Taylor Swift kicks off Eras tour with 3-hour, 44-song set
It’s been five years since Taylor Swift last toured. During that time, she has released four albums, including the Grammy-winning Folklore.
Her live absence – forced by the pandemic – was clearly a source of frustration, as her first show was a three-hour, fifteen-minute extravaganza, including 44 songs from her entire career.
“I can’t get over how much I’ve missed you,” Swift told fans as she took the stage on the opening night of her Eras tour.
The star had promised the show would be “a journey through all my musical eras,” and the appetite for tickets was so great that Ticketmaster’s systems collapsed.
Despite this, the tour broke the record for most concert tickets sold by an artist in a single day, selling 2.4 million.
Approximately 80,000 of those fans attended the first show at State Farm Stadium in Arizona, where they were treated to a foray into Swift’s extremely diverse back catalogue.
Divided into sections, one for each of her 10 albums, the set traced her journey from country ignoramus to chart-topping pop star to lockdown-era folk singer (albeit with a muddled chronology).
She opened with “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince,” a cherished fan favorite from 2019’s “Lover” album, before transitioning into the dreamy pop of “Cruel Summer.”
Dressed in a diamond-encrusted leotard outfit and surrounded by dancers sporting elaborate peacock tails, she drew applause from the crowd, declaring, “I don’t know how to take this and how I’m feeling right now.
“[But] Let me start by saying you make me feel amazing.”
The show is a massive production featuring 16 dancers, multiple stage and costume changes, and a long, lighted catwalk leading to a second stage.
At one point, she appeared to dive onto the stage and swim to the center of the stadium before surfacing onto a rising platform to perform her latest single, Lavender Haze.
“Look What Made You Do” was performed in front of a giant video wall showing Swift in various roles from across her 17-year career, while “Blank Space” featured dancers riding straight out of Tron on blue neon bikes.
For the more pastoral folk songs, Swift performed in a moss-covered country cottage, first seen at her 2021 Grammy Awards. Later, in the murderous revenge fantasy Vigilante, she performed a Fosse-inspired chair routine.
But the highlight for many was the full 10-minute version of All Too Well – the song she’s said to have written about actor and ex-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal – performed in a flowing red coat as snowflakes fell across the stage .
Throughout, the audience sang every word in devoted worship. The feeling was clearly mutual.
At one point, Swift silently interrupted her own stage babble: “I’m trying to tell you that I love you, and I’m babble.”
Initial reviews for the concert were rave, highlighting the extensive setlist and cinematic production values.
“The queen of pop reclaims her throne,” declared The Times, adding, “If there’s a risk that switching between 10 such disparate albums could result in an inconsistent experience, this somehow avoids that as Swift manages to do it anyway The ever-changing outfits and backdrops create a cohesive experience.”
“She managed to make it look easy and enjoyed the trip as much as the Swifties in attendance,” agreed local Arizona Central news outlet.
“Swifties are sure to be enchanted,” said Hello magazine in a review peppered with Swift’s song titles.
“It’s been a long wait for this moment, but Karma is indeed a queen — and it was worth the wait.”
“The performance is often overwhelming,” concluded Billboard, “with costume changes, set pieces [and] vulnerable moments in a crowd of thousands and sing-alongs rivaling the scale of any tour this year.
The only criticism from fans and reviewers was that Swift’s third album, Speak Now, fell short with just one song on the setlist (the understated ballad Enchanted, performed in a ball gown, pictured above).
“She paid for this album with dust,” wrote one concert-goer on Reddit. “But the dress was beautiful.”
Rumors are already circulating that the Speak Now section will expand during the tour, with Swift expected to release a re-recorded version of the album as part of her ongoing campaign to take back control of her masters.
For now, the tour is limited to the US with 52 dates. Whether the extravagant production is coming to the rest of the world is unknown – but fans are living in hope.
Taylor Swift Era’s tour setlist
you belong With Me
It’s the damn season
… I am ready?
Do not blame me
Look what you made me do
Wildcard section (each show a different acoustic song)
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