Taylor Swift kicked off The Eras tour in Arizona this weekend and from what I saw on social media and from The Atlantic, which called the show “unbelievable”, and the New York Times, which described it as “ambitious and energetic”, Taylor on this tour is exhaustively paying tribute to her own impressive catalogue. She’s as productive on stage as she is off.
Because remember, she hasn’t toured in five years and in that time she’s released four entirely new full-length albums and two re-recorded albums; that’s SIX albums since 2018 so to say that including material from all of her work, let alone what she’s done in just this half of the decade, is a lot of an understatement.
Which is why there are 44 songs on the setlist – 44 SONGS! Most concerts include between 22ish to 30 tracks. Forty-four, then, is a heavy load. And of the 44, the full-length version of “All Too Well” is part of it. And that’s why the show is over three hours… so if you’re one of those people who stressed over getting tickets, and spent several car payments on it, you’re getting big value.
Right now, I have no plans to go see Taylor. She hasn’t announced any Canadian tour dates so far and I’ve already seen Adele this year, and have Madonna and Beyoncé on deck, plus Epik High this week, and I’m still trying to get tickets for Suga, who is also not playing in Canada. That said, seeing Taylor’s setlist, I am reconsidering. Because she performs two of my favourite songs from her library – “August”, which I wrote about how much I love a few months ago and “Cruel Summer” which I’ve never understood why it wasn’t one of the singles from Lover because, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the best song on that album, and far, far, far superior to “ME!” and “You Need to Calm Down”, ugh.
As for how the setlist is arranged, the show is sectioned by album – she doesn’t jumble the songs all together but instead orders the songs according to the albums they belong to. The albums themselves aren’t performed in the order that they were released, but the songs are definitely grouped to the albums, ending on Midnights and from that album, my favourite “Mastermind” is the penultimate track before she concludes on “Karma”.
But Taylor has left room in the setlist for switches as she explained that there’s a wildcard spot every night where she’ll do something different. On night one, “Mirrorball” and “Tim McGraw” were the debuts, replaced by “This Is Me Trying” and “State of Grace” on night two. This might also allow, I think, for special guests deeper into the tour. Because what’s a Taylor Swift tour without a guest, right?
There’s also a moment in the show where she appears to dive into a pool, and then a video plays along the stage of her swimming the length of the runway until she reaches the other end and emerges in a different outfit.
It’s a pretty cool set design, adding to the overall flex she’s serving with The Eras. Taylor Swift is at the top of her game.