Eras Tour 3/18 Show Review

Grady Brunelle, Co-Editor

Yup, I got Taylor Swift tickets.

And It Was Worth It.


In November 2022, the news of Taylor Swift’s new tour was hard to avoid. Social media was ablaze with excitement following her announcement of her Eras Tour, which would cover 17 years of Swift’s music, including ten studio albums.


There was a lot of chatter about the unprecedented number of people who wanted to attend her shows. At the time, Swift held the record for most- attended tour of all time, her Reputation Stadium Tour of 2017.


Her Eras Tour would be held in stadiums across the country, multiple nights in a row at the same venue, each stadium holding anywhere between 70,000 and 105,000 people. And folks were still very worried about not getting tickets. It was a testament to Swift’s talent and popularity.


The ticket sales giant, Ticketmaster, was accused of mishandling the sale and disappointing millions of Taylor Swift fans and landed in the middle of a Congressional inquiry months later.


I was sick and bedridden that week, so I was able to stay glued to my computer for ticket sales time. I joined the ticket-buying queue with 2000-plus buyers in front of me. I waited for two and a half hours, watching the line get shorter. Finally, I was granted access and purchased two tickets, one for me and one for my mom. Section 121, row 37, seats 17 and 18.


(The view from our seats will be attached at the bottom.)

We spent months excitedly guessing potential show set-lists and outfits and stage-set pieces. None of our guesses were correct, as the mastermind that is Taylor Swift was thirteen steps ahead of us.


My second Taylor Swift-themed tattoo had just finished healing when I found myself on a six-hour flight to Glendale, Arizona on March 17 to see the kickoff weekend Saturday show of the Eras Tour.


“It’s been a long time coming,” Taylor told the crowd, bringing on the loudest screaming I had ever heard in my entire life, including my own.


Taylor came onto the stage beautiful, flowery, way surrounded by flower-themed, parachute-wearing dancers. As a shock to the crowd, she opened the show with a song from her Lover era, celebrating her 2019 album of the same name.  Lover.


She spent the time between songs talking to her fans, reconnecting with us after years of separation due to the pandemic. She has released three new albums since the Covid-19 pandemic, “Folklore,” “Evermore” and “Midnights.”


She talked about how excited she was to play those new songs live for the very first time. And play them she did. Following the rainbow lights and sing-songy vibe of her Lover era, she returned to 2008 and the second album she released, “Fearless.”


Twirling in a bright yellow dress with glittery fringe, she brought  mature vocals to her high-school era songs, “Fearless,” “You Belong with Me”, and “Love Story.” She was grinning ear to ear through all three songs. All of us were.


Now, I could go era by era through the entire performance and describe the set-list of songs, musical arrangements and stage production but every other article about this tour will do that. I want to offer a true “Swiftie” viewpoint, how it truly felt to be there.


As soon as Taylor’s dancers came out, there was a feeling in the stadium that “this is happening and we are here for it together.” It was almost as if no one was breathing or moving. The excitement in the room made the walls of the stadium feel like a balloon about to explode.


When Taylor came out from under the stage, as if rising from the ground, the volume in the room was nothing like I had ever experienced before. I have been to over 30 concerts and I have never been in a room so joined in expression. It was beautiful. I have never been more excited for anything in my life.


The first song she played beginning to end, “Cruel Summer,” had been my favorite song for over a year and a half. I felt like my body couldn’t contain my joy. I was singing so loudly I could barely breathe. Freaking out isn’t even scratching the surface.


The best part was everyone in the room was sharing my energy, joined in cheers and song. There were so many moments in which I could not catch my breath because I was crying or screaming with my whole being.


I was shocked by how many songs she played off each album. It was such a beautiful look into her heart and how she feels about her albums. You could tell that she was only playing songs she wanted to share with us and was not trying too hard to impress anyone, just connect with her fans with her most-loved songs.


My absolute favorite moments?


My breath was completely taken away when Taylor addressed her fans’ love of her song bridges.


“Now Glendale, we have reached the first bridge of the evening, why don’t we cross it together,” she asked just before belting out the bridge to “Cruel Summer.” We yelled the lyrics at such a collective volume that you could barely hear her vocals.


A candid moment I really adored was when Taylor was sitting at her Evermore piano about to sing “Champagne Problems.” She introduced the Evermore Era to the crowd and spoke about her experience writing the album, then brought up an inside joke among fans on social media, a running joke that Taylor does not like the album.


“I love this album!,” she declared. “What is your evidence? Because I didn’t wish it a ‘Happy Birthday’ on Instagram? I don’t even wish people a ‘Happy Birthday’ on social media.” Laughter filled the stadium as she began to play the first few notes of the album’s most popular song. It was an honest moment of shared detail with Taylor and her fans.


My favorite moment from the evening changes every time I think about it. Sometimes it is the shocking Reputation Era entrance of …”Ready for It?,” sometimes it is the heart-rending level of emotion Taylor showed as she dropped to her knees and scream-sang the outro of “Illicit Affairs,” and sometimes it is the pure joy and excitement on Taylor’s face as she sang her final and most prideful song of the evening, “Karma.”


I have such a deep connection with each and every one of her songs, to the point where I have tattoos about her songs on my arms. I did not think I could feel more connected with this artist or her music before I attended this concert, and yet somehow, I do now.


The stage of the show was overwhelmingly massive, yet so many times Taylor seemed alone on it. She had her dancers on stage with her for about half of the songs. But for the other 22 songs, it was just her and a microphone, her and a guitar, or her and a piano, heightening the truly one-on-one experience for fans.


It was like being at Taylor Swift’s birthday party — a true celebration of her. Her humility was on full display as she choked up multiple times at the sheer amount of applause in total appreciation of her.


This was a true fan-artist celebration. It felt as if I could finally thank her for all that she has done for me as an individual, and being there in person with her felt as if she was performing just for me. Knowing her connection to every fan is so important to her is moving in ways her fans appreciate so deeply, locking them into her energy at her concerts and beyond.


Somehow, even as Taylor Swift breaks the record for the most-attended tour of all time, she has a way of making every fan feel as if they are in a room alone with her, singing their favorite songs one-on-one. That is a feeling I will carry with me from the show and forward.


My thoughts and feelings about this experience run deep, even now weeks later. It reminds me of the impactful quote from the great Maya Angelou: “People may forget what you said, they may forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Thank you to Taylor Swift and thank you to the fans who were with me that night in Glendale.