Taylor Swift's reputation Stadium Tour
One aspect why this album cycle is viewed at as an enormous success for Taylor is her mammoth “reputation Stadium Tour”, an all-female stadium run in a world where women rarely play such large spaces by themselves. It broke attendance and money records in places like Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Seattle, but maybe more importantly, it was remarkably well-received. The larger-than-life show was the culmination of everything Taylor had done in concert, meshing her talent with her prowess in a nearly two-hour spectacle.
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.
“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, Japan
The set put a heavy emphasis on her latest batch of songs and was delivered in a way that each song was presented as if it held a special place in Taylor’s discography. Better than on the “1989 World Tour“, she managed to incorporate music from throughout her country years as well as her recent pop gems, putting her newest work in a context that simply listening to the album on your phone didn’t quite capture. Here are some further reasons why Taylor’s “reputation Stadium Tour” was the pinnacle of her career.
1. The production wasn’t just massive — it was built for a superstar.
Taylor’s sets have always been elaborate, but the visuals on this tour were on another level. Massive screens displayed 2D images that almost felt 3D, and the things that were 3D — gigantic snakes, an oversized seesaw, a (working) fountain — almost made you ask, “How is that real?”
2. She was the most comfortable on a stage in her overall career.
Confidence has never been an issue for Taylor when it comes to being on stage, but she used to spend more time soaking up the crowd’s screams. This time around, she spent more time smiling her way through her flawless production. There was never a moment where her conviction wavered as she’d bounce from intense choreography to playing guitar — on her own.
3. The video monologues were as self-aware as they were entrancing.
The most impactful video came before Taylor’s encore, titled “Why She Disappeared.” While the visuals themselves were fun to watch and the story she told felt like an age-old fairytale, the video was actually a lot deeper than what it appeared to be.
4. Her vulnerability made her message relatable.
Though Taylor’s interim videos showed images of herself, her sentiments were so introspective that they resulted in some self-reflection of your own accord as you waited for her to return to the stage. But Taylor shared the same kind of meaningful messages before playing her empowering song “Long Live” on piano. At the opening night of the tour in Glendale, Arizona, she elaborated on what she went through while making “reputation”, and what that word means to her — which made the message of the whole show even more meaningful.
“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
5. She acknowledged Swifties’ growth along with her own.
At her Gillette Stadium show on July 27, 2018, Taylor mentioned that she’s been touring since she was 15. Now 28, that meant she’d had many years to connect with fans — and grow up with them:
“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, you know, 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
6. The old Taylor wasn’t dead, she’d just grown up.
“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.
In short, “Taylor Swift’s reputation Stadium Tour” further proved that she is a career artist, making it unsurprising when the album crept back into the top 20 on the Billboard 200 almost a year after its release. “reputation” as a whole showed rare longevity.
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 Swift’s connection with the crowd.
Jim Harrington, from The Mercury News, praised the improvement of the singer’s 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”.
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 the singer once again to the top of Hot Tours chart.
The 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 she 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, it had grossed about $202.3 million in the continent ($191.1 million from the United States and $11.1 million from Canada) thus breakingTaylor’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.
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.”
On December 13, 2018 (her 29th birthday), Taylor announced that the “Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour” is coming exclusively to Netflix on the morning of New Year’s Eve at 12:01AM PST.
|Start Date||May 8, 2018|
|No. of Shows||53|