After months of anticipation, Taylor Swift has finally kicked off her Eras Tour. She performed on March 17 and 18 in Glendale, Arizona at the State Farm Stadium. The shows were marketed as “a journey through the musical eras of [Swift’s] career,” and there was heavy speculation about what that would mean. After her two concerts, we finally understand.
According to NME, Swift divided the evening into different eras but not in chronological order. With a whopping 44-song setlist, the shows clocked in at three hours and (we kid you not) 13 minutes; plenty of material for fans who had to jump through frustrating Ticketmaster hoops just to attend.
Paramore and GAYLE were the opening acts for both shows. The former is best known for her Grammy-nominated single "adcdefu." GAYLE was overcome by emotion to be opening for such a monumental tour, and took several opportunities to make her gratitude known. Paramore’s vocalist Hayley Williams echoed similar sentiments. The band took a brief pause from their set as Williams told the story of getting to know Swift when they were teenage artists in Nashville. She recounted reaching out to Swift after the infamous VMA incident and their friendship that blossomed.
In comparison to previous Swift tours, the stage took on a more scaled-back design. Most of the heavy lifting to distinguish each different era aesthetically fell to the rear jumbotron. There were also illusions (Swift diving and swimming into the stage, her floating off on a cloud, or the white confetti that mimicked snow during the outro of "All Too Well"), and plenty of costume changes from all her different eras.
More than anything, Swift’s kick-off show was a reminder of the relationships she’s developed with her loyal fans over the past fifteen years. From joking about in-fandom memes (she referred to evermore as “an album I absolutely love, despite what some of you say on TikTok”), to praising the elaborate costumes attendees had put together, to making her show a more inclusive space with a comment about “guys, gals, and non-binary pals,” Swift made everyone feel welcome.
Early in the night, Swift addressed the crowd directly for the first time: “I don’t know how to process all of this and the way it’s making me feel,” she admitted.
The fans could say the same. Of course there were those who weeped over the excitement, but the emotional highlight of the night was undoubtedly the section dedicated to Swift's Grammy-winning album, Folklore. Swift introduced the era with a spoken recitation of the lyrics to the deep-cut "Seven." When she appeared in a flowing lilac gown on the roof of a moss-covered rustic cabin and started singing "Invisible String," fans erupted in surprised glee.
And of course, Swift played plenty of classic tracks from her other marvelous eras. Fans bopped along to "You Need to Calm Down," "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," and "Love Story." Swift's longtime pal Emma Stone even went viral on TikTok for showing off her dance moves to "You Belong With Me" and "Fearless." (You can see her in a black tank top next to the woman wearing the hot pink cowgirl attire.)
But the epicness of her first two Eras Tour shows isn't the only news Taylor Swift has made recently. Before the concerts even started, the singer-songwriter shared four previously-unreleased tracks. Three of the songs are “Taylor’s Versions,” meaning they’re re-recorded editions of known tracks, and one, “All of the Girls You Loved Before,” received its first-ever release.
Two of the new “Taylor’s Version” songs come from the 2012 soundtrack to The Hunger Games: “Eyes Open” and the Civil Wars–featuring “Safe & Sound.” The other re-recorded track, “If This Was a Movie,” was originally on the deluxe edition of Speak Now, marking Swift’s first revisit of the album. The new song, “All of the Girls You Loved Before,” is believed to be a Lover outtake. “All of the Girls You Loved Before” was co-produced by Swift, Louis Bell, and Frank Dukes.
The Eras Tour is slated to continue across North America until August, with international updates promised to come soon. The next show Swift is set to play will be on March 24 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can find more information about the trek here.
Listen to all four of Swift's new songs below.
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