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  • Molly McCaig

Review of Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift

Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift adapts Taylor Swift’s music into a set of instrumental string quartet covers. This evening is perfect for any fan of Taylor’s and there is something for everyone: both newer and older fans alike.

Illustration by Lydia Kempton (IG: @lydiak_arts)

Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift is a magical evening, perfect for any fan of Taylor Swift. Described as a “multisensory musical experience”, this hour-long concert provides a calming evening that allows fans to discover Taylor’s music in a new light. The setlist consists of 13 songs (any Swiftie will appreciate this), including hits from across her entire discography; with newer songs such as “Anti-Hero” from Midnights and old favourites such as “Love Story” from Fearless.

Walking into the room, I was met with candles illuminating from every corner. The soft, warm light provided a tranquil atmosphere, which allowed for all worries from the outside world to melt away. Everyone spoke in hushed whispers, but the quiet anticipation was felt throughout the room. While the musicians were not yet on stage, the speakers around me were playing instrumental renditions from Swift’s third album, Speak Now, which set the mood perfectly.

After much anticipation, the string quartet came onstage and began their set with “Lavender Haze”; from Swift’s most recent album, Midnights. Their arrangement was beautiful and provided a fresh take on her music. It was very akin to the soundtrack of Netflix’s Bridgerton which adapts modern pop songs into instrumental pieces. The juxtaposition of modern music adapted into a classical style allows the listener to feel present and timeless at the same time. With the combination of the music and the glowing atmospheric space, this concert was a lovely break that left me with a sense of peacefulness similar to finishing a yoga class.

Candlelight’s set included many highlights from Swift’s discography. My personal favourites included: “cardigan” from folklore, “Snow on the Beach” (feat. Lana Del Rey) from Midnights, and “Wildest Dreams” from 1989 (Taylor’s Version, of course). I also really enjoyed their renditions of Swift’s upbeat songs, such as “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble”, both from Red. Both songs would not have been my first thought for adapting into an instrumental string quartet cover, however their interpretation was brilliant. It allowed for appreciation of these songs in a new format.

As the concert came to a close, I was taken by surprise because of how quickly it had gone by. The musicians announced the final songs they would play and I attempted to savour the last few moments of this beautiful evening. As I walked out the doors, the lingering instrumental melodies replayed in my mind.

Overall, this was an amazing experience, and certainly is a concert I would attend again. My only complaint I have is that it could have gone on for longer! As a long-time Swiftie, I have so many favourites that I would love to hear adapted in this style. However, I’m sure as Swift releases more albums, Candlelight will adapt more songs to include her newer work. This will allow for returning audience members to have a slightly different experience every time, which is incredible.

I attended Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift on January the 11th at Ghillie Dhu, and there are upcoming performances on February 17th and March 23rd. I highly recommend attending whether you’re a seasoned Swiftie or newer fan alike.

Candlelight events are produced by the company Fever and take place in over 100 cities worldwide. They offer candlelight concerts in tribute to a variety of artists, such as ABBA, Hans Zimmer, and Queen. I recommend that everyone takes a look to see if their favourite artist is included on the list. It is truly an amazing experience to hear your songs you love interpreted in this way.


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