Taylor Swift brought her “Reputation” Stadium Tour through Toronto last weekend for two nights at the Rogers Centre. This has been a highly anticipated tour, as Swift continues to cement herself as one of the biggest pop stars in the world. Clearly, this show was drawing fans from the entire region, as our normal 2-hour drive from Buffalo to Toronto ended up being a lot closer to 3.5 hours. Fortunately, I always leave plenty of time for the big shows. We arrived in time to take in a bit of the fanfare outside before heading in to catch the start of the show.
The show kicked off with a short set from Charli XCX, who performed some of her biggest hits including “Boys” and “Boom Clap,” along with the highly recognizable cover of Icona Pop’s “I Love It” (a track she was featured on). While the set was short, it was more than enough to get the capacity stadium crowd worked up for the big night.
After a very short intermission, Camila Cabello took the stage, appearing in a custom Toronto Blue Jays jersey. She performed a 9-song set including “Never Be The Same,” “Havana” and a cover of Machine Gun Kelly’s “Bad Things” (a song she was featured on). Expect to hear more from Cabello in the years to come. Both her and Charlie XCX were highly energetic and lots of fun!
Finally, just before 9 p.m., it was time for Taylor Swift to take the stage. As the intro song, Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” began playing, the stadium worked into a frenzy. The stage was a giant wall, consisting of two large screens, positioned at a slight angle, coming to a point in the middle of the stage. As the opening track, “…Ready For It?” began to play, the screens parted as Taylor made her way through the fog and out onto the stage. Following the opening track, the stage now consisted of an entourage of dancers as she broke into “I Did Something Bad.” Swift made constant use of both of the ramps, that jut into the crowd on both sides at 45-degree angles, allowing her to be closer to a large number of fans.
For fans of her country beginnings, you’ll find this tour a little light in that department, but not without some acknowledgment as she periodically dove back to the earlier moments in her catalog. The show largely drew on her new album, “Reputation,” seeing Swift perform all but one single track off of the album, with a large dose of material from her previous album, “1989.” Only five songs from the evening came from previous albums, including “Long Live” off her of Speak Now album, “Should’ve Said No” from her self-titled debut album, “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” from her Fearless album and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” from her Red album. Count me among fans that love when an artist is willing to get out and aggressively promote their new album by performing it live.
The show is broken into six “acts,” consisting of three to four songs in each part. Each act is broken up by a major stage change or a movement of Swift from one part of the stadium to the other. At one point, following the second act, Swift took a cable from the main stage to the first of two stages in the middle of the stadium floor. Upon arriving, she performed several songs including “Shake It Off” with both opening acts Charli XCX and Camila Cabello joining her on stage.
Upon entry, every fan in the stadium was given a plastic light-up bracelet. These were put to masterful use as they periodically changed color along with the music. At one point, early into the set, Swift took a few moments to address the crowd. She discussed the bracelets and how it allows her to see each and every fan in the stadium. As an artist that has always gone out of her way for her fans, it’s no surprise she would go to this length to make 50,000 fans per night feel just a little bit closer to her.
Following the first alternate stage performance, Swift made her way to the second alternate stage along the floor, taking her time to slap high-fives and gripping the hands of eager fans all along the way. Having been fortunate enough to be seated right in that location, I was able to see this up close as my niece was having the time of her life.
The night was closed out with a string of new songs, closing out with “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.” As fans exited the stadium, it was evident that this night was an absolute dream for thousands of teenage girls in attendance. Perhaps a little more surprising is that their parents likely enjoyed this show just as much as they did.
The Reputation Stadium Tour will continue through early October before heading over to Australia and Japan. If you’re on the fence about making your teens (or your own) dream come true this fall, go for it. This show will entertain you from start to finish!