Big, iconic and wild: Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras Tour’ captivates a record crowd in Seattle

The opening line was appropriate during Taylor Swift’s show Saturday night in Seattle, echoing over a deafening crowd as they waved their flickering purple light bands frantically in the air: It’s been a long time coming.

Taylor Swift performed for a bursting-at-the-seams Lumen Field crowd in Seattle on Saturday night, her first performance in the Emerald City since 2018 and the first of two nights of a record-breaking tour that has crisscrossed the United States.

Picture the production of a Super Bowl halftime show, but in a stadium full of bedazzled fans and colorful outfits, all wearing LED, color-changing bracelets that pulse to the beat of the music. Picture the dramatics of a Broadway musical, but with more glittery costume changes, special effects and cheering. Picture the visuals and storytelling of one of Swift’s iconic music videos, but for more than three hours straight.

Taylor Swift Gives Update After Fans Spot Hand Injury on Eras Tour - E! Online - CA

Maybe then you’ll begin to understand why Swift’s “Eras Tour” is set to become the highest-grossing tour in world history, or why cities have temporarily changed their names, made her mayor or proclaimed official holidays in honor of her presence as she swoops by for one of her tour dates.

Since her last stadium tour “Reputation,” the then-highest-grossing U.S. tour of all time, Swift has released four studio albums, received 14 Grammy nominations and became the most-streamed female artist of all time. Swift had a backlog of albums to include in a tour by the time live music re-emerged after the pandemic, so when she announced that she would be performing not one, but all, of her albums, there was much to live up to.

And Lumen Field’s Night 1 Seattle show did not disappoint.

The Eras Tour is more than a compilation of Swift’s greatest hits.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience better described as a cultural event than a musical performance. It doesn’t just revisit Swift’s old music, but traverses time to bring her audience back to the very essence of each of her albums.

After two 30-minute opening sets by Gracie Abrams and HAIM, who are global pop stars in their own right, the audience was buzzing with energy as Swifties flitted around the stadium trading bracelets and taking pictures beside the long stage that extended across the floor. f you were wondering why the bead and charms section at Joann’s was sold out this week, now you know.

Just before 8 p.m., a mᴀssive screen behind the stage flickered to life to display a 3-minute countdown, hyping up the crowd with Lady Gaga’s song “Applause.” When the clock finally hit zero, a section of the screen pulled up like a garage door to reveal a line of dancers, emerging from backstage with giant, sunset-color fans that unfurled upwards.

Once they reached center stage, the dancers tilted their fans into the middle in an overlapping pyramid – and finally revealed the woman, the myth, the legend herself, rising into the sky in a jewel-studded Versace bodysuit, belting “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” from her “Lover” album.

It was almost like something out of the Capitol from the Hunger Games.

Five “Lover” songs later, Swift closed out the energetic, radio-popular summer album with her slower, lesser-known single “The Archer.” And just like that, the first of her eras was over.

There was a line Swift’s set needed to straddle in order to balance her most successful smash hits and her fanbase’s niche favorites. And although her choices did gravitate toward her mainstream successes, it was clear that a lot of thought went into the organization of the show.
Big, iconic and wild: Taylor Swift's 'Eras Tour' captivates a record crowd in Seattle on Saturday night | The Spokesman-Review
With such an extensive, performance-worthy discography, it would have been easy for her set to come off as unwieldy or rushed.

Somehow, it did not.

There wasn’t a heavy emphasis on any particular album, although her first, self-тιтled album didn’t make the cut at all, and her recent release “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” only had two songs. And it didn’t seem crammed with material, despite the 44 songs on her set list.

The songs were almost all played in full, rather than a mix of choruses and medleys, save for a few skipped second verses here and there.

She even performed “All Too Well (The 10 Minute Version)” in its entirety.

Instead of revisiting her albums in chronological order, Swift dove headfirst into “Fearless” after exploring the glittery, pink-themed world of “Lover.”

And though that might seem random, it makes sense. What better way of highlighting the differences between her two country albums, “Fearless” and “Speak Now,” and her two folk albums, “Folklore” and “Evermore,” than by placing them on opposite ends of the night? What better way of ending the show than with “Midnights,” her most recent album?

Swift’s sequence allowed each album to breathe, each era to be experienced in full.

During the transitions, fans took the opportunity to sit down and rest their feet, if only for 30 seconds, as they watched the big screen and waited for a new Taylor to emerge – a new era, a new stage and new outfits, not just for Swift, but for her entire team of dancers.

Every card was played, including pyrotechnics, full-length ballgowns and an entire moss-covered house rolled out onto the stage.

At one point, Swift even seemed to “dive” into an onstage pool, an illusion made possible by a hidden escape hatch and watery graphic that played underfoot across the screened stage.

But it wasn’t all flashy tricks and cheap thrills – many of her songs stood on their own. Songs like “August” and “Illicit Affairs” featured a lone Swift in a flowing, Florence and the Machine-esque dress singing melancholic ballads from the “Folklore” era.

These musical numbers became more than just music – they included acting performances. Many of her songs were reminiscent of Broadway shows, like the “Chicago”-style chair dancing during “Vigilante” or lyric-driven choreography during “The Last Great American Dynasty.”

Swift balanced the grandeur of the “Eras Tour” with tact – she never sacrificed the character of a song for the sake of spectacle.

The most intimate part of her show was the best example of this: the surprise song section.

Immediately after closing the “1989” era with her angry single “Bad Blood” near the end of the night, Swift appeared at the edge of the stage with nothing but a guitar and a piano.

She explained that she leaves an open slot in every concert to acoustically play two surprise songs, and never the same song twice.

Since Seattle is near the end of the U.S. leg of the tour, much of her discography had already been off the board as an option.

The silence that washed over Lumen Field filled with 72,000 people – a record for the venue – was a testament of how pinnacle this moment was for Swifties, all hoping to recognize the opening chords of one of their remaining personal favorites.

Saturday night’s surprise songs were “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” a typically electronic hit from “Reputation” that was unexpectedly beautiful without its strong bᴀss, and “Everything Has Changed,” a song from her “Red” album that features Ed Sheeran (though she was quick to warn her fans that Sheeran would not be making a surprise appearance during the show).

Swift’s show was everything that it was expected to be – big, iconic and wild.

It literally ended in fireworks.

Even an hour later, as Swifties were stuck in an eternal foot-traffic jam as they tried to exit the stadium or board Seattle’s light rail, the crowd was full of nothing but glittery smiles.

There’s nothing quite like the Eras Tour, because there’s nobody quite like Taylor Swift. But even more than that, there’s no fan base quite like the Swifties, where strangers cease to be strangers. Excitement overcomes the barriers between age, gender and background.

I even overheard a security guard tell his trainee, “These fans aren’t like other fans. They’re all kind, and they might even give you bracelets. Don’t worry.”

More than any stage trick or choreography on the Eras Tour, maybe even more than Taylor Swift herself, I think that’s what made the show so special – the atmosphere created by her vibrant, like-minded fans, and the kindness and joy they shared.

If Swift ever tours stadiums again, somewhere far in her future, the Eras Tour will be hard to beat.

But if anyone can do it, it’s her.

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