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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

Forty-four songs. Fourteen backup dancers. Her original band and steadfast singers. Ten studio albums. Zero guest artists, but multiple costume changes. Swifties had no idea what they were in for when they descended upon Glendale, Arizona, cleverly renamed “Swift City” in honor of the tour. The Eras Tour began this weekend and will run for consecutive weekends until August across the U.S.. I will do a brief summary here based on what I could find on social media, with many fans live streaming their experiences directly from the stadium.

Friday’s Show

Fans excitedly filled the arena. GAYLE and Paramore were the openers, merch and themed drinks were for sale, and many people shared photos online of their outfits. Fans like to dress for Swift’s concerts in clothes that are similar to outfits Swift herself has worn, designed to pay homage to a song or an album in particular, or outfits that are inside jokes or play on the words of Swift’s lyrics.

No one knew what to expect when Taylor Swift took the stage around 8 PM local time. The thrilling opening segment included large fabric attachments carried by the dancers, which floated along the huge catwalk that serves as an extension of the main stage. These eventually piled up and then withdrew to reveal Swift’s grand entrance. She wore a bedazzled Versace bodysuit and boots, and began to sing a collection of songs from her 2019 album, “Lover.” Fans were so pleased to sing along, finally able to enjoy a live performance that was canceled due to COVID-19, when she would have toured with songs from this album. Swift added a blazer for the hit tracks, “The Man” and “You Need To Calm Down.”

When Swift vanished from the stage, a quick electric guitar interlude acted as a cue to switch to a new era. And indeed, Swift reappeared after a minute in a new dress and carrying another acoustic guitar, different from the pink one she used for the “Lover” set. We have stepped back in time to the “Fearless” era! But this time, Swift has re-recorded and released the “Taylor’s Version” of this GRAMMY-winning record. Longtime fans noticed right away that Swift stepped away from the microphone in order to spin around a couple of times in a way that imitated her original “Fearless Tour” dance moves. At the end of this set, she hugs her singers, who have been with her on tour for many years, making this era quite nostalgic. But since she’s not moving chronologically, fans get to be pleasantly surprised by what comes next.

As pine trees appear to grow from the stage, the ambience is reset for “evermore,” her ninth studio album. Embracing the witch in the woods vibes, she wears a long dress and even dons a dark cloak during the performance of “willow.” Swift doesn’t pick up a guitar in this section, instead focusing on vocals to start before sitting down at a piano. She jokes with fans about how they’ve said on TikTok that she dislikes this album, and she reassures everyone that that is not the case. Her final song in this section involves one of her male dancers acting as her partner who no longer loves her; the interaction with her dancers throughout the show is truly remarkable, especially in these “one-on-one” moments.

From the depths of an emotional ballad, fans are transported back to 2018 when Swift’s “Reputation” album was on tour. The same snake imagery and flashing lights are accompanied by the same opening number. Swift’s new bodysuit echoes the aforementioned snake imagery over the course of four unforgettable songs. Fans were shocked when a digital version of “The Lover House,” as seen in her music video “Lover,” burned to a crisp. But nothing could prepare fans for what came next: the biggest princess dress imaginable, perfectly suited for her performance of “Enchanted.” This was a highlight for many, as the only track from her 2010 album “Speak Now” to be performed, and a viral sensation still mesmerizing listeners of all ages 13 years later.

Reaching the halfway point of her set, Swift turns to her fourth album: “Red.” This marked her first entry into pop-country crossover, and the tracks performed in “Swift City” reflected the pop leanings of her work. In another nod meant for older fans, she wore a black hat and a white T-shirt reading “a lot going on at the moment,” playing on her old “not a lot going on at the moment” outfit in the “22” music video. The energy is high during this part of the night, until she picks up a red guitar. Many had speculated online about whether she would perform what is arguably her biggest hit among Swifties: “All Too Well.” Not only did fans get this performance, but they got to hear the ten minute version that was allegedly written for the original album before Swift was instructed to cut it down. Swift shared the ten minute version with the release of “Red (Taylor’s Version)” in 2021.

Swift masterfully returns to a more mellow sound with this transition, enabling the crowd to shift into the “folklore” set. This album was a surprise drop in the summer of 2020, when so much uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic still surrounded us. Swift has remarked on the creative energy that she was able to tap into during that time to produce new music in a different genre than was typical for her. This section dominates the set list with six songs and one more being performed as a spoken word piece during the transition, when her familiar cabin appears onstage. She sits on the roof in an homage to her GRAMMYs performance of songs from this album, which won Album of the Year. Her flowing dress and soaring vocals make this section very memorable.

Fans would receive one more “folklorian” treat on opening night in the form of another song from the album being used as their surprise song. Swift has incorporated this into tours over the years as a way to connect with fans and provide a fresh new experience at every show; it is a new song that she plays on guitar, alone on the stage, and she changes it as often as possible, without announcing what song will be sung at what show. Lucky fans at this performance got to listen to “mirrorball,” a song written about Swift’s relationship with her fans. This song was performed following the section dedicated to her other GRAMMY-winning album, “1989.”

In 2014, Swift went full pop princess with her fifth studio album, titled for the year that she was born. While the whole album has not been re-recorded, fans did enjoy watching the first live performance of “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version).” Her sparkly two-piece outfit was reminiscent of that world tour, golf club included. And the walk down memory lane continued as she sat down at the piano, having just finished surprising fans with “mirrorball.” Swift mentioned going all the way back to the start, before the opening chords of “Tim McGraw” rang out. Her very first single, which premiered in 2006, serves as a true reminder of where she started as an artist.

In the final set change of the evening, purple-colored clouds began to roll in. When Swift reappears on stage, she is firmly in a “Lavender Haze,” having brought us to her latest album, “Midnights.” These final numbers represent the culmination of her work so far, a collection of poetic, vulnerable, sultry, pop classics. Hailed for its quality, she couldn’t go wrong choosing from this work for her setlist. She even had one more costume change for fans, switching after the second number from a sparkly shirt dress into another sparkly bodysuit with matching boots. In another social media nod, Swift incorporates a small dance move that had gone viral when the album was released in October. Finally, at the conclusion of her last song, confetti rains from the sky and the crowd roars their approval. After a series of bows, Swift waves goodbye and the lights turn on in the stadium.

Changes in Saturday’s Show

You may be wondering, just like so many Swifties, whether anything would be different about the second night’s performance. While some mega-fans were able to attend both shows, there were still thousands of new people in the audience. Could anyone predict what would happen when almost no one was able to predict the events of Friday’s show?

While the music was the same for the most part, Swift took it upon herself to change eight of her costumes! These consisted of:

  • New blue and gold bodysuit during the “Lover” set
  • Black pinstripe blazer instead of silver in the middle of the “Lover” set
  • Pink princess ball gown replacing the white and silver one for “Enchanted”
  • Long tassels on a gold dress instead of the flapper style fringe on her “Fearless” dress
  • “folklore” had a new flowy, floor length dress in white with metallic accents
  • The sparkly “1989” outfit including ankle boots changed from hot pink to lime green
  • Her matching robe for the transition to her acoustic performances changed from a dark pink/red to green as well
  • The sparkly T-shirt dress worn during “Anti-Hero” was royal blue instead of light purple

As if that wasn’t enough change, these fans were given a new surprise song, “this is me trying,” a track from “folklore.” In a major, unexpected twist that has caused mixed emotions online, Swift also replaced her performance of “Tim McGraw” with “State of Grace” from her “Red” album. Only time will tell if these are two rotating surprise songs or not.

What comes next? The Eras Tour moves to Las Vegas, where fans will eagerly anticipate any potential changes and be prepared to sing along to just about anything in Swift’s extensive catalog. One thing’s for certain: it’s been a long time coming, and we will never be the same.

Sarah Adams

CU Boulder '26

Linguist and cat person, most likely watching a hockey game, but I ought to be working on my dissertation.