Ticketing Shmicketing: Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras Tour’ Debut Slays (And Could Break All-Time Touring Record)
State Farm Stadium
March 17, 2023
By Christina Fuoco
GLENDALE, ARIZONA — Missing from the near-global crisis that erupted on Nov. 17, 2022—when the world seemed to tilt off its axis as millions of Taylor Swift fans weren’t easily able to get tickets to her “Eras Tour,” which was followed by a sanctimonious firestorm which saw all manners of media pundit, politician, ticketer and secondary market profiteer jump onto any soapbox they could find—is that Swift is one of the most talented artists on the planet. The intense fandom she inspires is more than well-deserved and the opening night of her “Eras Tour” at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, proved it beyond a shadow.
The 52-date “Eras Tour,” as Pollstar forecasted, could easily beat out the record Bad Bunny just set in 2022 for the all-time touring record in a calendar year with a grand total of $435,388,660 for his 43-date “World’s Hottest Tour.”
Where Bunny had lower grosses at three baseball stadium stops, which averaged
closer to $8 million, Swift’s only playing NFL stadiums. For six of the NFL stadiums Bad Bunny played, the average gross was $12.3 million per show. So just using a $12 million average for 52 concerts at NFL stadiums would put Swift’s U.S. tour at an estimated gross of $624 million.
Additionally, some stops along Bunny’s “Worlds Hottest Tour” were much higher, including SoFi stadium (where Swift is playing five shows) where he grossed $15.5 million
per show and Soldier Field netted $14.1 million. Some sources suggested the average gross at the NFL buildings would be closer to $14 million, depending on pricing and premium offerings, which would put Swift’s “The Eras Tour” at a massive total gross of $728 million – nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars.
And that doesn’t include a presumed second leg in Europe, Asia, South America and/or Oceania, which could still happen after the U.S. run’s final date on Aug. 9, her last SoFi Stadium show. With another 90 days left in Pollstar’s touring year, if she did say another 30 or so dates, “The Eras Tour,” promoted by Messina Touring Group, an AEG Presents partner, would gross a mind-boggling billion dollars. That would easily surpass the record Elton John just set as the highest grossing tour of all time with his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour” and its gross of more than $800 million (but that took four and a half years amidst a pandemic to get there).
Could Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras Tour’ Hit A Billion Dollars?
Swift kicked off her “Eras Tour” with a marathon 44-song set from her different eras (get it?) and felt like a three-and-a-half hour love story in front of 73,000 ecstatic fans. It wasn’t, however, so much a tribute to some paramour, but a testament to her sincere love for her fans.
“Just know how much it means to me personally to be able to say to you, ‘Welcome to ‘The Eras Tour,’” she said glowing. “I don’t know if you know this: This is actually the first night of ‘The Eras Tour.’ So, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that if you’re here tonight there’s a pretty good chance that you went through a considerable amount of effort to be with us tonight. Is that true?” she added, alluding to the ticketing fiasco that made it difficult for fans to purchase ticket
“On behalf of me and every single performer you see on stage, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to be able to be with us on night one.”
Then, for the entirety of the rest of the show, Swift took her rabid followers through tracks from each of her albums in a particular order which each represented an era and included: Lover (2019), Fearless (2008), Evermore (2020) Reputation (2017) Speak Now (2010), Red (2012), Folklore (2020), 1989 (2014), Taylor Swift (2006), and Midnights (2022) with only quick breaks for costume changes.
She did so effortlessly, showing that at age 33, Swift’s become a master of her craft and has a good sense of humor.
“We’re going on an adventure one era at a time, during the last 17 years of music that I’ve been lucky enough to make. We have all kinds of things ahead of us — breakups, teenage love triangles and even the liars and dirty, dirty cheats of the world. … I’ll be your host tonight. My name is Taylor Swift.”
At times, it was difficult to hear Swift due to the tens of thousands of over-excited fans singing every word along with her. The over-the-top enthusiasm was steady throughout her set, which included hits like “You Belong with Me,” “Shake It Off,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “Love Story,” “Bad Blood” and “Anti-Hero.”
The adulation drove Swift nearly to tears. “Is it just me, or do we have a lot of things to catch up on? It’s been a really long time since I’ve been on tour,” said Swift, whose last tour fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I can’t even go into how much I’ve missed you because there’s no way to verbalize it.”
The show was a production spectacle of the highest echelon from the start and featured a beautiful stage adorned, at times, with trees, dancers, a massive video screen that made the stadium feel more intimate, pyro and fireworks.
The countdown clock, at the show’s start, may have have received the biggest response. It counted down from two minutes to the appearance of Swift, who emerged from underneath the stage, revealed by a troupe of plume-clad dancers She donned a shimmering gray bodysuit, one of many costumes that accompanied her songs.
Swift opened with “Miss Americana and The Heartbreak Prince,” followed by “Cruel Summer.” She was overwhelmed with emotion, telling the audience she was just trying to process being back on the stage after a five-year absence.
“You Need to Calm Down” followed, proceeding from one “era” to another. “Lover” and “Archer” emerged from 2019’s Lover. For “Fearless,” “You Belong with Me” and “Love Story,” she donned a glittery minidress. She proceeded with 2020’s Evermore — “’Tis the Damn Season,” “Willow” and “Marjorie” — for which she changed into a yellow gown.
The stage banter continued before “Champagne Problems” and “Tolerate It,” for which she played a moss-covered piano. She shared her thoughts on Evermore, with the same playful tinge that filled the show. “It is an album I absolutely love, despite what some of you say on TikTok,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve seen it. I’ve seen all of it.”
The show’s energy picked up with Reputation’s “… Are You Ready for It?,” “Delicate,” “Don’t Blame Me” and “Look What You Made Me Do.”
The representation of Speak Now was simple, featuring the song “Enchanted.” And Swift looked enchanting with a ballgown.
It was clear, when she returned wearing a red outfit, what was next — “22,” “Never Getting Back Together,” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.” For the 10-minute masterpiece “All Too Well,” Swifties knew the lyrics all too well as they sang along to every verse.
She served a healthy dose of Folklore, with “Invisible String,” “Betty,” “The Last Great American Dynasty,” “August,” “Illicit Affairs,” “My Tears Ricochet” and “Cardigan,” with an extended outro.
The marathon spectacle accelerated the show with the fire-accompanied 1989, for “Style,” “Blank Space,” the enthusiastic “Shake It Off,” “Wildest Dreams” and “Bad Blood.”
There was no “bad blood” among fans, who were treated to acoustic renditions of “Mirrorball” and “Tim McGraw.”
The show wrapped with Midnights, most of the songs were live debuts — “Lavender Haze,” “Anti-Hero,” “Midnight Rain,” Vigilante Shit,” “Bejeweled,” “Mastermind” and ending the show with “Karma.”
It’s more understandable now why Ticketmaster reported some 3.5 billion total system requests for the “Eras Tour” following November’s ticketing debacle–that’s four times more traffic than ever before—because Taylor swift is clearly at the top of her game.
Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince
You Need to Calm Down
You Belong With Me
‘Tis the Damn Season
…Ready for It?
Don’t Blame Me
Look What You Made Me Do
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
I Knew You Were Trouble
All Too Well
The Last Great American Dynasty
My Tears Ricochet
Shake It Off
Folklore (Return to album)