Taylor Swift made it across the pond! The snakes here slither on the right side of the road. (That said, I am a mechanical snake. Not a real snake!) This is our first international stop for the tour! Cheerio! Taylor goes British!
Playing in Manchester has become an emotional opportunity for any artist, and Taylor had to address the events of last May, when a terrorist bombing during an Ariana Grande concert took 22 lives.
“What happened just over a year ago in this city was an attempt to steal that innocence and steal that joy, steal that excitement, steal that escape,” Taylor told the crowd. “Ever since then you've shown such strength and such exuberance. You've shown that you care. You've shown that you're never going to let anyone forget about those victims, and you've shown that you have such incredible resilience to keep dancing and to keep the innocence and to keep the joy and to keep the excitement. I just wanted to say, Manchester, it is such an honor to play for you tonight.”
It’s important to be reverent, especially in these times, when going to a concert is so fraught – and even potentially dangerous – for fans and performers alike.
For her first non-U.S. tour date, Taylor really took it back to basics. I think a stadium tour can connote massive, sprawling performances, but this wasn’t. Even with a giant, animatronic snake — actually, there are several of us! — Taylor manages to make the space feel intimate. For example, in Manchester, she sang an acoustic version of “I Don’t Want to Live Forever” (sans Zayn Malik, unfortunately). That track has the potential to be a real roof-raiser, but Taylor brought it down to a very intimate level.
Not to mention, do you remember “I Knew You Were Trouble”? That song is a blast — and I’m not just saying that because of Bruce, my ex. (He’s a building crane from Manhattan. He worked on the new Hearst tower. I don’t want to talk about it.) “I Knew You Were Trouble” was a turning point for Taylor because it really, really leaned into EDM.. It’s a pop song, not just a country song with Taylor’s pop-inflected voice. I should also add that it’s the first song I, a snake, heard and thought, ‘This is nasty and I will hiss to it tonight.’
Taylor sang an acoustic version of that song on the b stage at Manchester. Her guitar, by the way, is green like a snake. The acoustic renditions are always fun because the fans join in, really providing the backbone to the song.
It’s those little moments that make the tour feel special. Like when Taylor counts to three just before launching into the first verse of “Delicate.” Or when she stumbled over a chord progression before “New Year’s Day” and has to start over again. (“Whoops,” she said, “one second. we're going to start that over again.”)
Anyway. When Taylor sang “Gorgeous,” they totally had a moment. She pointed at him, and he took a photo of her. So cute! So gorgeous! I can’t say anything to his face! I actually can’t even talk, but that’s neither here nor there.
Lastly, did you know that Taylor doesn’t have a favorite song on pal Lorde’s Melodrama? That’s what she told fans in a pre-show meet-and-greet. For the record, during pre-show, I usually lie beneath the stage and take a nap. Taylor, industrious bipedal that she is, will go out and meet fans. Which I never do, because my fans are all also snakes. But, according to human fans, Taylor said she doesn’t have a favorite track on Melodrama. Instead, she says, it’s a “sonic journey.” And you can’t pick your favorite place from a journey! Like, I can’t pick a favorite stop on the reputation tour so far. It’s a sonic journey, okay?
Finally, here’s a video of me!