Two months after hitting the road on her highly anticipated The Eras tour, Taylor Swift returned to the venue where it all started: Gillette Stadium. Since that first Fearless stadium performance in 2010, the Grammy Award winner has gone on to release ten projects. On Friday night, fans dressed in album-inspired attire filled the sold-out stadium to celebrate more than a decade of music.
Before Swift took the stage in “Foxy Foxborough,” openers Gayle and Phoebe Bridgers brought their own discography to the diamond stage for short 20-minute sets. After rocking out to “abecdefu” and vibing to “Punisher,” it was time for the Swifties to full-on sprint to their seats following two-hour waits to buy exclusive merchandise and the special Lavender Haze drink.
Swift kicked off the show with her Lover era, performing “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” surrounded by stunning silk fans. Without missing a beat, she transitioned into “Cruel Summer.” These audience favorites brought the performance to the first bridge of the night as Swift closed out one era and entered Fearless. As always, the bridge was intense, fun, and unifying as Swifties scream sang the lyrics in unison until they lost their voices.
After the Lover era, Swift dove “head-first” into her breakout album, Fearless, performing songs such as “Love Story,” “You Belong With Me,” and the title track.
Next, it was “’tis the damn season” for the third era of the night, Evermore, which featured “tolerate it” and “willow.” Over the eras, Taylor has shown her fans how much she loves them through listening sessions, the notable “Swiftmas,” and the joy with which she interacts with her fans. Those Swifties returned the favor during a performance of “marjorie,” a song about her late grandmother. They illuminated the stadium with cellphone lights, which Swift assured the crowd most definitely moved her mother, somewhere in the stadium, to tears. They also gave her a three-minute applause after “Champagne Problems,” which left her speechless.
Fans were as ready as they’d ever been to jam out on the football field to Reputation’s “Ready For It” and then go to Church for Swift’s sultry “Don’t Blame Me.” The audience celebrated and reminisced (the majority of us) to everyone’s birthday theme song “22.” The joyful, bright red era had all of us flushed with so many emotions, that made us feel “happy, free…at the same time.” From the nosebleeds to the floor, the crowd help Taylor close out the era and sang along to all 10 minutes of “All Too Well.”
Represented by varying shades of red, it seemed only fitting for Red to follow Reputation, but not without a brief Speak Now intermission of “Enchanted.”
For the Folklore era, which is appropriately the most New England-like album, Swift took us to the moody east coast shore with songs such as “August” and “Cardigan.” She also shared the fact that her song, “the last great american dynasty” is about a ritzy, coastal New England house. Swift captured the aesthetics of a perfect Cape Cod summer, despite the cold spring night.
The era that the Gillette Stadium fans went the hardest for was 1989, famously her first pop album. She performed songs like empowering “Shake It Off,” the chic “Style,” and the sassy “Blank Space,” but went hardest for “Bad Blood.”
Being the “mastermind” she is, Taylor left no detail unnoticed. Each outfit matched each era, from the “bejeweled” unitards that shimmered under the bright lights to the stunning bell-sleeved “key lime” dress she wore for “the last great american dynasty.” She even perfectly placed Evermore and Folklore in between the boppy eras, such as Reputation and 1989.
The sets, props, costumes, and choreography by Mandy Moore (La La Land) made the performance feel like a whole Broadway show. In each act or era, it felt like you were seeing a different Taylor. The dancers and the visuals played along in the storytelling, with each dancer acting out versions of her, and representing her lyrics visually.
Throughout the performance, she swiftly transitioned from High School love stories to her folky Folklore album with each era heralding a new aesthetic. Folklore was nestled in a cozy cabin in the forest, while Evermore’s contrasting aesthetic created a colder, chillier effect. These polar opposites were juxtaposed by the vibrancy and colorfully saturated pop eras.
The fans were also in high anticipation as to what the surprise songs would be. Swift left fans “wonderstruck” with an acoustic performance of “Should’ve Said No,” from her debut, self-titled album, and “Better Man.” At a floral-painted piano, Swift shared that “Better Man” originally didn’t make the first cut of Red, but instead was offered to the country group, Little Big Town. The song, which won CMA Song of the Year, was later recorded for her Red re-release.
To end the famous three-hour and twenty-minute long show, Swift sang selections from her Midnights album as the crowd clubbed to “Lavender Haze,” played chess to “Mastermind,” danced to “Bejeweled,” and plotted revenge to “Karma.”
The enchanting night left us “wonderstruck” as to how Swift does this three-four nights a week. However, there is no wonder why and how Swift has so many fans, it’s her charm, and ability to connect with fans, even if there are 70,000 of them at the stadium. We’ll all remember this show “All Too Well.”