This last weekend I went to my first concert of 2018—the Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour. Unsure of what to expect crowd and music-wise, I went in blind with one of my roommates, a die-hard Taylor Swift fan.
What I got? Three hours of some of the best performances, theatrics, and visual displays I have ever experienced while watching a concert. One after another, Charli XCX, Camilla Cabello, and the star of the show, herself, Taylor Swift, dropped epic musical performance after performance. The three women, and the one-song-guest-star Shawn Mendes, breathed life into the Rose Bowl and their audience for every second that they took up stage space.
I had initial apprehension about going to watch Taylor, specifically. I had grown to love and *slightly* obsess over the Reputation album after being subjected to repeated listens from my roommate’s side of the bedroom or while in her car. But, I also somewhat followed the news clippings and audio samples processed and played by TMZ and edited into Buzzfeed articles about “The Feud.”
This is, of course, the “Feud” between Taylor and Kanye that sparked from the 2009 VMAs during which Kanye stole the mic and the spotlight from a young Taylor. This escalated in the last couple of years after the Kardashians, Kanye, and Taylor had a falling out over a recorded phone conversation. From there, not only did both artists gain fame, but a twisted notoriety that darkened their reputations from both sides of the aisle.
Because of this, Taylor had gained a—surprise, surprise—reputation of “being involved/not involved in a narrative,” “being a snake,” and a questionable brand of feminism.
What I never expected, and honestly lived for throughout the span of the concert, was Taylor’s repurposing of this same reputation and “narrative” that she had evaded for years since 2009. Regardless of what happened throughout the last few years—boys, brands and bad press—Taylor did what she has always done best: wrote a story about everything.
And I mean EVERYTHING.
The themes of female power and control, reclaiming one's image, and being the only one to define yourself were not only highlighted but celebrated by all artists on the stage. The stage decoration and pyrotechnics were colorful and expressive. Honestly, this might have been one of the best performances by an artist that I’ve seen in a while.
One thing’s for sure. Taylor Swift was not sleeping on her mini-hiatus without a thought of production. She orchestrated one of the most elaborate, fan-centric tours that music has seen in a while, and should frankly be commended. If you haven’t seen this concert tour, be wary of ever claiming that Taylor can’t perform.
Now, I’m not an official "Swifty." Frankly, that’s not my thing to stick to only one musical artist through and through, and it would be reductive to her amazing fanbase that has existed for 10 years. However, I will definitely not doubt music or an artist until I’ve given them a fair chance.