It had been five years since Taylor Swift last went on tour, and her opening night performance for The Eras Tour at State Farm Stadium on March 17 showed no signs of rust from the superstar singer-songwriter.
The story of The Eras Tour began back in November 2022 when tickets went on sale. Getting to purchase tickets was a bit of a fiasco due to, as one can expect, incredibly high demand, but those who did get tickets were treated to an all-time show by the 12-time Grammy Award winner.
Before Swift hit the stage, though, State Farm Stadium was treated to opening act performances from GAYLE and Paramore — two star-studded openers, to say the least.
GAYLE, who was recently nominated for a Grammy Award for her hit song “abcdefu,” hit the stage first at around 6:30 p.m. Her set wasn’t long, but it left a lasting impact.
Just 18 years old, GAYLE showed her musical palette by skillfully covering Alanis Morissette’s 1995 hit “You Oughta Know.” From there, she performed her Grammy-nominated song.
The crowd, which was engaged from the moment she started performing, showed a lot of love toward GAYLE, and the artist could clearly feel it. As she wrapped up her set, she got emotional when thanking both the crowd for their participation and Swift for inviting her on The Eras Tour.
After a relatively short break, it was Paramore’s turn.
Paramore, which is decorated in its own right, did plenty to warm an excited crowd up prior to Swift’s arrival.
The band led with “Hard Times” off of the 2017 album “After Laughter.”
From there, Paramore went back to their roots playing “That’s What You Get” from the 2007 album “Riot!” Frontwoman Hayley Williams said it was a song she and Swift enjoyed singing together.
After diving into “Decode,” Williams gave the crowd a bit of a backstory on how she and Swift met. She admitted she didn’t reach out to her right away, but after she did, the two powerful women grew close.
Then, Paramore slowed things down a bit and played “The Only Exception.” Seemingly every single audience member responded by lighting up the stadium with phone flashlights.
After picking the pace back up with “Still Into You,” the band strung up its first hit — “Misery Business.”
The song had become controversial due to the lyrics, so the band stopped playing it for a while, but it was brought back last year. Before playing, Williams made a point to make it very clear what the song is about — misogyny.
The sold-out crowd sang every single word from start to finish, and as the track ended, so did Paramore’s set.
According to State Farm Stadium’s website, the stadium holds 63,400 seats and can expand to 73,000 for “mega events.” Regardless of how many people were actually in the building, there was not a single empty seat to be seen as the time grew closer to Swift’s arrival.
Out of nowhere, a countdown clock flashed on the giant screen at the back of the elongated stage showing just over two minutes until Swift would hit the stage for the first time in five years. As to be expected, the crowd full of Swifties let out a huge roar.
If the first roar was loud, the second one that came when Swift appeared on stage was deafening.
Swift emerged in a shimmering gray outfit, and it would be far from the only outfit she wore in the evening. Costume changes, to both her and her microphone, were a huge theme to her performance as each outfit signified a different era.
After leading off with “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” and “Cruel Summer,” Swift had a question for the audience.
“Are you with me, Glendale, Arizona?” she asked.
They made it clear that they were, in fact, with her, and it moved Swift to the point where she took a minute to listen to the parade of cheers she was receiving.
“I am just trying to process this and the way it’s making me feel right now,” she said.
After tossing on a shimmering gray blazer, she performed “The Man” with accompanying dancers wearing suits around her. The dancers, like the outfit changes, were a mainstay in Swift’s performance.
She then transitioned to “You Need To Calm Down.”
After wrapping up the track, she welcomed the audience to The Eras Tour and thanked them for taking the effort to be there with her. She knew what her fans had to go through to see her get tickets and she was grateful for them.
From there, she set the stage a little bit and said she would be taking the crowd on an adventure “one era at a time” while exploring the last 17 years of her career. She did this very successfully.
Swift moved from album to album, or era to era, as seamlessly as one can imagine.
Starting with the 2019 album “Lover,” Swift played the title track “Lover” and “The Archer.”
After a few instrumental-filled minutes after Swift left the stage, she reappeared dressed in a gold and glittery short dress and played “Fearless,” “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story” off the album that was rerecorded in 2021 — “Fearless.”
Moving on to the 2020 album “evermore” after another outfit change into a longer yellow dress, she played “’tis the damn season,” “willow” and “marjorie” — the last of the three standing to serve as a tribute track to her late grandmother.
After the three songs in quick succession, Swift sat in front of a piano and spoke to the crowd about how she had so much to catch them up on. She said she added “four new members to the family” in the form of four new albums since she last went on tour.
She then added that she feels a deep connection with “evermore.”
“It is an album I absolutely love, despite what some of you say on TikTok,” she joked. “I’ve seen it. I’ve seen all of it.”
From there, she wrapped up her “evermore” era with “champagne problems” and “tolerate it.”
It was time to pick up the pace with her next era — “reputation.”
Another outfit change saw Swift in a one-legged, one-armed full body suit with red snake-like accents. Anyone who knows Swift’s career knows that snakes and “reputation” have a bit of connection.
With snakes slithering on the huge screen behind her, Swift performed “…Ready For It?,” “Delicate,” “Don’t Blame Me” and “Look What You Made Me Do.”
As the reputation snake disappeared from the screen, an elongated intro to the track “Enchanted” off the 2010 album “Speak Now” began. When the track began playing, Swift emerged in a full ball gown.
After wrapping the track, she exited the stage and returned wearing a color many associate her with — red. Everyone in the audience knew which era was up next.
Off of the album “Red” which, like “Fearless,” was rerecorded in 2021, she performed “22,” “Never Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
But she wasn’t done with the album yet.
Swift figured the audience had some time to spare, so she performed “All Too Well.” No, not the original version. The 10-minute version.
Believe it or not, an incredible amount of audience members sang the entire song word for word.
In a night that had so many high points, this felt like a clear one for the crowd, as it was wondered whether she would play the song at all, let alone the beloved 10-minute version.
After that, she moved to the 2020 album “folklore.” Swift spent a lot of time on this album, playing six songs from it.
Wearing a purple fairy-like dress, Swift sandwiched “the last great american dynasty” in between counterpart tracks “august” and “betty.”
After briefly touching on “illicit affairs,” she rounded out “folklore” with “my tears ricochet” and “cardigan.”
With another outfit change, Swift was ready to performance tracks from the 2014 album “1989,” and she did so by way of “Style,” “Blank Space,” “Shake It Off,” “Wildest Dreams” and “Bad Blood” — the last of which had accompanying fire shooting out of multiple outlets throughout the stadium.
Now by herself at the front of the elongated stage, Swift transitioned to more of an acoustic setting. With just a guitar and a piano at her disposal at this time, she said she was looking to get a bit more intimate with the audience.
The plan for her tour, she said, is to play different songs acoustically each night. Therefore, each concert is slightly different.
In this setting, she played “mirrorball” as an ode to the Swifties that had showed up in a big way for her on the night and “Tim McGraw,” which she said is the first song she ever released.
After that, she dove — yes, dove — headfirst into the stage and was transported to the back of the stage, as was shown on the giant screen.
Appearing after yet another costume change, Swift played songs off of “Midnights,” which was released just last October.
After performing “Lavender Haze” and the ever-popular “Anti-Hero” in quick succession, her accompanying dancers appeared with umbrellas as Swift performed “Midnight Rain.”
Those umbrellas were then strategically used to cover Swift up for a short time. After she was uncovered, it was revealed she had changed her outfit once again, though this one was the last one of the evening.
After wrapping “Midnight Rain,” Swift jumped to “Vigilante S—,” “Shimmer” and “Mastermind.”
Swift then took a bow.
Just when the audience thought the show may be over, she asked if everyone had time for one more track. After a loud cheer that clearly signified a resounding “yes,” Swift performed “Karma.”
As if she were giving the audience the chance to make a wish, at 11:11 p.m., Swift again thanked the audience, her accompanying dancers and her band.
After a second bow, Swift was lowered into the stage, and a masterful give-or-take three-hour performance was over.
Every single step of Swift’s performance was precise, and not a single step was wasted. The timing of Swift leaving and then returning to the stage, pyrotechnics, choreography, imaging on the massive screen, prop use, wardrobe, fireworks and anything else that joined the superstar artist on stage meshed in a way that only Swift can bring to a concert.
As impressive as Swift’s performance was, it was just as impressive to witness her fans follow along to every song she performed. The artist, rightfully so, has a massive, loyal fanbase, and that was made even more apparent throughout every step of her performance.
After the second night of back-to-back performances at State Farm Stadium on March 18, Swift will take The Eras Tour to Las Vegas on Friday, March 24.
Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince
You Need to Calm Down
You Belong With Me
’Tis the Damn Season
…Ready for It?
Don’t Blame Me
Look What You Made Me Do
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
I Knew You Were Trouble
All Too Well
The Last Great American Dynasty
My Tears Ricochet
Shake It Off