By Josh McCann
The energy at Heinz Field reached new levels as Taylor Swift smiled and addressed the packed crowd. “You guys are taking it up a notch,” she said. “You’re not just singing the words, you’re screaming them!” And she wasn’t kidding! The set showcased a true artist at the height of her powers, delivering a show that featured everything from fireworks to intimate songs, along with a track that hasn’t been performed live in nine years! We will get to that later!
Are you ready for it? Yeah, it’s safe to say that the crowd was ready, as the excitement amped up moments before Taylor hit the stage, when Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” blasted through the speakers. Fans danced around, singing the words, as they anticipated the big opening. There was a vibe in the air, one that makes you think that the stadium is about to go nuts. And it did.
The lights went down, the crowd screamed, and the huge 100-foot big screens opened up, revealing Taylor dressed in black behind a cloud of smoke. Let the games begin. The bass dropped as Taylor walked out to the front of the enormous stage, singing “Are you ready for it?”, which sent fans into euphoria. This set the stage for a Reputation filled set, which followed with an intense performance of “I Did Something Bad,” complete with fire and pyro, as Taylor and her backup dancers made their way down the stage ramp. And this was only the beginning!
The Reputation tour has been rolling through North America since early May, shattering ticket sales, and becoming the highest grossing tour of the year. It’s no surprise, because Taylor Swift knows stadiums like she knows how to write hit songs. Her move to go full on pop has been wildly successful. How many artists can consistently tour stadiums, album after album, yet alone switching from country to pop? Is it cool that I said all that? Thought so!
One of the more compelling moments in the show happened when the big screens ran clips of Taylor when she was a country star, innocent and new to the game. But that all changed when the screens went black, and a huge inflatable snake hovered over the stage, as the opening to her lead single played. It was a message to all the haters out there. Taylor doesn’t like your little games. Look what you made her do.
Swift also reached back into her catalog of hits, which combined the songs “Style” “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” into one gigantic sing along. “Bad Blood” and “Should’ve Said No” was also a surprise in mixing up current with classic hits.
The cool thing about a Taylor Swift show is that you not only get the big spectacle of a stadium show, but also the intimate singer/songwriter heartfelt moments as well. Swift played the piano alone on stage while performing the aching ballads “Long Live” and “New Years Day.” At one-point Taylor stopped and grabbed her eye. “I’ve been having this really intense eye situation all day,” she told the crowd. Fans laughed and cheered louder. “You guys are amazing,” she said, as she smiled and finished the song.
Speaking of intimate moments, the two B stage’s, which were located near the back of the floor, provided for all out fun and pandemonium among fans. Midway through the set, Swift performed “Delicate” while riding high above the crowd in a snake contraption, which sent her to the B Stage, and sent fans into a frenzy. People ran to the stage, rushing to get a good spot, holding their phones in the air to capture the moment. All of a sudden, the show felt closer to everyone, as openers Charli XCX and Camila Cabello joined Taylor on stage for “Shake it Off.” Swift followed the big hit with two solo acoustic numbers—”Dancing with our hands tied,” and the 2006 track “A Place In This World.” The last time Taylor performed that song live was 2009!
The opening acts Charli XCX and Camila Cabello were solid in performing their hits to the lively crowd. Charli XCX opened her show with the catchy pop jam “Boom Clap,” and ended the set with “I love it” as the crowd jumped up and down to the dance hit. Camila Cabello hit the stage sporting a Steeler jersey, as she kicked off with “Never Be The Same.” “This is one of the loudest crowds on the Reputation tour,” she told fans. Her set ended with “Havana,” with half of her heart now in Pittsburgh.
The final stretch of songs helped to pull everything together, beginning with “Getaway Car,” an upbeat standout track that is rumored to be the new single. Swift danced across the stage while the big screens showed images of a highway in the desert. We were riding in a getaway car, and we didn’t want the ride to end just yet. The song was followed by “Call It What You Want” which kept up the momentum, leading to the opening drum beat and guitar riff to “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” The show closed with an epic version of “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” which featured backup singers, dancers, and the full band. The guitar solos rang out while Taylor waved to the crowd under a massive display of fireworks shooting off above the stage over Heinz Field. We can’t have nice things, but we can have an amazing finale.
The show was insanely good and extremely loud and it’s hard to come down off that ride. Taylor Swift proved how her new material is just as strong as her classic hits, with the show relying heavily on the new record. She can rock the crowd with high energy hits, and she can play emotional personal ballads on a piano or acoustic guitar. Call it what you want, but Taylor Swift lived up to her reputation, delivering another amazing show, and judging by the crowd, fans can’t wait for what she does next.
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