If you’ve ever been to a Taylor Swift show, you know she has always been “full value” when she brings her crew to town. As one of the most critically acclaimed and decorated artists of all time, Swift is also the target of intense media attention and public scrutiny. You would think that with all the accolades she has racked up, people could just enjoy her talents and move on. Clearly, based on the subject matter on Swift’s latest release Reputation, the years in the public eye and the bad apples in the biz have had a profound effect on her. Instead of letting them get to her and deep six her career, though, she has quite literally given the middle finger to those who would see her fail. And what better way to show them her “screw you” attitude than by putting together the biggest stadium show production extravaganza on earth? The “Reputation Stadium Tour” is just that, a gargantuan undertaking that could only be run in the world’s biggest stadiums.
Taylor Swift holds her true fans in the highest regard, and when putting together shows, especially on a large scale such as these, giving those fans the best experience possible is paramount. At 110 feet high and nearly as wide as the stadium field, the main stage is a technological marvel. The stage is shaped in a “V” with two giant video screens making up the two front sides. These HD screens extended from the stage floor up to nearly the top of the stage trusses. No one in the building would have any trouble seeing Swift. Each section of the screens could be moved independently of the others, sections could open and close throughout the show revealing different elements and band members.
“...Ready For It?” Here’s another monster hit from Taylor.
As “…Ready For It?” pumped through the PA system, the screens leapt to life and split open at the “V” revealing Swift coming forward on a moving platform. This show is all about Taylor Swift. Sure, it takes hundreds of crewmembers, bandmates, management types, etc., but when the boots hit the stage, it’s all down to one person to bring it all together. And Swift does it like no other. She used every corner of the main stage and the two catwalks out into the crowd, prowling and strutting sometimes solo, sometimes with her dancers, but always in total command of the performance.
The setlist was heavy on the new material which was fine as Reputation is packed solid with hit after hit. Swift entered a large, lighted and bejewelled gondola which would slowly rise above the crowd and fly her to the B stage at the opposite end of the stadium as she sang “Delicate.” All the while, the crowd’s LED bracelets (which were provided as they entered the venue) lit up blue in unison. The bracelets, as Swift told the crowd, were so she could see each and every one of them in the dark. Always using all the angles to add to the show’s pizzazz, the bracelets brought the people seated in the vastness of the stadium a little closer with dancing light instead of the usual darkness.
Check out our full photo gallery from Taylor Swift’s Rogers Centre (Toronto, ON) show on August 3, 2018
On the B stage, Swift was joined by show opening acts Camila Cabello and Charli XCX, and Swift’s dancers for an energetic performance of “Shake It Off” complete with confetti cannons showering the crowd. Next up, Swift donned a glittering sequined Reputation crested jacket and performed acoustic sing-along versions of “Dancing with our Hands Tied” and a tour debut of “Out of the Woods”. The stage featured gigantic inflatable snakes coming out of the stage floor. Snake symbolism was front and centre throughout the show. The “snakes” in her life weren’t going to be allowed to win, according to Swift. It’s too bad she didn’t have Taylor 2.0 installed back years ago when Kanye West stole her spotlight onstage and hijacked her award acceptance speech to spout off the like the petulant snake that he is.
The fans at the back of the stadium were ecstatic when Swift climbed off the stage and ran along the floor area shaking their outstretched hands and hugging a few as she moved to the C stage in the other back corner of the stadium. Swift spent another three songs on that stage before jumping into a skeletal snake gondola and flying back to the main stage. She spent some time talking about bullying and that it’s not okay that it happens to people, all while noodling around solo on the grand piano keyboard before playing “Long Live” and “New Year’s Day”.
The album Reputation was released on November 10th, 2017.
After a short break, the final act began with “Getaway Car,” “Call It What You Want” and ending with a medley of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together/This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.” Taylor Swift is onstage driving this massive machine night after night, giving every ounce of herself to those fans who want it. It’s not lost on us just how much effort this type of undertaking requires, where most bands are just trying to continue making it in the music biz. What it shows is that if you commit and put the fans front and centre in every message you make, they will come out en masse. Taylor Swift fans continue to commit to her in return.
So, why do we think TS is the consummate rockstar?
01. Rockstars get up on stage night after night and put on the biggest shows. 02. Rockstars accept awards, set them aside and get back to work. 03. Rockstars don’t take shit from anyone. 04. Rockstars know their worth and take what’s owed. 05. Rockstars know their fans are what makes them rockstars.
Think Taylor Swift isn’t a ROCKSTAR? Think again!
Check out the video for “Delicate” from Reputation below.
Taylor Swift’s Setlist:
01. Bad Reputation (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts song) Act 1.
reputation (Video Introduction)
02. ...Ready for It?
03. I Did Something Bad
05. Style / Love Story / You Belong With Me Act 2.
06. Look What You Made Me Do (Video Interlude)
07. Look What You Made Me Do
08. End Game
09. King of My Heart Act 3.
11. Shake It Off (with Charli XCX and Camila Cabello)
12. Dancing With Our Hands Tied (Acoustic)
13. Out of the Woods (Acoustic, Tour debut) Act 4.
14. Blank Space
16. Bad Blood / Should've Said No Act 5.
17. Don't Blame Me
18. Long Live / New Year's Day (on piano) Act 6.
19. Why She Disappeared (Video Interlude, sequel to "… more )
20. Getaway Car
21. Call It What You Want
22. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together / This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things