I recently attended Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour in Chicago at Soldier Field. This was the 6th time I have seen Taylor live in concert. Yes, she’s been an investment of sorts over the years; not only financially, but emotionally as well (this is key).
There are multiple things that are true about Taylor: she is an amazingly talented song-writer, she plays multiple instruments and constructs her own melodies, she is thoughtful and adores her fans, she puts thought into every aspect of her career. She is the whole package, no detail spared; which is one of the reasons I’ve been such a fan (I mean, the days of secret messages within lyrics… will the old Taylor come to the phone?)
Reputation has been quite the personal journey for me. As a long-time fan, I have always known and loved Taylor for being confessional, vulnerable and soft. Reputation, however, shows a harder-edged, tougher, more sinister and impervious Taylor. It’s a different Taylor. But we made her do this, right?
Simply put, the concert was a massive production. Taylor is a popstar in every sense of the word. She is a colossal force. The event was momentous. I can’t imagine it being outdone. Gone are the days of the bright-eyed emotions that 1989’s tour delivered. It wasn’t the blissful affair that the Speak Now tour was. It wasn’t the hopeful and innocent Fearless tour. It was the scorned, serious and dark reputation tour.
She covered the majority of the reputation track list; but the most exciting moments were those which reveled in the past. She did a Style, Love Story, You Belong With Me medley, and sang 22, which she had not sung since the 1989 tour. The crowd ate it up, and frankly, the memories woven into those songs brought out emotions of pure joy in me… perhaps why I left feeling underwhelmed, but completely awed.
Flames and fireworks elevated I Did Something Bad. Huge snakes decorated the LWYMMD and Shake It Off performances. A fountain adorned the TISWCHNT performance. She floated across the stadium during the performance of Delicate.
The production was grandiose, just like the production of the album. Do I miss the innocent and hopeful, bright-eyed Taylor? Yes, but I love pop-star Taylor as well. Reality is, she has grown up over the course of her 10-year spanning career. She has experienced personal trials, and life hardens you. Perhaps what was missing for me was the emotional connection to the songs, which I don’t have with the songs that fill reputation’s track list. That being said, I truly enjoy reputation as a whole. End Game has got to be one of my favorite pop tracks of recent memory.
I do have to say that what really made the evening for me was Taylor’s touching message of acceptance, especially during Pride Month. She spoke about strength in adversity, and also encouraged those who had not come out to come out when they were ready, and to remain brave. I wasn’t ready for it…
Until next time, Taylor.