Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour
Two hours and forty-eight minutes and no interval. That would be quite tortuous for a theatre show, and indeed at the cinema screening of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour (‘err-as’, not ‘eer-as’) that I attended there were so many comings and goings as people couldn’t last the course. Swift evidently outlasts much of her fanbase, and I’m smugly satisfied that I outlasted them too, just by sitting there.
There was nothing to stop fans – Swifties – from getting up and dancing. Indeed, I went into the screen to find the back row, which I booked, was out of bounds, so I was swiftly (ahem) reassigned by the box office. Except it wasn’t actually out of bounds, but rather designated as a standing gallery for Swifties who wanted to dance, without going down to the front of the screen and blocking people’s view. What is possibly Swift’s most famous song – so well-known even I knew it (because it had featured in a panto a few years ago) – ‘Shake It Off’, proved irresistible, and down the Swifties went, like lemmings, only to come back up again, like lemmings, when some bloke in the audience yelled at them to do so. His instruction, funnily enough, wasn’t complied with by his own offspring, who went as far as breaking the only regulation the cinema had (apart from no smoking, no drugs, no crimes against the person, that sort of thing), and stood on the chairs. They might well have been only little children, but the safety risk was nonetheless significant.
Anyway, this was substantially more than a stand-and-deliver concert, and there were more set changes than I’ve seen in some musical productions. There were four backing singers (Swift said there were four of them, so if you disagree, argue with her) and many more dancers – a large ensemble, you might even say. The moving projections were done very well, and the cinema release, I felt, was more of an opportunity to hear Swift herself sing rather than hordes of screaming Swifties in a stadium.
Unless her interactions with fans were edited out for the cinema release, there wasn’t very much chatter, with a brief welcome and introduction and then not much else: she lets her songs do the talking. The show is effectively a greatest hits extravaganza, and Swift has extraordinary stamina. There were forty songs in all, and five were cut from the film setlist: ‘The Archer’ from Lover, ‘tis the damn season’ and ‘No Body No Crime’ from Evermore, ‘Cardigan’ from Folklore and ‘Wildest Dreams’ from 1989. Indeed, tickets for the screening were priced at £19.89 – I couldn’t resist having a look at Ticketmaster to try to find out how much it would cost to attend a Taylor Swift concert in person.
Well, she’s sold out, perhaps unsurprisingly, though seated tickets started at £58.65 up in the gods up to £194.75 for floor seats, with general admission standing tickets at £110.40 and front standing at £172.25. The VIP package is £662.40 for a seated floor ticket, priority check-in (is this a concert or a flight?) and merchandise. There’s a part of me that hopes it rains on Wembley Stadium when the time comes. There’s a roof but it doesn’t cover the pitch.
Being a heartless bastard with no time for relationships, I feel exonerated by Taylor Swift from various people who have questioned whether I am truly happy not living with someone else – the ex-boyfriends which she sings about are all terribly disappointing. Apparently ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ is about Jake Gyllenhaal. I suspect there will probably be an entire album about Joe Alwyn. Of course, Swift is the common denominator in these miscellaneous failed relationships, but try telling that to the Swifties, who would do what their guru tells them, and ‘shake it off’.
Ten studio albums summarised in a single night, this show sees Swift take to the guitar, and then to the piano, and it was easy to see why she is so loved and admired. It’s the sort of music that is best enjoyed live, or in my case, in a live experience: rather like classical music, I could listen to it in a concert hall and very much enjoy it but it’s not the same listening to it on a CD or on Spotify. There’s something quite cathartic and therapeutic about Taylor Swift’s music. I get why her fanbase is so huge. I think.
Lover Era 1. Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince 2. Cruel Summer 3. The Man 4. You Need to Calm Down 5. Lover
Fearless Era 6. Fearless 7. You Belong With Me 8. Love Story
Evermore Era 9. Willow 10. Marjorie 11. Champagne Problems 12. Tolerate It
Reputation Era 13. Ready for It? 14. Delicate 15. Don’t Blame Me 16. Look What You Made Me Do
Speak Now Era 17. Enchanted
Red Era 18. 22 19. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together 20. I Knew You Were Trouble 21. All Too Well (10 Minute Version)
Folklore Era 22. The 1 23. Betty 24. The Last Great American Dynasty 25. august 26. illicit affairs 27. My Tears Ricochet
28. Style 29. Blank Space 30. Shake It Off 31. Bad Blood Surprise Songs 32. Our Song 33. You’re on Your Own Kid
Midnights Era 34. Lavender Haze 35. Anti-Hero 36. Midnight Rain 37. Vigilante Shit 38. Bejeweled 39. Mastermind 40. Karma