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In light of Taylor Swift winning three awards at the American Music Awards last week, I thought it was a perfect time to revisit the time I *finally* saw her perform live. This night ended up being one of many nights on a sold-out tour that crushed all previous stadium tour records by a female solo artist in history.
I remember the first time I ever listened to Taylor Swift. I was 12 and watching the "Our Song" music video. I was instantly hooked. I envied her glittery guitar and cowgirl boots. Once I heard "Teardrops on my Guitar," I was convinced it was written specifically for me. I had the biggest crush on a boy named Drew at the time—the same name of her object of affection in the single. Not long after, I owned all her records and memorized every lyric.
On May 18th, I had the privilege of attending the Reputation Stadium Tour on the first of two nights she performed the Rose Bowl Stadium. It was 8:50pm when the lights went off. The giant screen above the stages revealed a video of Taylor over the years, narrated by reporters and paparazzi talking about prior “scandals.” There were giant clouds of smoke, flashing lights, and the word “rep” covered the screen. Taylor suddenly appeared in a slick, shimmery hoodie, kicking off the show with an intense performance of “…Ready for It?” My heart was about to beat out of my chest.
"I Did Something Bad" and "Don’t Blame Me" were performances that truly showcased her talent and maturity. Both songs are sexy, powerful ballads that managed to sound even better live. "I Did Something Bad" was incredibly done with amazing dancers and pyrotechnics. "Don’t Blame Me" is slow, yet powerful, with an extensive amount of impressive notes that she nailed with her amazing vocal range.
"Delicate," the album's third single, was performed while riding in a carriage-like mobile, encased in sparkling gold lights. She soared over her three stages and touched down at the end. She brought out opening acts Camila Cabello and Charli XCX to perform a fun version of "Shake It Off." It was also on this stage where she performed some acoustic songs. She transformed the fast-paced "Dancing With Our Hands Tied" into a beautiful toned-down rendition. Her surprise acoustic song of the night came right after this. She sang "Red," the title track of her fourth album. I love how she was performing older songs at random throughout her tour, recovering tracks that some people may have forgotten about in the past twelve years of her career. She then returned to the main stage to play an emotional mash-up of "Long Live" and "New Year’s Day," which was truly enchanting.
Despite playing to a packed 60K stadium, she was able to create an environment in which fans felt connected to her. We danced along with her the entire time she was on stage. She played for two hours straight, not taking any breaks, then went on to do it again the next night. Taylor is a female solo artist under thirty years old and at her peak, taking advantage of it in the best way. She genuinely cares about her craft as much as she does her fans, and that was prominent throughout this concert. This night and the entire tour really brought reputation. to life.