Taylor Swift’s Eras tour: A journey through her career

Taylor Swift’s Eras tour in Arlington, Texas, March 31, 2023 – Ronald Woan via Flickr

Taylor Swift’s highly anticipated “The Eras Tour” is coming to Philadelphia from May 12-14. It is a journey through the artist’s ten albums, each serving their own era. 

Essentially, this tour is a celebration of Taylor Swift. 

 If you have been living under a rock your entire life and cannot name all ten of her critically acclaimed albums, I’ll do it for you. Starting off we have the self-titled album “Taylor Swift”—known as “Debut” by her fans—released in 2006. This is a country album composed and written by a 17-year-old Taylor trying to find “A Place in This World” after moving to Nashville, Tennessee.

 Her sophomore album, Fearless, was released in 2008. This country album spawned the hits “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story.” Funnily enough, at the end of concerts, when “Love Story” is performed on stage, fans have been proposing to their own lovers during the final chorus where Swift sings: “He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring.”

After the success of Fearless, Swift released Speak Now in 2010. Each song on Speak Now is a letter containing all that she never got to say to a lover, friend, or after the 2009 VMAs incident, the disgraced Kanye West. This music on the album focuses on retrospection and is now lesser known by the general public—even though she went on a world tour—and is overshadowed by her following album, Red

You might know this album from Swift’s first Billboard No. 1 hit “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” Furthermore, when the “Taylor’s Version” of this album was released in 2022, it featured a ten-minute “All Too Well,” the longest song to reach the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100. 

1989: Swift’s birth year holds the title of Album of the Year from the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards (2016). This pop album is home to three iconic music videos, “Bad Blood,” which won a Grammy for best music video, “Shake It Off,” and “Blank Space,” with a combined total of 7.8 billion views on YouTube.

 For the next year following 1989’s success, Taylor disappeared from the media. With her Instagram bare, her fans were left to scour Tumblr for any sign of life. “Look What You Made Me Do,” the first single released from her sixth album Reputation, arose from a wild controversy between Taylor and the Kardashians. In full, the Reputation era was about confronting the rumors about her and sorting through the fakes and the snakes. 

Overcoming the turmoil, Taylor Swift entered her Lover era and made things official with her boyfriend at the time, Joe Alwyn. In 2020, Loverfest was planned but, surprise, surprise… COVID. Hence, the absurd prices and hype built for The Eras Tour are because it will be the first time Taylor has toured since 2018 for reputation.

 Although COVID was an unfortunate time, Taylor delivered the magnum opus of her career during this time. At the 2020 GRAMMY Awards, folklore won Album of the Year. Next,  folklore’s sister album, Evermore, was released four months later. Within the fandom, Evermore is seen as a compilation of songs that weren’t good enough to make the original album. Finally, at the 2022 MTV VMAs Taylor announced the arrival of Midnights. As her most recent album of the ten,  Midnights exists as a love letter to herself and her career. 

Swift announced the tour on November 1, 2022, and over 3.5 million fans signed up to receive Verified Fan Presale codes through Ticketmaster. On the first day of ticket sales, Nov 15, Taylor Swift sold 2.4 million tickets. She now holds the record for most tickets sold in a single day. In an unfortunate turn of events, this day and this ticket-marketing process would go down in infamy within the Swiftie fandom and across the country. Swifties nationwide logged onto Ticketmaster only to wait in queues besieged with bots. Then Ticketmaster crashed, sending them all the way back to square one. Illusory service fees plagued users, and Ticketmaster’s incredibly poor handling of ticket sales has become a preface to the class action lawsuit filed against Ticketmaster and their parent company LiveNation. The monopoly that LiveNation exhibits, its violation of antitrust laws, and its rigged arbitration process are the merits of which it is being sued. The plaintiffs are seeking financial compensation and a governmental revision on the status of Ticketmaster’s monopoly. 

The Eras tour kicked off in Glendale, Arizona on May 5. The American leg is set to end on August 5 in Los Angeles. On her tour, Taylor brings along nine special guests: Paramore, beabadoobee, Phoebe Bridgers, girl in red, MUNA, HAIM, GAYLE, Gracie Abrams, and OWENN. It’s cool to see an artist with such a large platform elevating smaller artists who make amazing music. For an artist like GAYLE, who blew up on TikTok with her single “abcdefu,” going to see Taylor on tour in 2018 and then touring with her five years later is quite phenomenal. Presumably, Taylor chose GAYLE as she would be able to engage with a younger audience.

Per the title The Eras Tour, many fans are dressing up as their favorite Taylor Swift era. For fans who grew up with Curly Blond Hair (from where she gets the fandom nickname: “Blondie”) and cowboy boots, expect to find them dressed as preppy cowgirls. Other common eras outfits are those that resemble a disco ball, based on her song “mirrorball,” and the iconic “Not A Lot Going On At The Moment” shirt from her music video for the song “22.” Furthermore, fans donning cardigans, cottage-core dresses, and bringing their “key lime green dogs” along with them are living the best folklore lives. Bright pastels and pinks signify a Lover theme, while dark robes, silver spikes, and eyeliner allude to the Reputation era. Finally, a midnight blue dress, a bejeweled outfit of sorts, is a dead giveaway to Midnights

In 20 years time, it will be clear that if you didn’t go to The Eras Tour, you didn’t truly live.

Another fun Swiftie Eras Tour festivity is making and trading Taylor Swift-themed friendship bracelets. This was inspired by the line “So make the Friendship Bracelets/Take the moment and taste it” from the bridge of the Midnights track “You’re On Your Own Kid.” Made out of beads or string, on these bracelets you might find references to certain songs, eras, events, or niche jokes from within the community.

The last bit of Swiftie knowledge one must know before the big night is certain traditions within a few particular songs. The oldest tradition, starting on the Fearless Tour, is the double clap after the line “I’m the one who makes you laugh when you know you’re ‘bout to cry” in “You Belong With Me.” Next, her song “Bad Blood” with Kendrick Lamar obviously cannot be performed with Kendrick on stage, but one line that Swifties always say from his rap comes once again, during the bridge. When Taylor sings “Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes/You say sorry just for show,” fans will sing “You forgive you forget but you never let it (beat) go.”

In 20 years’ time, it will be clear that if you didn’t go to The Eras Tour, you didn’t truly live. This tour will introduce new Swifties of all ages and give old-gen Swifties a retrospective experience on Swift’s impact on the music industry. 

You’ll find me screaming at the top of my lungs at her show on May 13th.