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A Love(r) Letter to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour

In a darkened stadium, stands full of people wait with bated breath. Leslie Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” plays over the speakers before the show begins. After a few moments, the music stops and the silhouette of a woman appears. She holds up a microphone and says the words that are all too true; “It’s been a long time coming”. And the show begins. As multiple sources will tell you, Taylor Swift’s Eras tour is truly a sight to behold. With 3 hours, 44 songs, and 16 beautifully bejeweled costume changes, the 11-time Grammy winner makes sure to give her fans their money’s worth. As she struts across the stage and sings the “Lover” deep cut “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince '', she tells everyone who showed up, that for those 3 hours “It’s you and me, that’s my whole world”. Wearing a sparkly pink and blue bodysuit with matching knee-high boots, Ms. Swift picks up right where she left off.

When she sings the title track of the album, we are greeted with the dollhouse from the “Lover” music video. Each room is lit a different color (something that fans have taken to believe represents the order of her re-recorded albums) and Swift performs the wedding band-sounding song with a pastel blue guitar. “Lover” is a song that is about two people sharing life and the house represents the beauty of simple domesticity. Leaving Christmas lights up, letting passed-out friends sleep on your couch, and saving seats for each other are little moments that mean everything. In the “Evermore” era, Swift takes us out of the house and into the woods. Performing with a moss-covered piano surrounded by twisting trees, we are invited to gather around as she tells the tale of heartbreak and loss in “champagne problems”. In “Reputation” backup dancers dressed as Swift from each of her different eras are locked in cages during “Look What You Made Me Do”. This is a clever, meta-reference to the music video but also a recurring motif in Swift’s most recent work. If you have a Swiftie in your life, you know that the reason Swift is re-recording her songs is that her old label sold her masters, without her permission, to her rival Scooter Braun. With each distinct set piece, Swift builds little worlds for each album. The golden stage of “Fearless” takes us right back to 2009 and we get to relive the glory days of “1989” with the projection of a car being destroyed. For the 3 hours that the audience has with Taylor, they travel through time with her.

In addition to the sets, Swift serves some memorable looks throughout the night which serve to complement each different era. One signature of Swift is changing her style to correspond with the theme of the album. The fringe dresses for “Fearless” are the perfect callbacks to her sophomore album along with the appearance of the sparkly guitar. While some of us may cringe at the fashion choices of our younger selves, Swift fully embraces her past costumes with open arms. During the “Speak Now” set, which strangely only consists of the song “Enchanted”, she takes a break from bodysuits and wears a pink, princess gown. The kind that she would often don during the “Speak Now” world tour back in 2010. My personal favorite is the white t-shirt bearing the words “A Lot Going On At The Moment” paired with a black fedora during the “Red” set. 2012 was something of a dark time in fashion (why did we put mustaches on everything?), but Swift plays into it with love. Of course, she also uses clothes to welcome her newer albums to the Eras family as well. The beauty of the Eras tour is that we get to see how she envisioned performing her latest work in concert before the pandemic. During the “folklore” set, Swift leads a group of dancers in all-black ensembles; a group of mourners. She stands out in a flowing lavender nap dress while singing the solemn anthem “my tears ricochet”. Swift looks like the spirit of the deceased who is giving the eulogy at her funeral. As she belts out the line “cursing my name, wishing I stayed” the song illustrates the complexity of grief.

Despite what some of us had hoped, the set list is devoid of any mashups between eras. By doing this, Swift gives each era room to breathe. We stay in that period for as long as she wants us to stay and we move on, never going back. Although I would give anything for a “Maroon”/”Wildest Dreams” mashup, the Eras tour is meant to be a celebration of Swift’s past work and a way of looking forward to what she’s doing next. As she closes out the night with a “Midnights” set, she exits the stadium through an orange door. One fan theory is that the color orange was supposed to be the theme of a scrapped album called “Karma”. Swift has never confirmed this theory, but the image of her leaving “Midnights” through an orange door implies that anything could be possible.

Written By J.D. Valdepenas

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