Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour
Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
Friday, November 9
Review by Astrid Austin
It's safe to say I was not "Ready for it".
Snippets of news segments flash across the screens, interrupted by a robotic voice, and high pitched siren. 'Reputation', ... 'reputation' ... 'reputation' reverberates though the stadium.
The stage, once shrouded in darkness, became alive, parting to reaveal Taylor Swift on stage, by herself, dressed in a sparkling black playsuit.
After a five-year hiatus, the Nashville songstress made a triumphant return to the New Zealand stage.
No holds barred.
Fireworks and streams of flames broke through the Auckland rain, while she strutted with the ease and confidence of a performer who knows how to put on an incredible show.
"I love you New Zealand," she professed.
By now, it had been almost seven hours since my two younger fanatic sisters eagerly dragged me to the stadium gates; two T-Swift bedazzled signs and handmade shirts in tow.
It had been weeks of preperation and months of having the songs forced down my throat. My younger self loving every moment.
The 14-year-old, who safely holds the title of biggest Taylor Swift fan, followed by the 10-year-old, enthusiasticly waved at the van load of dancers, swiftly driving through the heavily patrolled gates.
Another convoy of cars, with a blacked out vehicle in the middle, drove centimtres away - could it have been Taylor herself?
Now, you may be asking why the effort? At every single one of her concerts, without fail, Swift has her team, including Mama Swift (Taylor's mum) hand-pick enthusiastic fans to meet her after the show.
Sadly, that wasn't the case with us. But despite that, seeing the songstress on stage for the first time was enough.
British singer Charli XCX was the first opening act.
With people still filling in, she bounded on to the stage in a black PVC ensemble and backed by her three musicians, with green, alien planet-esque stage pieces.
"Hi Auckland, I'm Charlie XCX."
She played all her biggest hits; Fancy, Dirty Sexy Money and new single; 1999.
But undoubtedly the Kiwi audience was waiting for second opening act, NZ duo Broods. Lead singer Georgia Nott got emotional thanking the audience for their support.
She pumped up the crowd with her incredible hip-swinging dance moves and killer vocals.
With the assistance of her brother Caleb Nott rounding out their comparatively-diaphanous tracks, punters eagerly ate up their hometown-advantage performance.
But it was Taylor's time to shine. The setlist was heavy on tracks from Reputation, with performances of songs like I Did Something Bad, Look What You Made Me Do, and End Game.
However, she also peppered in some of her older bops which have stood the test of time. From her earliest tunes like Love Story and You Belong With Me, to her recent pop anthems Style and Shake It Off, Swift proved she is already a musical icon of the 21st century with a back-catalogue of hits to prove it.
There may not be an artist in this lifetime who quite manages to connect to thousands of people on a rainy night as well as Taylor Swift can – and that's the reputation she will be remembered for.