Kicking-off on Friday night in Glendale, Arizona, the US tour has been a hard-won event for both Taylor and her fans, and it seems both are getting much more than they bargained for.
After the well-documented ticket chaos, which led to some disappointed Swifties from the approximate 14 million-strong queue launching a lawsuit against Ticketmaster, the tour has finally arrived. With dynamic pricing hiking costs into the thousands, it’s clear that Taylor knows how much people paid to be there; even watching it unfold from a phone screen at the opposite end of the world, you can tell she’s making every penny worth it.
After a sleepless night watching a livestream of the show, and countless hours lost to TikTok, here’s everything this British Swiftie can gather about the tour so far…
The main question on everyone’s lips before the tour kicked off was: how is Taylor going to represent all her eras? Only two albums into her re-recording project, people even wondered if Taylor would perform non- ‘Taylor’s Version’ tracks, or how she’d manage to fit ten albums worth of material into one setlist; or move from the massively varied transitions, especially how folklore and evermore would fit in.
On Friday’s opening night, though, all ten eras were present and accounted for. Performing only one song each from her debut album and Speak Now, the others each were given a solid section. However, by night two, the debut era was nowhere to be seen – suggesting that maybe having every era isn’t a priority over changing up the setlist. Currently having only played ‘Enchanted’ from Speak Now and recently re-releasing the Speak Now track ‘If This Was A Movie’ with Fearless (Taylor’s Version) artwork, the Speak Now era is on rocky ground…
However, where early eras lost out, evermore fans were finally fed. Joking on stage during the opening night about the suggestion that Taylor ignores the album’s existence, she said: “The evermore album [is] an album I absolutely love… despite what some of you say on TikTok”, before playing a five-track section for the era.
Despite being out for a couple of years now, this is the live debut for tracks from folklore and evermore, both of which offer distinctly different songs from Taylor. With fans especially freaking out over the debut of evermore cut ‘Tolerate It’ with nods, and Taylor’s teary performance of ‘Marjorie’ – a song about her late grandmother – the era is finally getting its flowers.
What has the setlist been for The Eras Tour so far?
In total, these shows have played for over three hours, with a mammoth 44-track setlist. Frankly, who else could do that but Taylor?
From the two nights so far, there’s only so much we can deduce about the setlist going forward. Opening with a surprising choice, the show launches with Lover album track ‘Miss Americana + The Heartbreak Prince’ with some fans wondering if this was supposed to be the opening of Lover Fest, with the Lover era going first.
Closing the show with the Midnights era ‘Karma’, meanwhile, feels like the perfect ending. Considering everything the star has been through since her 2018 tour – having her masters stolen, being betrayed by the long-running label Big Machine and having to start the process of re-recording without knowing if fans would take to it – wrapping up with a big final middle finger up at all the people that tried to hold her back as she stands on her biggest stage yet, is karmic justice.
Other than that, a lot feels subject to change. Pausing for an acoustic song, standing solo on the stage, crowds on the opening night were treated to fan favourite ‘Mirrorball’ as Taylor announced this section would differ every night. Breaking out of the eras layout, night two had folklore track ‘this is me trying’ and Red’s ‘State Of Grace’ – leading fans to immediately frenzy over what could be next.
Obviously, with a Taylor Swift stadium tour, immense production value is something of a given. Already outdoing the huge 2018 tour, which saw giant snakes and a flying stage, in terms of production value, The Eras Tour stage seems to change up every second. With her signature runway set up, the back of the stage seems to be constantly changing, using a lifting platform made up of different sections that move and change throughout songs and eras as well as ensuring every seat has a great view.
While the setlist doesn’t go chronologically through the eras, it keeps them split up into sections, with the production fully shifting gear to suit the aesthetic. Some stand-out moments that fans are loving already include the return to 2009’s Fearless tour as her band join centre stage, the funeral procession during ‘My Tears Ricochet’ and the full princess fantasy during ‘Enchanted’, with Taylor in the signature gown that fans have come to associate with the track.
However, the real stand-out is a clever bit of stage trickery. Moving from her solo acoustic track into the final Midnights section, Taylor is seen diving into the water and seemingly swimming up to the top of the stage through some clever animation and a well-hidden hole. Then climbing up a ladder into a ‘Lavender Haze’, Taylor’s proving she can do her own stunts.
The ‘easter eggs’ and hidden messages…
It wouldn’t be a Taylor Swift event without some deep fan theories. Previously stating she plants easter eggs years in advance, who knows what secrets she’s hiding right in front of us, but fans have already noticed some details. Here are some I’ve spotted…
During ‘Style’, the checked floor and outfits seem to recreate her infamous performance at the 2014 Victoria’s Secret show, with fans wondering if that’s a call back to her friendship or suspected romance with Karlie Kloss.
While she performs, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, all of Taylor’s past selves are locked in cages, representing her stolen masters. However, keen eyes will notice that her Lover, folklore and evermore eras are also in cages despite being fully owned by Taylor, and if we know anything about the artist, nothing is an accident.
Always planting clues or coded messages to her fans in almost everything she does, from number holes in fences during the lead-up to Lover or setlist hints in her nail varnish – the decision to put her newer albums in cages alongside her stolen albums doesn’t seem like a slip-up. Harking back to the ‘Time To Go’ lyric; “He’s got my past frozen behind glass, But I’ve got me”, maybe the image of Lover, folklore and evermore behind glass alongside the others suggests there might be more to the re-recording project or Taylor’s legal battle around it than we know.
A key image that Swifties will know well, Taylor’s Lover house features heavily during the show. Originally featured in the ‘Lover’ video, the house seems to contain a room for every era, with Midnights seeming to complete the image as the night sky.
There’s been a lot of talk previously about what it will mean when the house is complete, whether it would be a sign of Taylor retiring or disappearing for a while. Well, during The Eras Tour, the house burns to the ground not once, but twice. So whether this tour is a final victory lap or merely a statement that she’s ready to move forward from her ten albums, the image could well be yet another easter egg planted, waiting to be revealed in years to come.
Will The Eras Tour leave the US?
There’s still no mention at all about the tour leaving the US. After the Ticketmaster debacle, the last Taylor said on the issue was, “I’m trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward,” suggesting she might be trying to take it in-house before announcing new shows. Either way, the US tour runs until August, so there’s plenty of time for announcements and more surprises before then.