“If you can see I'm the one who understands you. Been here all along, so why can't you see you belong with me?” – Taylor Swift
The sea of Swifties was aglow at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, with over 60,000 attendees adorned with pulsating wristbands lit up with vivid colors coordinating with the stage’s on-screen graphics. Welcomed by deafening screams, this was Taylor Swift’s fifteenth performance in Arizona, preceded by earlier career performances held at outdoor bars, malls, clubs, theaters, and opening for other artists. All of which lead up to this, her Reputation Stadium Tour premiere, which broke University of Phoenix Stadium’s concert attendance record, previously held by One Direction. The multi-Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter, invested over fourteen months planning this tour, seeking fan input, and incorporating their ideas to ensure the final experience was a crowd-pleaser.
Known for her attention to detail, Swift’s production was comprised of an amazingly complex main stage structure with collapsing and expanding segments, incorporated pyrotechnics, water features, massive two-story LED screens, crowd-engaging stage to stage transitions taking her from the main stage to both east and west segments of the floor seat back row. Swift, as well as her opening acts of Camilla Cabello and Charli XCX had solid vocals that wowed and wooed the audience again and again. Charli XCX, who sported a vinyl, salmon colored rain suit, was first on stage. Her high-energy and talent belted out song after song of chart topping hits. Camilla Cabello followed with vocals reminiscent of Cyndi Lauper, and the dance moves of Paula Abdul. Each artist earned even greater respect, by acknowledging their backup singers, dancers, and band members individually by name.
Leading into her solo-acoustic set, Swift thanked her fans for supporting her during her “musical changes” despite the overwhelming warning from industry naysayers that a cross-over from country to pop wouldn’t be well-received. True to her commitment to fans-first, her set list included her most recent hits like …Ready for It?, Delicate, and Don’t Blame Me (which had a strong KISS vibe) , while incorporating great favorites like Love Story and Should’ve Said No which was done as a mashup with Bad Blood.
Being a typical girl, while getting ready to attend and write this review, I was debating on what to wear. I thought, I should go with a more conservative makeup, as I am working. I almost immediately dismissed that notion, knowing how Taylor embraces bright red lipstick and uniqueness. On-site, as I observed her fan base, there was massive diversity. Every ethnicity was represented, both male and female, grandmas to grandbabies, conservatives to liberals. Everyone was welcome; free to be themselves.
Have you ever considered what makes a movement? If you take away the marketing and PR, you remove the gimmicks – what truly makes a die-hard, lifelong fan? Swift knows. In her own words, she acknowledged how we’re all “pining for a connection with someone…someone who will walk your steps with you.” Writing lyrics about her heartaches and triumphs, opening up about being bullied on social media, making fun of herself and her mistakes – Swift takes the first step forward in establishing that connection with YOU. She values YOU. Plain old YOU. Boring YOU. Loads of baggage YOU. She writes about YOU, “YOU belong with me!” She shares in the happiness and sadness with YOU. You, you, you………..and YOU. I’ll take that and own it. Will YOU?
If YOU want to connect with the Reputation Stadium tour, check out their upcoming dates at taylorswift.com/events.
Desiree' is the executive event producer for Street Market. Her writing is dedicated to all things related to country living, home décor, travel and events, family, faith, and more. Check out her column in Arizona Real Country Magazine.