Recently crowned Artist of the Year at the AMAs, Entertainer of the Year at the CMAs and Billboard's Woman of the Year, Taylor Swift proved just how deserving she is of these accolades last night (Nov. 21). With two sold-out performances at NYC's Madison Square Garden -- the last two dates of her "Speak Now" Tour -- Swift is a fitting example of how dreams come true with a little luck and a lot of hard work.
Swift showcased her catalogue of hits, and even brought out Goo Goo Dolls frontman Johnny Rzeznik for a duet on the band's "Iris," a track Swift explained as "one of the greatest songs ever written." Before she took the stage for "Sparks Fly," complete with fireworks, Adam Brand and NEEDTOBREATHE opened the night.
Video: "Iris," Taylor Swift & Johnny Rzeznik, 11/21/2011, NYC
For more than two hours, Swift took the audience on a journey. Each song performed had an elaborate story acted out by Swift, her band and dancers. Throughout the numerous scenes within her set, it is evident she dreamed up the entire sequence, down to the tiniest details.
"I was hoping it would be cool with you if I stood here and told you a few of my stories," Swift said. The audience screamed in approval.
As she introduced each song, she invited fans into her world, if only for a night. MSG was transformed into her living room as she told tales of her best first date ("Fearless"), a breakup that left her "in a puddle of sadness on the floor drowning in a gallon of cookie dough ice cream" ("Last Kiss"), and realizing she'll never know everything ("Fifteen").
Throughout it all, acrobats swung from the ceiling, ballerinas danced magnificently and beautiful costumes were adorned. Highlights of the night included Swift's walk through the audience, hugging and shaking hands with everyone she passed, before she perched herself in a tree toward the back of the venue for "Fearless" alone on ukulele. Later, the poignant "Enchanted" revealed Swift atop a winding staircase in an evening gown, only to be whisked away by her prince.
Video: Swift's "Speak Now" Wedding Scene, 11/21/2011, NYC
Continuously thanking the audience for their support and voting her Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards, Swift showed her appreciation and explained how it all began.
"I just remember lying in bed at night when I was a little kid dreaming about what it might be like to be a singer and get to do what I loved," she said. "It looked cool, but it didn't look nearly as cool as what I'm looking at right now! I guess what I'm trying to say is that you look better than a daydream."
As she sat on a couch placed mid-stage, she prefaced "Ours" with talks of love and life in the limelight.
"When you fall in love, there is always going to be something that threatens it. Everybody else tells you what they think about it. In my case, writes articles about it, which is weird," she said. "I think the people who really figured it out are the ones who say to themselves, 'This is nobody else's love, it's just ours.'"
A hopeless romantic, Swift asserted music is needed most "when you're falling in love or losing it... you need a song that says how you feel."
As long as Swift keeps writing those songs, her fans will be listening.