Taylor Swift begins her sixth and largest headlining tour yet: “The Eras Tour”


Photo courtesy of Google Commons

Pop sensation Taylor Swift embarks on her newest tour on March 17, 2023, filling Glendale Arizona’s State Farm Stadium with over 69,000 people. The massive attendance broke Madonna’s record for the most-attended concert for a female artist. In honor of Swift starting her tour in Glendale, the city temporarily changed its name to “Swift City,” categorized as a “place of worship.”

The first show revealed Swift’s three-hour-and-fifteen-minute setlist consisting of forty-four songs with expansive sets, costumes, choreography, and visuals. Each show also has two opening acts. The opening acts include Paramore, beabadoobee, Phoebe Bridgers, girl in red, Muna, Haim, Gayle, Gracie Abrams, and Owenn. Swift will perform 52 shows in the U.S. in 20 locations over 5 months. International dates have yet to be announced.

The tour had a rough start when Ticketmaster left thousands of people unable to buy tickets. They were accused of interfering with sales and the site was not equipped to handle the number of people buying tickets at one time. The site crashed and kicked off users, setting them in the back of the queue to wait for hours. Meanwhile, the tickets were bought up by outside entities and resold for higher prices. 

Senior Faith Pfaff was one of the many fans trying to purchase tickets on November 15, 2022. 

“Taylor Swift has an insane number of fans, therefore when she released her tickets it caused the whole site to crash,” she said. “I tried for hours but could not end up getting tickets to the show I wanted, and I ended up having to buy them from a resale source weeks later. I know there were many people unable to buy tickets because of the pricing, so I feel super lucky that my mom and I were able to get them.”

Ticketmaster controls 80% of the primary ticketing market, making it virtually impossible for big artists like Swift to resort to using a different ticketing system. In 2010, Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation, which was becoming the largest concert-promoting company. With Live Nation and Ticketmaster becoming Live Nation Entertainment, revenue from both tickets and the shows themselves all go to the same source. Many feel this created an unfair monopoly in the industry. 

Ticketmaster went to court in February after being sued for “engaging in fraudulent practices and various antitrust violations, including price discrimination and price fixing” (NPR). However, the court ruled that the customers were at fault for agreeing to Ticketmaster’s terms, and Ticketmaster issued a statement promising to do better in the future and update their website so it’s better equipped to handle so many buyers. 

However, even with the ticketing drama, The Eras Tour is off to an excellent start. It is predicted to become one of the highest-grossing tours in U.S. history, a record held currently by Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour. 

The setlist takes the audience through her “Eras,” categorized by her albums. The show starts with “Lover,” picking up where she left off the last time she toured. She was supposed to tour in 2020 with two-day festivals in Atlanta and Los Angeles, and other international locations called “Loverfest.” However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she was forced to cancel those shows. 

“Lover” is followed by “Fearless,” “Evermore,” “Reputation,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” “Folklore,” and “1989.” Then, each night Swift will perform two “surprise songs.” On the first night of the tour, she told the crowd that each night would have two different songs from her discography unless she “massively messed them up” and felt the need to redeem herself. One song would be performed acoustically on piano, the other on guitar. Finally, Swift ends the massive set with “Midnights,” her most recent album. 

So far, Swift has been honored in some way by many of the cities she has performed in. For example, Tampa made her the mayor for the day and gave her the key to the city. 

Additionally, fans have been treating these shows as more than just a concert, but also a connective experience. Many people dress up as Swift from different eras or music videos, and trade handmade bracelets with one another. 

Fans are extremely impressed with Swift’s to take more stripped-down, acoustic songs such as her 2020 albums “folklore” and “evermore” and make them fit for a stadium. 

In an article for the New York Times, pop music critic Jon Caramanica stated, “what this ambitious and energetic if sometimes scattershot performance underscored…was just how many pivots Swift has undertaken in her career.” The performance with its production-heavy vs stripped-down selections proves Swift’s amazing versatility. The Eras Tour will go down in history as one of the greatest concerts of all time.