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reputation Stadium Tour

2018

“Taylor Swift’s reputation Stadium Tour” was Taylor’s fifth world concert tour, in support of her sixth studio album, reputation (2017). It began on May 8, 2018, in Glendale and concluded on November 21, 2018, in Tokyo, consisting of 53 shows. The tour received 2.55 million attendees and grossed $345.7 million in revenue. It marked Taylor’s most successful tour to-date, and broke many records, such as becoming the highest-grossing tour ever in the United States and North America. The tour received universal acclaim from critics, who commonly labeled it the best tour of 2018 and Taylor’s best tour to date. It further went on to win many “Tour of the Year” accolades.
“So you’re wondering why there are so many snakes onstage, right?” Taylor asked the crowd on the opening night of the tour. The reptilian imagery was testimony to the fall-outs and backlash of her fame, but the gestures were sweeping enough to entertain and inspire millions of people across the globe. “Someone called me a snake on social media, and it caught on,” she said. “I went through some really low times because of it. I went through some times when I didn’t know if I was gonna get to do this anymore.” Of course, Taylor was wise to the modern way of taking ownership of the epithets used against you:

«I learned a really important lesson that I've been telling you from the stage for about ten years, but I never had to learn it so harshly myself and that lesson has to do with how much you value your reputation. And I think that the lesson is that you shouldn't care so much if you feel misunderstood by a lot of people who don't know you, as long as you feel understood by the people who do know you.»

Taylor Swift
Table of Contents

Background and Development

In August 2017, Billboard reported that Taylor would be using Ticketmaster’s “Verified Fan” program to prevent bots and ticket scalpers from purchasing tickets. The program, named “Taylor Swift Tix”, allowed fans to purchase tickets in advance of the public on-sale by participating in boost activities to increase chances of getting a pre-sale access code.

On November 13, 2017, Taylor announced the first round of dates for the tour jointly with Ticketmaster. Tickets went on sale to the general public on December 13, 2017 (Taylor’s 28th birthday).

On March 1, 2018, Taylor officially announced Camila Cabello and Charli XCX as the opening acts for the “reputation Stadium Tour”. Camila was previously speculated as the opening act due to the fact that her “Never Be the Same Tour” dates didn’t coincide with Taylor’s tour; Portland’s Live 95.5 even announced her in a sweepstake for the July 22, 2018 concert at the Wembley Stadium in London through a since-deleted post on Twitter, a day before Taylor confirmed her as the opening act. On May 8, 2018, Taylor announced 2 shows in Tokyo, with Charli XCX as the opening act.

The Show

So many matching outfits. Mothers and daughters, brothers, sisters related and otherwise, converged upon stadiums around the world. If there was any doubt that Taylor inspires her audience, it was laid to rest. Jumpsuits, sequined jackets and snakeskin outfits referenced video clips and song titles. There was a sophistication about Taylor that could be shared by teens, twentysomethings… and their moms (and dads). It was perhaps the reason why Taylor’s star was still in ascendance. On a usual night, 65,000 flocked to see Taylor with the mega-venues proclaimed ‘sold-out’.

Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” faded as the lights dimmed and the screens poured out talk-show soundbytes about Taylor. In keeping with the theme of reputation, the stadium show opened with a black-and-white retrospective montage featuring some of the many headlines — the good, the bad and the very ugly — that Taylor had made over the years. After one reporter announced, “Taylor Swift is in hot water again” and another whined, “She holds too many grudges,” the word “reputation” began to repeat as the woman at the center of it all took the stage.

Taylor made a striking entrance. No elevation or descent, simply walking out from behind a curtain bathed in brilliant white light, Taylor first appeared onstage wearing dark lipstick, lace-up knee-high boots, and a hooded, sequinned black leotard, standing before a pair of larger-than-life video screens on a grandiose stage with four massive catwalks shaped like an X. Without much pomp and circumstance, the growl from the beginning of “…Ready for It?” kicked in after Taylor uttered the first lyric and struck a pose, driving the sold-out crowd of 65,000 fans wild. It was an appropriate and compelling opener, quickly followed by “I Did Something Bad,” where Taylor exuded confidence and attitude. She made sure to ramp up the dramatics by slowing down the opening lines and when she was joined by a group of all-female backup singers, she stared directly into the camera before launching into a choreographed routine, backed by fireworks so massive that the heat practically radiated through the stadium.

Next up was the much sweeter “Gorgeous” where Taylor took a break and introduced each and every one of her female back up singers and dancers to the crowd, putting their faces up on the big screen. Interestingly, for a huge mainstream artist, the show was not as much of a hit-fest as some might have expected, with much of the set focussed on material from Taylor’s latest album. The first song she performed that was not off of reputation was “Style,” from 1989 (2014), which morphed into “Love Story” and then “You Belong With Me” from her second album, Fearless (2008).
A video montage on the big screens was shown next, depicting the younger, more innocent-looking “Old Taylor,” slowly morphing into the “New Taylor,” taking her place on a throne of snakes. That was, of course, the introduction to her hit song “Look What You Made Me Do.” Fans got a kick out of the gigantic snake, Karyn, Taylor used as a prop on stage during this song, and screaming, “I’m sorry, the Old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? OH, CAUSE SHE’S DEAD!” Next up, Taylor performed a solo version of “End Game” and transitioned right into “King of My Heart,” while her dancers in the background banged on some truly giant drums.

As the video screens created a starry backdrop and the audience wristbands lit up to create waves of color throughout the stands, Taylor explained why she was so afraid of earning herself a bad reputation, which basically came down to her feeling like it would stop her from having something real. Real friendships, real love, real encounters with people she might otherwise miss out on because of earning herself a bad reputation due to gossip. It all is really… “Delicate” (1, 2, 3, LET’S GO, BITCH). She sang the song on a small platform wrapped in golden fairy lights (a gold cage in which she was hostage to her feelings?), which flew her to the other side of the stadium, landing on a smaller — but still big — B-stage. “Do you wanna dance with me?” she asked before the first beats of “Shake It Off” started playing and opening acts Charli XCX and Camila Cabello joined Taylor on stage. All of the confetti falling from the sky was a nice call-back to “The 1989 World Tour” (2015).

But it’s the Alone Time With Tay that fans treasure most. There was a two-song solo segment with just Taylor and her guitar, half of which consisted of her proving that the recent album’s “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” (or on some nights “So It Goes..“) worked as well acoustically without the big electropop production. The other half was a wild-card slot. On opening night, Taylor acceded to online demand by resurrecting the rarely played breakup ballad “All Too Well,” the song that was like a secret handshake among True Swifties.

Her band kicked back in and she marched over to the opposite auxiliary stage, changing costumes yet again in the process, to sing her massive hit “Blank Space.” “Dress,” perhaps her most overtly sexual song ever, got a similarly stripped-down performance. While Taylor was singing, only one white-robed dancer ran complementary circles around her, with artificially extended arms weaving folds of white fabric through the air. Suddenly, Taylor was flying again, this time in a skeletal snake pod of sorts, singing a mashup of “Bad Blood” and “Should’ve Said No,” banjos and acoustic guitars laced into a lurching synth beat.

Back on the main stage, fans got one more big pyrotechnic reputation moment with the almost-religious experience of “Don’t Blame Me.” With such a huge production and occasionally processed vocals it seemed heartening and important when Taylor was sitting down alone behind a piano for a medley of “Long Live” and “New Year’s Day.”

After a video interlude of Taylor’s poem “Why She Disappeared“, the synth gem “Getaway Car,” which really ought to be a single, found Taylor alone on stage against a backdrop of nature scenes from the American West. The stellar ballad “Call It What You Want” was presented in front of an illustrated retro mansion and a large functioning fountain.

The show ended with a medley of “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” two buoyant singles about holding your ground. In that context, the “reputation Stadium Tour” was soon regarded as a testament to Taylor’s era-defying longevity. “And in the death of her reputation, she felt truly alive” were the final words fans saw upon the show’s end. While it provided a perfect close to the story of the show, Taylor’s performance was physical proof that she meant it. As her music had evolved, she did too, but Taylor hadn’t lost sight of what got her there or the passionate performer she was in the beginning. This was the reputation Taylor Swift — and her fans — had been waiting for.

«This tour has been in ways I think I can't really explain... it has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life. I feel like I started as one person and at this point I feel like a different one. And that's because of you.»

Taylor Swift talking to her fans on the final night of the "reputation Stadium Tour" in Tokyo

Critical Reception

The tour received rave reviews, being commonly labeled as the best of Taylor’s career up until that point and the best tour of 2018. Ed Masley, from The Arizona Republic, wrote that “there were many moments in the course Swift’s performance that felt like she was playing to the back rows of the stadium by simply sharing with her fans”, while complimenting the tour’s production and highlighting Taylor’s connection with the crowd. Jim Harrington, from The Mercury News praised the improvement of her vocal work and performance skills over the years: “Her game is well-rounded enough that she can excel equally at every different aspect of the show.” Chris Tuite, from CBS San Francisco wrote: “The only thing more prominent than the singer herself during her current costume-change filled spectacle are the massive, vicious looking snakes that symbolically appear throughout the set.” Michael Tritsch from 303 Magazine commented the tour “broke new ground and set the bar high for future stadium tours” while adding “The reputation of this show burned its way into the history books”.

Box Office

The first seven shows of the tour grossed $54 million with 390,000 tickets sold, leading Taylor to the top of Billboard‘s Hot Tours chart in June 2018. She performed to sold out crowds of 59,157 in Glendale and 107,550 in Santa Clara (over two nights), grossing $7.21 million and $14 million respectively, while the Pasadena shows combined for a gross of nearly $16.3 million and Seattle accounted more than $8.6 million. The concerts in Louisville and Columbus, reported in July 2018, grossed $11.5 million with around 115,000 tickets sold, with the latter city having the highest gross and most tickets sold, with approximately 63,000 tickets and $6.6 million. These concerts led Taylor once again to the top of Hot Tours chart.

Records

The “reputation Stadium Tour” broke multiple venue attendance and grossing records. The debut performance at University of Phoenix Stadium set new venue records in both gross and attendance, topping Metallica’s $5.2 million gross earned in August 2017 by almost $2 million. With 59,157 tickets sold, she also broke the attendance record set during One Direction’s “Where We Are Tour” in 2014 by 2,633 seats.

With a $14 million take from 107,550 sold tickets at Levi’s Stadium Taylor topped her own gross and attendance counts set during “The 1989 World Tour” in 2015. With more than 118,000 fans in attendance at the Rose Bowl, the two-show run earned $16.2 million and set a new gross record for a single headliner at the venue, surpassing U2’s 2017 record by over $467,000. Grossing records previously set by U2 as well were broken at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, where she topped their “Joshua Tree Tour” 2017 gross by $2.4 million, and Denver’s Sports Authority Field at Mile High, where she surpassed the $6.6 million gross set by the band in 2011 during their 360° Tour by $1.2 million. Taylor made history by becoming the first female artist to headline Dublin’s Croke Park twice, with around 136,000 fans reportedly attending both nights. Similarly, she achieved the milestone of becoming the first woman to headline three consecutive nights at MetLife Stadium and Gillette Stadium.

Following the tour’s 29th show in North American soil at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, the “reputation Stadium Tour” had grossed about $202.3 million in the continent ($191.1 million from the United States and $11.1 million from Canada) thus breaking Taylor’s own record of having the highest grossing tour by a female artist in North American history, surpassing her “1989 World Tour” (2015) in much lesser dates.

Accolades

The “Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour” took home the award for “Top U.S. Tour” at the 2018 Billboard Live Awards in November, 2018. This only added to the accolades the tour had received that year, which includes the American Music Award for “Tour of the Year” and the People’s Choice Award for “Concert Tour Of 2018.” It also won the iHeartRadio award for “Best Tour” in 2019.

«Seeing people grow up in the crowd, or in meet and greets and stuff, looking out and seeing somebody who I met when they were ten and now they're a full-grown adult – that is wild. Or somebody coming up to me and saying, 'I've been listening to your music since I was twelve,' and now they're a grown up. It's just never ever going to feel like, 'Oh yeah, that seems normal to me.' It's always going to seem deeply interesting and wild...I definitely think that I tried to keep my expectations very realistic when it came to thinking, 'You know, I could be a phase for some people.' I just appreciate every moment, so when somebody comes up to me and says 'I'm still listening to your music,' to me that means that it's lasted through all the other phases in their lives.»

Taylor Swift

Concert Movie

On December 13, 2018 (her 29th birthday), Taylor announced that the Taylor Swift: reputation Stadium Tour would be coming exclusively to Netflix on the morning of New Year’s Eve 2018.
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General Information
Associated Album
Start DateMay 8, 2018
End Date
Locations
Asia
Europe
North America
Oceania
Legs5
No. of Shows53
Attendance2.5 million
Box Office
$345.7 million
Opening Acts
Camila Cabello
Charlie XCX
Broods
TAYLOR SWIFT CONCERT CHRONOLOGY
The 1989 World Tour (2015)reputation Stadium Tour (2018)Lover Fest (2020)
Setlist
Tour Poster
Tour Trailer
Tour Rehearsals
Why She Disappeared
reputation Era

reputation Era

reputation Album

reputation Songs

The Making of a Song

Taylor Swift: reputation Stadium Tour