Taylor Swift debuted her highly anticipated reputation Stadium Tour concert film on Netflix early in the morning on New Years Eve. The concert special was filmed at the final show of the US leg of the reputation Stadium Tour at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on October 6. Directed by Paul Dugdale, the concert movie gave fans the opportunity to preserve their memories of Swift’s highest grossing tour yet, as many close ups of fans in attendance are included. Here’s an in-depth look at what fans were treated to.
The opening visuals feature throwbacks to the early days of Swift’s career, the audio is actual recordings of reporters providing commentary on various aspects of Swift’s life. We get flashes of a black, snakeskin-like cape, panning up Swift’s back as the word “reputation” is repeated ominously and becomes the focus of the visuals.
The screen fades to black and we see the stage for the first time as the two massive screens flanking either side of the custom-made stage open, revealing Taylor Swift, looking tiny in comparison, as she opens with the song “…Ready For It?” Wearing all black in thigh high boots and a sparkly one piece leotard, Swift commands complete attention.
Just like her previous tour, The 1989 World Tour, concert goers were given bracelets that light up and change colors according to the lighting theme of each song. Swift leads her pack of dancers through the synth-heavy track as flashes of red and white reveal the 60,000 fans in attendance.
After striking a confident hand on hip pose, Swift easily transitions into the sultry intro of the heavy hitting “I Did Something Bad,” (the song that got her censored on national television for the first time at the AMAs with the line “if a man talks shit then I owe him nothing”). Swift and her female dancers line the stage, breaking into head banging choreography. Complete with fireworks and choreography in which Swift turns her male dancers into her play things, “I Did Something Bad” is a definite highlight of the evening.
She then takes a pause to welcome the concert goers to the show, commenting on the fact that it’s her 30th time playing a show in Dallas before launching into the song “Gorgeous.” The stage is flooded with dreamy pinks and purples as Swift gushes about the object of her affection.
There is a quick transition to a medley of 3 of Swift’s most beloved songs, kicking off with “Style.” Swift and the female dancers turn the stage into a runway, strutting from the wings to front and center. The stage and the light up bracelets everyone in the stands are wearing floods into pink as the band comes down to the main stage and “Love Story” begins to play. The bridge transitions into another classic, “You Belong With Me.” The energy from fans in the crowd is palpable as camera pan over the audience while everyone is jumping in unison.
The lights fade back to black before footage from Swift’s music videos appear back on the screens -inter-spliced with clips of Swift, wearing a scaly, black jumpsuit once again, as she takes a seat at her throne. A snake snaps at the camera and Swift winks before reappearing once more before a black and gold themed “tilting stage” bearing her dancers. She launches into reputation’s debut single “Look What You Made Me Do,” featuring a video appearance from SNL co-host, Tiffany Haddish and a 63-foot cobra named Karyn.
The black and gold section of the show includes 2 of the more up-beat tracks from reputation; “End Game” and “King Of My Heart.” The visuals are some of the most captivating and intricate of the evening, including huge drums and a lot of moving props on the stage.
After a quick costume change into a rainbow dress covered in dangling sequins, she climbs into a lit up basket and to sing the final single off her latest album, “Delicate,” as she is transported to one of the side stages. At the end of the first verse, fans scream “1, 2, 3, let’s go bitch,” as Swift counts along, a tradition set early on in the reputation Stadium Tour. There, she is joined by her concert openers Charli XCX and Camila Cabello for one of Swift’s first dip into the pop genre, “Shake It Off.” Underneath flashing lights and rainbow confetti, Swift has pulled off another quick change into a red sparkly leotard and an army green “rep tour” themed jacket.
Once standing behind a stationary microphone with a matching green guitar, Swift is handed a tissue and reveals that she has a “tiny, minuscule cold.” She then speaks directly to her fans about how she has “always written songs with the lyrics, the feeling, and the melody in mind. Hoping that no matter what production I added to the top of it,” she could always strip the song back down. The acoustic rendition of “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” is definitely proof of that sentiment as fans sing along with the gusto of a campfire favorite.
The coveted “surprise song” slot is a moment die-hard fans have waited on every night of this tour, even if they weren’t at the show. “All Too Well,” a deep cut from Red, is the song she chose to include in the Netflix special. Taylor even spoke about the impact that her fans’ relationship with the song had on her own relationship with the song.
She then makes her way through a walkway flanked by adoring fans, hoping for one high five from their idol. The rest of the tour goers are not left hanging as her trek to the other side stage is soundtracked by the intro to the 1989 single, “Blank Space.” She takes the stage solo once more singing iconic lyrics like “darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.”
Taylor Swift then dons a full length cover up before complimenting her fans for dressing according to the lyrics of her songs. Behind a stationary mic, she begins singing “Dress” with select dancers using silk costumes and lights to recreate the Serpentine Dance. The performance concludes with a dedication to Loie Fuller, the creator of the Serpentine Dance in the late 1800s, who also paved the way for many artists in the process of patenting specific art forms.
Swift then makes her way back to the main stage in a skeletal snake cage while singing a mashup of two of her more lyrically aggressive songs; “Bad Blood” and a country throwback “Should’ve Said No.” The band plays out the song as Swift dips back off stage for another outfit change. She reappears from behind the massive screens wearing a long sleeve black dress with an asymmetric slit up one side to perform the sultry “Don’t Blame Me.” One of the best moments of the film and of the tour, Swift displays her growth as a vocalist as she easily glides through the vocal heavy song.
Swift makes her way over to a personalized piano where she plays a mashup of ballads, the first of which, “Long Live,” she dedicates to the fans. “New Years Day,” a heartfelt ballad about sticking around when life isn’t always pretty, rounds out the overall meaning behind The reputation Stadium Tour, just as it does on the album.
Taylor’s voice during the interlude reads her poem “Why She Disappeared,” (included in the target exclusive reputation magazines) which includes a vague description of Swift’s experience post the Kanye and Kim phone call leak incident. The captivating visuals are played in reverse, featuring Swift getting out of a convertible car, standing in the desert and releasing brightly colored smoke before Swift reappears on the main stage to sing the song “Getaway Car.” Swift dances across the stage, acting out lyrics from the song.
The penultimate song, “Call It What You What” features Swift in another bedazzled dress. The massive screens behind the stage reveal a giant mansion, with words targeted at Swift as her dancers reappear in pastel themed formalwear. Swift floats across the stage as newspaper confetti falls to the ground. The final mashup of the evening are two of Taylor’s most blatant call-outs to people who have dissed her publicly: “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.” The mansion projected on the screens explode as the fountain in the center of the stage actually spouts water.
By the end of the concert, fans are left satisfied knowing Swift gave them her all with this era. Filled with plenty of cuts to concert-goers in the audience, focus on Swift’s personal connection to her fans, and cameos from Swift’s friends both in person (Charli XCX and Camila Cabello) and digitally (Tiffany Haddish), Swift has given fans a gift that will hopefully hold them over until TS7.