Taylor Swift is certainly a gal with a big reputation, but she let nothing but her talent shine at Ford Field in Detroit on Tuesday.
Fans were greeted at the door with light up bracelets to hold high and add their own ray of shining light to the sea of Swifties in the crowd. Fans of all ages dotted the stadium. Several dressed up as characters from different Swift music videos and performances (I even saw a lady with plush kittens sewn to a robe…!) The costumes were no less than creative to honor their musical hero, covering the entire musical spectrum of Taylor’s incredible career. Taylor’s lucky number “13” was everywhere as well (including my own hand).
Joining Taylor on the gigantic tour are stellar artists Camilla Cabello and Charlie XCX, each arriving with exceptional musical reputations of their own.
First to the stage was the beautifully talented Charlie XCX. Charlie burst onto radio waves, into headphones, iPhones, and any possible musical presentation imaginable with the inescapable “Boom Clap” in 2014. Dressed in white denim, she started the evening with the smash hit. She got the crowd cheering when she welcomed everyone to the reputation Stadium Tour. “Are you guys excited to see Camila Cabello? Are you excited to see Taylor Swift?”
Next up was the fiery Camilla Cabello. Having rose to the musical scene spotlight with Fifth Harmony, Cabello has branched out and into her own with tremendous songs like “Havanna” and “Never Be The Same”. Camilla waved, smiled, and blew kisses to several fans when her set began. Dressed in a football jersey that sported her last name along the back, she addressed the crowd, “I’m from Miami, can we make it a little hotter in here?” With great dance moves, and a fun vibe, she encouraged the audience to sing along with her.
It was obvious several fans had also come early to see Charli and Camila as they sang and danced throughout each set.
Ford Field’s energy was electric as the time for Taylor’s set drew near.
Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” played across the stadium, starting Taylor’s night solidly before she even emerged.
The lights dimmed, and a brief video showcasing certain career moments and whispers began. The massive screens parted ways for Taylor to appear, covered in a glittering hood. Smoke rose from the stage to the beat as “Ready For It” began. Ford Field was most assuredly ready for Taylor’s set to begin! Fans throughout the packed stadium sang along from the very first note.
A dancer removed Taylor’s sparkling hood, and she moved into “I Did Something Bad”, another terrific track from “reputation”. Her strong attitude and ample expressions emphasized the song’s feel. Toward the end of the song, Taylor and her backup singer chorus echoed, “Light me up, light me up” as dancers raised her high above the stage.
When the song ended, Taylor greeted the crowd with, “Well good evening Detroit, and welcome to the reputation Stadium Tour!” The audience erupted with cheer. She continued, “I’ve been touring since I was about 15 years old and since that point in time I’ve played twenty shows in the great state of Michigan, which is like touring way of saying I really love you guys and we keep coming back to see you.”
She continued, “It’s not like you just know the words to the songs, you guys are screaming the words to the songs and I really appreciate you doing that. It’s just a beautiful thing that you would be that passionate. You know, it’s actually more than beautiful. Do you know the word for something that’s more than beautiful? What’s the word for that, Detroit?” Immediately, “Gorgeous” began. Before the final verse, she took a minute to introduce the gorgeous gals on her tour.
Next during “Style”, she encouraged the crowd to make some noise for her band, and transitioned into “Love Story”.
“Detroit, let me see you jump!”, she exclaimed.
A video montage soon began in which Taylor climbed onto a tall throne of snakes. With a wink, “Look What You Made Me Do” started. Taylor was set on a tilted stage of her own. A giant snake rose tall above the stage.
Toward the final chorus, Taylor’s SNL counterpart, Tiffany Haddish appeared on screen to inform an unknown caller, “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh! Cause she’s dead!”
The set continued into two more tracks from “reputation”, “End Game” and “King Of My Heart”.
Upon concluding, Taylor began speaking on one of the most powerful local heroes… Aretha Franklin. In a touching moment, Taylor reflected that Aretha did so much for music, for women’s rights, and for civil rights.
“She was one of those people where no matter what we said, no matter what glowing positive thing you said about her, it would be an understatement. Words could never ever describe how many things she did in her lifetime that made our world a better place, and this is her home. I would like it if we could have a moment of silence so that every single one of us could reflect on our love and respect for her and everything she did in her life, so could we please cut the lights and have a moment of silence for Aretha?”
Everything went dark for the moment of reflection.
After a minute, Swift stated, “We love you, Aretha.”
With a beautiful, sparkling rainbow dress, she began into “Delicate”. Swift entered a golden enclosure, perfect for the new album’s golden theme. She soared above the audience, serenading the crowd, as she made her way to one of the venue’s two smaller stages on the other side of the stadium.
The crowd was ready to dance as soon as “Shake It Off” began. After the song’s first chorus, she welcomed the incredible openers back to the stage. Charlie XCX and Camila Cabello joined the shining superstar to dance and shake any blues away. Rainbow confetti popped, and showered the stadium with colorful fun, adding a perfect celebratory touch.
Dressed in a glimmering green reputation jacket, Taylor continued her open dialogue with the audience.
“You may notice something about your outfit… you may notice a light up bracelet on your wrist”.
She told the crowd that this is her first full on stadium tour, and though they are really massive, vast places to play, she wanted the bracelets to illuminate each fan.
“I really wanted to be able to see every single one of you in this place. The last section, the last row, I can see you, and that makes me really happy. I can see when you’re jumping around. I can see when you’ve got your hands in the air. I can see you dancing”. She started into “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” with just her acoustic guitar. Her skill as a musician was on full display.
Next she happily told the crowd, “This tour is the most fun I’ve ever had in my whole life. One of the things that’s been so fun about it is every night I’m getting to have a moment with you guys. Just me and a guitar. I hope that’s ok with you…”
The audience cheered and applauded, answering a resounding “Yes!” without having to speak now a single word.
“I’ve been doing different songs than I usually do, songs I haven’t played in a really long time, or maybe songs I’ve never even played acoustic. I’m pretty sure I’ve never played this song acoustic live.” She smiled and noted, “If I’m wrong about that, I’m sure the internet will remind me later”. She began into a stunning version of “Jump Then Fall”.
When the song wrapped, Taylor made her way along a barricade that connected both smaller stages. She grabbed fan’s hands while beaming a glowing smile to everyone along the path. Taylor absolutely radiated confidence and endless love for each fan in attendance the whole night through. Despite the show’s larger than life size, Taylor still managed to give the evening a personal feel, making every single fan feel so welcome and so special.
Once she made her way to the second smaller stage, she started into “Blank Space”. It was truly spectacular to see an artist taking the time to play to each part of the stage, no matter how small.
“In this crowd, I’ve seen some ensembles. The effort you’ve put in is top notch! I’ve seen a lot of people wearing things that correlate to a lyric of a song. I feel like I need to get on your level, and so I’m going to wear a dress while singing a song about a dress…”
She slipped on an airy black dress to emote the honest and beautifully written “Dress” from her latest album. Once arriving at the song’s last line, “Only bought this dress so you could take it off”, she slipped off the dress as the lights dimmed. The attention to detail she paid to each song was second to none.
During “Bad Blood”, Taylor made her way back to the main stage via a soaring skeleton cage transport. She also included a mix of “Should’ve Said No”.
Swift then started into the vocal masterpiece, “Don’t Blame Me”. Screens that showcased the stage were shaped like arches, emphasizing the song’s religious feel. Backing vocalists joined in, adding as much power to the live show as the song has on “reputation”.
After a wave of applause, she took a seat at a beautiful piano. Taylor touched on her gratitude for all of the folks making the tour possible, those that leave their families to drive the trucks and build the stage. She even thanked all of the people in Detroit who helped put the show on from the security teams to workers doing parking, selling t-shirts, selling food and water…
“I want to thank everyone here in Detroit who helped us do this because this stage did not put itself up and I’m so lucky to get to be on it.”
She then reflected on how unreal it is when people remind her of the passage of time.
“When somebody comes up to me and says, ‘I’ve been listening to your music since I was 8’, and I’m looking at an adult saying that to me… No matter how many times somebody says that, it’s still really surreal. When somebody tells me that I’ve been more than a year long phase in their life, I really appreciate that. I want to sing a song that I wrote a while ago, but for me, it’s always going to be about you”.
With just her lovely voice and piano, she started into “Long Live” from 2010’s album, “Speak Now”. Concert-goers waved their wristlets in the air, and many embraced.
With an adjoining “confetti falls to the ground”, she started into “New Years Day”.
After, the stadium was silent as another video began. Taylor was standing in the desert, different moments flashing by, as she read a sharp, poignant, honest, and vulnerable poem.
“Getaway Car” commenced. A backdrop continued landscape expanses, emoting words from the song spotted in neon.
Next up she sang, “Call It What You Want”. A lovely fountain was set up center stage, as white confetti shot up over the stadium. Adding a personal touch at the end of the song, Swift flashed a peace sign, or two right in line with, “Call it what you want to”.
In a purple sequined dress, Taylor began into a medley of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”. All of the performers closed out the night with an absolutely epic party! Bracelets sparkled bright in the stadium, fireworks shot up from the top of the stage, and even the water in the fountain danced along.
“Thank you Detroit! We love you so much!”
Clearly ever-grateful for each person with her onstage, Taylor encouraged the crowd, “Please make some noise for the dancers. Make some noise for the singers!” She formed a line with everyone and they all bowed together. After asking the audience to “Give it up for the band”, she ran to both sides of the stage, bowing again.
Once Taylor had disappeared from view and the music stopped, “And in the death of her reputation, she felt truly alive” graced the screens.
The old Taylor might be dead and unable to come to the phone, but the snake-clad goddess who has taken her place sure puts on one exceptional show.
Taylor has continued to evolve right before our very eyes stylistically and musically as an artist, as a person, and as a beautifully powerful force to be reckoned with.
With any amount of negativity thrown her way, or any jab at her reputation, Taylor has remained an entertainer who truly epitomizes class, talent, generosity, and above all, magnificent songwriting.
The Ford Field stop of her tour left no doubt as to why she’s one of the world’s most successful artists, and one unafraid to take risks.
The reputation Stadium Tour will continue with nine more shows in the United States, before heading overseas through November.
Review and photos by: Tiffany Cuthrell
Michigan native rockers, Greta Van Fleet released an incredible new single, with the full support of the mitten state behind them. The single “When The Curtain Falls” dropped on Tuesday July 17th at midnight via the band’s social media outlets.
With catchy riffs and powerful vocals, the Frankenmuth fellas present a track that does not disappoint, and sticks true to their sound. The band has been making waves with their undeniable throwback presence, selling out shows left and right.
The single is surely a sample of great things to come, as the band is set to release their debut full-length album at some point this summer.
Greta Van Fleet will be performing on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” on Thursday July 26th.
Be sure to check out their performance, and stay tuned for more great music coming from a band that’s certainly doing rock ‘n roll right.
Review by Tiffany Cuthrell, photo by Travis Shinn
Michigan heroes, Greta Van Fleet put on an absolutely tremendous show at the Fillmore in Detroit on Tuesday May 22nd.
The sold out evening was the first of three shows that the band is playing at the same Motor City venue this week. Shows will continue on Wednesday and Friday, and are likely to be just as packed.
Beginning the night was awesome Los Angeles band, Dorothy.
With a beauty and power that would match her voice, the band’s namesake started off the night lighting what I’m fairly sure was a Palo Santo wood (olfactory sensations being one of the least of the night’s practiced). The audience responded with overwhelming cheers as the set began.
Dorothy Martin made sure to shout out to Detroit rock city, sharing love with the crowd.
Right before “We Need Love”, Dortohy went acapella singing the word “Love”, and encouraged the crowd to echo back her vocals.
“Close enough,” she said with a smile.
The gorgeous lead singer in fact went acapella a few times, showcasing her powerhouse voice. For the set’s duration, she was joined on stage by four fellows on guitar, bass, and drums.
A highlight of the evening was their performance of “Flawless”, where the band backed Dorothy with great harmonies. During the tune, several audience members put their hands up and swayed to the song.
At the end of their set, Dorothy asked the crowd, “Are you ready for Greta Van Fleet?” After a resounding cheer she continued, “This is a song about freedom. We’re all connected. We’ve got to take care of each other. They can’t control us when we come together and realize we’re one big family”.
Dorothy closed out their evening with “Freedom”, and blew a goodbye kiss to the crowd.
After Dorothy wrapped up, the stage reconfiguration began. After a while, the excited crowd started chanting, “Gre-ta, Gre-ta!”
Once setup was complete, the lights dimmed, and the four gentleman from Frankenmuth took to the stage. With old school amps and rockstar attire, Greta Van Fleet looked every bit the part.
Lead singer Josh Kizska, started off the night singing hometown sentiments. He had a handful of beautiful white roses, and handed them out to fans in the audience. Ladies in the front row were positively delighted at the sweet and classy gesture.
Greta Van Fleet wasted no time in getting straight to the rock! They began their set with the massive song, “Highway Tune”. The audience hung on every note, and the trend continued throughout the evening.
All four members exuded well-earned confidence, that paired perfectly with the precise rock they delivered. Josh Kiszka’s ubelievable voice absolutely soared throughout the theater.
GVF attracted a diverse demographic of young new faces, as well as older rockers who apprecaite the music of yesterday. It seemed every audience member was aware of how big this band will be, as they breathe new life into the rock gods of old.
The band effortlessly translated their two EPs from studio to stage.
Greta Van Fleet has been making giant waves in the music world after the release of “Black Smoke Rising” and “From The Fires”.
In a recent Australian interview, the legendary Robert Plant actually described Greta Van Fleet as “Led Zeppelin 1”, joking that Josh Kiszka borrowed his voice from someone he knows quite well.
Any necessary Led Zeppelin comparisson aside, GVF absolutely put a stamp and portrayal to their performance that was all their own.
The band showed off their talents with super chemistry and fluidity onstage. Right off the bat, guitarist Jake Kiszka hung his guitar over his shoulders and impressively played without looking.
After the band’s own “Flower Power”, Sam Kiszka (who traded off bass and keyboard duties throughout the night) shined with an extended keyboard solo at the end.
Around mid set Josh Kiszka noted, “I see a lot of friends, a lot of familiar faces. It’s our family out there tonight, too! We’d like to thank everyone for being here.”
It was obvious that despite their quick rise into the spotlight, Greta Van Fleet was grateful for the attentive audience.
Josh Kiszka at one point asked the crowd, “Do we have any blues lovers out there?” The band started into an incredible Howlin’ Wolf cover of “Evil”.
At the conclusion of their set, the band carried notes from “Safari Song”‘s riff, hinting at things to come, and that the evening wasn’t quite done.
Ending out with “Lover Leaver Taker Believer”, Greta Van Fleet exited the stage… but the crowd was hungry for more. The theater was positively alive with cheers for GVF to re-emerge. That cheer only got louder when, with a wave, the band came back to the stage.
The audience sang and jumped along to “Black Smoke Rising”. Last but not least, GVF closed out the night with giant track, “Safari Song”. During the closing chorus, Josh Kiszka held out his mic for fans to sing along. The band closed out with an incredible drum solo that built into a rhtymic crescendo. After which, each band member wailed on their instruments, and made sure to thank the crowd one more time.
Greta Van Fleet is sure to ignite the continued crowds in Detroit, and all of those throughout the rest of their tour. The band will be continuing to tour North America and overseas well through the summer time.
Words and photos by: Tiffany Cuthrell
AWOLNATION put on a magnificent show at the Fillmore in Detroit on Tuesday February 13th.
The band is touring to spotlight their brand new album, “Here Come The Runts”, which was released on February 2nd.
Beginning the night was the tremendous band, IRONTOM. Comprised of some AWOLNATION members, IRONTOM brought high energy, rock, and catchy songs that made a memorable impression.
Lead singer Harry Hayes was an exceptional showman, ever dancing and gesturing, while smiling a warm smile.
The LA gents are touring in support of their latest album, “Partners”, which made its debut last summer. They made sure to include tracks from the new release, and encouraged the crowd to sing along, especially during “No matter what”.
The title track, “Partners”, was certainly an indelible highlight.
The band exclaimed, “Detroit! We’ll be at the merch booth, we’d love to meet you!”
True to their word, the band stuck around to meet and greet fans abound. They even had a few free pins to give out.
They closed out their night with “Be Bold Like Elijah”, inspiring the crowd to put their hands up.
They made a tremendous pairing to both bands that were yet to come.
Next up, Nothing But Thieves charged through their set.
“We are Nothing But Thieves from London, England!”
Early on, lead singer and guitarist Conor Mason apologized to the audience, making it known he had the “worst cold ever”, but with the absolute power of his voice, it was impossible to tell.
The band filled up the stage with both prescence and sound – sonically in the same vein as greats like Royal Blood and Queens Of The Stone Age, yet with a rocking, unapologetic vibe all their own.
Nothing But Thieves also invited fans to come say hi at the merch booth, “If you loved our shit”. The crowd was full of loyal fans, dancing and singing along throughout the set.
The band also encouraged fans to make some noise for their predecessors, IRONTOM.
Though their set was short, their impact was most assuredly strong.
AWOLNATION’s set started just before 10 PM. Under dim lights, the mood was set with a south of the border intro. The stage was furnished with all the makings of an AWOL living room, complete with area rugs, snake plants, cacti, and a wooden backdrop.
Casting a sharp shadow, lead singer Aaron Bruno stepped to the mic with a wide-brimmed hat and a serape that read simply, “The Runts” across the back. Soon into the set, Aaron shed the serape, and hung his hat on a nearby cactus.
The band hit hard with high energy from the start with the lead track off of their incredible new album, “Here Come The Runts”. Guitarist Zach Irons shredded and jumped about, each member of the band an absolute rockstar.
Next up, AWOL jammed out “Hollow Moon”, a track from their last record, “Run”. The audience was sufficiently amped, dancing and singing along to every word.
Back to back, the band kicked out more jams from their latest album with singles “Seven Sticks Of Dynamite”, and radio giant, “Passion”. They made sure to include a seamless transition into short track, “Sound Witness System”, sans its introductory rap.
Next, the band began a somewhat stripped down version of a magnificent song off of their first record, “Kill Your Heroes”. Before the song they exclaimed, “Detroit, we love you more than you could possibly know!”
During “Guilty Filthy Soul”, AWOL got everyone clapping along, and encouraged the audience to put their cell phones high in the air.
Before “Table For One” from their latest album, Aaron Bruno expressed a heartfelt introduction.
“This song is about falling so deeply in love with one of your friends that it just breaks your heart… just like it is going to break my heart to leave you guys tonight. This song is called ‘Table For One'”.
Aaron picked up a bouquet of flowers in one hand, and placed a rose between his teeth. He handed the bouquet to a fan in the front row, and tossed the rose into the crowd. A lovely gesture, on the eve of Valentine’s Day.
During “Miracle Man”, Aaron jumped into the pit and reached out his hands into the crowd, being warmly embraced by anyone within arm’s reach.
He expressed, “I feel like this dance floor is about to fucking lose it! That Detroit Rock Energy! We’re so excited!” The crowd went wild to end the song, jumping and dancing throughout the theater. After the song concluded, he asked, “Is everyone ok?” A resounding cheer answered without an actual word.
“This song is off our first album, ‘Megalithic Symphony’. I wanna turn this into a dance party right before my eyes!” AWOLNATION started into “Not Your Fault”, and the dance party wish was granted.
Next, with just Aaron’s voice and a strumming guitar, the band started into “A Little Luck And A Couple Of Dogs”. The guitar quickly transitioned to the intro from Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Under The Bridge”, and the crowd went nuts.
To close out their set, AWOLNATION ended with the last track off their latest record, an upbeat jam entitled “Stop That Train”. Bruno yelled, “Let’s freak out, let’s freak out!” – ever encouraging the crowd to have a great time.
After the song concluded, the band thanked the audience, and exited the stage.
Cheering, clapping, and stomping in the balcony continued until AWOLNATION graced the stage once again.
They started again with 2015’s kickass track, “Run”. With his hands on his hips, Aaron sang, “I am a human being capable of doing beautiful things”. Before the musical breakdown, he yelled, “HANDS UP! Run!” and the energy throughout the Fillmore was palpable.
“I want more sweat! I want more sweat,” Aaron yelled.
It was obvious throughout the show that each band was excited to be in this city. Before closing out the show, Aaron expressed, “When I first started writing songs many many years ago, I always wanted to say this… Everyone knows all of the punk rock and hip hop history here. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to say – THANK YOU DETROIT!”
AWOL ended their night with their absolutely massive hit, “Sail”. Before its completion, Aaron introduced the band. “Zach Irons on guitar, Danny on keys and wizards, Mike on slap bass, and of course your favorite, Isaac Carpenter on drums”.
He also continued with some wise advice… “Always remember, music is a place to turn to. When you don’t know what to do, you can turn to a song. Thank you so much! God bless!”
AWOLNATION will be continuing their “Here Come The Runts” tour throughout the US into March before heading across to Europe and the UK in April.
AWOLNATION left no doubt that the rest of their tour will be a resounding success, and made a clear statement that they are definitely one of the best bands making music presently.
1. Here Come The Runts
2. Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)
3. Seven Sticks Of Dynamite
5. Kill Your Heroes
6. Guilty Filthy Soul
7. Table For One
8. Miracle Man
9. Not Your Fault
10. The Buffoon
11. A Little Luck And A Couple Of Dogs (with the intro to “Under The Bridge”)
13. Stop That Train
15. Burn It Down
Words and photos by: Tiffany Cuthrell