by Sam Russell
Photo by Erin Clark.
Taylor Swift has been one of the world’s biggest pop stars for over 15 years. Her musical versatility and immense talent has propelled her to where she is today. When she released four new albums that she hadn’t been able to tour due to COVID, it was clear that she had to do something, and with this idea, the Eras Tour was born. A tour encompassing a bit of each of her albums, Taylor Swift put together a magnificent show with some of the best songs from each era.
The first of two openers, singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams took the stage to play some songs from her debut album Good Riddance. Abrams’ angelic vocals and soft songs were such a perfect way to start the night. Following Abrams’ short set was sad girl music legend Phoebe Bridgers. As a massive Phoebe Bridgers fan myself, it was extremely exciting to see her perform right before Taylor. The heartfelt and clever lyricism in Bridgers’ music makes her the perfect opener for Taylor Swift, someone who also has heartfelt and clever lyricism scattered throughout her discography. As enjoyable as both Gracie Abrams and Phoebe Bridgers were, the stadium buzzed with excitement as the clock counted down for the one we were all waiting for: Taylor Swift.
Beginning with the Lover era, Swift’s eccentric outfit and upbeat songs had the crowd going wild with excitement. The visuals on the screen as well as the background dancers made for such a fun and amazing performance. The Lover set was also accompanied by a beautiful sunset, completing the beauty of this era. Moving onto the second era, Fearless, fans who know a few songs and fans who know every song joined together to yell the words to the iconic “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story.” The Fearless set not only brought a sense of nostalgia to Swift, as this was the album that catapulted her into stardom, but also for fans who grew up with these songs as classics. As the Fearless era came to an end, the sun was finishing setting to perfectly accompany the gold of Swift’s dress and the gorgeous visuals behind her.
A drastic change from the country-pop era of Fearless, one of Swift’s newer albums, evermore, was up next. The stage set up for evermore was absolutely breathtaking. It felt more like watching her play in an enchanted forest than in a stadium. Each song on evermore is so clearly personal to Swift that hearing each song live made many fans, myself included, very emotional. It was also during the evermore set that Swift received a 3 minute standing ovation following her immaculate performance of “champagne problems.” She then expressed her deepest gratitude for her fans, something only a truly humble artist could do. Swift wrapped up the evermore set with the highly emotional “tolerate it” before moving onto what is arguably her most iconic era to date; Reputation.
Reputation was an album that Swift had released to show critics that she was not phased and would do whatever she pleased. In doing so, many people have expressed ways in which they have been in their “Reputation era.” This iconic era featured many snakes, a nod to Kim Kardashian’s shading of Taylor Swift with the constant use of snake emojis, and musically contained more rock inspiration than ever before. Swift played her biggest hits from this era as she wore an edgy black and red bodysuit. During “Look What You Made Me Do,” Swift could be seen killing off the old eras, proving yet again that she was a new Taylor.
Another stark contrast, the Reputation set was followed by Swift singing the Speak Now hit “Enchanted” in a stunning floral ballgown. The dancers delicately danced around Swift as she sang, which really made the performance feel magical. After “Enchanted,” Swift began her Red era. In addition to bringing back her old outfits from the original Red tour, Swift also wore a stunning black and red sequin dress as she sang “Nothing New” with Phoebe Bridgers and ended the era with the beautiful “All Too Well.” Although it was sad to see the Red set end, as it was arguably the most fun so far, my personal favorite album was up next and I couldn’t have been more excited.
It is easy to see that folklore is lyrically Swift’s best album to date. She decided to do something new and tell an intricate story throughout different songs on the album. She yet again set up the stage to make it feel like an enchanted forest and it was particularly fun to have the characters of the catchy “the last great american dynasty” personified. It was also obvious to anyone at the show that this is where Swift’s vocals really shined. Her absolutely breathtaking performance of both “illicit affairs” and “my tears ricochet” brought chills to many fans. These vocals alone made the entire concert incredible, and it truly just goes to show how talented Taylor Swift is.
After the folklore era was the era of 1989. Fun and upbeat, the 1989 era felt just like one huge dance party. It was decorated with sparkly outfits and her biggest hits from the album. The 1989 portion of the show felt like middle school all over again but in the best way possible. After wrapping up 1989, it was time for the highly anticipated surprise songs. At each show, Swift has performed one song on acoustic guitar and one on piano. Each night is special because, unless she messes up a song, she only plays those songs once. This night the surprise songs were the high energy “I Think He Knows” from Lover and “Red,” the title track from Red. Both of these songs were played on guitar due to an issue with Swift’s piano, but that didn’t make them any less enjoyable.
After the surprise songs was the final era: Midnights. The versatility of Midnights became so obvious throughout the differences in performances of each song. It was super fun to see and made for a really interesting end to the show.
Anyone can get up on a stage and sing and play some instruments, but it takes someone really special to be able to perform. I can say with the utmost confidence that Taylor Swift truly is a performer. I don’t know if I’ve ever had so much fun at a concert nor have I witnessed something so intricately planned. The visual representations of each era as well as having the opportunity to hear so many incredible songs live was something I will never forget. For anyone wondering if they should ever go see Taylor Swift, wonder no more. Going will be something you never regret.