by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
There have been some big shows this summer in Seattle. Next week, it gets bigger. The arrival of global music giant Taylor Swift on August 8 and pop superstar Kelly Clarkson on August 12 proves it. Each will perform in the city's largest venues, Swift at CenturyLink Field and Clarkson at Key Arena, with two supporting acts booked for both concerts.
Barely nine months old, Swift's fifth studio album 1989 has sold a commanding 5 million copies domestically and additionally 8.6 million copies worldwide. That doesn't include individual sales for the record's monstrous singles, 'Shake It Off,' 'Blank Space,' and 'Bad Blood.' All three of these songs are expected to be on the country-gone-pop artist's Seattle performance, which will attract upwards of 60,000 fans in attendance. The '1989 World Tour' began May 5 in Tokyo and has thus far touched down in 22 cities, as of July 24, such as Las Vegas, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Washington DC, Cologne, Amsterdam, and London. Its second leg includes shows in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Indianapolis, Nashville, St. Louis, Omaha, Atlanta, and Tampa; 26 cities total. Then comes a third leg, scheduled for Asia and Australia. The concert will feature a 14-member live band, a mix of acoustic and electric components, and 18 songs spanning her career, though heavily centered on the newest album.
For every Swiftie, as the singer-songwriter's fans are officially called, there's a Taylor Swift hater. It comes with the territory, I suppose, but the 25 year-old is getting it from all sides; social media, fellow musicians, snobby critics, and über hipsters that can't even be bothered to stream any of her material; they already know they don't like her because of her abominable commercial success. But she does have plenty of support out there, too, in the form of marquee names like Madonna, Beyonce, Emma Stone, Selena Gomez, Lena Dunham, and DJ boyfriend Calvin Harris. A high percentage of male Swifties - the majority, perhaps - are Gay; surprise! And although Swift hasn't been a power ally of the LGBT community, a la Lady GaGa or Ariana Grande, she has been supportive of equal rights, even Tweeting a positive message when Gay marriage became legal nationwide in late June.
Clarkson, on the other hand, has outspokenly sided with the LGBT community from the earliest days of her career, back when she was catapulted to fame after winning the inaugural season of 'American Idol.' The native Texan has released a series of hit singles stretching from 2002 to present date, including 'Miss Independent,' 'Breakaway,' 'Since U Been Gone,' 'Because of You,' 'My Life Would Suck Without You,' 'Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You),' and 'Hearbeat Song' off her newest effort, 2015's Piece by Piece. If not all of them, most of them will make it onto Clarkson's set list at Key Arena, the first time she's performing in a Seattle venue; she previously appeared at White River Amphitheater. She canceled a show at the Washington State Fair years ago, and another at the Paramount Theatre in 2007, and then was billed on a concert at The Gorge with Maroon 5 in 2013 that got axed due to stormy weather. Hopefully, the streak ends and she doesn't encounter any issues before her stop in the Emerald City. She doesn't disappoint; having seen her in concert once, this girl knows how to entertain an audience.
Interestingly, Clarkson covered Swift's 'Blank Space' in Toronto recently, so maybe she'll pull it out for the Seattle show. If not, expect to hear between 19 and 20 songs backed by a six-piece band and three backup vocalists, and of course, the presence of around 17,000 loyal fans, simply called Kellebrities.
Vance Joy and Shawn Mendes will separately open for Swift, while singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson, interviewing with Seattle Gay News next Friday, and Grammy-winning a cappella group Pentatonix are supporting Clarkson with short sets each. For tickets to see Taylor Swift, go to axs.com and for Kelly Clarkson, visit livenation.com. I'll be going to both concerts, so look for full reviews of each show in the August 14 issue of Seattle Gay News.
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