By now, everyone has heard either a success story or a tragic tale of what it took to get tickets to Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour.” Between the Ticketmaster mess, the resale prices, and the lengths fans have journeyed to attend, everyone has heard about this tour one way or another. After attending her sold-out show at Pittsburgh’s Acrisure Statidum on June 16, 2023, it’s safe to say the hours of waiting in the queue, the tears shed for being scammed, and the last-minute impulse purchases were all worth it. Taylor Swift proved once again that she IS the music industry.
Words fail. Plain and simple. There is no doing justice to what specifically contributes to making this tour such a standout experience.
3.5 hours of nonstop music Taylor performs?
Visuals that are a cinematic experience unto themselves?
The stunning dancers that take the stage during multiple songs and ALMOST steal the show?
Maybe, above all else, it’s the shared experience of being in a stadium with 59,999 newly-acquired friends and sharing an experience with them that will, whether your paths ever cross again, have formed a lifelong bond.
Whatever it is, fans are flocking to stadiums across the country just to sit outside, or in Pittsburgh’s case, float in boats on the neighboring river, just to hear the 33-year-old singer perform songs from her nearly 17-year-long career.
Miss Swift knows how to start a show before she even takes the stage. As “Don’t Tell Me What To Do” by Pam Willis played, fans began screaming as if Taylor had already taken the stage. Within a few moments, a large clock appeared on the screen with a 2-minute countdown. The anticipation built as each second ticked down. Many fans began shedding tears with excitement. The struggle, the expense, and the anticipation were all about to reach fruition.
As the name of the tour implies, Swift takes fans on a journey through the various eras of her albums over the years. Rather than going in order, the set begins with the ‘Lover’ Era, which many fans believe is a nod to her Lover Fest shows that were scheduled for 2020 but were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Swift appeared from the floor of the stage, her lyrics of “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” barely audible with the 60,000-plus-person crowd screaming with her. The lyrics “It’s you and me, that’s my whole world” seemed like the most fitting way to start the show! Swift beamed with joy as she kicked off the night, rivaled (and exceeded) only by the reactions of those who had come out to see her.
As if Swift’s talent is not enough of a show, her massive stage added an entire additional element to the show. Green pine trees slid into view during the ‘evermore’ era as a massive forest was projected on the screen. During the ‘reputation’ era, snakes slithered up and down the catwalk, and diamonds shimmered during “Bejeweled” in the ‘Midnights’ era. The projections were a small detail that added an extra element for fans watching from the nosebleeds, proving there really is no bad seat in the stadium for a Taylor Swift show.
While fans were screaming along to every song, there are notable moments that show for many fans it truly has been “a long time coming” for them to be singing along with Taylor. She noted during the ‘evermore’ era, while sitting at a moss-covered piano, that she always dreamed of signing the bridge to “champagne problems” in a stadium of people, and it was clear that fans had the same feeling as they screamed”
“she would have made such a lovely bride / what a shame she’s fucked in the head”
alongside a beaming Swift. Other notable moments came during the ‘Red’ era, when Swift stood under a spotlight with her guitar to perform “All Too Well (10-minute version).” Fans passionately screamed the words “fuck the patriarchy” from the 2021 re-recording of her 2012 album, ‘Red’ In the same song, the words:
“The idea you had of me, who was she? / A never-needy, ever-lovely jewel whose shine reflects on you / Not weeping in a party bathroom, some actress asking me what happened / You, that’s what happened, you”
are sung, reminding fans that no matter what year Taylor is releasing music, or what year she wrote it, her words will resonate with someone. Maybe even a stadium’s worth of people.
A review of this tour stop would not be complete without mentioning the much-anticipated surprise songs of the night. For each show, Taylor picks 2 songs from her discography to perform solo, one on acoustic guitar and one on piano. The entire tour so far she has only repeated a song once, so it’s a very big deal for fans attending and those watching grainy livestreams at hoe what songs are selected each night, as it takes them out of the running for future shows. Taylor gave fans a treat at this show, performing vault track “Mr. Perfectly Fine” from her 2021 album of ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ for the first time ever live. Her piano song was “The Last Time” from her ‘Red‘ album. The recorded version features Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol on the album, but it was enchanting and heartbreaking to hear Swift perform this tune solo. Both songs give a message of leaving a past love behind, which will leave many fans coming up with theories and sleuthing for answers to a deeper meaning (as Swifties do best).
There isn’t a high enough word counter for a writer or enough time in the day for a reader to do justice to the 3+ hour, 44-song spectacle that this show was. This tour truly is the event of the decade and something people will be talking about for years to come. Taylor Swift has proven yet again that she will continue to reach higher, shatter glass ceilings, and not let anyone tell her what she can or can’t do. The only question now is: “..are you ready for it?”