“The Eras Tour”
East Rutherford, NJ
May 27, 2023
By Ida Gensler and Allegra Pinkowitz
Taylor Swift has been the soundtrack of our lives from the time we were born. We learned the lyrics to songs like “Never Getting Back Together,” before we could write our own names. As we grew, so did Taylor. Her music moved from catchy pop to deeper, more feeling pieces as our minds grew in the same way. Taylor Swift, in some ways, is as much a part of who we are and who we are becoming as our own families are, and we turn to her music when we are happy, sad and for every emotion in between.
In the last three years, Taylor has had major successes, including putting out three huge multi-platinum original albums (Midnights, Evermore and Folklore) and two re-recorded “Taylor’s Version” albums (Fearless and Red). All of this helped push Swift to the top of the charts world-wide. At the same time, having not toured since 2018, helped make 2023 “Eras Tour” one of the all-time most in-demand concerts. As a result, when tickets for “The Eras Tour,” went on sale in November, it crashed the ticketing sites due to overwhelming demand. This resulted in two tickets for this MetLife even going for as high as $184,000 –$92,000 each — according to reports.
Between May 26-28, Swift headlined three consecutive nights at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium with a reported record-setting 217,625 fans joining her. The last time she graced the Garden State was in 2018 was with her “Reputation Tour.” Five years later, her concert seemed like practically all anyone in the New York area was talking about. Instagram and TikTok feeds were filled with excitement and outfit reveals.
We took the subway at around 2:00 p.m. from Manhattan to New Jersey Transit and then right to MetLife Stadium. The crowd was filled with people who clearly felt as passionately about the icon as we did. Walking into the stadium and seeing outfits referencing every “Era,” music video, award show, song lyric, album cover, and literally anything the woman had done in the past 10 years, felt as if we walked into Taylor Swift heaven. And all the “eras” were represented—Mirrorball dresses, jerseys with the number 13, gold dresses with fringe, the creativity and personalized interpretation of every Swift era on full display.
We arrived early to see two stellar opening acts, Phoebe Bridgers and Gracie Abrams, who are great singers and performers in their own right though the stadium wasn’t full yet. Waiting for Taylor, other overhyped fans started approaching us and trading bracelets that had the names of Taylor songs, albums, and phrases. The other 70,000 people in the stadium were screaming, holding posters, chanting, and saying what surprise song they wanted to hear, what era they were most excited for, what song they were going to cry the most to and more.
The show began, as it likely begins everywhere, but this is New York City (well, New Jersey, but really New York City), with an introductory video playing on the screen. There were tears. Joyful tears. Tears of anticipation. And, then she appeared. The noise made by the crowd defied anything either of us has experienced in our 15 years on the planet.
First her background dancers, who had the wild dresses with huge tails that fanned out maybe 40 feet up the air, came out. Then came Taylor in a bedazzled one piece and boots singing “Cruel Summer,” from her 2019 Lover album. A house-shaped array of lights appeared on the LED screen behind her. She put a sparkling blazer over her dress and started singing “The Man” and “You Need to Calm Down.” She played her blue acoustic guitar for the song “Lover” and “The Archer,” which ended the Lover-album era of her set.
Swift player 44-songs which were divided into nine album sections spanning her career plus two surprise.
And Taylor worked. Hard. She sang and sang and sang. She flawlessly danced and danced and danced. She spoke to the crowd and was genuinely grateful we were there, together with her, after five years of not touring. Several times she called us a “mega-crowd.” And, we were. Everyone in the crowd (except for a few reluctant parents) sang, danced, yelled, clapped, and cried for over 3 hours.
Some of the production highlights included: bubbles flowing down the huge LED screen which began the era for 2022’s Evermore; her background dancers holding glowing yellow globes all wearing black robes while Taylor played “Willow;” the mossy piano she played on while singing a gorgeous rendition of “Marjorie,” which she dedicated to her late grandmother. The audience went absolutely feral afterward cheering her on for a full 3-minutes. She also stayed at the piano for “Champagne Problems”.
To begin 2017’s Reputation era, everything turned black and snakes started slithering slowly across the screen. Taylor came out in a jumpsuit covering one leg, with a black fabric at the base and a red sparkly fabric wrapped around her covered leg and the right side of her body. She sang “…Ready For It?” while dancing on a lifted platform. From the raised floor she also sang “Delicate” and Don’t Blame Me.”
Some of her many excellent fashion choices, included her light purple, flowy, sequined dress worn during “Enchanted” from Speak Now with smoke arising from the stage; a black hat and white shirt saying “A Lot Going On At The Moment;” black sparking shorts for “22;” and the half black and half red sparkly romper for “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and “I Knew You Were Trouble”.
Swift brought out Phoebe Bridgers” for “Nothing New” and the crowd went wild as both played guitar. Taylor announced it was Phoebe’s last night on tour and the crowd cheered as loud as they could. Phoebe left and the Taylor sang “All Too Well 10-Minute Version”
One of the fans’ favorite eras,1989, began with “Style, and then “Blank Space” for which she was wearing a sparkly green set—a cropped spaghetti strapped tank top and skirt. She then went into sick beat of “Shake It Off” and again went to the lifted platform and began swinging a lighted golf club. Then came her mega hits “Wildest Dreams and Bad Blood”.
Afterwards she went to the end of the catwalk and announced she was going to start her surprise solo acoustic song. The first surprise was “Holy Ground” and then “False God” and the crowd went wild. They all lifted up their flashlights and started waving them and they all hugged someone next to them. She ended the song by walking to the end of the catwalk and “dove” into the stage which had a projection of a pool on the floor. She disappeared into the stage after the dive.
The final album of the “Eras Tour” was 2022’s “Midnights.” It started with the dancers carrying around huge polls with massive “clouds” at the top of sticks. As they walked around the lifted platform with the clouds, Taylor rode up and started singing “Lavender Haze.” She had a big fluffy purple coat on over a short sleeve purple dress with black knee-high boots. She then took her coat off and started playing “Anti-Hero.” She took off the dress and had on a blue sparkly bathing suit like a jumpsuit and then sang her newest classics “Midnight Rain,” “Vigilante Shit” and Mastermind.”
For the finale she sang “Karma” and in the middle of she brought out Ice Spice, an upcoming artist from New York, to sing it with her. The crowd went crazy. Once the song ended rainbow confetti flew into the air and the show was unfortunately over.
We both marveled at Swift’s ability to hold so many people completely entranced for such a long time and were amazed by her stamina. How much energy must it take to give all that emotion and enthusiasm night after night, while still making the crowd feel like they are the very best crowd? How rare is it for a mega star to be able to make thousands of people feel like they are having an intimate experience with a performer? How many mega stars actually care about any of that? At our age, we have seen a fair number of concerts, but few performers have made us feel like we were in it with them—but Taylor did.
(Full-disclosure: Ida is Pollstar executive editor Andy Gensler’s daughter).