Thoughts from the Back of the Stadium: Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour

The news of Taylor Swift’s record-breaking Eras Tour has inundated those who have lived on earth for even a minute of the last year or so. I’m not under the impression that you’d particularly like to read another word about it here, and understandably so. The fandom has been intense and die-hard since the mid 2010’s, and Taylor Swift’s following often receives (at times, deserving) flack for their unquestioned support of one of the most rich and famous blondes ever to exist. Her marketing team needs no help from me – but alas, I am here, facing the contradictions of my lifelong love and adoration. I owe it to my 9-year-old self to document the experience of attending this tour. Take it or leave it, and my condolences if you missed out on tickets!

I think I’ve seen this film (show) before…

Probably the most unprecedented factor of the Eras tour is the media associated with it. Of course, Taylor Swift has built her marketing scheme to be one-size-fits-all. It’s pop music, so it’s intentionally made in a way that sounds pleasing for the majority of people who hear it. Taylor Swift’s unending ‘relatable girl next door’ persona serves the same purpose. It’s been that way for well over a decade. But this is the first of her tours since the evolution of TikTok and its pervasive impact on marketing, media and culture. Which brings me to my point – even if you didn’t get tickets, you’ve already seen the show. If you saw the movie, you’ve seen the show. Spend 3 hours on TikTok and you’ve been to the Eras tour!

YouTube: The Eras Tour – Concert Film Trailer

It was kind of strange to know what was going to happen next. I’ve never been to a concert where that was the case. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t ruin the experience in the slightest. It was just different. I took my younger sister to Sydney night 4, and naturally I was concerned about the public transport situation and how we would get back to Wollongong after the concert. Of course, my portable charger failed me and at some stage during the show I turned my phone off to preserve battery life. This may have been the biggest concert of my life, but I felt no qualms. I knew I’d see thousands of videos of the show on TikTok, anyway. It was actually quite nice to rid myself of the urge to film and just be present.

As a minor note here, I’d like to say that although no one was even remotely rude at this concert – I was amazed at how many people did not seem mesmerised by Sabrina Carpenter. I’ve been calling Emails I Can’t Send the best pop album of the last 5 years since it came out. And because my TikTok feed is full of her, I assumed other people were just as excited to see her open this concert as I was. Apparently not!

The Surprise Songs

For those who are somehow unaware, the Eras tour set list goes as follows:

Post Content Eras Tour Set List
Image: Eras Tour Set List

I want it to be known that I did not shed a measly tear until the opening chord of Fearless rang through the air and struck my peasant ears up the back. Another teary highlight was her artful performance of Tolerate It. If I hadn’t already seen the movie, I would have been utterly inconsolable. As you can see, Ms Swift transitions from that heart wrenching, unforgivable song, straight into Ready for it. Which is emotional whiplash at its finest. In the horribly short Speak Now era, I thought of myself as a young tot, listening to the album for the first time and loving Enchanted with my whole heart long before TikTok got its greasy hands on it. I remember being so jealous of people who got to see the Speak Now tour. The princess dresses were everything to little Tyneesha, and her costuming alone for that song what enough to make me cry again.

My girlfriend went to the show two nights previous to mine, and during a conversation about possible surprise songs, I kindly told her that if Taylor Swift played ‘Peace‘, that she simply must leave in solidarity. That song is for me. Spoiler, but she did in fact play Peace that night. Luckily, the other song I wanted Taylor Swift to pluck from her catalogue for me was Maroon. And she played that for us. She also played the song that my little sister was hoping for, Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve, so we were very pleased.

TikTok: Forever & Always X Maroon

The Stage Design & Effects

I don’t know a lot about stage design or how concert creators pull certain things off – but Taylor Swift’s tours have always had a fair bit of flashy tech involved. Again, I’d seen most of it through the movie, but it looked so different in person. This was my sister’s first concert experience and I am very afraid that she may never see another show as elaborate. At some stage, the fire cannons went off, and that was so exciting for me specifically. Confetti is a concert aspect that I’ve only recently considered fun and interesting. I turned my phone on toward the end of the show and captured the incredible sight that was the last song.

Make the Friendship Bracelets, all that

I’m sure you’ve heard about the most notorious part of the eras tour culture – the friendship bracelets. Basically, based on a lyric from one of her songs, attendees made beaded bracelets, usually involving song names – some of them got quite creative and elaborate. People at the concerts then swapped them with strangers near them. I was fairly unprepared because making bracelets takes time and patience that I don’t necessarily have on hand. I didn’t want to turn up empty-wristed, and thankfully my sweet girlfriend made me a handful to take. My little sister has spent countless hours making her bracelets, and she started trading the second we arrived at the stadium.

Perhaps the other amazing bracelet themed feature of the concert are the wrist bands. When you arrive to be seated, they hand out concert wrist bands with a little light up square on the front. As you go through the concert, your wrist band will light up in different colours and rhythms, sometimes creating patterns through the stands. During Lover, for example, the wrist bands that came on formed big heart shapes that we could see from the other side of the stands. It was a really interesting way of making the crowd aware of how many other people were there.

Anyway, I think that’s about all that I have to say on the matter – for now. I hope this answers your questions and cures your FOMO. Talk soon (maybe)!