The Taylor Swift Reputation Tour Diary: Stop One, Glendale

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images/TAS.
Taylor Swift's reputation tour kicked off yesterday. Here, her animatronic snake (just go with it) diaries about the experience.
Day one of the Taylor Swift Reputation Tour™ and I’m already so exhausted. Do you know how fucking hard it is to be a large, mechanised snake? Especially one who works for Taylor Swift? She works hard, especially when it comes to presenting snake imagery. It’s kind of her thing now. That’s why I’m here. I’m a third-act star — remember during the 1989 stadium tour when Taylor would recruit illustrious stars like Lena Dunham and Gigi Hadid to come on stage with her? That’s me, this time around, only I’m huge and a lot scarier. (At least, I’m scarier than Dunham. Gigi boxes, I think?)
First stop was Glendale, Arizona. There are a lot of highways and it’s very dry here. But Taylor wanted her opening night in Glendale, which, fine. Go ahead. Taylor wanted to start here because it’s the southwest and that’s close to Los Angeles but it’s not Los Angeles. (I hate LA. It’s so fake! I’m a mechanical snake.)
All in all, though, what a whirlwind. First, Taylor wore all black, which is really bold. She had these thigh-high boots with heels, too. The tour starts with a “media montage” of Taylor in the press. It’s like, oh my god, she gets so much press. The media should really stop paying attention to her, because it’s not like she wants attention, she just wants unconditional, universal love from the public, recognition from her peers and praise from critics!
The media mashup gave way to this story montage. Taylor tells the story, but it’s also about Taylor, if that makes sense. (Bear with me, here. I’m made of metal and stuff.) Her voiceover plays on top of a video of Taylor in the desert. Taylor says stuff like, “When she laid down on the ground, she dreamt of time machines and revenge and a life that was really something. Not just the idea of something. When she finally rose, she rose slowly, avoiding old haunts and sidestepping shiny pennies.” Sidestepping shiny pennies is very important for Taylor.
Naturally, she started with “...Ready For It?” because actually the whole point of that song is to serve as a concert opener. That was followed by “I Did Something Bad,” which is a very badass song. I didn’t enter until about halfway through the concert, when she sang “Look What You Made Me Do.” It was pretty iconic — during the song’s bridge, the two screens behind the mainstage opened and, whoa, there I was, a giant mechanical serpent.
And you know the iconic phone call moment in the song? That’s where Taylor announced that the Old Taylor was dead, R.I.P. For the Glendale stop, Tiffany Haddish performed that moment, answering the phone call in a video filmed months ago. Everyone loves Tiffany Haddish, how could you not love her in that moment? Some people would call that pandering, but Taylor’s too much of an artist for that. She’s so brilliant. I don’t have a brain.
Then, as if the night couldn’t get any better, Taylor’s BF Joe Alwyn was there. The gorgeous hunk from that movie! The long walk movie! He had on a hat, but we all knew he was there because Taylor pointed at him in the crowd during “Gorgeous.” He’s literally so gorgeous, even though I can’t really see because my eyes are made of tin.
I’m actually not the only snake in the tour. There are snakes everywhere. Little snakes on Taylor’s outfits. Big snakes on stage — there’s another cobra that’s hollowed out for Taylor to ride around the stadium in. Sorta like Glinda in Wicked, she rides around in a giant, macabre dead snake.
Why all the snake imagery? Taylor explained it all later, when she sang “Long Live.” That’s a song about combatting obstacles and ruling the kingdom and remaining relevant in the face of a lot of attention-grabbing controversy.
“I guess with the snakes, I wanted to send a message [to] you guys that if someone uses name calling to bully you on social media, or even if a lot of people jump on board with it, it doesn’t have to defeat you,” Taylor told the crowd. She doesn’t have to let Kim Kardashian’s indirect emoji name-calling get her down!
Here’s the thing. Taylor can totally ignore the fact that Kim Kardashian (and Kanye West) released incriminating audio footage of Taylor two years ago. She could let the fact that Kim Kardashian basically called her a snake — dispatching a flurry of snake emojis to Taylor’s Instagram — go! If Taylor wanted, she could just brush this under the rug and let us all forget about it. But she doesn’t! She harnesses it for power. She brings it up all the time so that we keep talking about it. Every time you see a snake, you can’t help but think about how Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian are still locked in a really confusing feud. Now, that’s power.
And it’s not as if Taylor can’t resolve feuds. She just did yesterday, when Katy Perry sent her a literal olive branch (sigh.) to congratulate her on the tour. Taylor’s so zen, she didn’t even lift a finger. She let it resolve itself by having Katy supplicate at her feet, you know?
Speaking of supplicants, early on, Taylor brought out her opening acts Camila Cabello and Charli XCX to sing “Shake It Off.” That’s called girl power.
The whole concert ended with bloopers from the making of the stadium tour. “Bloopers” included footage of Taylor making jokes during rehearsal. Normally, you wouldn’t make bloopers for a live performance because bloopers refer to discarded footage from a film. But Taylor’s very funny that way.
Next stop is Santa Clara, California! Until then, I’ll be in a giant bus, not doing anything because I’m just a prop! Hiss!

More from Pop Culture

R29 Original Series