Taylor Swift Eras Tour
Gillette Stadium, 5/19/2023
Review By Ben Getchell (@stagefrontphoto)
“Do you feel that?!” said one “Swifty”, as she stood in the Gillette Stadium concourse eagerly awaiting her turn to purchase coveted Taylor Swift merchandise. “The entire stadium is shaking!” she turns and says to me as I too wait in line for my turn to purchase merchandise. Indeed, as Taylor is belting out her 2008 single “Love Story”, I look out across at some 70,000 “Swifties” in attendance jumping in what seems like perfectly choreographed synchronization to the chorus, physically shaking the stadiums concrete floor beneath my feet.
We have all seen them. The TikTok’s, the Instagram Reels, and every bit of media coverage that has surrounded this colossal, decade defining Eras tour as it has moved across the country. Since last touring five years ago, Swift’s already massive fanbase has grown by leaps and bounds, becoming a cultural icon the likes we haven’t seen in most of our lifetimes. With a 45-track set list that spans her entire discography, Taylor takes her fans on a musical adventure through all of her different eras, and moments throughout her personal life and career. Leading us through these eras with live, brilliantly executed outfit changes; Swift graciously guides fans down memory lane, and tells the story of how she has reinvented herself, and the music industry throughout time.
Accompanying Taylor on The Eras tour at Gillette Stadium are stars Gayle, and Phoebe Bridgers. Gayle with her blended genres of Rock and Pop, took to the stage first and got the stadium warmed up with chart topping, post bad break-up hit “abcdefu” and “everybody hates me”. Bridgers, a four-time Grammy nominated Indy singer-songwriter, graced the stage next with her airy vocals, acoustic style, and electronic melodies. She brought the house down with hits like “ALEX”, “Chinese Satellite”, “Motion Sickness” and a cover of Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know”. Later on in the night, she joined Taylor on-stage to help her sing “Nothing New”, which airs out Swifts anxieties about the fleeting landscape of fame.
Once the lights went down for the final time, and the countdown clock struck 0:00 on the football field width screen that backs the stage, Swift is revealed by her group of dancers via larger than life, “lover” themed back pieces. She begins her set with the “Lovers” era, daunting a Versace body suit, with accompanying diamond studded boots as she struts down the stage in a perfect, glowy blend of orange and purple kisses of light. Her opening tracks are a blended melody of “Cruel Summer” and “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince”. Next up was “The Man”, but before she started her 3rd song of the night, Swift addressed the crowd for the first (of many) times through-out the night. Swift tells the crowd “You’re making me feel so excellent right now!”. In this moment, you get a true glimpse as to why Swift’s star has continued to rise. Here, we have one of the biggest names in the entire music industry, and world, returning the appreciation that she’s receiving. In turn, the crowd erupts, as they would do throughout the entire three-and-a-half-hour set. “We’re going to go on a grand adventure together, through 17 years of music that I have been fortunate enough to make for you guys”. Taylor took a moment to take it all in, while the Swift proclaimed “Foxy Foxborough” crowd roared once again, beaming an electric smile from one side of the stadium to the other.
Swift then threw it back, waayy back to her high school days with the “Fearless” era. Playing famous tracks like “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story”, with the same ebullience as she did when the tracks were on top of the charts. Next up? You guessed it (probably not), is the Evermore Era. That stage was transformed into a dream-like forest, with Taylor’s piano draped with moss, and different forest-floor findings alike. One track that stuck out to me during this era is “Marjorie”. The song is near and dear to Taylor, as it is in remembrance of her grandmother, and it shows through the emotional intensity she exuberates while performing it.
Now, here comes my personal favorite era, and the one that defined the beginning of my Swifty fanboy self. Reputations Era. With Swift’s outfit being a snake like, black and red body suit, she embraced the rebellious Era of her life with top tier style and energy. Performing tracks like “…Ready for it?”, “Look What You Made Me Do”, and “Don’t Blame Me” the stadium was as enthusiastic and vivacious as they had been all night. If I hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t of believed what I was seeing for a lightshow as Taylors center stage lighting circled her, creating an almost church-organ like shape, that towered into night sky over Gillette Stadium.
As the night wore on, Taylor’s Eras ebbed and flowed from “Speak Now”, “Red”, “1989”, and “Folklore”. Swift closed the show with her latest, chart shattering album “Midnights”, which hosts hits like “Lavender Haze, “Anti-Hero” and “Vigilante Shit”, which is performed using a burlesque like chair routine that proves Taylor Swift, indeed is impossible to put into a box and defined as having a single identity. Taylors final song, “Karma’, which is about having an unbothered state-of-mind, and was written with the perspective of “feeling really happy, and really proud of the way your life is”, was perfectly accompanied by a firework send-off that rose above Gillette Stadium, closing out the night.
Taylors full set lasted just over 3 hours. It was flawless, unforgettable, and perfectly executed down to the last step off the stage. Taylor fans and Swiftys alike will likely hold onto the memories from this night forever. The Eras Tour is absolutely redefining the live music industry, and setting a very high bar and standard for any artist who is to follow.