There has been much discussion about the high price for Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour tickets but her debut Wembley Stadium performance shows that people weren’t just paying to see Swifty, they were paying for an incredible visual production (and snakes. So many snakes).
Opening the show with ‘…Ready For It?’ and ‘I Did Something Bad’, it already looked like she’d spent half the budget on plumes of smoke, flames and fireworks. Not to mention the team of incredible dancers who helped bring the songs to life throughout the set. Don’t worry worry though – she was just getting started.
Light up wristbands were handed out on arrival and Taylor explained that it was because she “wanted to see every single one of you.” A very cute sentiment that also looked freakin’ magical, even more so as the sun started to set. Being able see over 80,000 twinkly lights dancing around somehow managed to create an inclusive, almost intimate communal spirit to the show even in such an expansive venue. It also looked bloody amazing. Did I mention that already?
Let’s get to the important stuff. THE SNAKES. THERE WERE SO MANY SNAKES. During ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ they rolled out a giant gold see-saw full of snakes but because that obviously wasn’t enough, threw in a giant one rising up from under the stage too. There’s an old saying that states ‘the best revenge is living well’ but I’d argue that basing your stadium show around giant mechanical snakes is even better.
During ‘Shake It Off’, two more appeared on the B-stages half way across the stadium, this time with added fireworks and glitter. Her support acts Charli XCX and Camila Cabello joined her for this one too, along with brightly dressed dancers and rainbow lights on everyone’s wristbands. It created a real party atmosphere and looked absolutely incredible.
“The Reputation Stadium Tour is a masterclass in pop show visuals.”
Getting to and from the B-stages Taylor used two different zip wire platforms – one decorated with fairy lights and the other…yep, you guessed it – shaped like a snake. She even wore a sequin jacket with snakes on during her acoustic performances of ‘Dancing With Our Hands Tied’ and ‘So It Goes’ – a song she’d never sung live until tonight. Another first came when everyone’s favourite Irish pop star Niall Horan surprised the crowd by turning up to sing a duet of his hit ‘Slow Hands’.
There was so much going on during this show we haven’t even had time to mention the topless men banging giant gongs yet. They probably didn’t have to be topless but it was a nice touch, thanks Swifty. Oh, and there were also gymnasts on tight ropes during ‘Bad Blood’ obvs. During her brilliant ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ / ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ mash-up finale there was an actual working fountain on stage and, naturally, a fireworks display that made my local village’s bonfire night look like a wet weekend.
“She called the night “unforgettable” and it certainly was for attendees too.”
On a more serious note, at the centre of all these amazing stage visuals is a super talented young woman who seemed ecstatic to be back playing for her fans. There was a special moment after Taylor performed ‘New Years Day’ on her piano where she stopped singing and the crowd cheered her on for almost five minutes whilst she sat with tears in her eyes. The pop superstar seemed genuinely humbled at the support shown to her, calling the night “unforgettable” and it certainly was for attendees too.
So, next time we wonder why concert tickets are so expensive, we must have faith that there’s a reason behind it. The Reputation Stadium Tour is a masterclass in pop show visuals. We’re just worried that all other pop shows from here on out will now be really disappointing. No giant snakes? Not interested.