Taylor Swift may have been America’s country sweetheart back in the day, but times have changed, and according to her, “She’s dead!”
New Taylor is now edgy, opulent and given the reptilian imagery, the new queen of Slytherin. Swift kicked off her highly anticipated Reputation Tour earlier this week with the first show in Glendale, Arizona and made her way to the San Francisco Bay Area on Friday. Known for personally designing and creating every aspect of every show, expectations ran high as excited fans flooded the sold out show.
The stage and even the jumbotrons were so intricately designed and thought out, every piece moved seamlessly for a truly breathtaking show. Swift entered her first set with a gorgeous black sequined asymmetrical jumpsuit with a dramatic smoke screen as well as a variety of female dancers of all shapes and ethnicities. She opened the concert with “Are You Ready for It?” but no, we weren’t ready for the show. The performance was next level to say the least, and the singer sang a few tunes from her newest album. It was clear that she loves performing for her audience from the smile she couldn’t conceal, not even for her most dramatic of songs.
With so many young girls in the audience, Swift leads by example and empowers her dancers by introducing them one by one on stage and thanking them publicly. A self proclaimed feminist, she has long been criticized of her lack of action on social media, however, her actions are louder than those negative tweets. Not only does she employ many female dancers and performers for her shows, she specifically dedicated a section of a set to give them a piece of her spotlight and let her fans cheer for them as well. Many of her dancers she said, have never been on a world tour before, much less something so anticipated globally. She wanted to let her girl squad feel comfortable and confident performing at such a large scale.
Swift also strongly encouraged her audience to be confident in themselves and validated their feelings. She had an intimate conversation about her feelings and her time away with the 55,000 fans that packed the stadium. The raw vulnerability of the monologue made Swift that much more relatable and allowed her fans to understand her recent time off. The singer punctuated her thoughts with songs to show her emotional journey while producing her latest Reputation album so her fans could get a glimpse into why and when she wrote each song.
Swift’s stage sets are the most elaborate and unprecedented visuals fans have ever seen. Not only is there a dominant theme of snakes and reptilian imagery, everything was so well finished and opulent. Every graphic, effect, prop, and costume, evoked a Versace meets Slytherin vibe with gold details and glimmer. Everything about the show says “Taylor Swift is back, and with a vengeance.” The graphics on the jumbotron made the show look like an intense music video while at the same time made the audience unsure if it was a physical prop or a digital effect they were seeing. The jumbotrons were props of their own, moving and providing backgrounds for the dancers while also shifting and sliding for various Mission Impossible style harnessed dance moves for the show. The screens parted and one point of the show to allow five 20 foot viper props to adorn the stage. The frenzy of dancers, props, and the effects on the jumbotron was a sight to be seen as the audience had never seen something so elaborate from Swift in her past tours.
Something new that the singer did was to set up three stages to perform on. One main stage front and center with two smaller stages in the back of the stadium, set up in a triangular formation. Fans loved that even though they could not necessarily afford front row tickets, this still gave them a chance to see the singer up close. Swift indicated that she wanted to be closer to her fans so this set up is great so she can see and interact with everyone. She took a lit up fairy gondola to a smaller stage towards the back of the venue while singing “Delicate”, giving everyone in the crowd a chance to see her up close in a rainbow sequin striped dress. She then took her second stage and sang “Shake it Off” with a matching rainbow lit 20 foot snake adorning the stage. The pyrotechnics and confetti canons really topped off the pop vibe of the song and allowed everyone to have fun.
She also provided everyone in the audience with light up bracelets for the show so she can see everyone while she performs her different sets. She covers a lot of ground and every fan had a chance to see her up close, whether it was on the main stage, or on her stand up gondolas going to and from the stage. She also ran through the crowd to get to her third stage which was also situated in the back, which drove the crowd insane. She did a quick costume change into another black bodysuit ensemble and performed “Love Story”. To make her way back to the main stage, she took a stand up gondola in the shape of a snake skeleton while singing “Bad Blood” cruising above the crowd. She then took the main stage to close the show. Seated at an impressive wrapped piano with the tour name stamped on the side, she sang “Long Live”, “Getaway Car” and “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” to slow it down and close the night.
The amount of creativity and dedication that goes into her show shows that she truly cares about her fans and giving everyone an amazing performance.
Swift brought some great openers for her world tour, Charli XCX and Camila Cabello, who both gave great performances to hype up the fans and get them primed for a night of fun. Charli XCX sang her hits, “Boom Clap”, “Break the Rules”, and “I Love It” while wearing a trendy pale blue latex top and matching sweats and a cool girl iridescent jacket. Camila Cabello continued to prime the audience for a great night with some of her most recent radio hits, ” Havana” and “Never Be the Same” in a Coachella inspired outfit which included a lacy bustier top and edgy slitted pants. Swift also brought the two singers out during the show on one of the smaller stages in the back to party with her for a few tunes.
The show is a major success and the tour is going to be epic. For those who haven’t seen it, snag tickets now as many venues have sold out. This is the best world tour by far and so much detailed planning goes into making sure every audience member feels included.