Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour!


Paloma Welch

Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” is one of the most impressive spectacle shows ever performed and brilliantly showcases the greatest artist of this generation at the top of her game.

“This night is sparkling, don’t you let it go,” Taylor Swift sings, looking out into a stadium of almost 70,000 people. Last Saturday, April 15th, Swift closed her long-awaited three-day run at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, attended by about 206,459 people over the three shows. “The Eras Tour” clocks in at nearly three hours and ten minutes, with forty-four songs highlighted by complex costume changes and mesmerizing pyrotechnics. It’s formatted as a journey through her seventeen-year career of making music, one album at a time. The show is as impressive as it is sparkly. This is the first time Swift has toured in five years and the first time she will be playing her last six albums live, including two re-recorded ones. 

I was lucky enough to attend the show on Friday and Saturday with friends and family. Leading up to the weekend, I spent hours watching live streams of the shows on social media that mirrored the quality of dial-up internet, making Taylor-themed friendship bracelets to trade at the concert, and listening to Taylor’s entire discography (a daily occurrence for me). Similarly, Tampa was also preparing for Swift’s arrival. The week of the show, Tampa made Taylor the honorary mayor on April 13th, lit the city in “Taylor Swift Red,” and gifted her a key to the city. But finally, on Thursday, tens of thousands of “Swifties” flocked to Raymond James Stadium, ready to see Swift’s powerhouse performance. 

To begin, I was eagerly awaiting to see the opening acts. On Thursday, the show opened with GAYLE and beabadoobee, a Filipino-British alternative singer-songwriter. On Friday and Saturday, beabadoobee and Gracie Abrams, a Los Angeles-born singer-songwriter and daughter of J.J. Abrams, opened the show. Abrams is one of my favorite artists, and after having just seen her on her tour in Brooklyn, NY, I couldn’t wait to see her again. As I stood waiting for Abrams to take the stage, I saw Aaron Dessner walking away from Gracie and her band. Aaron Dessner is the founder of the indie band “The National,” and he cowrote and coproduced Taylor’s last few albums and Abrams’ debut album Good Riddance, which was released last February. Gracie took the stage and sang some of her indie-pop hits like “21” and “I know it won’t work,” making fellow blue-converse-wearers and bow enthusiasts (staple fashion elements for Abrams and her fans) very happy. Then, beabadoobee (wearing a black t-shirt that said “Father Figure”) killed it with her set, which included songs like “She Plays Bass,” “Apple Cider,” and “Glue Song.” Once her performance concluded, a looming pall ascended over the crowd, and it was time for Taylor. 

Now, it’s time for the show that we’ve all been waiting for. The lights go out, the two-minute countdown comes up, and the screen opens up to allow the dancers to walk through with their giant hot-air balloon-like props. The intro track repeats, “It’s been a long time coming,” and iconic lines of Taylor saying each of her album names. The dancers make their way to the center of the catwalk, lower their props, and then lift to reveal international superstar Taylor Alison Swift. Emerging from the depths of the stage like a literal sparkly fairy, Swift begins the opening number, “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince,” leading into a scream-along session of the pop masterpiece “Cruel Summer.” Taylor turns her head and gives the audience a knowing smile, and says, “Hey guys, I’m Taylor!” The crowd erupts into a deafening cheer (a recurring theme of the night). “We are currently in the Lover era,” she says as she stands with a pastel pink guitar. “Some of these songs are about my life. Some of these songs are about fictional characters that I created,” Taylor says. “But my hope in all of this, at the end of the day, these songs will be songs that you think are about your life and that you feel genuinely are about your own life.” This is the moment that I started sobbing uncontrollably. My tears ricocheted through her next four songs, hitting a peak during her 2008 hit “Fearless.” Now in the Fearless era, she also performed “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story,” which had the stadium shaking. 

Next came evermore (her second pandemic album). After an emotional solo piano performance of “champagne problems,” the stadium cheered for about three minutes, leaving Swift speechless and bringing her to tears. Swift moves into a devastatingly powerful performance of “tolerate it,” with her ending atop a long dinner table. The stage goes dark, but not for long because we are back, this time with a thundering bass, snare hits, and snakes slithering across the stage and the screen. Taylor is entering her reputation era with a bang. She begins with “…Ready For It?”, then “Delicate” (including the shriekingly loud fan chant), “Don’t Blame Me” (with lights literally shining to the heavens), and then “Look What You Made Me Do,” beginning with one of the best electric guitar intros I’ve ever heard. 

Showing her true versatility, Swift transitions to her Speak Now era, coming out to the stage in a stunning, glittery gown singing the Taylor-classic “Enchanted.” Then comes the Red era, culminating in an unbelievable rendition of the critically acclaimed, ten-minute ballad “All Too Well,” collectively one of the most anticipated performances of the night. As the audience wipes their tears, they prepare to shed some more because Taylor is already back performing songs from her first pandemic album, folklore. A mossy cabin appears on stage, with Taylor in a flowy dress sitting atop the roof. She sings the opening track titled “the 1” and then ventures into the cabin to sing “betty.” But the climax occurs in her performance of “august,” which transitions into a rock rendition of the powerful bridge of “illicit affairs” (one of the best moments of the show). After screaming the lyrics to “my tears ricochet” and “cardigan” (two of the greatest songs ever made), Taylor goes into the genre-defining 1989 era. Now it’s just a dance marathon, singing hit after hit with “Style,” “Blank Space,” “Shake It Off,” and “Wildest Dreams.” 

When Taylor concludes the final note of “Bad Blood,” she makes her way to the front of the stage for her “surprise song” set. This is when Taylor sings an acoustic song on guitar and piano, but it’s a different song every night, and fans don’t know which one will be played. Thursday night, she performed the title track “Speak Now” on guitar and “Treacherous” on piano. But Friday, she shocked the crowd by bringing out Aaron Dessner to sing “The Great War” (off the 3 AM edition of Midnights) and then played “You’re On Your Own, Kid” on piano (personally, this was one of the best moments of my entire life and when my vocal cords began to give out). Saturday, she brought out Dessner again to sing “mad woman” and then “Mean” (this has become a core memory for me just due to the feeling of almost 70,000 people scream-singing the lyrics). Finally, to close the show, Taylor sings songs from Midnights such as “Lavender Haze,” “Anti-Hero,” Midnight Rain,” and “Bejeweled.” 

After an incredible three hours, it’s time to end the show. Taylor delivers an epic finale with a neon-charged, confetti-filled performance of “Karma.” As the crowd roars their appreciation, Taylor shows her gratitude to her dancers, backup singers, and band. She takes her final bow, and somehow the stadium explodes even louder. Taylor is lowered back into the stage, where she appeared not long ago (although it feels like your entire life has shifted after what you have just witnessed). Now it’s time to pack up, leave the stadium in our blister-filled boots, and begin the long, tumultuous trek back to our homes. 

All in all, Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” is one of the most impressive spectacle shows ever performed and brilliantly showcases the greatest artist of this generation at the top of her game. The “Eras Tour” took over everyone’s minds, hearts, and bank accounts. It serves as a reminder to die-hard Swifties, new fans, and skeptical listeners as to why Swift has been dominating the music scene for the past seventeen years.