Taylor Swift is a chart-topper in every sense. She’s currently got the No. 1 hit on the Top 40 radio chart with “Delicate”. Her 2017 album Reputation sold over 1.2 million copies in its first week (and has now reached triple-platinum) while her second record, Fearless, recently scored diamond status. She is also the first woman to headline three consecutive sold-out shows at the MetLife stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Her Reputation Tour came through July 20th to 22nd and I managed to catch the first night (perhaps luckily, as it rained during both subsequent shows).
I will not claim to be a die-hard Swiftie. But I am a fan of her pop music, having jumped on board with the release of 1989 and the respective tour. Reputation saw Swift change the game again (furthering her distance from her Nashville roots) as she jumped into a new sound, the darker, electronic pop scene (“the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now”, right?) and I stuck along for the ride. So it was pretty cool to be at the sold-out show, and to hear Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” blast through the stadium before Swift took the stage.
Reputation is, of course, what Swift is promoting. So the show kicked off with the throbbing “… Ready for It?” (the first track of the album) before going into the booming, “I Did Something Bad”, where the chorus was punctuated with fireworks. For the brash “Look What You Made Me Do”, Swift sat upon a lush golden throne that featured snake imagery. But sometimes things were a little more simple — Swift’s highlighted her natural talent with the piano during a performance of “New Year’s Day” that was mashed with her older tune “Long Live”.
Her 1989 hits are still my favorites — though I could never decide which song in particular was my favorite. Fortunately, many of them make it into the show, including “Blank Space” and “Bad Blood”. “Shake it Off” featured Camila Cabello and Charli XCX (who had opened the show) joining Swift for a really fun take. And, in the shadow of New York, Swift of course had to perform “Welcome to New York”.
The production for the tour is incredible. Massive screens are constructed out of different, movable segments that parted at the beginning to allow Swift in silhouette to glide to the center. LED bracelets are given to attendees as they arrive and are color synced to the music via RF lights. And throughout the night, Swift traversed the stadium via themed cable carriages, over the heads of fans, when performing at two smaller stages set at the rear end of the floor. Backup dancers (and the openers) joined her on the smaller stages, that had giant inflatable snakes at their center, so she could connect with more of her fans.
Swift has reappropriated the snake image for her own use — Kim Kardashian West had called her a snake once on social media for reasons I won’t go into here. Ages ago, in this social media age, Swift claimed “There is nothing I do better than revenge.” It would be fair to say Swift’s ability to create blockbusters is on par if not better than that (or you could say success is the best revenge). With her reputation (including her female empowerment messages), her music (critically acclaimed albums) and her massive tour, Swift is a pop juggernaut. Catch the live show while you can.
Photos: Sachyn Mital
Photos: Sachyn Mital
…Ready for It?
I Did Something Bad
Style / Love Story / You Belong With Me
Look What You Made Me Do
King of My Heart
Shake It Off
Dancing With Our Hands Tied
Welcome to New York
Bad Blood / Should’ve Said No
Don’t Blame Me
Long Live / New Year’s Day
Call It What You Want
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together / This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things