HOUSTON — Taylor Swift’s pre-Super Bowl concert broke some news: She announced it may be her only concert of this year; she performed for the smallest number of fans in some time — 9,000 people is intimate for this pop star — and she sang her newest single live for the first time.
She also made some references to football during the 90-minute show, telling the crowd about her early country-turned-pop hit, “You Belong With Me,” with lyrics about high school cheerleaders, bleachers and boys.
“I felt like it might be appropriate,” she said.
Swift rocked the night at Club Nomadic — starting late Saturday and ending early Sunday morning — wearing a sheer, short Versace dress and fresh bangs.
The 27-year-old mostly performed songs from her Grammy-winning 2014 album “1989” and 2012’s “Red,” including pop smashes like “Shake It Off,” ”Blank Space,” ”Bad Blood,” ”Style,” ”We Are Never Getting Back Together,” ”22″ and “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
“It’s good to be in Houston, Texas tonight,” she yelled.
She worked the stage from the left to right, and strutted up the middle platform to sing closely to her feverish fans at the annual DIRECTV NOW Super Saturday Night — where past performers include Justin Timberlake and Rihanna.
“I swear you don’t. You don’t want it,” Swift said after fans begged for the towel she used to wipe the sweat from her forehead.
Swift also debuted the live performance of “I Don’t Want to Live Forever,” her Top 5 duet with former One Direction member Zayn from the “Fifty Shades Darker” soundtrack.
The crowd — full of Swift’s fans 18 and over — roared loudly, in hopes Zayn would appear. “He’s definitely not (here),” she assured them.
But she asked the audience to sing along, as she stripped the song to acoustic form, strumming her guitar.
She also slowed things down when performing songs she wrote for others — saying it was one of her biggest accomplishments of the last year. She sang a soft version “This Is What I Came For,” the EDM hit she wrote with former boyfriend Calvin Harris (Rihanna’s vocals are on the original). Swift also sang “Better Man,” a recent No.1 country hit she wrote for Grammy-winning group Little Big Town.
Swift’s last tour was a stadium trek with 60,000 seats. The singer, who won the album of the year Grammy last year for her first official pop album “1989,” said the pre-Super Bowl show would likely be her only one this year.
“As far as I know I’m only doing one show in 2017, and as far as I know, this is that show,” she said. “You are attending 100 percent of my tour dates.”