Taylor Swift review: The greatest pop performance to ever hit Wembley Stadium | Music | Entertainment

As soon as you hit Wembley Park tube station, through hordes of people trading friendship bracelets, adorned in glittering outfits, cowboy hats and personifications of her album covers, it’s clear: Taylor Swift has arrived.

Through the halls of Club Wembley’s Bobby Moore Lounge a DJ plays Taylor’s hits, a friendship bracelet bar has opened, I get an airbrushed tattoo of a cowboy boot, drinks flow, and the excitement builds viscerally.

It feels exclusive, but in many ways it isn’t. The multi-platinum star arrives in London for eight sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium. And when she hits the stage, she is humble – but powerful; saying as much and kissing her bicep to enunciate how this is her world and we’re just living in it. Even if it is just for a few hours.

Before long it becomes clear: This is the show of the century. Taylor has crafted an absolutely perfect display of her career, beginning as a teen reading from her diary to filling stadiums – and her Eras performance reflects that.

Speak Now is a wide-grinned bubblegum pop with sparkly outfits and cheesy dance routines. The Tortured Poets Department is a more grown-up version of her struggles; a break-up marred by borderless fame through Eckleburg’s eyes.

Across just over three hours, Taylor reminds her audience just why she’s the best in the business. She stomps through dance routines and uses moving platforms, emerging stages, purpose-built cabins and props while remaining pitch-perfect throughout.

Flames, fireworks, lights and smoke fill the stadium before being mercilessly drowned out by the relentless crowd’s screams. Whatever Kool-Aid she’s selling, Wembley Stadium’s 90,000 attendees have bought it and taken a swigg without a second to spare.

And it’s easy to see why: Her music is perfect in its own way. Blank Space, Look What You Made Me Do, Are You Ready For It?, 22 – they’re infectious, all-timer tracks. The stadium erupts anew at the dawn of each song and Taylor knowingly winks into one of the dozens of cameras pointed at her. She knows how this works, and she’s dialled it in perfectly.

That’s perhaps the most displacing piece of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. We’ve all seen the viral videos of her quirky moments on stage over the past year… except they happened to me, too. Dancer Kameron Saunders yelling profanity during We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, her elongated applause moment, “Karma is the guy on the Chiefs…”, and her spicy references to relationships old and new – it all felt generated, in a way. Cut and paste. Perhaps to give her fans a moment of intimacy or uniqueness.

However charming and exciting they are to watch and experience, they feel a little heavy-handed in the moment.

For me, the most frustrating part of it all is that Taylor doesn’t need these spoon-fed moments. She still has moments of intimacy and true craft, without trying.

These come in the form of her now-legendary “secret” set of acoustic/piano songs, which included a mash-up of Hits Different, Death by a Thousand Cuts and Black Dog.

This is where you see the majesty of Taylor’s talents really blossom. The pomp and circumstance are stripped back to allow her intricate wordplay to shine; the dazzling outfits become more elegant, and her limited vocal range stretches as far as it can. This set is proof that the foundation of Taylor’s fame wasn’t built on a lie.

Echoes of this are spotted during her Folklore and Evermore portion of the evening, touching renditions of My Tears Ricochet and Champagne Problems demonstrating a more mature, refined example of a country singer-turned-pop star. You’ll never find a more impassioned audience than the Swifties when the floorboards have been lifted and Taylor’s bleeding heart is beating for all to endure.

By the time the 1989 and Midnights eras roll around at the end of the set, however, you would have forgotten about any lamenting love songs. The air is static absolute. Taylor puts down her guitar pick and is a A Pop Star once again; an unstoppable force of nature that leaves 90,000 people bouncing off their feet as she references her boyfriend, Travis Kelce in Karma. At times, it feels like she needs even more room to really capitalise on the excitement she has generated over hours of non-stop entertainment. But, does it get much bigger than Wembley Stadium? 

It bears repeating: This is the show of the century. Regardless of whether you enjoy one or all of Taylor Swift’s Eras, nothing will ever match this level of spectacle, excitement, or precision.

Taylor Swift is playing London’s Wembley Stadium eight times in total before she brings her Eras Tour to an end. Get tickets below.

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