It was a long time coming, but the Eras tour finally counted its days and miles to reach Seattle, WA. After 5 years, 4 albums, and 2 Taylor’s Version rereleases (with an entire album’s worth of vault tracks) sans tour, Taylor Swift had a lot of catching up to do with her fans. And, from the moment she started her over-3-hour set with the chorus of Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince,
she proved song after song that this was indeed her whole world.
It’s hard to summarize this grand slam of a tour in words alone. In a typical “YoU hAd To bE tHeReEe” sentiment, the zoomed-in iPhone videos you’ll find all over TikTok do it best. Because the tour isn’t just about the songs, it’s an immersive celebration of a diverse 17-year catalog. Much like her lyrics, Taylor has a way of making her performance for 72,000 people feel like she’s singing directly to each individual fan— from her expressions to the way she works her thoughtfully designed stage to give every single spectator a show worth the hours they spent crying in the Ticketmaster queue, no matter where they’re sitting.
What I love most about Taylor Swift is that she is an artist by and for her fans. From the inside jokes on Tumblr to her infamously “cryptic and Machiavellian” Easter eggs throughout her music, she speaks directly to the Swifties of the world. And this show was no different.
As with previous tours, she gave each attendee light up bracelets to make the crowd part of the show. The color-coordinated choreography of those bracelets across sections was mesmerizing, leaving the audience dancing like they were made of starlight. And in this tour the fans stepped up to bring themselves into the show, to Swift’s apparent delight. On cue, 72,000 people lit up their phone flashlights to honor the late Marjorie, screamed “1, 2, 3, Let’s go bitch!” before the first verse of Delicate as Taylor knowingly counted along from the stage, and waited patiently to cross the first bridge of Cruel Summer together.
Unlike her previous tours, each for a single album, she had 6 releases to catch her audience up on. While she, of course, gives painstaking attention to the flow of the tracks on each of her recorded albums, it was clear that she had just as much fun with her setlist on the Eras tour. Though distinct from her recordings, her tracks were still arranged in an equally meaningful and thought provoking way. August merged into a monumental Illicit Affairs bridge (the common thread of both being stories of torrid love affairs). Don’t Blame Me seamlessly transitioned into Look What You Made Me Do. It added interest and surprise to a playlist a vast majority of the crowd had otherwise memorized, not that the memorization makes it any less enjoyable.
The Eras transitioned equally creatively, notably with a Fourth of July’s worth of pyrotechnics burning the Lover house into the dazzling gold fireworks of Fearless, stoked even hotter by an energetic guitar solo. I was unsure how such a diverse array of music would flow cohesively into a single show, but with stunning visuals, enchanting dances, and even a spoken word poem of Seven tying each era together, she made it work exceptionally well.
The challenge with such a career-spanning tour is that it’s tough to please everyone. Each fan has their favorites they hope to hear and quite literally wore those favorites on their sleeves, from bedazzled Junior Jewels shirts (an ode to setlist track You Belong with Me) to dresses draped in actual ivy (in honor of the Evermore track, Ivy). How does the Mastermind decide what makes the cut? I particularly enjoyed how she creatively wove in as much of her music as possible within the confines of a single show. She opened her Red era with snippets of beloved songs that didn’t make the cut (State of Grace, Holy Ground and Red) so the diehard fans of those tracks could have their cherished moments of live sing-alongs. She expertly trimmed many of her songs down to give the audience just enough — usually a favorite verse and, naturally, the bridge — to make room for must-haves, like every second of All Too Well (10 Minute Version). The way she navigated her set list showed an incredible awareness of what the folks who traveled from near and far across the Pacific Northwest and internationally wanted to hear. And she gave fans as much as she could fit, and then some.
And Taylor was not the only one who came to play. Her choreography, stage design, costumes, band, and backup singers held up the impeccable standards we’ve come to expect from Swift. No detail was too small, from the Koi fish guitar nodding to her Speak Now tour, to all the “fancy shit” she, herself, set the table with before Tolerate It. Cloaked dancers turned Willow into our very own “live witch version.” In an ode to her music video, Swift’s past selves came back to life via her dancers during Look What You Made Me Do.
Music aside, the show was a feast of visual intrigue and a delightful scavenger hunt for Easter eggs nodding to each era.
And it was all brought to life by dancers who really treated the show more like performance art than anything—acting each song with vibrant expressions and seamlessly moving from ballroom dancing to riding glow in the dark bikes in the span of a single show.
Even for those who only came to this show to accompany the Swiftie in your life, I can’t imagine a single person in the crowd seeing how much fun she was having herself on stage and not having an equally incredible time themselves. She giggled onstage with the Haim sisters as she unveiled her first eras tour performance of No Body, No Crime (With Haim leading verses 2 and 3! What a treat!) She giddily unveiled surprise songs she’s been planning for months (The first live acoustic performance of This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, and a beautiful solo Everything Has Changed on piano). It’s refreshing to see someone as renowned as Swift give it her all night after night, all while seeming genuinely delighted to be there, in an age where the bigger your name, the easier it is to phone it in.
For a person who really has nothing left to prove these days, the Eras tour did nothing but prove Swift’s range, stamina, creativity and of course, her relevance. All I can say is this: my night at the Eras tour was flawless, and I am wonderstruck.
Photos courtesy of TAS Rights Management