In second grade, my uncle came to visit from California, and he decided to show me the song that was “booming” on the West Coast: “Teardrops on My Guitar”. He claimed that it was written by a sixteen-year-old girl from Nashville and showed me her music video on YouTube Vevo. When I saw her catchy lyrics and bouncy hair, I immediately declared myself a fan. In the coming years, I would buy all of her CD’s the day they were released, begging my mother to take a detour from work to stop at Target and get the “exclusive deluxe Target only” version. I had her posters on my wall, her lyrics on my Tumblr, and her album concepts as my iPod Touch wallpaper. For the entirity of middle school and most of high school, I ONLY listened to Taylor Swift. Sure, the occasional Glee track or Ed Sheeran bop would grace my iTunes playlists, but I always went back to Taylor when it came down to it. In fact, listening to her music was the only way to get rid of my headaches and get me to fall asleep. I even remember the day RED was released (October 22nd, 2012) because it was the day before my best friend’s birthday and I did everything in my power to get the album for her (alas, my mom got the red deluxe Speak Now album instead of RED the album but it was a valiant effort). Point being, Taylor Swift was a big part of my life growing up. From the ages of 6 or 8 to 16, she was my number one role model.
Of course, as I explored different genres of music (entering my pop-punk phase, my rock phase, and transcending into my current KPOP obsession), Taylor became less of a staple for me. When she didn’t release an album after her usual two-year gap, I moved on. RED was the last album I was a die-hard fan for, although I was in love with many of the tracks of 1989. So, when Reputation comes out in my freshman year of college, I’m excited but not involved. At least, not like how I was back in my tweenage years. Because all of my roommates also loved Taylor Swift growing up (one still very much in love with her), we decided to buy tickets to her concert and live the childhood dream none of us had the chance to fulfill. I won’t lie — I wasn’t in love with Reputation at all. I didn’t like some of the lyrics (a problem I’ve never had with Taylor before), and some of the bass was a little too much for me. Still, there were enough tracks on the album that I was into going.
Leading up to the concert, I did my usual concert prep: two weeks cold listening to ONLY the discography of the concert artists, and then 3 days of setlist only listening. It sounds crazy, but I’ve been going to concerts for years and this is the best way to get hyped. And HYPED I was.
I love concerts. I love the idea of people liking a genre or artist enough to pay to have a live experience of their music. The atmosphere of a concert is charged: the audience builds each other up, and that excitement drives the performer to do better. It’s thrilling, and I love getting lost in the crowd and unleashing my terrible singing and poor attempts at dancing. Regardless of the artist themselves, I’ll be having a blast.
With this context, here’s what I thought about the Reputation Tour:
Charli XCX: I’ve seen her open for Halsey before at an arena tour, and as usual her stage presence and voice are very unique. Personally, I only like one or two of her songs, and the others I find a little annoying. Despite this, I enjoyed seeing her perform live. It wasn’t amazing but it was decent.
Camila Cabello: Let me preface by saying I’m completely biased. I’ve loved this girl since The X Factor. I loved her through Fifth Harmony, Havana, and everything in between. So seeing her sing live (and WOW CAN SHE SING AND RIFF LIVE) was really special for me. I had an awesome time, and I wasn’t afraid to jump up and sing all of her lyrics dramatically to my poor roommates. She’s no doubt a performer, and I honestly want to see her own show (if only my wallet could afford the loss).
Taylor Swift: I don’t care if you hate her music or her image or her personality or whatever. Everyone who attended her show can admit that she can PERFORM. And she has vision. I’ve never been to a stadium show before, but I can tell that it will be very hard to top this one. Fireworks, giant snakes, Bluetooth bracelets, and T. Swift newspaper confetti are only SOME of the production details and features she has cleverly incorporated into her show. From the fountains to the outfit changes, I was enthralled by every second. The production was dynamic: for every song, there were dancers and props and moving objects, punctuated by confetti and fire and fireworks. Of course, Taylor slowed it down for some songs, bringing it back to just a girl and her guitar (an appreciated sentiment from a long time fan). Honestly, there was so much to see and such an enormous stage that I feel like I would need to watch the show several times over just to catch every detail. Even the smallest of details, like the bracelets being timed to look like colorful confetti across the stands, created an ambiance that was almost magical. I kept asking myself: what more could she do next? In terms of singing, her voice is definitely higher and sweeter than in the audio tracks (possibly because of my proximity to the stereo speakers in the stadium). But she was stable and hit her high notes, so I had no qualms from that department. Honestly, her attention to detail is what makes me want to see this show again. She’s a businesswoman who knows what she wants, and it shows. After a decade in this business, she’s got everything down.
I can’t wait to go to her next stadium tour, regardless of the type of music she produces. If it’s anything like this one, I know I’ll have the time of my life.