At one point during the first show of her long-awaited and highly anticipated Eras Tour on Friday night (March 17), Taylor Swift described herself as “really overwhelmed and trying to stay together all night.” It’s easy to understand: This massive stadium hike, one of pop’s hottest tickets in years, also happens to be Swift’s first real tour in five years, mostly thanks to the pandemic. The pop superstar has released four original albums (plus two re-recorded ones) since she last hit the road, and on Friday night at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, she told the crowd she was dreaming of this day. — the day she was finally able to perform this wealth of new material — for a long time.
“Overwhelming” would also be an apt way of describing the tonnage of the Eras tour: with segments dedicated to Swift’s 10 studio albums, the show entertained a sold-out, frequently screaming stadium audience for 3 hours and 15 minutes, as Swift tirelessly showcased her skills and diverse artistic personalities through 44 songs. Popular music’s most dominant entertainer has used this live run to reflect on the various iterations of her career to date, and the realization is often staggering, with costume changes, set shake-ups, vulnerable moments in a crowd of thousands of people and singers. features that will rival the reach of any tour this year.
The Eras Tour will satisfy quite a few die-hard Swift fans in the coming months, who will surely find their own favorite covers from the set list. And while Swift fans should embrace the whole experience, opening night provided some clear highlights. Here are the 13 best moments from the Eras Tour kick-off in Glendale on Friday night:
The cathartic opening of “Cruel Summer”
Although Swift technically opened the show with part of another Lover track, “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince,” brilliant synth-pop single “Cruel Summer” was the first to get the full stadium treatment, complete with a raised platform, backup dancers, and Swift unveiling an inlaid of diamonds -piece with matching high boots. For the fans in attendance and Swift herself, the song seemed to represent an expiration – this tour was Finally was happening, and this immaculate song, three and a half years old at this point, was finally being performed.
The first Era-Hop, in ‘Fearless’
“Tonight, we’re going on an adventure, one era at a time!” Swift said a few songs in the show – a concept that really sank minutes later when the evening’s first era, Lovergave way to Intrepid both in the set list and stylistically. Gone was the sparkly outfit and deep pop beats, replaced by a fringed dress and sunny country licks of Swift’s acoustic guitar as she hopped into the Intrepid title track, “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story”. The “Fearless” shift marked the moment the idea of the Eras Tour fully fell into place, and the crowd was captivated by the approach.
Taylor’s ‘Evermore’ Defense
In the middle of the Always mini-set, Swift sat down in front of a moss-covered piano and told the audience how gratifying it was that she was finally able to play her “four new family members” – Lovers, Folklore, Always And Midnights, the four albums she has released since her last tour. She added that Always “is an album that I love – despite what some of you say on TikTok!” She stopped for comic effect, then impassively: “I saw him. I’ve seen it all!” Even though some TikTok users haven’t warmed up as much to Folkloreits counterpart, Swift gave Always prime position in his set list, with a total of five songs performed from the album, including “‘Tis The Damn Season”, “Willow”, and “Tolerate It”.
The Unexpected “Don’t Blame Me” Showcase
When the Always part of the set ended and snake scales appeared on the screen, everyone present knew that Reputation was next – and while singles like “…Ready For It?”, “Delicate” and “Look What You Made Me Do” all delivered with great energy, “Don’t Blame Me” was endowed with a fiery passion that, even compared to the way his plunging harmonies were presented on the Reputation tour, raised the album cut. Literally: Swift soared skyward on a platform while attacking a showy big note during the song’s climax, making it one of the night’s most memorable technical performances.
“Enchanted” as a dramatic representative of “Speak Now”
It’s hard to quibble about set list exclusions when the set list in question contains 44 songs… but still, Speak Now won’t be thrilled that the Eras tour contains just one song from that particular era. At least this song stood out as a highlight: “Enchanted” found Swift in a flowing ballgown maximizing the emotional stakes, with acoustic strums laying the groundwork for a full crescendo. If ‘Mine’, ‘Back to December’, ‘Mean’ and ‘Dear John’ don’t burn on this tour, ‘Enchanted’ will have to be a powerhouse for die-hard third album fans…and on opening night, it was just that.
The extended version of “All Too Well”…
After having traveled Red highlights like “22,” “We Will Never Get Together Again,” and “I Knew You Were In Trouble,” Swift told audiences how significant the success of the original was. Red in 2012 and the re-recorded version in 2021 had been for her. Then Swift asked if the crowd had another 10 minutes to spare. The chart-topping 10-minute version of “All Too Well” followed the roars in response and naturally functioned as a centerpiece for the entire set, coming in about halfway through and becoming an emotional anchor for the evening. By the time paper snowflakes fell on the stadium in the last minute, the magic of the moment was widely accepted.
…and the three-word scream in “Too Good”
When you attend a Taylor Swift show in 2023 (and beyond), you simply won’t experience a greater singing moment than the phrase “F–k the patriarchy!” Within 10 minutes “All Too Well”. Not only does everyone present sing at the same time, but they shout at the same time and find themselves in the previous lyrics! Talk about magic! Count on Swifties loudly toppling the men in power, in unison, for years to come.
‘Folklore’ Deep Cut-Tturned-Viral Smash “August”
Taylor Swift pays attention to her fans – when she says she saw the Always hate TikTok, she’s joking, but rest assured, she’s In fact seen. So when deciding which tracks from the huge Folklore to perform, there’s no doubt that Swift noticed fan adoption of “August,” which wasn’t a standout track when the album was released, but has since become a bubbling fan favorite. often on social media (especially during the titular month each year). The mass chanting of “August” may have taken some offline attendees by surprise, but Swift fans are fiercely fond of the soulful folk-pop track and showed their appreciation during the opener.
The Neon Golf Clubs of “Blank Space”
Swift’s backup dancers ride neon-lit bikes during her performance of the 1989 smash, but that was just the prelude to one of the best visuals of the night: Swift and her bandmates brandishing blue-lit golf clubs during the bridge, then smashing an animated car (Swift’s mad attack in the “Blank Space” video) on a screen halfway through, each new bump in time with the beat of the song. It was hard to look away from the show and became the kind of sight gag that stays with you long after the show is over.
The surprise acoustic track
Deep into the night, Swift grabbed her guitar and announced that she planned to perform an acoustic song that wasn’t included in Eras’ set list during the tour, hoping not to. never duplicate the song she had selected for each performance. It’s a strong decision in theory – even after Eras’ set list has been endlessly revamped, there will still be a new surprise every night – and it was even better in practice, because the “Mirrorball “of a painful beauty was selected for the first performance. Acoustic tracks probably won’t be as loud as Folklore standout every night, but for the Glendale audience, the choice made opening night all the more special.
The “anti-hero” metaphor comes to life
Earlier in the evening, Taylor Swift reluctantly shouted out to all the onlookers who were dressed as a “sexy baby” in tribute to the lyrics “Anti-Hero”; later, when her final No. 1 smash was played, Swift embodied the “monster over the hill” line that follows it. On the video screen behind her performance, Swift transformed into a Godzilla-esque creature terrorizing a city before gloomily sitting (and destroying) an office building. On a night with plenty of awesome choreography and staging, this simple visual—Swift as the problem is her—became one of the show’s most interesting spectacles and added to the single’s performance at hit.
The Vigilante Shit Dance Routine
Speaking of show: Swift goes burlesque alongside her dancers for the Midnights stand out, dance on and around a chair and have fun doing it. The song comes about three hours into the performance, but Swift conjures up every ounce of energy to turn one of the least-produced songs in her catalog into a thrilling jam.
Finish with a fan favorite
The latest era featured on the Eras tour is Midnights, and Swift could have topped it off with a hit — “Anti-Hero,” of course, or perhaps a fast-growing follow-up “Lavender Haze.” Instead, she wraps up the night with a trio of non-hits that fans really love: “Bejeweled,” “Mastermind,” and “Karma.” The logic behind this decision is simple: the Eras Tour is less about hits and more about fan service, and ending with a song like “Karma” nods to those who inhale every song from a Swift tracklist at the moment. instead of just paying attention to the simple. This series of shows is for fully engaged Swift listeners, and a cut album like “Karma” is the perfect way to say goodbye to them for now.