Damn, that was one hell of a show. Taylor Swift, the instantly recognisable Pop/Social Media Superstar rolled into Auckland for a one off show. Her second to last concert of her hugely successful Reputation World Tour, and boy, did she bring the ‘wow’ factor on a drizzly Auckland night. The weather certainly didn’t deter the army of ‘Swiftie’ fans who were treated to a spectacle on a scale that has never been seen before in New Zealand.
Maybe it was the stunning pyrotechnics show, rating higher than Auckland Sky tower’s New Year’s fireworks display (seriously Auckland Council sort it out) or the ridiculously behemoth of a stage rig that rivalled Auckland City’s skyline, it was insanely big. The giant screens blaring video snippets of the singer with fans, giant inflatable snakes, giant speaker stacks that seemingly touched the sky. It made the recent tax payer paid Harry & Meghan trip look like chump change.
Fans were treated to songs off her Reputation Album, as Joan Jett & The Blackhearts classic Bad Reputation gave way to the singers auspicious stage entrance, as the crowd cheered the stage exploded into a visual feast, her dancers cavorting around her like fireflies as she launched into Ready For it, I Did Something Bad and Gorgeous, all executed with precision. Fans of her older ‘Country-esque’ works were treated to a medley of that included Love Story and You Belong To Me.
She reflected to admire the crowd remarking that ‘rain’ concerts were “Beautiful, exquisite and wonderful” sporting the ‘wet look’ didn’t distract from her looking stunning in costume changes, at one point Kiwi band Broods’ singer Georgia Nott and Pop Star Charli XCX joined her onstage for a stirring rendition of Shake It Off, after which, everybody was now in Party-mode. Of course she talked about her video she made in New Zealand, while scoring brownie points with the audience singing a stripped back version of Out Of The Woods.
Swift is a true professional, no doubt about it. It’s probably the most grandiose gig I’ve witnessed. Taylor Swift is not just a concert, her show is a full on musical production. To be honest she could probably grab a few Tony Awards to go with her ten Grammys. While she may not possess the powerhouse vocal range akin to Aretha Franklin or Jessie J, Swift still holds her own, although I wonder if songs like the Gospel styled Don’t Blame Me would have benefitted a more Bluesy timbre.
Her style maybe grafted from Country Music but her voice is truly honed for Pop. None more apparent than on her hits Bad Blood or the Fergie-esque sounding Look What You Made Me Do. Donald Trump may be saying he now likes Swift’s music “about 25% less” after her backing the two local Democrats representatives from her beloved Tennessee, but after last nights performance, I don’t think she’s going to lose any sleep. In fact given her affinity with New Zealand, I wouldn’t be surprise if he she decides to return for an eighth time and set up shop here.