Taylor Swift Brisbane Review @ The Gabba

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Taylor Swift at The Gabba. Taylor Swift at The Gabba. Image © Kalem Horn

Taylor Swift filled The Gabba in Brisbane for the final Australian date of her 'Reputation' Stadium Tour.


Broods and Charli XCX opened the show and kicked things off.

Broods were brilliant, their electropop sounds echoing through the stadium as Georgia (on lead vocals) displayed her ability to not only use all of the stage space effectively but also sing pretty damn well. You could tell she really felt the words she was singing. 'Peach' and 'Couldn't Believe' were crowd favourites.

While Charli XCX's set was filled with hits like 'Fancy', 'I Love It' and newie '1999', it wasn't nearly as impressive a performance as the previous one. She certainly got the crowd amped and ready to party, but substance was missing and at times it felt a little cheap.

Click here for images.

Taylor's show was – obviously – of epic proportions, with a main set piece of towering screens that lifted and moved side to side to make way for the singer, her dancers, and some smaller props too.

Taylor, who has made a slow transition from country to pop over the years, entered the stage triumphantly after a montage of Swift-centric news reports and headlines to perform '...Ready For It?'. With a back catalogue of hits strong enough to keep the hype at a high the entire night, she burned through her set with a tonne of energy that was seemingly endless. Props to her for being able to hold her own and keep 40,000-odd people cheering and screaming for two hours.

There were some great moments throughout the night such as an acoustic section where she played ‘Dancing With Our Hands Tied’ and a surprise rendition of ‘Starlight’ (from ‘Red’). There’s no doubt her die-hard fans truly see the performer through rose-coloured glasses, but there’s something about her and about this tour in particular (perhaps an air of pretentiousness?) that felt a little off; not relatable.

Taylor Swift KalemHorn2
Image © Kalem Horn

And granted, it’s not essentially a celebrity’s job to be relatable (hello, they're performing to stadiums of thousands of people) but it has certainly proven to be a positive and effective tool for many artists.

It’s a talent when a larger-than-life public figure is able to remove the shimmering glow around them for even just a while to be on the same level as their fans, who are standing on the ground below. Moments during the ‘Reputation’ Tour suggested that perhaps Taylor is making attempts at this kind of thing, but it hasn’t quite come to fruition just yet. At the same time, maybe she isn’t making attempts at all, which is also fine. You do you, Tay. At the end of the day, she's still selling albums and packing out stadiums.

Click here for images.

The songs on 'Reputation' suit a stadium setting... They're grand in scale and over-the-top in terms of their lyrical content, so an arena version of this wouldn't feel so good. Luckily, this entire tour has been stadiums only, which means no one would have been short-changed.

All things considered, this was a solid show. There was a healthy mix of old and new music, some huge inflatable snakes (for someone who claims not to love drama, she sure does address it a lot!) and a whole bunch of pyrotechnics, all of which came together to form a gig that admittedly felt a little cringeworthy at times but for the most part was tight and well-structured.

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