Dancing in the rain with Taylor Swift #ReputationStadiumTour
Prebooked parking. Check. Hair curled. Check. Glitter makeup. Check. 30+ degree weather outfit. Check. Sudden downpour of rain ready. Uncheck.
With the sudden shift in weather causing an extra hour’s wait from Taylor’s initial start time the Sydney crowd and I were entertained as bolts of lightning lit up the sky and the rain decided to grace us with its presence. Here, I thought my only worry was from passing out from the 30+ degree heat. (Note to self: always bring a poncho to outdoor concerts). But not having high hopes for this show and not doing much research beforehand, boy was I wrong. I’d like to classify as a pre-reputation fan, but after last night, I think I may just have been converted.
It wasn’t too much longer that the lights went dark as her reputation video intro gave us a taste of the direction of her new sound. A slim silhouetted figure appeared and the crowd was asked the bold question. Are you ready for it? #HELLYES
She follows it up by strutting her stuff to I Did Something Bad and it appears all hints of the cute sparkly dresses are gone as her strong vocals are accompanied with pyro and fireworks, a large group of dancers and backup singers. But fear not, Taylor ends with a medley of Style / Love Story / You Belong With Me which was a huge throwback for me, to her Fearless Tour days. (Fun fact: It was one of the first concerts I every went to and it’s where my love for concerts grew.) This mashup showed while she has massively changed in style Taylor still reflects back on her roots, showcasing the classics that got her to where she is today. (I even remember a few of her bandmates from her ‘fearless tour’ days.)
Taylor reappears confidently on stage with her cute twirls long behind her and some new moves continuing strong as she dances her way into Act 2. It’s here where the iconic snake allegory that began the whole reputation theme appears in the flesh with her song Look What You Made Me Do. I tend not to get distracted to by what’s on the screen but rather like to focus on the performer itself, but I have to mention the snake animation looked incredibly 3D so a shoutout to her stage animation team. (Did I mention her blinged out gold snake microphone - oh yes, there’s that too!) Moving onto a shortened version of End Game (which I wish I we could have jammed out longer to) before moving onto King of My Heart where large drums accompany the hit on stage (…see what I did there.)
Moving onto Act 3, my favourite section from the setlist of the night. Taylor addresses the crowd before performing a live reenactment of the Delicate music video as we danced along with her in the rain as she floated away to the back of the stadium. Here the dance party continues as she invites Broods and Charlie XCX (her opening acts) to join her on stage. As the crowd settles down, we are brought to the interchangeable acoustic song of the night which I went crazy for. In her Sydney show ‘22’ was the lucky song and I couldn’t have been more ecstatic. Reaching the age of 22 and being able to laugh, cry and relate to this song live was such a huge moment for me. (All still in pouring rain might I remind you), this song has gotten me through pretty much the worst year of my life and this became the highlight of my year. As to be expected with acoustic sets, it also means being open to stuff ups and Taylor butchering the words but carrying on regardless made me truly appreciate this moment even more.
As Taylor makes her way across the other side of the stadium she reaches out to fans before bringing the crowd back up to high energy to enjoy Blank Space, followed by the sensually low-key performance of Dress. She is then whisked back to the main stage engulfed by a levitating skeletal snake to a mashup of Bad Blood/ Should’ve Said No. A combo I never thought I would see mashed up together but with the emotional aggression of both songs and her well-known hair whips the mashup makes an incredible pairing. It’s filled with instrumental battles and showcases the complexity of the stage set up as screens are broken in half to reveal spinning aerialists.
We are brought back to the intensity of the stadium tour on the main stage as Taylor performs Don’t Blame Me showcasing her high note ballad chops after her long warm up from the first 4 acts. She then brings things back down with a piano mashup of Long Live / New Year's Day (something I thought she would actually avoid on this tour.) So it was quite refreshing to hear a piano stripped back song.
For an all-encompassing powerful show to me this is definitely the act that lacks the most in terms of a powerful close. I think it is however redeemed by the emotional intensity and sole simplistic of the vocals and background video production of Getaway Car. But if you think about it, the fact that Taylor looks back at all the backlash she’s received and managed to create a phenomenal reputation stadium tour is a feat in itself. Ending with her last 2 songs Call It What You Want and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together / This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things is pretty much a subtle middle finger to everyone who has jumped on board the hate train. I think it’s a representation of how this is where she is supposed to be and what she’s supposed to do and we see her back in a sparkly dress that signifies how despite what anyone says, this is truly and authentically her.
The final verdict
I honestly had no idea what to expect, being a much bigger fan of her previous music and seeing her live before, I was undecided in what this new version would be. But I was really impressed, Taylor manages to evenly balance her most recent electro pop hits, but at the same time knows exactly when to bring the crowd back down to her acoustic roots and have them singing along with her. She knows how to connect well with a crowd giving them both a a spectacle of a show but can equally balance it with intimate moments. Taylor also did such an incredible showcasing a large number of medley’s that my friend and I now refer to her as the #QueenofMedleys.
Have you or are you going to see the Reputation Stadium Tour? What’s your fave Taylor Swift song? What are you looking forward to seeing live?
Disclaimer: Huge thanks to Live Nation for inviting me to review the show. All thoughts are 100% my own for more info check out my disclaimer.