Taylor Swift's 'Reputation' Stadium Tour Is A Must-See Celebration Of World-Class Artistry (Review)

Taylor Swift performs onstage during opening night of her 2018 Reputation Stadium Tour at University of Phoenix Stadium on May 8, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona

(Getty Images)

Taylor Swift's monstrous sixth studio album "reputation" demands an even bigger tour, and the superstar doesn't disappoint. With the “reputation Stadium Tour,” she goes beyond raising the bar for live performances, setting a whole new standard entirely.

The 28-year-old kicked off her tour on Tuesday in Glendale, Ariz. where her vocals were powerful, the visuals were venomous and her stage presence impossibly more commanding than ever before.

To put it boldly, there is no pop star on the planet like Taylor.

Nothing exemplifies this more than the transition from the effervescent "Shake It Off," a full-blown assault of choreography, bright colors and (of course) snakes, to a stripped-down rendition of "Dancing With Our Hands Tied" off her latest album.

Tour openers Camila Cabello and Charli XCX join Taylor for "Shake It Off," along with a flurry of backup dancers. Confetti cannons explode into the air as the number ends, and the audience's deafening roar is a reminder of just how large the stadium is. But as the stage empties, leaving Taylor alone with her guitar and soaring vocals, the room feels overwhelmingly intimate. 

Charli XCX, Camila Cabello and Taylor Swift perform onstage during opening night of Taylor Swift's 2018 Reputation Stadium Tour at University of Phoenix Stadium on May 8, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona

(Getty Images)

And therein lies Taylor’s magic. Through her music and between-song banter, she connects with her legion of fans like few megastars can. By sharing heartfelt speeches ahead of her most personal songs, she seeks to validate their most wild and devastating emotions like a comforting big sister.

"Every single one of us is pining away for some sort of connection with someone else. Whether it's a friendship, or you want to fall in love," she tells the crowd. "There's something that happens in your brain and in your heart when somebody says, 'Yes, I understand how you feel. I feel that way too.'" 

But the relationship works both ways as Taylor reveals that the fans' adoration helps bolster her own self-confidence in times of need.

"Standing here on this stage, when I look out into the crowd and I see that you're singing along to the words that I wrote when I was in a really sad place or a lonely place, that's that sense of connection," she adds.

The "reputation Stadium Tour" seemingly serves as Taylor's tribute to those who stood behind her while fallout from public breakups and celebrity feuds thrust her into the eye of a cruel takedown culture.

Taylor Swift performs onstage during opening night of her 2018 Reputation Stadium Tour at University of Phoenix Stadium on May 8, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona.

(Getty Images)

It's no coincidence then that she chooses to close the tour with "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things," a taunting track that details why she closed her castle doors while shouting out her true squad.

"Here's to my real friends / They didn't listen to that he said, she said," she chants while pointing to the audience.

During the number, Taylor and her dancers take turns splashing in a giant fountain that fittingly recalls the opening sequence of "Friends" – one of her favorite TV shows. The message is clear: Taylor's fans will always be there for her, even the rain comes pouring down.

-Oscar Gracey

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