How Taylor Swift has taken back her Reputation
If you’ve seen a Taylor Swift concert, you’ll know she doesn’t do half measures
- Published 18.10.18, 6:14 PM
- Updated 18.10.18, 6:14 PM
- 3 mins read
After two years away from the public eye, snaky superstar, Taylor Swift is Shaking It Off in Style. The country-pop singer has kept a noticeably low profile since the scrutiny of her feud with Kanye West in 2016. Her silence was broken in August 2017 as she announced her latest album, Reputation, with a video of a hissing snake. Soon the Look What You Made Me Do video was released, Swift-ly causing a stir. The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now? Why? Oh, because she’s touring Reputation in stadiums all over the world.
It turns out she’s not dead — she’s doing better than she ever was and Swifties everywhere are loosing their cool. What seemed like another sensational pop album is proving also to be Taylor’s most Gorgeously raw and real era, like ever.
If you’ve seen a Taylor Swift concert, you’ll know she doesn’t do half measures. Well, the Rep’ Tour is everything we’ve seen her do before, on steroids. With snakes. And sparkles. The production is insane: The gigantic X-shaped stage and flashing screens only provide a backdrop for the larger-than-life snakes and disco balls, a working fountain, flying cages, a seesaw, fireworks and flames.
Don’t get me started on the costume changes, dancers, backing singers and newspaper confetti. Tay Tay herself is a force to be reckoned with from the word go. Or rather, the words “Are You Ready For It?”, as her silhouette is revealed onstage, a tower of strength in a hooded, sequined black unitard, fishnets and knee-high black boots. We’re as ready as we’ll ever be, Taylor.
The next two hours pass in a second, a Swift one. We are treated to an explosive set list of Rep’ bangers, 1989 hits and old faves from albums passed. Love Story is followed by You Belong With Me, a double whammy of nostalgia for long-time fans. Throughout her performance, everything about the singer screams confident and happy, giving her all to the sassy choreography and giggling and chatting between songs. Despite the spectacle happening around her, she single-handedly keeps the audience captivated from start to finish. Even when everything doesn’t go as planned, she rises to the occasion. When it poured throughout the New Jersey concert, she not only made sure the show went on, but made it even more memorable by incorporating Clean and Fearless, two songs about rain. We all know Taylor loves to dance in a storm.
Although this is her biggest show to date, it is the most intimate she has ever been with us, and we are living for it. Half way through, Taylor flies to a second stage in a glowing cage, reminiscent of the Love Story balcony days, giving the fans in the stalls a chance to see her up close. She walks to the next stage, hugging fans who got floor seats at the back. Every night she performs an acoustic version of a song that didn’t make the set list, it’s the moment we wait for, just her and a guitar, just how we like it. A fresh wave of excitement fills the room as we wonder what it is tonight. Even fans at home check Twitter avidly.
Recently Taylor has been digging up older and more obscure numbers like Breathe and Tim McGraw. These are the songs us original Swifties used to listen to on the bus or sing in front of the mirror and we never thought she’d bring them back in 2018, not in our Wildest Dreams. I repeat, she isn’t dead.
Later, the superstar sits at a piano and speaks to the crowds as if everyone there is her best friend, explaining the origin of Reputation.
“A few years ago somebody called me a snake on social media and then a lot of people started calling me a lot of things on social media and I went through some really low times for a while because of it,” she said, playing chords from Long Live, a song dedicated to her fans.
“You shouldn’t care so much if you feel misunderstood by a lot of people who don’t know you as long as you are understood by the people who do know you. So thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to get to know me, for showing up for me, for seeing me as a human being. You did that for me.” Despite the wow-factor of the whole show, this quiet moment is when everyone is most Enchanted.
Any serious Swiftie knows that Taylor has always been about the narrative. She may have become a multi-millionaire mega pop star sensation but at the root of everything she is a storyteller, which is why we were so worried when she stepped away from the spotlight.
Reputation is about Taylor taking back control of her narrative, telling stories from her perspective to the people to know her and using the media’s insults to create her biggest, most badass tour yet. Pretty Fearless if you ask me.
I saw her Reputation concert from the ‘Snake Pit’ in Manchester on June 8 and again from the stalls in London on June 23 this year. Don’t judge me, I had to see it from both angles!
(Frederika Park is an undergraduate student at the University of Glasgow. She has interned with t2)