Last night, I attended my FIRST EVER Taylor Swift show. I can't believe I've been in radio for almost 9 years, Taylor has played the Tampa Bay area DOZENS of times, and this was my first time seeing her. Everyone I talked to before the show said the same thing: "OMG, you're going to love it! Taylor puts on a great show."
The problem with EVERYONE telling you how great something is, is that it sets up these unrealistic expectations, and then you end up being somewhat disappointed when the show is not as great as the hype.
NOT THIS TIME. Taylor absolutely blew me away with the reputation Tour. ('reputation' is lower-case on purpose!) First of all, I've seen a lot of shows, and a lot of stadium shows in particular. It's really challenging to fill up a space the size of a football stadium, but also keep the feeling of intimacy and closeness with your audience. Taylor managed to do both at the same time.
I was fortunate to be invited as my boss' guest into a radio industry meet and greet with Taylor before the show. She was just as lovely and warm and beautiful in person as she seems on camera. We saw some of her red carpet looks and drank champagne while sitting on a fabulous thrown. All in a day's work for Taylor, but for us plebs, it was pretty special. I can't believe I got to do that! Here are some photos from the Rep Room, as it was called.
For those of you hardcore Swifties who recognize the blonde woman in the upper left corner, YES, that's Taylor's mom, Andrea, or Mama Swift, as she is known. Mama Swift took us on a tour of the backstage area and showed us a little bit of what it takes to put on a production this size. We weren't allowed to take photos (booo!), but I do remember some things from the tour!
First of all, the visual concept for the tour is Taylor's creation. Each tour starts as drawings in a sketch book, and her tour producers work closely with her to bring her vision to life. The reputation Stadium Tour is the largest all-female tour in history (in terms of venue size and seating capacity at each show), and the "wall" at the center of the stage is over 100 feet tall. The tour requires six 747 jets, 67 semi-trucks, 200 touring crew and an additional 300 local crew to put together. It takes about four days to set up the stage, and it all has to be broken down and packed exactly the same way each time, to make setup at the next city as efficient as possible.
I REALLY wish I had backstage photos, but it was forbidden, so you just have to believe me when I say it was really freaking cool!
We initially had been given seats in the 100 level, but we ended up getting access to a suite (I know, it sounds like my life is a lot cooler than it is. I SWEAR this is the first time I've ever been invited to a suite!) and I actually liked the view from the suite better, even though it was a little farther away. Here are some of my pics and video from this MINDBLOWING show.
Final score: A++. Amazing. I can't say enough positive things about this show or the experience. I know a concert is expensive, but if you get the chance to see Taylor Swift next time she's in town, DO IT. Bravo, Taylor!