Taylor Swift will perform his first stadium show in Auckland tomorrow night. Joanna Hunkin saw the show in Sydney to feel what was coming.
When a giant fireball hit the night sky, explained Taylor Swift means business. Most players keep fires and fireworks for their big finals – but not Taylor. Only two songs on the Tour Reputation event, he brought heat – both literally and figuratively – when a big fire exploded up on a towering platform.
Opened with a hit chart last year … ready for that? Swift started a high octane event that never slowed down, because it worked through a complete list, featuring 13 songs from Reputation album, along with its biggest hits.
Tomorrow will be the first time Swift has ever performed a stadium show in New Zealand – and he has a lot of thought about this super-sized event.
When fans enter the Mt Smart Stadium tomorrow night, they will be greeted with white electronic bracelets, which will change color throughout the night, making the audience part of the stage show.
This, Swift later explained, so that he could see every fan of "moving, dancing and jumping" all night.
When Love story ringing at the beginning of the process, a sea of soft pink light bathing the crowd, echoing sweet, simple time when Swift was a teenager, making songs about young love.
The show was divided into seven rounds, with a brief interlude allowing Swift and his team to change clothes and performances. Each action brings an impressive surprise – whether it's a giant inflatable snake (to accompany Kanye's throw-throws Look at What You Make Me Do) or the silver frame cage that brought Swift above the crowd, led him to the second stage in the center of the stadium.
There he gave the biggest banger that night, joined on stage by his opening guests – English singer Charlie XCX and NZ own Georgia Nott from Broods – who helped Swift Shake it with uncontrollable excitement. This was a magical moment, followed by another standout, when Swift took his guitar to sing the acoustic version 22 – One of the hits he loves the most.
This is a rare rare moment in a whirlwind show, which sees Swift accompanied by a group of talented back-up singers, who dance loudly as they sing.
With strict choreography, everything about the show was trained and polished – including Swift's interlude. This, arguably, was the only disappointment of the tour – the lack of spontaneity or the desire to leave the script, even for a moment.
But with so many songs and moments that can be stopped to pass, that's a small complaint that can be easily forgiven. Especially when Swift gives the audience the signature blink and launches it to other people's favorites.
Swift is open about the fact this is a tour of his first global stadium and he wants to make it as special as possible for his fans. With a specially created 30m screen projecting every detail in close-up, he must have done everything to make sure no one missed a moment.
If you are considering bringing the young to Taylor Swift, here are a few things to consider before pressing "buy".
Although Taylor Swift's music is truly family-friendly, the music appeals to a diverse group of people and the Swift Army is very intense in its service. Be prepared to share the stadium with several colorful characters – many of whom intend to take advantage of that night, celebrate with a few bevvies and shake their tails.
The program is officially seated but no one will sit, so that small people may struggle to get a decent view of the action.
Also keep in mind, the Swift set is two full hours, following from Broods (who will take the stage right after 8pm) and Charli XCX, whose set will start around 19:00. Charli's music and stage persona are also a little more risky than Swift.
In Sydney, the Swift set was delayed by almost an hour because the passing storm caused problems. Finally, Swift took the stage in heavy rain, before finally ending well past 11:30 a.m. It was a long time for anyone to stand in the pouring rain, let alone children.
When you factor in traffic problems or public transportation, you will be lucky to be at home and in bed long before 1am. It was late at night for small children and ANZ Stadium Sydney is full of crying children who are too tired to lose the storyline. You have been warned.
Free public transportation for all Taylor Swift ticket holders and we advise you to use this.
Because of Swift's young fanbase, many concert audiences will be revealed by parents and collected after the show. In Sydney, this caused congestion, with all roads around the stadium jammed for more than an hour. At best, it is a waste of boring time. At worst, it's a very expensive Uber trip.
The special event bus will operate from 4.30pm, picking up fans from the following stops:
• Albany Platform A (stop 4228)
• Constellation Platform A (stop 4222)
• Sunnynook Platform A (stop 3219)
• Smales Farm Platform A (stop 3360)
• Akoranga Platform A (stop 4065)
The bus will also run from the city to Mt Smart Stadium from 4.55 in the afternoon, departing from the temporary bus stop on Quay St, between Commerce St and Gore St.
Who: Taylor Swift with support from Charli XCX and Broods
What: Reputation Stadium Tour
Where: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
When: Gates opens from 5 pm tomorrow
Plus: Ticket from Ticketmaster