Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour concert review: Phoenix Wowed
For the past week or so, social media has been flooded with people reflecting on the last three years, the period between March 2020 and now. It was a time of unprecedented change and loss in society, a time when many of us left the office and then returned to the office, when people dressed up and then undressed. Few would look back on that era with nostalgia, but it was more about perseverance, survival, and empathy. The best of us have learned to consider everyone’s needs before making even the smallest of decisions. The worst of us seemed to learn nothing at all.
For Taylor Swift, the pandemic era has undoubtedly been a unique experience — very few can relate to being the greatest musician alive. After letting go Lover In mid-2019 she was barely able to support it as her planned European festival run and Lover Fest series became one of the ultimate “what ifs” in rock ‘n’ roll history. And while many of us were baking banana bread and riding Pelatons, Taylor was working and releasing five collections of material in what will likely go down in history as the most prolific period of her career. She offered the incredible folklore And always Albums as surprise releases that have comforted us all in the darkness of 2020, “Taylor’s Version” re-recordings of Fearless And Red in 2021 and the return to big-ticket pop of midnight in 2022. She’s progressed as a director — including the award-winning short for the long-rumored extended version of All Too Well — and welcomed new collaborators like Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon to the Swift Extended Universe. She even became the first woman to win Album of the Year at the Grammys for a third time.
But one thing Taylor Swift hasn’t offered in recent years was the opportunity to travel the world and look her fans in the eye. Sure, the time between the end of her Reputation Tour in 2018 and the start of the Eras Tour — which took place last night in Phoenix, Arizona — doesn’t seem like all that long, but consider the 14-year-old got that Lover for her birthday is now in college before they see any of these songs live. While Swift certainly has fans of all ages and demographics — her stadium show has ranged from adults dressed up as full willows to a kid close to us who just started watching YouTube videos in full force during set — the passing Time for their tall, young people different base. You’ve waited a good part of your life for this moment.
Not to mention the Ticketmaster debacle many had to endure to get tickets to Swift. She alluded to it several times throughout the night, but if anything, it was the performance that showed how much she cared about the time and effort her audience put into attending. Across more than three hours of music, Swift set out to perform quite simply the most immersive stadium show ever conceived. For an artist who has always put her fans first, this was the ultimate way to say thank you, to keep every ounce of energy on stage until it’s hard to believe she’ll do it again tomorrow , and over and over again throughout the year. She’s fully in her Pearl Jam/Springsteen/McCartney age with only costumes and dances and moments of pure theater. Pop stars don’t usually do shows like this. But she’s not a pop star, a classic rocker, or anything that came before. She is Taylor Swift.
Ahead of Friday night, there was much speculation as to what the Eras Tour might actually entail. And in practice, Swift gave exactly what the tour’s name implied, performing songs from each of her albums, arranged as chapters and presented together. Some of the albums were only slightly represented — Speak Now saw the lonely great “Enchanted” and their self-titled debut was given an acoustic piano version of “Tim McGraw” – while albums such as folklore, midnightAnd Lover All received quite a large selection. A total of 44 songs were performed, many in their entirety, including all 10 minutes of “All Too Well”. Swift would occasionally disappear for a costume change, but never for more than a few minutes.
As the set revealed the scope of what was to be showcased, the attention to detail really began to stand out. Some notes:
- The costumes of each era were lavish and reminiscent of the album being performed, be it from previous tours or music videos. But the witchy seance of “Willow” with Swift in a cloak and her dancers throwing bright orange balls might have been my favorite.
- Call has never been a critical favourite, and it was wild to hear the crowd erupt at the first appearance of the album’s signature snake. Still, Look What You Made Me Do got some pretty incredible visual treatment, with all the eras from Taylor trapped in boxes on the giant screen and Swift strutting down her runway and landing on the floor to celebrate “Taylor’s.” “ to call appointment.
- Each show on the tour will be performed with a unique acoustic number at the end of the runway. To kick things off, Phoenix got “Mirrorball,” a pretty random pick, if I do say so myself.
- Taylor never really lets the seams show in her performance, but if you look closely you can see bits of deserved pride showing through. During “Delicate,” she took a little leap into a whirl that ended with a smile exclaiming a little of that pride, reminding anyone who respects the hours of rehearsal that goes into these things that every song comes with Countless markers is filled hit and a variety of expressions and movements to memorize. She deserves to be proud of herself.
- She addressed the crowd several times, and the most telling moments were when she set the record head-on always, a record she likes despite what they say on TikTok. She later did a hilarious monologue about how many of her songs are about teaching men how to apologize. As someone who was there with my wife, I felt seen and will study the texts more closely in the future.
- Some of the songs that were big surprises, like “tolerate it” and “the last great american dynasty,” were treated completely theatrically, with Taylor showcasing her acting skills and authentic sets on stage. This felt like Swift, the director, the actor and the musician all met at a perfect Venn diagram center and took the show to unexpected heights.
When the Eras Tour starts its way across the country, complete with opening mostly female concerts ranging from Paramore and Gayle in Phoenix to Haim, Phoebe Bridgers, Beabadoobee, Gracie Abrams and many more in the cities to come, expect the schedules to be inundated with the kind of praise that’s heaped here. But payouts like this are rare in life, where the thing you’ve been waiting for for years manages to exceed all expectations and raise the bar even higher. It’s not so much that Taylor Swift made all other musicians aware of how to give far more than their time and money to people after years of need. She made us all feel like we deserved it like she was just doing her job. But this isn’t just another pop tour, it’s not just another day at the office. We’re fortunate to see an artist like Taylor Swift in her prime, pushing her limits. The wait was worth it.
https://uproxx.com/pop/taylor-swift-the-eras-tour-concert-review/ Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour concert review: Phoenix Wowed