On Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18, Taylor Swift and fans took over Glendale, Arizona (aptly renamed Swift City for the weekend by Glendale’s Mayor Jerry Weiers) for the first two shows of her “Eras Tour.”
These shows marked the singer's return to the big stage for the first time since her “Reputation Tour” in 2018, and the star has a lot to catch up on.
Swift released her seventh studio album “Lover” in 2019, though her “Lover Fest” tour was canceled soon after due to the pandemic. While unable to tour, the singer turned to the recording studio instead, releasing two surprise albums and re-recording two others.
In October 2022, Swift released her 10th studio album “Midnights” along with the announcement of her first tour in almost five years.
With four new albums under her belt, Swift’s “Eras Tour” has proven to be monumental for both the singer and her fans. Ticketmaster reported Swift could have filled over 900 stadiums with the number of people who attempted to buy tickets. 2.4 million tickets were sold during the presale, breaking the record for the most concert tickets sold in a single day by an artist and completely selling out the tour before tickets even hit general on-sale.
Following the debacle, the United States Department of Justice officially opened an investigation into Ticketmaster to assess whether the company abused its power in the live music industry.
Swift acknowledged this on Friday night, mentioning she felt safe in the assumption that everyone in attendance had gone through a “considerable amount of effort” to be there.
Despite the struggle for tickets, Swift fans went all out for the two-show run at State Farm Stadium, adorned in re-creations of Swift's past outfits, custom fringe and sparkles and costumes representing inside jokes within the fan base. Fans even initiated a project of their own, making and trading friendship bracelets inspired by lyrics from Swift’s song “You’re on Your Own, Kid.”
The show itself proved to be Swift's most rigorous production yet. Lasting almost three and a half hours, the singer performed a variety of hit songs from each of her 10 albums, separated into 10 eras.
Before the start of the show, the audience was presented with a two-minute countdown to midnight. As the clock struck and the lights dimmed, a melody of songs throughout Swift’s career echoed throughout the stadium while dancers took the stage.
“We’re going on an adventure one era at a time,” Swift said. “We have all kinds of things ahead of us — breakups, teenage love triangles and even the liars and dirty, dirty cheats of the world. … I’ll be your host tonight. My name is Taylor Swift.”
Dressed in a sparkly bodysuit, Swift began the show in her “Lover” era. The lines “It's been a long time coming” in “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” transitioned into the fan-favorite “Cruel Summer,” marking the track's first live performance. During “You Need to Calm Down,” light-up wristbands, which were given to all attendees, flashed the colors of the rainbow.
Swift briefly brought the audience back to her “Fearless” era before transitioning to “Evermore,” making this the first time the album has ever been performed live.
This era brought performances of “Majorie,” dedicated to the singer’s late grandmother, and “Willow,” which included a group of witches dressed in robes dancing through a fiery forest.
During the “Reputation” era, fans continued a tradition from the singer’s 2018 tour, chanting “One, two, three, let’s go b****!” during the opening of “Delicate.” The singer demonstrated powerful control of her vocals during “Don’t Blame Me,” another fan favorite.
Performing only one song from “Speak Now,” Swift quickly transitioned to her “Red” era, donning a re-creation of her outfit from the “22” music video. The singer ended the act with a passionate ten-minute acoustic version of “All Too Well” from the re-recorded version of the album.
“Folklore” followed, also marking the album’s first performance in concert. Swift danced around a moss-covered house for “August,” which transitioned to a rock-inspired version of the bridge of “Illicit Affairs.” The singer delivered a powerful performance, lowering to her knees as she reached into the air in front of her.
Swift briefly returned to her “1989” era, closing it out with a rendition of “Bad Blood” as visuals of a burning house took over the stage and sparks shot from the stage.
In a reprise before the final act of the show, Swift announced her surprise song tradition from her 2018 tour would continue, in which she plans to perform two different acoustic songs at each show. Opening night heard “Mirrorball” from “Folklore” and the first track Swift ever released, “Tim McGraw” from her 2006 album “Taylor Swift.”
For her “Midnights” era, Swift performed “Anti-Hero,” a single from the album which broke global records for the biggest opening-day streams and quickly became the number-one song of 2022. “Vigilante Shit” delivered a full cabaret-style performance by the star. During the final song of the night, Swift glided down the catwalk to “Karma” as fireworks shot from the stage behind her, a fitting end to her biggest show yet.
Unlike any of her past tours, the “Eras Tour” allows fans to revisit over a decade of Swift’s work and celebrate how far she has come. The show is demanding, but a true testament of her career over the last 17 years, something that can be seen in the records she has broken after opening weekend.
Friday night’s performance is now the most attended female concert in national history, with over 70,000 attendees. This record was previously held by Madonna, who performed to a crowd of 63,000 in 1987. The “Eras Tour” is also on track to be the highest-grossing tour in history and has already become the highest-grossing female tour of all time. It is predicted to surpass a billion dollars, with the assumption that Swift plans to tour internationally.
Despite any hardships she has faced, Swift only seems to be getting better with time and continues to cement herself as a pop legend. The “Eras Tour” is her strongest production yet, with 44 songs performed non-stop, nearly 20 outfit changes and endless choreography.
A show on this level is extremely demanding and not for the faint of heart, but Swift takes it in stride and provides fans with an unforgettable experience.
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