Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour opening weekend: Tears, joy and ‘therapy’


GLENDALE, ARIZ. – Taylor Swift had endless choices when deciding to embark on her first concert tour. Almost five years in on Friday night, an engrossing spectacle that spanned three hours and featured 44 songs. After opening with short snippets of “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince,” her eponymous song 2020 Netflix Documentaryit launched directly into “Kroll Summer”.

As the track’s hazy opening synth-pop beats waft through State Farm Stadium, you’re going, “Oh my god!” He could also hear gasping sounds. Barely heard above the excited chaos (and in some cases sobs) among the nearly 70,000 in attendance. Dressed in a glittering bejeweled silver bodysuit and knee-high boots, Swift turned heads with the crowd, because she knew exactly what she was doing.

Swift fans believe that, in a parallel universe, “Cruel Summer” (the yearning anthem from her 2019 album, “Lover,” about a steamy and toxic relationship, with a chorus that makes you calls for singing and shouting) was destined to The song, released as a summer 2020 single, comes as Swift plans to launch a series of festivals called Lover Fest. Of course, the 2020 global upheaval happened instead. Despite this, the craze for “Croll Summer” continued, especially because Swift had never performed it live.

Analysis | Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour Opener: Complete Recap of All 44 Songs

So it wasn’t just a song. For many, it was a poignant, subconscious reminder of how much we lost and what could have been. It was also a moment of pure, exhilarating joy — not just because of the thrill of hearing a beloved song live for the first time, but also because it’s clear that one of the most powerful figures on the planet has it all. felt, also it doesn’t seem like a coincidence that at the top of his first show on his Eras tour – 52 dates of sold-out stadiums. – She wanted to pick up where she left off before the world shut down.

“I don’t know how to process all of this and the way it’s making me feel right now,” Swift told the stadium as the song ended, her voice shaking slightly. Later, she added: “I’m really, really, really overwhelmed, and I’m trying to hold it together all night.”

“Trying to keep it together” is rarely applied. Swift, 33, nearing the end of her second decade as a professional musician, has ascended to rare, iconic status as a pop star of a generation. He has no cold. After gaining fame with songs about it Awkward, unpopular teenage years, those now Hugs Karaj and seriousness. That’s part of the draw for his legions of fans, who see him as one of their own. After the meltdown of Ticketmaster during the sales of the Eras tour, the chairman of the parent company Went on the defensive Pointing to the extreme demand, claim that the number of people trying to buy tickets “could fill 900 stadiums.”

Swifties shelled out hundreds — sometimes thousands — of dollars for tickets and travel and descended on Glendale this weekend, determined to make the often-annoying ticket-buying process a distant memory. The Phoenix suburb, which recently hosted the Super Bowl, could hardly contain its excitement. The mayor announced that it would temporarily change its name to “Swift City,” and electronic signs along the highway encouraged safe driving with a Swift pin: “Don’t get the cutoff? dirty blood. Give it a shake.” “Very bad driving? You need to calm down.

But that was nothing compared to the electric energy around the stadium. To become a Taylor Swift fan is to learn to master it. Clues and secret messages that may be embedded. In every song, public comment and social media post, no matter how vague. Being a Taylor Swift fan means always being prepared, including finding the perfect outfit to wear to a concert, with the singer giving herself unlimited options, celebrating her past and present with a tour theme of “ Eras” has been selected.

Being in a crowd was like being in a force field where all pretense is gone. Swift’s music covers the spectrum from bubblegum pop (with what she calls “glitter gel pen lyrics”) to deeply introspective poetry, and her concerts are a place where you can either dance or cry. Swift has expressed her insecurities and emotions on 10 studio albums and more than 200 songs. Here, in his presence and among each other, fans become their truest selves.

Scanning the crowd, you see countless sequined and jeweled skirts and jackets, paying homage to the “1989” era. There were also dark blue dresses with stars for “Midnights”. Red heart glasses, a black bowler hat and a T-shirt reading, “Not much going on right now,” a vocal for the “22” music video; dark lipstick and black leotards as a tribute to “credibility”; The lyrics feature people’s arms being written in marker, something Swift used to do before every concert. And the number 13 was painted on the hands, another early Swift tradition, from when she was starting out as a country star.

“My inspiration is Red Tour, which is one of Taylor’s iconic outfits, and I wanted to recreate that,” said Giacomo Benavides, a 26-year-old content creator dressed as a circus ringleader for the show. He came from Peru.

Some were even more specific: Olivia Jackter of Tucson, 26, wore a traffic light getup that featured the phrase “I don’t know,” a reference to a lyric from the song “Death of a Thousand Cuts.” . Will non-Swifties understand this? no way. What difference did it make? no way. “This was going to be my dress for Valentine’s Fest. I’ve been looking forward to it for years,” Jector said.

A group of 20 women wore white t-shirts with plastic Easter eggs emblazoned with images of their favorite “Easter eggs” and hinted that Swift had cut back over the years. A man dressed as a cat as Swift’s latest pet, Benjamin. The two women said excitedly As they walked next to each other in line for dinner, they were spotted wearing similar floral dresses that Swift wore to the 2021 Grammy Awards.

Another popular theme was “All to Well,” the breakup ballad that recently found a second life when Swift Released the latest version of 10 minutes.. Many fans wore costumes depicting these lyrics. Evan Hernandez of Phoenix wore a blue T-shirt that read, “Where’s the scarf, Jack?” – a reference to the song’s supposed subject, Swift’s ex-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal, and the lyric revealing that he changed her scarf.

“[My son] wanted to go to a concert, and he said, ‘Let’s dress up,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m not going to dress up,'” said Hernandez, 46, whose 13-year-old son Eli has a Eras was wearing a tour shirt that he bought at a merch stand Saturday afternoon before Swift’s second show. “So I just went online and started looking for something about ‘All to Well,’ and this is what came up.”

Swift, who doesn’t hold anything back, praised everyone for their efforts from the stage.

“You’ve really outdone yourself, guys. The way you decided to attend this concert, you really, really decided to show up,” he said as he mirrored the crowd. seen dressed as balls (from the song “Mirror Ball”); willow tree (from “willow”); and “Sexy Baby” (from “Anti-Hero” – and very complicated to explain). “I’ve seen, like, really amazing, specific visual representations of lyrics or weird inside jokes that we have online.”

“I was thinking about tonight and how special it is,” she added. “You’ve assured me that you’re here, that it’s special to you too, so it’s really nice that it’s mutual.”

Swift’s unusually close relationship Her comeback with fans started when she was A country artist, a genre in which singers have to treat the audience as their peers. Swift was always a step ahead, interacting with fans on Myspace before Nashville executives even knew what she was, and that relationship continues to this day.

In concert, Swift referred to the journey she and her fans took together, as if they were a family. (Four new members of the family, she said, are the four albums she’s released since her last tour.) She’s made no secret of the fact that she oversees fans’ social media activity, even dryly noting that her 2020 record “Evermore,” “is an album that I absolutely love, despite what some of you say on TikTok. ” (People on the platform believe “Evermore” is his “forgotten child”.)

This is why his relationship with his favorite is so strong. She initially approached fellow teenage girls who assumed from society that their crushes and feelings and dreams were silly, only to find in Swift someone who would take them seriously and who would help them write songs. could articulate, what she didn’t even know what she was feeling. .

“Until she’s done living through something and writing about it and releasing music, I’m living through it,” said Brianna McReynolds, 32, of Phoenix. said Briana McReynolds, who was wearing a T-shirt covered in lyrics. Purple line in her hair to represent “Lavender Haze,” Swift’s latest single. Her best friend, Chris, accompanied her to the concert as “emotional support Swifty”. (“I’m doing my best,” he said.)

“He accidentally wrote the soundtrack to my life,” McReynolds said. “She has matured with all of us, or we have matured with her. So no matter how old I am, she can totally make my heart sing.

Caitlin O’Connor, 32, of San Diego, came to the show with her mother. They’ve seen every Swift tour together for the past 15 years, and O’Connor makes sure to go several times.

You do not need treatment. You need Taylor Swift songs,” O’Connor said. Swift’s concerts, she explained, “are my happy place, and there’s no one else like it. It’s the most natural high you’ll ever get in your entire life.” On her arm, she has a tattoo of Swift’s “Traitor” lyrics: “We’re just skin and bones, training to go along. are won.”

“I love that line. Really, basically, everyone is human,” she said. “And it’s the same thing with Taylor Swift concerts: Everyone is really nice. … You immediately ban something.

Swift is very aware of the world she creates, and she doesn’t shy away from it. In a surprisingly direct admission, introducing the song “Mirror Ball” from his 2020 album “Folklore” during an acoustic set, he reiterated to the crowd what he’s been doing for the past several years. How much I miss you.

“I was thinking about how the song I wrote with you in mind during the pandemic was one of the first songs I wrote on ‘Folklore,’ and this is what I’m writing about. “That’s how badly I’ve been craving that connection that I feel. I think you’ve shown me the way,” he said. “I was trying to think of an eloquent way to say that I love you and I need your attention all the time.”

The stadium fell silent as he sang.

“I’ve never been natural, I just try, try, try. I’m still on that trapeze, I’m still trying my best to get you to look at me. ‘Cause I’m the mirror. Ball of. … I’ll show you every version of me tonight.

And though he demanded the attention of members of the crowd, he didn’t need it. It already was, and always will be.

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