Swift is the first artist to perform back-to-back shows at the U.S. Bank Stadium
Concerts aren’t just two-hour sets of singers getting on a podium and singing, it is artists in intricate attire performing on gargantuan stages, with massive budgets for concert production.
And there is no better way for an artist to express their story than visually showcasing their performance.
Charli XCX had already warmed up the massive crowd at the Vikings’ home, setting the tone for Camila Cabello. Donning a purple Vikings jersey, the crowd was ablaze as Cabello performed “Havana”, her biggest hit yet, not only because it was one of the more anticipated songs of the night, but also because it was almost time for Swift to come on the stage.
U.S. Bank Stadium was already lit by the bracelets fans were given when entering, making me feel as if I was out in the countryside, stargazing. Except that it was very loud.
From the position assigned to the photographers, I was still about 60 yards out from the two T-shaped stages that came out laterally from the center stage. The front of the stage looked as if it were a medieval castle. But to battle that, there were fans dressed in fantasy costumes, such as elves and pigs.
Amid the loud crowd buzzing endlessly, the enormous screen started playing snippets of Swift’s critics speaking of her reputation. It was a befitting beginning as newspaper-styled cutouts sporting Swift’s “reputation” album artwork were all over the stadium, on the floor, and the seats.
Then just as the snippets gained intensity, the screens went dark again.
The stage split open from the center, and Swift emerged silhouetted against the bright lights behind her, casting a strong shape, as if a cutout of Swift holding a microphone was placed in front of the sun emitting bright white light. Sort of. You get the outline.
The silhouette lost shape as Swift started off the first of the two nights with the strong, slightly darker “…Ready For It?” as the crowd roared uncontrollably.
By the second chorus, a troupe of backup dancers joined Swift at the center of the stage. The dancers’ strong body language was something to note, but Swift matching their intensity equally was something to notice.
Geysers of smoke exploded from the all sides of the stage as Swift mouthed “Are you ready for it?” to which the crowd responded by exploding in cheers.
But what beat the smoke was fire, which erupted from the top of the two laterally fused screens as Swift sang the chorus of “I Did Something Bad”. The heat from the fires was enough to warm a couple of apartments suffering a typical Minnesota winter.
It was already a theatrical pop masterpiece, if not more. Or maybe I am just an easy critic.
But when Taylor Swift’s publicist, Tree Paine, personally comes down to the photographer’s pit and explains to you what to expect from the first couple of songs in order for the photographers to be as prepared as possible to snag the coolest photos of Miss Swift, you have to admire the effort that is put in to uphold the reputation of one of the most beloved artists in pop music today.
Header photo by Mansoor Ahmad | MSU Reporter.