Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour took off starting with two nights in Glendale, Arizona on March 17th and will make its way through major cities in the United States, with multiple performances in each location. This is her biggest U.S. tour to date, continuing on for nearly five months and coming to an end in Los Angeles with five sold out shows at SoFi Stadium. She announced back in November, due to high demand, that she was adding 17 additional shows to the tour, raising the count from 35 nights to a whopping 52.
In Arlington, Texas, fans began lining up outside AT&T Stadium early to purchase exclusive merchandise and eagerly waited outside the stadium before the doors opened for the big night. What is special about this tour is that through performing 17 years of her music, it unites listeners of all ages. From day one fans that bought CDs of her 2006 debut country album to tweens that have connected with her pop music in recent years, she ensured it was a memorable night for everyone. Fans were also able to express themselves, and their favorite albums, by picking an “era” to represent with their outfit. The stadium was filled with clothing ranging from silver, glittery dresses to cowboy boots to all black attire, and everything in between.
The Eras Tour takes fans on a three-hour journey through Taylor Swift’s 10 distinctive albums. Following the performance of her two opening acts, beabadoobee and Gracie Abrams, a giant countdown timer emerged on the stage, building excitement as she prepared to make her appearance. When the timer finally hit zero, the crowd was ecstatic. She opened with a well-loved hit off of Lover, “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince.” Her energy was high, and it set the tone for the rest of the evening. Upon entering the stadium, ticket holders were given light up wristbands. This cool and interactive piece of the experience allowed audience members to participate in the production. The wristbands flashed colors to the beat, depending on the wearer’s location in the stadium, which created a space bursting with color and light throughout the entirety of her performance.
Each era takes the audience through a different experience, consisting of unique backdrops, dance moves, and an outfit change that embodies each individual album. Swift was supported and complemented by her backup performers that boasted a range of skills from high-level choreography to instrument playing to acting, making for a show that was more engaging and entertaining than the average concert. The production alone was extravagant, consisting of a massive LED screen used to tell the stories of her songs, a moss-covered grand piano, an open structure of a wooden house that she performed in, CO2 jets, and fire. All of these details helped illustrate the meaning behind her songwriting and commitment to providing a full sensory performance, evidenced by the intentionality behind each era.
After a few more songs from her album Lover, she went back to her roots, performing well known classics such as “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story” from 2008 album Fearless. As she moved along into her evermore era, a forest grew on the screen behind her, embodying the warm, emotional, and metaphorical nature of the album. This era personifies a dimly lit cabin in the woods, with songs that feel poetic and tied to home at the same time. It provides a sharp contrast to the next era that welcomes a much darker side of her songwriting to the stage.
Lighting the stage up with badass energy and snake-inspired visuals, Taylor Swift continued onto her album reputation. She started with a fully choreographed dance scene to go along with “…Ready For It?” and ended with “Look What You Made Me Do”, featuring rows of dancers trapped in glass boxes on the screen behind her. Although “Enchanted” was the only song performed from her album Speak Now, the crowd was mesmerized by Swift coming out in a princess-worthy ballgown, truly bringing to life the name of the piece. Next up was Red, one of her most recognizable albums with popular, and singable, hits such as “22” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.” CO2 cannons took off, increasing excitement amongst the thousands of viewers. To everyone’s delight, Swift ended this era by performing her iconic 10-minute version of “All Too Well” while playing the guitar. Performing in an artificial, fairy-like forest on the stage, Taylor then sang through seven songs off of her album folklore. She opened up about the inspiration behind the album and how the pandemic lockdowns pushed her to start writing about new characters rather than just herself. “Style” kicked off the era of 1989, and Swift committed to the theme, stepping onto the stage in a flashy, pink two piece to represent the mood of the album. Dancing through a few more songs in this collection, she made her way to her final era thus far, Midnights. Rain clouds with a purple hue became the sky above Swift as “Lavender Haze” was performed across the stadium stage.
While most of the setlist remains the same each time she performs, every appearance she surprises the audience with two acoustic songs – one on the guitar and one on the piano. It creates an element of surprise and sparks speculation for fans. She even announced to the audience that she would be taking requests for future tour dates, adding to the personable and open relationship she has with her listeners. Night two of Dallas included “Death by a Thousand Cuts” and “Clean”, two songs off of Lover and 1989, respectively. This decision allows fans who attend multiple nights of her show to experience new songs live and allows anticipation to build throughout the stadium. Her acoustic setlist additions are a relaxed contrast from the impressive, high-paced, and highly choreographed remainder of the show.
Overall, it’s safe to say that Taylor Swift’s long-awaited Eras Tour not only met but exceeded expectations. With a setlist composed of 44 songs, and seemingly endless supply of energy, she found a way to connect with all fans, regardless of when their Swiftie journey began. Audience members couldn’t help but dance and sing along with her, but what was even better, is that Taylor genuinely seemed to enjoy her time on stage. A true born performer, her enthusiasm was contagious and bounced around the stadium walls, reaching fans from the floor seats up to the highest points in the venue.
Written with the help of my talented sister and plus one, Lauren Burch.