It’s an odd - perhaps even a pointless - exercise writing about Taylor Swift; so many miles of column inches have been written on the 28 year-old megastar (something Swift referenced in the show via confetti cannons blasting thousands of mini-Taylor Swift newspapers into the air).

Many... negative column inches, hot-takes, tweets, and so on. It’s become easy to hate on Swifty - which sure, some has been brought on herself to a point. The silence on politics in particular one of these points, not helping quash the rumours she’s Republican-friendly, or at the very best, no ally. The serial dating. The Kim/Kanye feuds. The contrived air of it all. Whatever the in-and-outs, even hearing about Swift became almost exhausting. The toxicity of the Internet has of course blown much out of all proportion; if she was a man, would serial dating even been seen as a negative? Kim and Kanye - having a go at Swift for political silence seems odd in comparison to their overt right-leaning stance. Contrived? Oh, absolutely. Most popstars are.

And so 2017’s Reputation was born in response to the hate, to the assassination on her character, to her reputation. It was not subtle, and received generally a lukewarm reception. However, 2018’s Reputation tour has proved to be a critical smash thus far. And on the basis of Wembley’s show on the first of two nights in London, this is very much deserved.

Charli XCX fresh from her headline Village underground gig (which was a total party of a show) opened, of course playing her more mainstream hits ('Boom Clap' - check). Although the English singer and songwriter did throw in the odd curveball; it was a huge joy watching her play ‘5 In The Morning’ to tens of thousands bemused, and very young, Taylor Swift fans and their parents; a song about the joys of the sesh and getting fucked-up. Camila Cabello followed to a slightly more receptive crowd - ending on smash hit ‘Havana’. Both Camila and Charli went on to join Swift on-stage during ‘Shake It Off’ - I mean how inspiring for all the young children (and older children/this adult) in the stadium to have three rather different, yet powerful, women on-stage together.

Swift’s show was packed-full of utterly memorable moments, right from the very start. Even her intro music - using both Mariah Carey’s ‘Obsessed’, sending up her Regina George of Mean Girls-esqu persona, and ‘Bad Reputation’ by Joan Jett’s, which needs no explaining. Fireworks blasted into the sky from the stadium roof during ‘I Did Something Bad’ (and giant balls of fire! Woooffff) at the start of Swift’s set, and then also while closing the show once night had fallen. A golden tilted-stage appeared during ‘‘Look What You Made Me Do’ - an obvious reference to Kanye, and it was at this time we got the first of oh so many snake appearances. Serpent thrones, projections, a giant inflatable snake - she was owning this nickname and then some. And glorious dancers! Swift herself not the most masterful of movers, but her presence was never found lacking.

During ‘New Year’s Day’, Swift paused for a moment and the audience filled this gap by screaming wildly for what must have been five minutes. It was electric - five minutes is a lot of time when you’re in the moment, in this ovation. And Swift, usually controlled during her performances, seemed generally taken aback and close to tears - and kept saying “I’m so happy.”

1989 hits 'Blank Space' and 'Style' obviously had the entire stadium bopping in unison; Swift flew through the air during Blank Space via a zipwire in a - yes you’ve guessed it - snake-shaped contraption. The show was Reputation-heavy, in fact featuring every track from the album, with ‘Getaway Car’ proving to be way more fun than on album and definitely a stand-out moment. Niall Horan joined for a duet of ‘Slow Hands’, although it was no Robbie Williams with ‘Angels’ the following night. ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ going into ‘This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things’ ended the night on an uplifting sing-a-long tone as the fireworks popped, the dancers gave it their all in a dazzling choreographed romp, and the fireballs heated up the crowd (all on their feet).

The night was a brilliant spectacle. Everything about the show was over the top; it embraced the camp while owning the drama of the past few years with a smile, a raised eyebrow, and a wink (and of course, snakes). Swift delivered a night that was very knowing, ridiculous, and simply ridiculous fun. This is coming from someone who lives in a cynical corner of the Internet. While Reputation will most likely not live-on to be her strongest album (following-up the pop perfection of 1989 was going to be a big ol’ task no matter the situation and bullshit surrounding), the Reputation tour made sense of it. The self-indulgent aspect of the album felt more like a catharsis of sorts at Wembley twinned with a popstar happy to poke fun at herself and the situation; while also feeling like a popstar at the peak of her game.

...Ready for It? I Did Something Bad Gorgeous Style / Love Story / You Belong With Me Look What You Made Me Do End Game King of My Heart Delicate Shake It Off (with Charli XCX and Camila Cabello) Dancing With Our Hands Tied So It Goes... Blank Space Dress Bad Blood / Should've Said No Don't Blame Me Long Live / New Year's Day Why She Disappeared Getaway Car Slow Hands (Niall Horan cover) (with Niall Horan) Call It What You Want We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together / This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things