By John Schulze Special to Published Jun 09, 2011 at 2:27 PM Photography: John Schulze

When Taylor Swift burst onto the scene just a few short years ago and appeared to take over the top ranks of the music industry there was a lot of skepticism, but also a fair amount of open arms willing to embrace her country-pop style. Her legion of fans has since grown into one of the biggest and most devoted fanbases of any musician I've ever seen. It's akin to Beatlemania.

Her sold-out concert last night in Milwaukee was a perfect blend of music, theater and cinema. It was also one of the most elaborate and entertaining stage shows I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The stage extended into the audience and provided those in the front with an up-close and intimate view of the 2011 ACM Entertainer of the Year. The ever-changing set featured a huge staircase that Taylor could run up and down, and at times, a bridge she could walk across. For her two banjo tunes, "Our Song" and "Mean," the stage turned into a back porch scene straight out of the Old South, and Taylor's band gathered around her while while they performed two of her most country-flavored tunes.

Shortly into the concert Taylor announced that the CMT Awards were going on live and that she was up for Video of the Year. It was a touch surreal and the gigantic smile on Taylor added the perfect amount of drama to what was already a highly electric evening. Sure enough, live on TV broadcast from the stage, she won the award for her "Mine" video and burst into a fit of joy that was as genuine and as honest as it gets. It was a truly remarkable and memorable experience for everyone involved.

The family-friendly event was over the top in many ways, all of them good. Taylor switched guitars and outfits in dizzying fashion. She even took a couple of minutes to walk the sides of the arena and shake hands, give high fives and hugs to little girls who shed tears of joy over their moment with Taylor. After making her way to the back of the Bradley Center, Swift sat down under a rather psychedelic looking tree and, with the ukulele she bought in Hawaii, performed the happiest song in her repertoire, "Fearless." For a little while she made everyone in the back feel just as important as those in the front. It was a classy move that shows you just how devoted Taylor is to her fans.

The final stunt of the evening had Taylor floating above the audience in her enclosed balcony during "Love Story" while she waved, smiled and sang to the crowd. It was a near-perfect ending to a near-perfect concert. Gold and silver confetti showered the audience and as Taylor arrived back onto the stage she ran up the staircase and looked out to crowd with a huge smile. She's got every reason to smile - right now she's on top of the world.