May 8, 2018 – Taylor Swift kicked off her Reputation Stadium Tour in Glendale, AZ. It was 105 degrees outside, but thankfully it was much cooler inside, with the stadium being closed. The atmosphere was electric as Swifties have been waiting over two years since the end of her last tour… 879 days but honestly baby who’s counting? It being opening night, the crowd was a lot more diverse than her typical city to city shows. Fans flew from all around the country and even internationally to be the first to experience opening night of the Reputation Stadium Tour.
In case you’re keeping track, the song that plays to the crowd before the lights dim and Swift takes the stage is “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jet & The Blackhearts. There is a very intense intro, that is a montage of negative Media headlines and news reportings.
“This is the first time photographers have caught T Swift on film in six weeks…” “Taylor Swift is on top of the world, but has she done some sketchy things to get there?” “She holds too many grudges.”
Watch the intro below:
The show then begins with “…Ready For It?” which was definitely thought to be the opening number since she opened all of her Jingle Ball shows with it. Everything is a big production and the stage is amazing. The dancers costumes and the back up singers (known by the fandom as The Starlights) are much more involved in the dancing and singing on stage this tour!
She continues with “I Did Something Bad” and there are some fireworks that go off during the number, then all of the dancers and Starlights are laying on the ground as she sings “They’re burning all the witches even if you aren’t one.” They slowly rise and lift Taylor up in the air as she sings “So light me up (light me up).”
“Gorgeous” is next and Swift shares the stage with her female singers and dancers and takes the time to introduce them all by name before introducing herself, (as she does every tour after the third song) “And I’m Taylor, thanks for coming.”
Mashups were a big thing this tour, which allowed Swift to mix her older catalog with the new, which shows similarities in emotions. It’s something Swift later explained she did because of seeing how fans wanted the tour and getting ideas from her fans that made it into the show.
“You know, one of the things that I love about being able to keep track of you guys online is that…well, first of all, I had a lot of time to plan this tour. We’ve been planning this tour, including the stage design and everything, for about 14 months. And in that time, I was able to see what you guys were posting online, see what you guys were hoping would happen on the tour, and a lot of those things ended up being ideas on the drawing board when making the actual tour. So I tried to put together a tour that seemed to be a combination of all the things you were saying you wanted on the tour. So if you’re liking something, it’s pretty easy to let us know if we’re on the right track. You just scream.”
Of course, the crowd erupted into massive screams at that point. So the next medley was “Style” “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me.” Swift has played “Love Story” for every headlining tour she has performed. She said a long time ago it’s the one song she will always plays. It was definitely interesting, before going into this show to see if she still would. It’s nice to know some things never change.
It was time to really break out the snakes! The next part of the tour was really heavy on the snake thing and it came full force with “Look What You Made Me Do” (tilted stage and giant snakes included).
Comedian, Tiffany Haddish whom Swift did Saturday Night Live with, appeared on-screen to let the crowd know the old Taylor couldn’t come to the phone right now… why? Because she’s dead! (See video below).
Sadly, Ed Sheeran and Future were not special guests so Swift has revamped the song so she can sing it solo. Hopefully the trio can do it all together for a future show!
“King Of My Heart” was next and six huge drums filled the stage and so many snakes! Her dancers really had to prove she is their American SNAKE Queen! The production on this tour is truly amazing! The panels that make up the screens come and go, making way for a two-story stage where her band (known as The Agency) can be seen. It’s truly a treat to see them as a lot of songs they aren’t visible and they are after all, fan favorites.
There aren’t quite as many speeches this tour, but the ones she has are long and very heartfelt. She tells her fans how much she misses them, and how she used to have this cycle of putting out an album and going on tour every two years, but that she needed to see what it was like to not have a spotlight on her all the time, and how important that was to her. See the full quote below.
“So, ever since I was about 16 years old I’ve been living my life and my career on a pretty predictable schedule. I would put out an album, go on tour, put out an album, go on tour, put out an album, go on tour. This happened 5 times in a row exactly like that. So, the first time that I ever broke that pattern was with this last album and this last tour, I decided that it was really important to me to figure out who I would be and what my life would be like if I didn’t have a spotlight on me all the time. And it turned out it was really important for me. But I really did miss you guys. Because you know, I think one thing that every single person in this stadium has in common is that every single one of us is pining away for a sense of connection from someone else. Whether it’s a friendship or you want to fall in love or you just want someone to say to you ‘you feel that way? Oh, I feel that way too, I feel that way all the time.’ There’s something that happens with your brain and your heart when someone just says ‘yes, I understand how you feel, I felt that way too.’ And so, standing here on this stage, when I look out into a crowd and I see that you’re singing along to the words of a song that I wrote when I was in a really low place or a lonely place, that’s that sense of connection its like ‘oh, you felt that way too, okay, that makes me feel a little better about having felt that way.’ And when it comes to connection, I think that reaching out and saying ‘here’s how I feel, how do you feel about that?’ is a really brave thing to do. Because, whether its a friendship or its someone you really, really have a crush on, or someone you want to be with, someone you wish would want to see all your sights with you and walk all of your steps with you. First of all, its brave to want that, and its brave to vocalise that you want that and verbalize it. Because, on one hand, on one hand you have this miraculous, incredible chance that person will look at you and go ‘yes, I want that too.’ Either, ‘I want to be your friend’, or ‘yes, I want to be with you, I want to get to know you better, I want all that with you.’ But there’s also this devastating, heartbreaking possibility that this person will look at you and say ‘I’m sorry, I don’t want that, I don’t want to get to know you better, I don’t want those things with you.’ And that’s why I think it’s really brave to put yourself out there and go searching for someone who feels the way you feel because it’s all really, relationships, it’s just delicate, you know.”
Naturally, this lead her to sing “Delicate” as she got into a lit up bubble that carried her from the main stage to a smaller, heart-shaped stage towards the middle stage right side of the stadium.
When she gets to the B stage, she is joined by her dancers and giant snakes as she sings “Shake It Off.” Half of her dancers are on the B stage with her and the other half are on the other B stage, that is on the stage left side of the stadium. SURPRISE! Charlie XCX and Camila Cabello (the two opening acts) join her to shake shake shake.
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what was going through my mind at this moment : I remembered when i came to school one day (I think I was in 9th grade but could be wrong) and my friend Mariana had just seen Taylor on the speak now tour and told me she touched her hand and i was like when am I ever gonna be able to afford to go to a Taylor swift concert and touch her hand during speak now, and I just had a moment of "if you would've told me then what was gonna happen I wouldn't have believed it" and I had such an intense gratitude for everything I'm experiencing right now. I love you @taylorswift and @charli_xcx
“One of my favorite things about you guys over the last 15 years is that a lot of times, people in the music industry would tell me what you wanted, and a few times it would be things like “Oh, you can’t work with that person”, or “You can’t make a pop album because your fans are country fans. They would never understand that; they’d be really confused, and they wouldn’t stick around.” And I said to them: “No, I’m pretty sure that I know them better than you do. I’m pretty sure that they want to be able to connect with a feeling in a song. They wanna be able to relate to lyrics in a song. You guys have stuck around for a lot of musical changes, and you’ve let me play; you’ve let me evolve, and that’s something I’m so grateful for. Thank you for letting me do that. And I still write songs the exact same way. I pick up an instrument, get an idea, and so each song can kind of be broken down into acoustic even if it wasn’t like that on the album.”
Swift then walks through the barricades in the crowd to get to the other B stage on the opposite side of the stadium. She slips on a cover up and asks the crowd “Do you like my dress?” before singing the song by the same name (“Dress”). When she sang the lines “Say my name and everything just stops” the entire stadium went dark (which is likely why Swift is not allowing lights with signs or other lights into the shows this tour). It was an amazing thrill when that happened! She also put up a special dedication to Loie Fuller during the song.
— edith misses taylor (@feelubreathe) May 9, 2018
At the end of “Dress” when she sings “Only bought this dress so you could take it off” she slips it off!!!
— mona🇵🇸 (@almightyzustin) May 9, 2018
It wouldn’t be a Taylor Swift concert without her showing the crowd her many musical skills, which definitely includes the piano. What the crowd wasn’t prepared for, was the speech she gave before playing her next mashup which included a song that has a special meaning to both her band and the fans, “Long Live.” She told the crowd how several years ago someone called her a snake on social media and it caught on. Then more people started calling her a snake along with other things and she went through a time where she didn’t know if she would get to do this (touring/music) anymore.
“I guess with the snakes, I wanted to send a message to you guys that if someone uses name calling to bully you on social media, or even if a lot of people jump on board with it, it doesn’t have to defeat you. It can strengthen you instead. And I think something that came out of it that was good is that I learned a really important lesson that I’ve been telling you from the stage for ten years but I haven’t been able to learn myself, which has to do with how much you value your reputation. And I think that the lesson is that you shouldn’t care so much if you feel misunderstood by a lot of people who don’t know you as long as you feel understood by the people who do know you, the people who do show up for you, and the people who see you as a human being. So thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to get to know me, for sticking up for me, for seeing me as a human being.”
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When she fell, she fell apart.
Cracked her bones on the pavement she once decorated
as a child with sidewalk chalk
When she crashed, her clothes disintegrated and blew away
with the winds that took all of her fair-weather friends
When she looked around, her skin was spattered with ink
forming the words of a thousand voices
Echoes she heard even in her sleep:
“Whatever you say, it is not right.”
“Whatever you do, it is not enough.”
“Your kindness is fake.”
“Your pain is manipulative.”
When she lay there on the ground,
She dreamed of time machines and revenge
and a love that was really something,
Not just the idea of something.
When she finally rose, she rose slowly
Avoiding old haunts and sidestepping shiny pennies
Wary of phone calls and promises,
Charmers, dandies and get-love-quick-schemes
When she stood, she stood with a desolate knowingness
Waded out into the dark, wild ocean up to her neck
Bathed in her brokenness
Said a prayer of gratitude for each chink in the armor
she never knew she needed
Standing broad-shouldered next to her
was a love that was really something,
not just the idea of something.
When she turned to go home,
She heard the echoes of new words
“May your heart remain breakable
But never by the same hand twice”
And even louder:
“without your past,
you could never have arrived-
so wondrously and brutally,
By design or some violent, exquisite happenstance
And in the death of her reputation,
She felt truly alive.
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- Ready for It?
- I Did Something Bad
- Style/Love Story/You Belong With Me Medley
- Look What You Made Me Do ft. Tiffany Haddish
- End Game (only Taylor’s part)
- King of My Heart
- Delicate (flies over the crowd)
- Shake It Off with Camila Cabello and Charli XCX (B-Stage 1)
- Dancing with Our Hands Tied (acoustic) (B-Stage 1)
- All Too Well (acoustic) (B-Stage 1)
- Blank Space (walks into crowd to B-Stage 2)
- Dress (B-Stage 2)
- Bad Blood/Should’ve Said No mashup (flies on snake to Main Stage)
- Don’t Blame Me
- Long Live/New Year’s Day mashup (piano)
- Getaway Car
- Call It What You Want
- We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together/This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things mashup