The Eras Tour, more akin to sacrament than show, has transformed stadiums into altars, set lists into scripture and Taylor Swift into God. Such claims, albeit sacrilegious, are merely echoes of the religious language adopted by fans in attempts to capture the brilliance of Swift’s latest tour. The three and a half hour concert consisting of 44 songs is a testament to the palatability and popularity of Swift’s discography and her unique capacity to create a setlist spanning her 17-year career full of chart-climbing hits. Even before its opening night in Glendale, Arizona, the tour was already regarded as record-breaking: the Ticketmaster website crashed before presale in November due to unprecedentedly high demand.
Beyond its cultural acclaim, the tour is undeniably an economic powerhouse with a projected gross of $2.2 billion in North American ticket sales, which is projected to surpass the $1 billion mark by the tour’s conclusion, outranking Elton John’s multiyear farewell tour of $939 million. Regarding its force within the tourism industry, the Eras Tour is projected to generate approximately $5 billion in consumer spending in the United States, crediting Taylor Swift with singlehandedly reviving the national tourism industry. In short, “If Taylor Swift were an economy, she’d be bigger than 50 countries,” said Dan Fleetwood, president of QuestionPro Research and Insights, speaking to the pop star's force in both the musical and financial sectors.
As for the actual concert experience, the tour has become the cultural event of the century, accompanied by unspoken dress codes modeled after Swift’s “eras”, the making and trading of friendship bracelets and synchronized chants. Although there remains controversy (as is always expected) regarding the overvaluation and over-exaggeration of the show, I found it to be nothing short of extraordinary. Even barring the costumes, set design and choreography, the sheer length of the setlist is enough to warrant unending praise for Swift’s dedication to her discography and to her fans.
In true Swift fashion of an unabashed commitment to her art, the tour was organized as a movement through her different eras which were not only performed but embodied by way of 16 outfit changes — each paying homage both to their respective records and to the person Taylor was during its release. Despite the variety in Swift’s sound — from the cruel romantics of “reputation” to the nebulous storytelling of “folklore” — the show was never received as emotional whiplash but rather a celebration of Swift’s career. And in honoring Swift, 70,000 fans were gathered in loving embrace and brought to tears each night.
The success of the tour shows that, without a doubt, Taylor Swift is the people’s favorite celebrity, and her residency as the beloved “Miss Americana” is only beginning. In light of the recent announcement that her North American tour will extend into 2024, my only recommendation comes from the words of Taylor Swift herself — drop everything now.