Taylor Swift Solidifies New “Reputation” During Houston Performance
With only two more dates to close out her Reputation Tour across the United States, Taylor Swift landed in Houston over the weekend to perform in front of thousands at NRG Stadium. Scanning the crowd, one might have had preconceived notions of what the audience would look like - females, tweens - but this crowd seemed different - diverse and welcoming. From father-daughter outings, to best friends experiencing an unforgettable night, to small children seeing their first ever concert, this night was filled with memories as diverse as the people in attendance.
The audience, not only connected by a love for “TSwift,” was also literally connected through an intricate network of thousands of bracelets provided to each patron upon entry. These devices glowed, changed colors, and flashed in sync with the entirety of the evening’s set and even for some time thereafter. From the floor, it was an incredible experience to look up, look around, and feel as though you were under a starry-night sky. From the upper decks, it was a welcome sight to see the stadium below move and sway alongside you to the rhythm of the show. According to Swift, she personally loved the light-up wristbands on this tour because they allowed her to see all of her fans (or at least their glimmer) in such large venues, whether it was the big spender’s in the front row or the die-hard fans up in the nosebleeds.
Opening the evening were two powerful female performers that complemented Swift’s performance perfectly: Charlie XCX and Camila Cabello. Though singing to an early-packed arena of eager fans surely waiting for Swift, neither artist had any trouble commanding the anxious audience during their sets. Charlie XCX appeared first, parading across the stage in translucent, futuristic garb that finely accompanied the retro green orbs housing her band just behind her. With crowd favorites like “Boys” and “I Love It,” Charlie XCX quickly elevated the crowd to their feet, where they would ultimately remain for the rest of the evening.
Shortly after the close of Charlie XCX’s set, Camila Cabello appeared and belted hit after hit to a stadium that had nearly reached capacity - only a mere hour before Swift was to take the stage. Though gallivanting considerably less across the massive X-shaped stage, Cabello’s voice was more than enough to compensate for her minimalistic movements. In further contrast to Charlie XCX, Cabello even slowed the tempo down considerably mid set with a delicate and somber rendition of “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” displaying her “hopeless romantic” side, as she put it. Not surprisingly, however, the crowd had no problem bouncing between energy levels and ultimately belting every word to Cabello’s majorly successful “Havana” and other higher energy songs.
Finally, as the opening performances drifted into the background, it became time for Swift to make her presence known. Setting the stage, literally, the 110 foot tall LED backdrop came to life and began playing a video montage that prepared fans for the experience of a lifetime. At the close of the video, the stage began to split in half, dead center, slowly, and reveal a hooded Swift walking out to center-stage with a mic in hand. The noise and screams of the stadium crowd were immediately deafening.
Photography by Marshall Heins II
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