to Wichita once before in 2011 with the “Fearless” tour. This was unlike most concerts with many activities going on out side the arena before the doors even opened. Fans could take pictures with large images of Taylor as well as sing karaoke for prizes. Once the doors were opened, fans of all ages hurried through the doors and up the stairs to purchase merchandise. There was also a set up of Taylor’s costumes from past concerts and music videos, as well as free popcorn being handed out by the kind staff of INTRUST Bank Arena.
Opening for Miss Swift was American idol contestant Casey James, and brought the crowd to their feet with his hit “Crying on a suitcase”.
Ed Sheeran was up next and performed without a band. He used technology to record beats that he would loop back and play throughout the song. He amazed the crowd with his t
alent and was amazed himself with fans singing to his songs, especially “Lego House” and, “The A Team”.
Once Ed was done the tension in the arena got a lot higher with fans knowing Taylor was up next. There were little girls dancing in the aisles, fans holding up signs, and everyone going crazy. The lights went down, the curtain dropped and all 11,000 screaming fans jumped to their feet. Taylor had four back-up singers, 14 dancers, and a killer band that took over the stage.
With numerous stage segments spread around the arena, including one in the very back that raised up, and one that was part of the enormous section of the main stage that lifted into the air. There was even a floating stage that carried Taylor thought the air by crane from front to back of the arena.
With Video screens on both sides of the stage, as well as above and behind fans could see no matter where their seats were. “The Lucky One” was staged, as an older time with lots of paparazzi, while “I Knew You Were Trouble,” was more of a Goth Masquerade ball. A crowd favorite was “22” where Taylor made a cross arena trek to a smaller stage where she sang hits “Tim McGraw” and “Everything Has Changed” With opening act Ed Sheeran. “Love story” started with all the dancers leaping out of a life-size music box. The last song, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor dressed as a circus ringleader surrounded on stage by clowns and stilt- walkers. The crowd was singing along as loud as they could as confetti poured from the ceiling and sparks flew from the stage.
Not only does Taylor write her own songs, she can also play a variety of stringed instruments and dance, which took her concerts to the next level and considered as more of an event. Once the show was over there was not a single person that was not smiling. The “Red” tour was definitely one of the most anticipated shows the arena has hosted and everyone had a great time.
Submitted by: Ashley Dorf
Taylor Swift, the songwriting, boyfriend-bashing diva, has taken the world of country-pop music by a storm. She recently visited Wichita August 6th at INTRUST Bank Arena, playing a sold-out show for 11,000 fans as part of her Red Tour, based on the 2012 album of the same name.
I was certainly eager to see what everybody was saying, about her more “mature” album and tour. Me, along with tens of thousands of other fans, had been waiting since the October announcement of the tour (an ABC special) to see the progress in Swift’s music with “Red” compared to “Speak Now” (2010). There has been a three-year gap since Taylor has visited the Air Capital. In 2010, she performed with Kellie Pickler on her Fearless Tour, but she did not stop in Wichita for the Speak Now World Tour. All of the dates in the North American leg of the Red Tour have sold out, so a full house was no surprise.
I arrived at INTRUST Bank Arena to the sight of fans, or “swifties”, flooding the entrances with red everything. Red tutus, heart glasses (made famous in Swift’s 22 music video) homemade Red Tour shirts, and a red sea of light-up posters using battery powered lights. One sign said, “Taylor, Let’s Paint Wichita Red”, while a few others had “RED” or “22”. Radio stations had karaoke contests to entertain guests, and Diet Coke (a sponsor of Swift) had a “Red Tour Photobooth”. In the concourse, banners of Taylor advertisements were common, accompanied by booths; some for Keds shoes, others for her most recent fragrances, Wonderstruck Enchanted and Taylor by Taylor Swift. The atmosphere felt positive. Everyone around me seemed to be in a upbeat mood, probably anxious for what would happen that night.
Casey James was the first act to take the stage. A third-place finish in season nine of the hit FOX reality show “American Idol” helped start his career. I found Casey to be quite enjoyable. A combination of his impressive guitar solos and soft-sounding vocals made his set quite interesting. I really do think Casey has the potential to be a big artist someday, with a little more experience and work. He performed a few songs from his 2012 self-titled album, including “Let’s Don’t Call it a Night” and “Crying on a Suitcase.”
After a brief intermission, Ed Sheeran, a singer-songwriter from the UK, walked out onstage to start his set, beginning with the hit “Give Me Love.” Throughout the songs, there was some insane guitar strumming. Some UNBELIEVABLE strumming occurred. He interacted with the audience, asking them to sing, dance, and even shout, “hell yeah!” To commemorate his time in Wichita, Ed snapped a picture of the crowd and posted it on his Instagram page. Along with his single “Lego House”, Ed intertwined Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ #1 smash hit “Thrift Shop” with his “You Need Me I Don’t Need You.” That truly had the girls shrieking, “ED! WE LOVE YOU!” To end his list, he sang his first US single, “The A Team”. The arena suddenly transformed into a field of glowing lights like a starry night.
Before I knew it, Taylor would be on soon. People around the arena started to light up their signs and crack their glow/light sticks to show their support for Taylor. People were starting to change into their “singing mode” as behind-the-scenes clips and ads ran on the screens.
What really had the audience singing was the smash international success hit, “I Love It” by Swedish band Icona Pop. The audience danced and yelled the words as the “Red Tour Fancam” showed fans waving their outfits and signs. Following that, the lights dimmed and playing was Lenny Kravitz’s “American Woman”, noting the start of the show.
A huge stage-wide screen displayed “RED” and gradually rose while a drum beat pounded and fans shouted. The drum solo of “State of Grace” started to play, and right before the first verse, Taylor’s shadow appeared from behind the red curtain. The curtain dropped to reveal a large stage with red bridges, a main staircase, and various band members. The audience shrilled in approval and excitement. Taylor talked to the audience several times throughout the show, initially welcoming us to the Red Tour. She talked about her feelings, and that certain colors represent her emotions. This conversation lead into the title song, “Red”, with a sparkly red guitar and red flags being waved around the stage. “ You Belong With Me,” an old hit from Fearless, was recomposed into a 50’s style, jazzy arrangement. She also played “Mean” and gave a speech about how bullying does not end when you become an adult. “22” showed every year of Taylor’s life, and she was carried through the audience to a so-called “B Stage.”
While I was there, Taylor’s mom, Andrea, was nice enough to invite me to stand with her inside the gated area around the stage! Taylor played her one surprise song, Tim McGraw, Ed and Taylor joined together on the moving and spinning platform for “Everything Has Changed,” and Begin Again was acoustic. Taylor “flew” back to the main stage singing “Sparks Fly.”
When she returned, I was amazed to see the pyrotechnics of “I Knew You Were Trouble.” It was almost a laser light show. She even did a VERY quick costume change in the middle of the song. Taylor played “Love Story” like she always does and wore a ballerina-like dress for “Treacherous”.
The finale of the show was the forever incredible “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” The stage and the costumes were circus-themed, with Taylor’s wardrobe of a large, sparkly red coat, black shorts, and a cane. A piece of the stage came out and swung over the audience as heart-shaped confetti fell from above. Taylor took a bow, and walked up to the top of the stairs. The screen came down and displayed “Thank you! J.”
Overall, I thought the show was quite incredible. It was entertaining to watch and Taylor’s vocals have definitely improved since I saw her in 2009. I wonder what her next tour will bring to the stage (if there will be one at all), but I know this show has definitely set the bar and gone in one of my top 3 concerts ever. Like, ever. J