Taylor Swift: Live review and gallery | The Gabba | 6 November, 2018

Taylor Swift’s Reputation tour inspires untold respect.

In the age of social media, the scope of a musical star’s devotees can only be gauged when you’re in a stadium full of dedicated fans of all ages. Getting back to good ol’ fashioned face-to-face contact – this was the purpose of Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation’ stadium tour, and via 40,000 flickering coloured bracelets, Taylor Swift definitely saw her people.

The show opener, ‘…Ready For It?’ saw the crowd’s energy levels instantly elevated. The punch created by the heavy guitar riffs and powerful backing vocals gave a nice retro power to the sound, which was undoubtedly appreciated by all the parents accompany their fan-kids. Mid-show, those who had forgotten about Ms Swifts’ original country roots (and her professional music training) were treated to a retrospective in the form of two heartfelt acoustic guitar numbers ‘Dancing With Our Hands Tied’ and ‘Starlight’ from her 2012 ‘Red’ album. The acoustic session finished with ‘Long Live / New Year’s Day’, and a green sequin-clad Taylor sitting at the Reputation-graffitied piano.

As quoted by Ms Swift herself, this tour was all about ‘girl power’.  An evening highlight was when support acts Georgia Nott from The Broods and Charli XCX joined the superstar at the centre of the stadium for a rousing pal gal rendition of mega-hit ‘Shake It Off.’

The blend of rock, pop and country was never felt so strongly as when banjo infused the anthemic ‘Bad Blood’ and ‘Should’ve Said No,’ backed by a ripping rock style band. If the band was somewhat visually hidden and dancers, at times, overwhelmed by the massive 30-foot video footage, what the crowd did get to see was the full performance of Taylor Swift; every word and musical moment dressed with expression – eye glances, lip flips, hand movements – whether fan or chaperone, by the end of the night, all were worshipping at her altar.

Watching the evolution of Taylor Swift has been like watching a millenial version of the slickly produced musical ‘Grease’, with values intact but reputation tweaked.  Swift has flung off her clean cut, pastel-costumed chapter in favour of a black-sequinned vamp effect, albeit pulling it off with exquisite style and class. Her six acts of costume changes and stage effects were mind-boggling, employing fierce dancers, giant serpents, fireworks and flames, while the relentless flood of hit songs from albums ‘Red’, ‘1989’ and ‘Reputation’ had the crowd singing out and hanging off her every lyric.

With a subtle flip of the finger to TS haters, Swift will fill 50 stadiums around the world by the end of the ‘Reputation’ tour, drawing crowds with the poetry of her lyrics, a hint of rock, her country roots, the infectiousness of solid, musical pop and a truly epic stage show.

The Reputation Tour now travels to New Zealand for an Auckland show on 9 November and finishes up in Tokyo on 21 November.

IMAGES (c) Dan Maynard Photography

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