It was a hot and humid Tuesday night on the week school started in the Tampa Bay area, and over 50,000 Swifties, parents and dates showed up for one of the biggest shows of the year! There was an array of costumes such as Frozen’s Olaf, the 2009 MTV Awards Taylor Swift with a live MTV Moonman, and even a unicorn were in attendance! Little girls dressed like princesses and Taylor in miniature. There were signs of all kinds. There is something about the open air stadium concert even in the Florida humidity that brings a different energy than any other concert venue.
Kicking things off while it was still light outside was Charli XCX! She has opened on tours for Katy Perry, Sia, Halsey and now Taylor. Her sound is high energy electronic pop and the setlist included her 2017 hit “Boys” and she closed with her 2014 #1 hit with Iggy Azalea, “Fancy”. Charli had a lot of people dancing in the aisles while the crowd was still arriving and there was room for to make some moves.
It has been quite a year for Cuban born Camila Cabello! Her massive hit “Havana” co-written with Pharrell among others has been a monster hit all over the world from Australia to Argentina since its release in September of 2017! She opened with the emotional and sultry “Never Be the Same”. Her setlist including an Elvis Presley cover, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and the hit “Bad Things” recorded with Machine Gun Kelly. But of course, everyone was waiting to sing and dance along to “Havana” and she did not disappoint! A great ending to bring up the star of the show!
This tour is MASSIVE! A stage 110 feet high, it takes 82 tractor trailers to move from venue to venue! There are fireworks, pyrotechnics, 16 dancers and a staff who keeps everything running from sound to lights and in between. The opening video sequence of Taylor is accompanied by Joan Jett hit “Bad Reputation”. Taylor appears in shadow to “Ready for it”. The Swifties are in complete freak out at this point! During “I Did Something Bad”, we are treated to fireworks, pyro smoke stacks and light-up bracelets. The bracelets are synced in lights of red and white. Swift and the dancers work the stage, choreography is excellent but Taylor marches to her own solo beat at times.
During a solo at the piano, Taylor acknowledges that August 14th is the one-year anniversary of her sexual abuse trial. Emotional but clearly undertaking this message for girls and women everywhere, she shares her experience about this private yet public matter. Hopefully, Taylor sharing her story will help girls and women who are afraid to come forward and will think about Swift’s words. Swift puts her money where her mouth is by donating to sexual abuse organizations to help others.
Back to the show, she brings her pals Charli and Camila back to the stage for the girl-power trio to perform “Shake It Off”. She performs “Invisible” for the first time since 2008! Taylor has been dusting off tunes she hasn’t performed in years and bringing on special guests at some shows like Bryan Adams recently sharing the stage for his hit the “Summer of ’69”. Who can forget that Swift break-up song “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. No one will since it was an encore, it sticks in your head as you leave the stadium.
Taylor Swift came to Nashville and was signed at 14! Now 28, Swift has grown up in a very public eye. She has become a savvy business woman with a net worth of over $300 million as well as a role model for young girls everywhere! She is one of our biggest female singer/songwriters. I think her reputation is gonna be just fine!
Photos courtesy of Vicky Sullivan / Rock the Lens Photography