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Concert Reviews:
Taylor Swift boosts her live reputation at Ford Field

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2018

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DETROIT -- Taylor Swift told her fans at Ford Field on Tuesday night, Aug. 28, as confidentially as you can to a crowd of about 50,000, that her reputation Stadium Tour was her favorite yet.

And it was easy to see why.

Tuesday's show was the 28-year-old sensation's best and most well put together show yet, a seamless spectacle that successfully showcased her complete transition from country-pop charmer to contemporary pop/R&B diva. The visual carnival offered a nearly non-stop cascade of sensory stimuli, from epic dance choreography to inventive staging, well-placed pyrotechnics, confetti storms and video content on massive screens that dwarfed Swift and her entourage of 12 dancers, backup singers and musicians. And that's not to mention the giant inflatable and video cobras that popped up during the second and third "acts" of the nearly two-hour show.

It might have felt a bit long towards the end, but there was no question Swift -- who recently broke her own record for the highest-grossing North American tour ever by a female artist -- -- threw everything she had at her fans, much to their vociferous delight, during her fourth appearance at the stadium and first visit to the city in three years.

Swift also paid a respectful tribute to the late Aretha Franklin, lying in state just a few blocks away at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Calling the Queen of Soul, who once dissed her in a 2014 interview, "an irreplaceable force," Swift held a nearly minute-long moment of silence "so that every single one of us could reflect on our love and respect for (Franklin) and everything she did in her life."

During the rest of the night, however, Swift polished her own pop crown, playing a dozen songs from last year's "reputation" album and also delighting fans with a solo acoustic rendition of her 2008 album track "Jump Then Fall," in its first appearance on a set list since 2010 and, Swift said, the first time she'd ever performed it acoustically. She also fused some of her favorites together into medleys, such as the blending of "Style," "Love Story" and "You Belong to Me" early in the show, joining "Love Live" and "New Year's Day" as she played piano and closing the night with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and "This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" as a full-scale fireworks display went off behind her.

The visuals are what really left the crowd buzzing, however -- and many of those fans creating their own visual spectacle with outfits they sported especially (we hope) for the show. Playing on an angled stage with a general admission fan pit in front of her, Swift played with medieval imagery, including the aforementioned snakes, during the first part of the show, bringing out props such as a tilting platform for her dancers to navigate. A glittering, airborne carriage took her to one of two B stages at the back of the Ford Field floor, where Swift performed a buoyant "Shake It Off" with opening acts Camila Cabello and Charli XCX as well as her acoustic songs.

And it was also easy to lose track of Swift's costume count as she quick-changed her way throughout the night but certainly kept her dressers busy.

Swift has quite a bit on her future plate, with a role in the film adaptation of the musical "Cats" and a new record deal to negotiate. But on Tuesday night she burnished her, er, "reputation" as a live performer who knows exactly what to do with a stadium space.

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