The vast majority of Taylor Swift's esteemed onstage guests throughout her 1989 World Tour have been contemporary musical acts with songs that are popular right now (and some that are even up for the Song Of The Summer VMA). It makes sense. Taylor's on a quest to hit every single huge summer song, and we're loving watching it happen.
Her five nights of Staples Centers concerts in Los Angeles have been no exception. On Friday (August 21), when the run began, Tay was honored with a banner at the arena for selling out 16 shows (a record), presented by Kobe Bryant; Saturday (August 22), she duetted with Mary J. Blige and had Matt LeBlanc, Chris Rock and others say hi to her crowd. But last night (August 24), Tay's guests were of a different ilk altogether.
Natalie Maines, who led the Dixie Chicks from country to crossover pop success in the late '90s and early 2000s, was Tay's first surprise. The pair sang "Goodbye Earl" together, and as Billboard reports, Tay took a moment to reflect back on what it meant to her starting out as an artist.
"I can safely and honestly say I would not be a musician if it had not been for this artist. I would not have wanted to be a country artist. I wouldn’t have dreamed the things that I dreamed and I wouldn’t be standing on this stage today," Taylor said. We know that, too, from this 2007 interview she did with CMT, where she singled out the Dixies, Faith Hill and Shania Twain as major influences.
But most fans know Tay's beginnings as a country songwriter. Given how flawlessly she's entered the pop realm with 1989 (and bits of Red and Speak Now) and risen to the top, it's interesting to note another one of her early influences, a performer Tay also welcomed to the stage on Monday night -- Alanis Morissette.
The two paired up for "You Oughta Know," Alanis' 1995 mega-hit breakup song. As Taylor said, Alanis "taught us you could get really, really mad if you wanted to."
Here we have the countrified makings of Tay's earlier career melding with the more bombastic pop aspirations of her current music -- each represented by two very different but equally triumphant feminist anthems. Oh, and we have a guest appearance by Ellen DeGeneres during "Style," too (because, man, the 1989 tour is just like that).
Rock on, Tay (and guests).