“Taylor Swift is…” was the statement splashed across the screens at Wembley Stadium last Friday as the singer prepared to take to the stage for the first of two London shows as part of her Reputation Stadium Tour. She’s certainly been a lot of things over the years – or, the public and the press have perceived her to be, but not all of those things have been strictly true. Regardless, she’s maintained a huge following for her now 14-year long career and so it was no surprise to see the stadium filled with concert goers and buzzing with excitement.
The Joan Jett track ‘Bad Reputation’ played as Swift appeared in all her glory between the two screens on the stage, which immediately led into her own hit, the electric ‘…Ready For It?’. The song is wildly different from the kind of material Swift was releasing back at the start of her career but its brilliant all the same, seeing her take on a much darker, powerful persona that can deflect all the hate that’s thrown her way.
The first act of the show continued with a couple more Reputation cuts, including ‘Gorgeous’, before finishing with a quick-fire medley of some of Swift’s older material – ‘Style’, from 1989, and the classics ‘Love Story’ and ‘You Belong With Me’, from Fearless. Already, there was something for everyone no matter which one of the singer’s eras they preferred.
Act two began almost as if it was killing off that young, Fearless girl, with Swift performing the sizzling lead single from Reputation, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’. The track and its accompanying video was the very beginning of this era for Swift and made quite the bold statement, so it was only fitting that it was just as bold when she performed it live. Her use of props such as towering snakes above the stage only added to the spectacle, and that carried on into ‘End Game’ in which Swift declares, “big reputation, big reputation, you and me we got big reputations.”
The highlight of the third act was undisputable for sure – support acts Charli XCX and Camila Cabello took to the B-stage to join Swift in a performance of her 1989 hit single ‘Shake It Off’. A wonderful treat for any onlookers, this was an excellent companion to the short acoustic section that followed in suite. ‘Dancing With Our Hands Tied’ saw her pick up a guitar, reminiscent of performances from her earlier years, but it was the live debut of ‘So It Goes…’, still acoustic, that really had the crowd in hysterics.
As the show continued, the usual suspects like ‘Blank Space’ and a medley of ‘Bad Blood’ and ‘Should’ve Said No’ was nothing short of incredible, as was the Reputation track ‘Don’t Blame Me’ and another medley, with Swift on the piano, of ‘Long Live’ and ‘New Year’s Day’. There was surely no doubt in anyone’s mind that she had played such a beautiful show, and it was a touching moment when she announced to the crowd that she “couldn’t imagine being happier than this”.
Former One Direction star Niall Horan joined Swift for the final act, in which she covered his single ‘Slow Hands’ in a duet with him. The crowd went wild for it, which was not unexpected as there is a lot of crossover between Swift’s fans and One Direction’s. The show finished on a medley of ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ and ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’, a grand finale of epic proportions that rounded off a fantastic show.
Taylor Swift certainly has a Reputation, but among those leaving Wembley Stadium on Friday night, she could sleep well knowing it was a good one.