Taylor Swift w/ Charlie XCX
Centurylink Field, Seattle, WA
For six months after the release of her latest album, Reputation, Taylor Swift fans patiently awaited her tour stop at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field. And clearly ready to trade in their typical Tuesday nights for something epic, they showed up in droves to scream along as the powerhouse performer kicked her show into high gear with “Ready For It,” one of her most popular songs.
Simply listening to Reputation does not do Swift’s musicianship justice as her live shows display an edgy rock vibe and she brings incredible energy to the stage. For this latest tour, Swift brought the house down with her new bad-ass, no bullshit, zero apology game. The theme rang throughout the performance as Swift rocked almost the entire album (aside from “So It Goes”) and then some.
While Swift has five other incredibly successful albums under her belt, setlist space for older songs was limited. Instead, she integrated her old songs in with her newer hits, in one instance creating a particularly memorable mash-up of “Bad Blood” and “Should Have Said No.” These flawless blends served as an opportunity for fans to enjoy long-time favorites while also highlighting the many different versions of Swift’s rich musical past. Even when she reaches back into her archive, Swift finds a way to make it sound edgier—as reflected in, “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” remixed to include “We Are Never Getting Back Together.”
Swift has a talent for taking any experience and turning it into powerful music. Speaking to the theme of the Reputation album and tour, she asked the crowd, “So you’re wondering why there are so many snakes, right?” She recalled how she was called a snake on social media, “and it caught on.” Instead of letting that defeat her (she admits, she almost let it) she was determined to not let it define her. Instead, Swift was strengthened by the challenge, proving that if you want to throw any shade you should be prepared for her to turn that into her own favor.
As expected, an extraordinarily elaborate stage display dazzled fans. Most notably, building-sized inflatable snakes with red glowing eyes (whose stare seemed to pierce the depths of your soul). In fact, the whole production—from fireworks to talented dancers—was larger than ever. At one point, Swift stepped into a glamorous and dainty lit carriage that floated above the crowd to another stage. After that, she ran through a tunnel of fans, reaching out as she made her way to yet another stage. Lastly, she soared over the crowd in a snake-like skeleton cage, returning her to the main stage. All the while, never missing a note.
Not everything in the show was flash and dazzle, however. Swift took the time to recognize everyone who has contributed to the production, from her bandmates to dancers. There was a particular mention of her female powerhouse supporting vocals, and opener, Charli XCX—a nod implying that the tour’s success is fueled by girl power. Unfortunately, Camila Cabello was absent due to sickness.
Swift seemed to have a genuine, seemingly effortless, connection with every one of the 56,000 fans in the stadium. She partly credits this personal connection to the fact that T-Swift fans have been “growing up” with her over the past decade. She took a moment to express gratitude to her fans for following her journey, and for letting her share her life as it unfolds, almost like an open diary. This led into, “Long Live,” a song that she wrote for her fans and long-time supporters.
The set in its entirety delivered the Swift that fans have grown to love and expect, but also featured a badass Swift that piques the curiosity in pushing the musical limits. Perhaps there will be a heavy rock or pop rock album next? Swift has some serious talent, edge, revenge, and determination, and the “Reputation” tour left us wanting more.
Review by Allie Leaf
Photos by Logan Westom