By Chris Tuite
SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — Country ingenue turned pop superstar Taylor Swift brought her spectacular new “Reputation Tour” to the Bay Area this past weekend, playing two packed shows at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
Her performance on Friday showed two things for certain. Taylor Swift is having fun again and she does not like being called a snake. The only thing more prominent than the singer herself during her current costume-change filled spectacle are the massive, vicious looking snakes that symbolically appear throughout the set.
Kim Kardashian famously called Swift a snake in 2016 in reference her reaction to Kanye West’s song “Famous” which Swift was not so elegantly mentioned. Not only did the insult catch on with people who flooded social media with echoes of the sentiment, the incident deeply effected Taylor personally.
According to the Washington Post, Taylor opened up about the snake situation on her recent tour opener in Glendale, Arizona.
“I went through some really low times for a while because of it,” Swift said from the stage. “I didn’t know if I was going to get to do this anymore.”
Swift was able to use the image of the snake and morph it into a symbol to show everyone how the whole situation made her stronger.
Friday night, the singer reinforced this and explained how she needed a break from everything after this situation to reflect on things. This is what this tour is all about.
Swift has been in the spotlight for a long time and, prior to this tour, she was finally able to sit back and get some perspective on how lucky she is to be able to perform for a living and look back on her career to this point.
“I want you to know you are the reason I do this. I want to thank you a million times for being here when I got back, ” Swift told the audience at one point Friday.
Swift dramatically opened her career-spanning set with her “…Ready For it?” single off of Reputation. Draped in a hooded cloak like a boxer being introduced before a title fight, the singer appeared amid clouds of smoke and cinematic lighting.
Accompanied by some wonderfully choreographed dancers decked out in elaborate costumes, Swift glided through the first part of her set concluding with ballad and fan favorite “You Belong with Me.” The massive stage with giant video screens and special effects showed why the “Reputation Tour” might be her biggest production to date.
Then Swift switched gears. The set shifted into “Look What You Made Me Do,” where in the first verse, she takes a stab at Kanye West.
“I don’t like your little games/Don’t like your tilted stage/The role you made me play of the fool/No, I don’t like you,” she sang. This was where the snake made its first appearance. A giant king cobra rose over her head as she confidently strutted on a golden and ironically tilting platform lined with snakes.
After “End Game” and “King of My Heart, ” the set kicked it up a major notch, launching into one of the highlights of night. Taylor slowly flew over the crowd on a golden carousel during “Delicate.” The light-up wristbands that every fan in the capacity crowd was given shifted all blue and provided a stunning atmosphere of tiny orbs contrasting the spotlighted Swift.
Her flight concluded at a smaller, more intimate stage near the back of the field. A massive, inflatable, rainbow colored snake with red eyes and a forked tongue literally slithered out of the stage and shook next to Taylor while the bracelets now flashed every color in the rainbow.
Taylor danced and hair whipped through “Shake it Off,” welcoming openers and budding superstars in their own right Camila Cabello and Charlie XCX to the stage to sing and share in the moment. Tons of fireworks shot into the sky above the snake’s head, colorfully exploding over the crowd of 55,000.
Taylor slowed it down a bit and grabbed her acoustic guitar to serenade the crowd with “Wildest Dreams” as the audience belting out every word with her.
After finishing her third song on the secondary stage, the singer hopped down into the crowd and ran up and down the aisles, giving high-fives to her adoring fans. She then climbed up onto a third stage where she offered two more songs including favorite “Blank Space.”
Swift finally made her way back to the main stage, flying in a snake-shaped enclosure that may have symbolized the transformation she has gone through in her career from a fun loving teenager in the carousel to a girl who is stronger and not putting up with games anymore.
A couple of platforms on different levels of the stage opened up where she appeared between her dancers with some effortlessly repelling and flying around her on “Bad Blood,” a song thought to have been written about her feud with once very close friend Katy Perry. A recent story emerged that Taylor and Katy have reconciled their friendship over the last week though, so a different perspective was put forth.
Swift carried on, dancing through favorites “Getaway Car” and “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and polishing off the set with “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” where she sung on top of a huge fountain that soaked her as another round fireworks added to the finale.
Swift seemed to enjoy every minute of the night and let her fans know how much they mean to her in parting, perhaps nodding back to all of the shows they have experienced together.
“I feel like I’m not alone,” she exclaimed.