Taylor Swift's Reputation Tour: This Timeline Will Make You Feel Like You Were There

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Photo: Emmanuel Hapsis / Instagram

Over the weekend, Taylor Swift played sold-out shows to a total of 110,000 people at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. Here's a play-by-play of what it was like.

7:00pm: You hop into your friend's car and start zooming down the peninsula towards Taylor. It's just like three years ago, when you two went to the 1989 tour (there's a timeline for that experience too). Actually it's nothing like that. 2015 was a simpler time for America and Taylor, to say the least. Back then, a Trump presidency and an emboldened neo-Nazi movement rallying around Taylor as the model Aryan was nothing more than a 4chan fever dream. Yet here we are.

7:10pm: Unlike the 2015 concert commute, you and your friend spend the whole ride debating Taylor's current precarious place in pop culture. You both agree that there have been more than a few unforced errors on her part, such as failing to read the room before releasing Reputation, an album whose main subjects -- dusty, petty feuds and a displeasure with the media -- veer uncomfortably close to the interests of a certain orange-faced world leader.

7:20pm: You both wish Taylor would have put aside her media hibernation strategy when alt-right sites started glorifying her to simply say, "Hi. Absolutely not into white supremacy. K thx bye!" But it's too late; the damage is done.

7:30pm: You debate whether either of you will put evidence of the night on social media. Three years ago, a post about attending a Taylor Swift concert meant: I enjoy mom-dancing to well-crafted pop songs produced by Max Martin! Now, it feels like a political statement. You decide to just shake it off have a good time.


8:00pm: You roll up to the venue and immediately spot tweens, teens, moms, dads, gays, you name it, in ceremonial garb. Two girls are dressed as cats with the lyrics "I guess I'll just stumble on home to my cats" on their backs. You smile at them.

8:10pm: The back of your jacket is embroidered with the Clarissa Explains It All logo. You realize this will be lost on this crowd, as most of these people were born after that show went off the air.

8:15pm: But look, not everyone is a decade younger than you! The boys you just parked next to are around your age!

8:16pm: OMG, DO NOT LOOK! One of them is a past fling! Even in a crowd that is majority pre-pubescent, never underestimate the risk of running into an ex. You pretend to look for something in the glove compartment until your neighbors move along.

8:20pm: After waiting an appropriate amount of time, you two get out of the car and start the trek toward the stadium, stopping to look at a replica of the throne from the "Look What You Made Me Do" music video. You feel too cool to actually sit on it for a selfie, before remembering that, as an elder Millennial at a Taylor Swift concert, you are in no way too cool for this photo-op.

8:25pm: As opener Camilla Cabello, your least favorite Fifth Harmony member, warbles in the distance, security makes your friend and all the other women in line dump all belongings out of their purses and into clear plastic bags. Tampons, vape pens, and other personal effects are now fully on display. But who cares? You are all family at this Taylor concert.

8:28pm: A woman runs up to you and gushes about your Clarissa Explains It All jacket. You feel less alone.

8:30pm: Once inside, you're on a mission to get as much wine as possible. The lines are DMV long. Your friend spots a beer kiosk that people don't realize also sells wine. You get two mini bottles each because you know how to party.

8:40pm: Getting onto the field is way harder than you realized. As Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" blasts, you worry that you won't make it in time. Thankfully, you spot what you think are your seats, just as the lights drop and the first beats of "Ready For It" hit the speakers.

8:41pm: Taylor's hooded silhouette appears and everyone loses their you-know-what. Gone is the Oh-my-gosh-y'all-I'm-so-shocked-you-paid-to-see-little-old-me routine. Dark and emo Taylor has risen.

8:45pm: Taylor greets the audience. Just like three years ago, you and your friend hope she refers to the crowd as the Bay Area instead of Santa Clara. She disappoints again.

8:46pm: Taylor introduces you to the band and every single backup dancer by name. You're touched that she would do this at the top of the show, instead of as an afterthought at the very end like most pop stars do. (It's also possible that you're not so much touched as starting to get tipsy, but who's counting?) You and your friend agree that putting a spotlight on the supporting cast is a way better look than trotting out a small army of model friends, à la the 1989 tour.

8:48pm: "I Did Something Bad" comes on. Taylor head bangs and says the word "sh-t." Thousands of little ears are covered.

8:50pm: Taylor makes up for cursing by plastering cute images of her cats all over the screens and performing "Gorgeous," a song that's essentially a Lisa Frank folder in musical form.

8:52pm: Taylor asks you to jump. You and your friend decline. Preventing your wine from spilling is more important.

8:55pm: "Style" comes on and everyone knows the words. This return to pre-Reputation music feels like a release. Ahhh, the days when Obama was in charge and the most controversial thing about Taylor was that she had a messy conscious uncoupling with Harry Styles of One Direction.

8:56pm: The girl next to you says something to you. You think, Aw, yay, she probably wants to bond over how you both wish Taylor had promoted this song more. Instead, she says, "You're in my mom's seat! Move!"

8:57pm: She's right. You were in the wrong seat this whole time. Finding the right one requires awkwardly squeezing against at least a dozen people. If strong side-eyes can hex a person, consider yourself cursed.

8:58pm: When you realize your actual seat is even closer than your previous spot, you make a Taylor-just-won-an-award-and-is-so-shocked face.

9:00pm: Taylor reaches even further back into her discography with a mashup of "Love Story" and "You Belong With Me." You get way too excited by the pink heart backdrop (this may or may not be related to the two mini bottles of wine, which are now empty under your seat).

9:05pm: Time to go back to grown-up Taylor with "Look What You Made Me Do," which both you and your friend agree was a horrendous choice for a first single. Taylor and her dancers play around on a weird golden see-saw, while an inflatable snake grows to 40 feet behind them. You love a budget.

9:08pm: The lights go dark and a video of a phone ringing plays. Tiffany Haddish picks up to deliver the "Old Taylor can't come to the phone right now. Why? Cause she's dead!" line. (Fun fact: these two became friends after they appeared on the same episode of Saturday Night Live. After Taylor referenced jokes from Tiffany's early stand-up days, Tiffany decided: "Oh, I like this b-tch!")

9:10pm: Ed Sheeran does not come out to rap his portion of "End Game." It's for the best.

9:14pm: No one seems to know the words to "King of My Heart," a non-single track on the latter half of Reputation. You are offended. And these ten-year-olds call themselves fans!

9:19pm: The time has come for the first Taylor TED Talk of the evening. During the 1989 tour, she covered topics such as dissociating yourself from what others think of you, and why people who wait four hours to text you back are the scum of the earth. The message this time around is how grateful she is that her fans understood that she needed to go away for a while and figure out what life would be like without a spotlight on it. "Thanks for being here when I got back," she says.

9:22pm: Taylor continues by talking about how brave it is to reach out for human connection and how everyone feels alone sometimes. Basically it's REM's "Everybody Hurts" as a soliloquy. Just like at the last tour, your friend quietly weeps, as does the girl who shot the video below:

9:25pm: Taylor ends with a thesis statement: Relationships are just delicate, you know? Then, her latest single "Delicate" starts to play (see what she did there?). Taylor gets into a light-up flying orb and travels across the stadium to a stage towards the back of the field. People are screaming louder than they probably did for the Wright brothers' first flight.

9:26pm: You're not above joining them. A demon takes over your vocal chords, compelling you to scream Taylor's name:

9:36pm: After a cute-enough rendition of "Shake It Off" with opening acts Charli XCX and Camila Cabello, Taylor grabs a guitar for acoustic takes on "Wildest Dreams" and "Dancing with Our Hands Tied." That's your cue to climb over a bunch of seats and run upstairs to find more wine.

9:44pm: Turns out that wasn't a great plan. "Blank Space," arguably one of Taylor's best songs, starts and you're missing it 'cause you just had to get even drunker around all these children. Oh, well. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ #NoRegrets. #YOLO.

9:53pm: You finally get back to your seat. By this point, Taylor has walked and high-fived her way across the field to another mini-stage. Confetti and mini newspaper front pages with Taylor's name all over them rain down. You lunge for one. It's just like Oprah's you-get-a-car-and-you-get-a-car moment, but instead of expensive vehicles, the gifts are pieces of paper you will most likely recycle before the end of the night.

9:57pm: A flying snake skeleton orb appears. Another demon takes over your body and compels you to yell, "GET IN THAT SNAKE!"

9:59pm: She does. It takes her back to the main stage, as she sings "Bad Blood." You're happy that Katy Perry, the song's inspiration, and Taylor have made amends with a literal olive branch. (Or have they?)

10:06pm: Taylor sits at a piano. You know what this means! It's time for another TED Talk! This time, she speaks about how she often catches herself in a moment like tonight and imagines that her 80-year-old self will look back on the memory with wonder. She also shares how she values being able to grow up alongside her fans. A wave of awwwws takes over the stadium. Taylor could easily start a cult.

10:20pm: After a few ballads, Taylor performs "Getaway Car," one of your personal faves.  You sing all the words really loudly. A five-year old standing on the chair in front of you turns around and judges you so hard. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate.

10:24pm: Taylor hits you with another slow jam. Your friend says, "This feels like a Billy Joel concert." Way harsh, Tai.

10:28pm: Taylor wins your friend back with perfect pop song "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." Would Billy Joel unleash fireworks and pyrotechnics while singing about Jake Gyllenhaal? I think not!

10:32pm: Taylor and her dancers splash around in a water fountain that appears out of nowhere to "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things." You hope and pray Taylor cuts out the part in the song that involves her guffawing.

10:33pm: Unfortunately, not only does she keep it in, but all her backup singers join her in over-the-top HA HA HAAAAA-ing. The second-hand embarrassment is thick.

10:34pm: The fireworks go into high gear! Your bracelet and the 54,999 others light up! Taylor waves goodbye! You all wave back!

10:35pm: You are out of breath, waiting for an encore, even though there wasn't one last time.

10:38pm: There is still no encore.

10:45pm: Your friend meets another elder Millennial in the bathroom. She tells your friend she doesn't want to wash her hands because Taylor touched her. You think of the time you met a soap star from The Bold and the Beautiful at a mall as a kid and refused to wash your hand for two days. Bad hygiene and stanning go hand in hand.

10:53pm: You make it to the parking lot. Taylor has left her mark on the crowd. A woman wearing a top hat and a sash that says "Bride to Be" is having difficulty walking. Nearby, two visibly wasted dudes share a vape pen. Chances are that one or all of these people will fall down before the night is over.


11:00pm: You recap the evening all the way home. Everything is great. Nothing hurts.