Taylor Swift embarked on her sixth concert tour, The Eras Tour, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona this past weekend. Over a two-night span, the pop songstress had over 70,000 attendees flock to her first outing on the road in five years. This is no small feat — Swift became the first act in music history to sell out two consecutive shows on a single tour at the stadium. Despite the disastrous ticketing fiasco that took place in November of last year, there was not a single seat empty from start to finish. One glance around the stadium reinforced that demand seen during the on-sale was justified and established itself as the ever-so-coveted hot commodity of the year.
To date, Swift has released a total of ten studio albums, three of which never received tour support due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It’s safe to say that fans were in store for something spectacular, with many participants traveling from other states and even abroad. Swift brought along a few friends to help launch the occasion, including alternative band Paramore and pop-rock singer Gayle.
There was much speculation as to how the tour would kick off. One of Swift’s best assets is her ability to remain accessible to her fans. Social media has always been a staple within the Swiftie community as a means for Swift to interact. A more recent example of this is how she connected with them through fan-inspired videos on the social media platform TikTok (aptly nicknamed SwiftTok). A quick search could pull thousands of videos and sounds inspired by Swift’s recent effort, Midnights. “It’s me… *crowd cheers*… hi!” and “Meet me at midnight” were two very strong contenders. But Swift, ever the mastermind, had something else up her sleeve. While she did confirm and hint at what might be included in the show’s setlist, the majority of it was kept under lock and key.
Following the opening acts, fans had a mere eighteen minutes for any snacks, bathroom breaks, and/or merchandise grabs before racing back to their seats as the two-minute countdown to 8 p.m. appeared on the screens. Since this was five minutes prior to Swift’s scheduled start, the scrambling was chaotic to witness, to say the least. As the stadium darkened, the opening interlude featured a picturesque montage accompanied by famous Swift quotes, reminiscent of the opening to her previous stadium tour for reputation. Dancers lined the massive stage, making their way down the catwalk. Swift materialized in a glistening bodysuit on the elevated platform built into center stage. “It’s been a long time coming, but…” she sang as she broke out in the much-anticipated opener “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince,” off 2019’s Lover before proceeding into “Cruel Summer.” The crowd released a near-deafening roar, sending them into a spiral of emotions that only persisted throughout the night.
It's clear that emotion was reciprocated. “I don’t know how to process all of this and the way it’s making me feel right now,” Swift beamed. “If you’re here tonight, there’s a pretty good chance you went to a considerable amount of effort to be here. On behalf of me and every single performer on this stage, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for wanting to be here on night one,” she continued, not-so-subtly addressing the Ticketmaster chaos that sunk the internet and the hearts of Swifties nationwide.
Over the course of three hours and fifteen minutes, Swift delivered a colossal 44-song setlist, spanning all the way from her debut to Midnights. “Tonight, we’re gonna be going on an adventure — one era at a time. We’re gonna be exploring the last 17 years of music that I’ve been lucky enough to make and you’ve been kind enough to care about,” she mentioned earlier on in the set. The setlist hit the mark for all the well-known favorites such as “Love Story,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “Shake It Off,” "Look What You Made Me Do," and more.
It’s worth noting that one era seemed to get preferential treatment over the others, that being 2020’s Folklore. A product of the pandemic and stripped-back production and songwriting, this album was clearly important to Swift and received critical acclaim upon release. In total, there were 9 songs from this era performed while most eras received between 3-4 (with the exception of Midnights, which still received just 7). This contributed to the omission of several era highlights including 2010’s Speak Now and 2006’s debut, which appeared to dishearten fans. That said, Swift’s discography reaches well over 200 songs to date, including her re-recordings. It’s understandable that including every fan-favorite and deep-cut into a nearly three-and-a-half-hour setlist is unrealistic. Especially after not being able to perform any of that material for five years.
In true Swift fashion, rarely ever is one show identical to the next. Keeping with the theme that mirrored that of 2018’s reputation Stadium Tour, each show will feature a “surprise song.” But there’s a caveat: should the song be performed, it would likely never be performed again. Swift City (temporarily renamed by the Mayor of Glendale in honor of Swift) patrons were treated to a special performance of “mirrorball” andvery first single “Tim McGraw.” Another honorable mention was the 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” which resonated heavily with those in attendance.
Swift closed the night’s festivities out with a pyro-filled encore for “Mastermind” and “Karma,” before retreating up the confetti-laden catwalk for a heartfelt goodbye. The Eras Tour will continue on throughout the U.S. across 52 dates, currently set to conclude in Los Angeles, California in August. Those that are fortunate enough to attend the coveted extravaganza will be more than catered to during those nearly five hours. It’s a spectacle to be witnessed, and if given the opportunity, not to be missed.
A special thanks to Swift’s team at Premium PR for allowing me to come out for the festivities. As aninitially unsuccessful ticket obtainer myself, I couldn’t be more appreciative to be able to witness one of the most monumental nights in music history.
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For more information on The Eras Tour, visit . www.taylorswift.com/events