Taylor Swift's reputation tour kicked off in early May. Here, her animatronic snake (just go with it) diaries about the experience.
The easiest way to keep your cool when you meet a celebrity is to do the following:
1. Be very still.
2. Nod a lot.
3. Say, "Oh, really?" when they say something you already know, like their name or what they do for a living.
4. Be a massive animatronic snake.
Yeah, sorry, if you're a human, I can't help you much. I actually get very anxious around celebrities, but I'm just a generally anxious snake. Comes with the territory — no one really likes snakes, and I'm already ungainly. (I'm approximately 15 feet tall, just lengths and lengths of metal and canvas exoskeleton.) This normally doesn't matter, because Taylor and Camila and Charli are like family. There's no such thing as a "celebrity" on the reputation tour.
But, at Taylor's Massachusetts shows this weekend, a number of celebrities materialized. They just do that, don't they? They just — poof! — into the room, and you're suddenly very aware that Hayley Kiyoko is standing nearby. It's all very well and good, and, if you're traveling with Taylor Swift, it's to be expected. (Last week, Emma Stone and Gigi Hadid came to the show. Egads!)
Hayley came Thursday evening, much to the delight of Swifties. Hayley and Taylor have a sort of bizarre media history. In an interview — actually with Refinery29 — Hayley used Taylor to illustrate a point about the music industry's aversion to queerness. (Hayley has been dubbed "Lesbian Jesus" and she frequently sings about women.)
"I’ve had several music industry execs say ‘You’re doing another music video about girls?’ I literally looked at them and was like, um, yea...Taylor Swift sings about men in every single song and video, and no one complains that she’s unoriginal," Hayley told R29.
This quote took off, prompting a mini-war between Swifties and Hayley's fans. Swifties felt like the quote was an insult to Taylor, who frequently sings about her relationships with men. (Although, as a largely genderless narrator here, I'd like to point out that her lyrics frequently don't go gender specific. See: "Gorgeous," "New Year's Day," and "So It Goes." Gender exists largely in our heads, and no one is working harder than your brain to reinforce it.)
Taylor defended Hayley on Tumblr, her preferred place of online communication. "We should applaud artists who are brave enough to tell their honest romantic narrative through their art, and the fact is that I’ve never encountered homophobia and she has," she wrote. "It’s her right to call out anyone who has double standards about gay vs straight love interests.”
Really, Hayley's getting the same sort of criticism that Taylor endured. In 2013, Taylor received a lot of attention for the fact that she sings about her relationships with men. (Sometimes famous men.) She pointed out in a 2014 interview with Time that, well, "No one says that about Ed Sheeran."
A lot of people write a lot of love-centric songs. In the words (lyrics) of Paul McCartney, "you'd think the world would have had enough of silly love songs." Alack, alas, we like them too much to let them go. What we do need is a variety of silly love songs, which is where Hayley — and Taylor, for that matter — can help. Hayley writes flirty rosé wave anthems for queer women. Incidentally, most of her songs can apply to men, too. These days, Taylor is also making love songs of a new variety. Both "Gorgeous" and "So It Goes" speak to female sexual agency — "scratches down your back now" and all that.
This is all to say, Taylor Swift and Hayley Kiyoko are more alike than they are different, and in an ideal world, they are treated with the same respect, dignity, and adoration. I would personally like to see Hayley do her own stadium tour in a few years. (I don't think she'll need a snake, but I would definitely go with her if she needed me!)
At the reputation tour, Hayley and Taylor sang "Curious," Kiyoko's buzziest song that is along the lines of "Delicate," actually. Hayley asks in the song: "I'm just curious. Is it serious?" (A.k.a. "Is it cool that I said all that?")
Also at this performance, Taylor sang "22," her tentpole 2013 single. That's one of my favorite songs, probably because it's unapologetically uncool, an area in which Taylor excels. I'm not cool — animatronic puppets rarely are — and "22" has always celebrated, at least for me, the type of fun that can obliterate the constraints of being "cool." It basically tells the listener that it doesn't care what the listener thinks. ("I don't know about you, but...") Plus, it has one of Taylor's self-mentions: "Who's Taylor Swift anyway?"
The other notable part of Taylor's stay at the Gillette Stadium was when Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds appeared. More celebrities! I love The Proposal and I love Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, so this is a very big deal for me. Blake and Ryan's daughter James appears on "Gorgeous" as the little girl saying "Gorgeous" in the very beginning. At the beginning of "Gorgeous," they cheered for baby James' voice. (Taylor revealed in the album notes that the voice is, indeed, James Lively, despite the speculation that North West had done it.)
Gigi Hadid also attended the Sunday evening show — she's a regular attendee of the reputation tour.
Finally, the surprise songs:
The fans — or just me, actually — are still waiting for her to sing "Last Kiss." The fangs wants "Last Kiss"!