Towards the end of the Reputation era, Taylor Swift was dropping some not-so-subtle hints that her seventh studio album would be coming a lot sooner than expected. Swift dropped the Reputation Stadium Tour concert film on Netflix on New Years Eve to tide fans over but this isn’t her first time turning her stage performances into a product that fans can enjoy from the comfort of their living room. Fans have already started speculating on what TS7 will be and what the tour will be like while Swift has begun work on her role as Bombalurina in the remake of the musical Cats. But until either of those projects are complete, here is a comprehensive ranking of all of Swift’s officially recorded and distributed concert films.
5 – CMT Crossroads: Taylor Swift and Def Leppard
Though not an official Taylor Swift concert movie, you might be wondering, “when the hell did Taylor Swift collab with Def Leppard?” Swift was just a month shy of releasing her sophomore album Fearless back in 2008 that would soon propel her into a household name. The then country sweetheart teamed up the classic rock household names for CMT’s Crossroads to perform some of their biggest hits like “Photograph,” “Hysteria,” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” while the band backed her through now classic Swiftian tracks “Teardrops On My Guitar,” “Should’ve Said No,” and of course “Love Story.” She was quoted by Joe Elliot as saying “If she was ever to do the show Crossroads, we were the only band she would ever consider doing it with.” Swift is clearly excited to be there and appreciative to be having her dreams unfold right in front of her. The DVD was released exclusively through Walmart, and is a fun novelty as a crossover between two disparate artists.
4 – Speak Now World Tour: Live
The Speak Now World Tour was Swift’s second headlining tour and allowed her the opportunity to expand on the dramatics in her stage performance. This era of her career is a fan favorite because of the theatricality over seemingly mundane topics. She brought her starry-eyed perspective in songwriting to the stage with full choreographed performances, dramatic staging, and of course, Swift breaking up a wedding to the album’s title track. At this stage in her career, Swift has become more comfortable in her artistry, incorporating covers and mashups of hit songs from artists like OneRepublic and Train. Although it feels wrong to put this era so low in the rankings, it’s only evidence that Swift’s main competition as a performer is herself.
3 – Reputation Stadium Tour
Swift’s latest tour was was a record breaking, critically acclaimed production that sold out at a significant number of it’s stops. Her first tour after several years out of the public eye, Swift has more hit songs under her belt than ever. She’s proven that she is an expert at crafting setlists that gets casual listeners screaming along to top ten hits while keeping the die-hard fans engaged with songs from her new album. Swift “Taylurked” her fans on social media to figure out what they wanted in the tour, including the return of the coveted “surprise song” slot (originating from The RedTour). This Netflix exclusive film gives fans who weren’t able to catch the show a close up of the intricately designed staging, while allowing those who went to multiple dates a chance to relive their favorite moments.
2 – The 1989 World Tour Live
With Swift’s official transition into pop, she was given a lot more room to play with her abilities as a live performer. The 1989 World Tour follows a similar formula as Journey to Fearless, once again highlighting on Swift’s personal relationships, not only with family and fans this time, but with many of her celebrity friends. She added special LED bracelets that color synch with the theme of each song and add to the immersive experience of the 1989 tour as a full production. This tour was Swift’s most ambitious to date and the film highlights the intricacies of each performance, confirming her as one of the most memorable live performance artists.
1 – Journey To Fearless
Journey to Fearless tops this list because it highlights the best of what keeps fans engaged with Taylor Swift. The Fearless era was the first real introduction to Taylor Swift as the world knows her today and is the beginning of her rise to global pop superstardom. The documentary premiered on The Hub as a 3 night television special and gives fans a look at her life both on and off the stage. The amount of information packed into this film, inter-spliced with video of Swift’s live performances during her first headlining tour, makes this as close as you can get to a comprehensive documentary on her, at the time, blossoming career.