The opening night of Taylor Swift’s Eras tour in Phoenix was pop fection

One day, many years from now, I suspect that being able to say “I was on the opening night of the Eras Tour” will carry much of pop culture.

Hell, that means a lot today. There were only about 70,000 people inside Glendale’s State Farm Stadium on Friday the 17th. March, when Taylor Swift kicked off her first tour in five years, but the world was definitely watching to see what the planet’s biggest pop star had in store.

Swift had described the Eras Tour as a “journey throughout [her] musical eras,” but no one knew exactly what that meant until this weekend. When the lights went down and the image of a clock appeared on the huge rear screen, the crowd returning from the concession stand or restrooms broke into full swing. to take in every moment from their places.

The 195-minute long show of 44 songs has been summarized by all media from Variety and consequence of sound to Guardian and CNN. Swift’s musical journey manifested itself through a set list spanning all 10 of her studio albums.

She didn’t go in chronological order (songs from the 2019s Lovewhich she was never able to promote due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was first), and she did not give equal weight to each album (her 2006 debut album and 2010 Speak now only got one song each, while the 2020s Folklore had seven).

“You don’t know how much it means to me to be able to say, ‘Welcome to the Eras Tour,'” Swift said at the top of the show. “We have plenty of time to recap how I feel about you and how much I’ve missed you.”

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And then she was on a three-plus hour blockbuster show, an absolutely dazzling production that incorporated smoke, fire, confetti, props and constantly eye-catching graphics on the screen. At various points in the evening, she jumped into an opening under the stage and screens showed her “swimming” to the other side of the performance time; performed “Champagne Problems” at a moss-covered piano; and sat on the roof of a hut below Folklore share.

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Swift switched to menswear for a rendition of “The Man.”

Jim Louvaux

And the costumes. The costumes. Swift wore about 20 different looks during the show, including a crystal leotard underneath Love segment, a gold fringe dress for Fearlessa black cloak underneath Even morea snake-themed one-legged jumpsuit for Reputation (the only sartorial choice that didn’t really land), a ball gown underneath Speak nowa “LOTS happening at the moment” T-shirt for Reda purple boho dress underneath Folklorea sparkly magenta crop top and mini skirt ensemble underneath 1989a voluminous red dress underneath Taylor Swiftand a dark blue sequined suit with fringes Midnight.

Swift kept the crowd enthralled throughout the show, and if there were times that felt a little calmer or perhaps an ideal moment to run to the bathroom, they were outnumbered by moments of overwhelming emotion, like when Swift performed a raw, vulnerable rendition of “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)”, and moments of pure pop music ecstasy – the building almost exploded with joy and energy as 70,000 people sang along to “Red”, “You Belong With Me” and “Look What You Made Me Do. “

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The audience’s adoration for Swift seemed matched by her love for them: “I missed you so much,” she said during Even more the segment. “There’s no way to go into how much I’ve missed you because there’s no way to verbalize it. I’ve been trying to hold it together all night.”

Swift closed the show with songs from Midnight, her latest album, then thanked the crowd for coming. As the audience, high on the epic performance, drifted off into the night, the overwhelming mood was one of gratitude. We were all lucky to be there.

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State Farm Stadium was packed for Swift’s show.

Neil Schwartz photography

Critic’s Notebook

The show: Taylor Swift with Gayle and Paramore at State Farm Stadium, March 17, 2023

The crowd: “The girls, gay and they are,” as Swift herself said, plus a sprinkling of long-suffering boyfriends, husbands and dads. Glittery dresses were the look of the night, but many fans came in costumes that referenced Swift’s songs and iconic looks: think willows, mirror balls, cheerleaders and that guy from the “You Belong to Me” music video.

Notebook Dump: I think every sequin in Phoenix is ​​in this room tonight.

Set list:

“Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince”
“Cruel summer”
“The Man”
“You need to calm down”
“The Archer”
“You Belong to Me”
“Love Story”
‘Tis the damn season’
“Champagne Trouble”
“Bear It”
“… Ready for it?”
“Don’t Blame Me”
“Look What You Made Me Do”
“We’ll Never Get Back Together”
“I knew you were trouble”
“Too good (10 minute version)”
“Invisible String”
“The Last Great American Dynasty”
“August”/ “Illegal Matters”
“My Tears Ricochet”
“Blank Space”
“Shake It Off”
“Wildest Dreams”
“Bad Blood”
“Mirrorball” (acoustic)
“Tim McGraw” (Acoustic)
“Lavender Haze”
“Midnight Rain”
“Wake up shit”

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