Just when you think you’ve seen Taylor Swift’s best fastball, she dials up another one and blows you away.
That’s exactly what happened on Friday night at Soldier Field during the first night of a two-show swing in Chicago. To be clear, 1989 is Swift’s best work. From top to bottom, it’s the best pop album of its era and among the best I’ve heard from any era. Her 1989 tour stop(s) in Chicago hit all the right notes and her Sunday show was hands down one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. Following perfection is difficult, but Swift’s reputation tour gave it the ol’ college try and the results were pretty darn good.
Friday night’s offering leaned heavily on her most recent album, which comes as no surprise. When you have a good album, you’re bound to have hit records that can carry your live show. “…Ready For It” serves as an able lead-off hitter at the top, while her renditions of “Gorgeous,” “Delicate,” and “Getaway Car” hit all the right notes. Even “Look What You Made Me Do” sounded great, in part because it sounds better over an outdoor stadium sound system than it did when you first heard it over your car’s radio speakers, computer speakers, headphones, or wherever you heard it.
The song that put the show over (at least for me) was “Dress.” Swift purrs her way through her most seductive track (that’s totally NOT about Ed Sheeran 😉) as if to say, “Yeah, you didn’t think I had it in me did you? Well you were wrong. Surprise, bitch.”
Swift’s throwbacks were great too, as they brought balance and a certain bounce to the show. The “Style”/“Love Story”/“You Belong With Me” medley set some good vibes early. Splicing “Bad Blood” and “Should’ve Said No” had me in my feelings (in a good way) for a moment. And the transition from “Long Live” into “New Years Day” was as good as it gets and probably my second favorite moment of the night. (Bonus: If you’re a Cubs fan, listening to “Long Live” after the 2016 World Series run gives the song a whole new meaning and you can really feel it if you hear it live.)
Like any good Swift show, it closes strong with a sing-along that has everyone leaving on a high note. Good luck not singing “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” on your walk out of the stadium.
As expected, the tour production was great. The return of the LED-lighted bracelets — a staple from the 1989 tour — was a nice touch. As were the giant snakes, which were chuckle-to-yourself funny. The second stage that extended out into the south end zone at Soldier Field added a different dynamic to the show. It made a show that had 50,000+ in attendance feel inclusive.
Swift puts on a good show from beginning to end. There’s energy throughout and the acoustic playing of some her songs provide necessary breaks in the action. If you like Taylor Swift, you’re probably going to enjoy her show. If you don’t, I’m sure someone else that you like is playing somewhere at some point this summer.