Culture Pick: Taylor Swift and the enchanting Eras Tour


Ronald S. Woan

Taylor Swift Eras Tour – Arlington TX

When the clock hit zero and the lights dimmed, Taylor Swift was ushered in with echoes of albums past and the roar of tens of thousands of fans. Swift, who explored genres ranging from country music to alternative pop, put together the best of the best for a three-hour performance of a lifetime, turning her highs and lows into an anthem to guide the audience through the performance and at Swift’s April 29 Atlanta and May 5 Nashville shows it was no different.  

Swift brought a wide variety of opening acts for her shows including Paramore, beabadoobee, Phoebe Bridgers and Gracie Abrams that all brought a unique perspective bringing various levels of indie and pop. 

The idea of Swift’s Eras came from her fans. “Swifties” would refer to each album as a different era of the singer, from her glitzy New York days that are referenced in “1989”, to her country prime that came to life in “Fearless.” Each era had its own aesthetic, thus creating the perfect theme for a world tour.  


Swift began with her album “Lover,” a choice popular enough to get the crowd moving, but still left some of her more iconic tracks for later in the night. The set appropriately opened with Swift proclaiming, “It’s been a long time coming!” as she began her first song, “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince.”  

This era was marked by sparkle-encrusted suit jackets and bubblegum pink. Swift wowed the audience with a variety of choreography, allowing each song to have its moment in the spotlight. Swift flawlessly transitioned from the slower tracks such as “Lover” to the upbeat tunes of “The Man” and “You Need to Calm Down.”  

“Lover” was special to see come to life on stage, especially considering that the pandemic took away “Lover Fest,” a tour scheduled for 2020 following the album’s release. An album depicting sunsets, all-encompassing love and lots of pink made for the beginning of the perfect night.  


Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” era runs with themes of golden glitter, dancing in the rain and high school sweethearts. The artist sang fan favorites “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story,” as well as the title track of her sophomore album, “Fearless.” The “Fearless” set was a celebration of youth, an homage to teenage years and nostalgic combination of her country fringe and current bedazzled guitars.  


For “Evermore,” Swift seamlessly transitioned the stage to a “cottagecore” aesthetic. She emerged from the stage wearing a long, flowing orange dress and played on a piano covered in moss. Much like the “Lover” album, “Evermore” was special because it had never been played in front of a live audience.  


Swift has a song and album for every occasion. “Reputation” is the perfect revenge album that is perfectly unapologetic and gothic while still having hints of pop. The audience wasn’t “ready for it” when Taylor appeared in a black jumpsuit with one sheer leg. While “Evermore” was a visit to the cottagecore aesthetic, “Reputation” takes it several steps further into gothic revenge.  

“Reputation” was Swift’s comeback album in 2017, and her set illustrated that to a tee. Between electric-filled sky and snake imagery slithering throughout the set, Swift and her fans were collectively and unapologetically vengeful.  

‘Speak Now’ 

To honor her “Speak Now” era, Swift entered the stage singing “Enchanted” in a large shimmering lavender ballgown. While other parts of the performance could be described as intense, dramatic and over the top, her performance of “Enchanted” deserves the description of mesmerizing. 


“Red,” being a fan-favorite album, was one of the most energetic sections of the show, marking Swift’s career transition from the country genre into pop. The performances created nostalgia for a Tumblr aesthetic and things found in 2012. It was especially iconic when she sang out to the crowd the 10-minute version of “All Too Well.” 

She came out with her classic red lipstick, a black fedora and a large sequined T-shirt reading “Who’s Taylor Swift anyway? Ew.” She even dipped her foot into the past of her tours by gifting her hat to one lucky fan at the end of the set.  

In Nashville, Swift brought out Bridgers for the first live performance of their duet “Nothing New,” which debuted as a vault track on Swift’s re-recorded version of her fourth album. It was emotional, especially as fans watched Bridgers take in the thousands of lights, symbolizing each member of the audience.  


Taylor slowed it down for the “Folklore” era, Swift began by lying on top of the woodsy cabin and performing “The 1.” The set was the perfect artsy depiction of the teenage love triangle laid out in the album including haunting choreography and some of her strongest vocals of the show.  

Swift wore an ethereal purple gown that flowed in the wind, leaning once more into the cottagecore aesthetic. In this portion of the concert, Taylor was telling stories to old friends and made the large stadium feel intimate and personal.  


Swift didn’t miss a beat in bringing back the high energy with “1989.” The “1989” era is all about self-discovery and a sort of freedom that you can have only in your 20s. Swift weaved together slower songs “Wildest Dreams” with campier songs such as “Shake It Off.” While the whole set was an incredible cultural shifting spectacle, Swift quite literally lit up the stadium during “Bad Blood.” Audience members could feel the heat and started to sweat with pyrotechnics that Swift incorporated into the song. 

Surprise songs 

During each night that she is on tour, Swift performs two songs separate from the original set list that were just here and one instrument. While the rest of the tour was a thoroughly thought-out performance, the surprise songs felt like a regular conversation and love letter to the crowd.  

Atlanta, night two 

It just made sense when Swift started singing “High Infidelity” because April 29, the date referenced in the song, was the date of Swift’s second night performing in Atlanta. For the second surprise song, Swift acknowledged that she knew fans were tracking what songs she has played in each city. She noted that she hadn’t played a song from “Reputation,” and proceeded to sing the lyrics to “Gorgeous.”  

Unlike the studio version, which is filled with upbeat drums, Swift turned the energetic song into a ballad to the tune of a gentle piano. During the performance of “Gorgeous,” Swift had to clarify the lyrics and start over after singing the first verse. 

Nashville, night one 

As 70,000 fans anxiously awaited what acoustic tracks Swift would play, the cryptic pop star had another thing in mind. Swift has been re-recording and releasing her past albums to reclaim ownership of them and had teased the rerelease of her third studio album, “Speak Now,” since late 2022. As fans entered the stadiums, fans were given bracelets that flashed different colors. The fan bracelets flashed purple as Swift directed the attention to the back video board and Nissan Stadium erupted as the album cover of “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” appeared. It was then that Swift began strumming her guitar, smirking and singing the opening lines of the album’s second track, “Sparks Fly”: “Drop everything now!” 

As adrenaline ricocheted around the stadium, Swift sat down at her piano to introduce Nashville’s second surprise song. 

“I went to high school here,” Swift said. “My mom would pick me up from school, and I would come home and write. This one is from my first album that I wrote here.” 

It was then that she played the opening chords of fan favorite “Teardrops on My Guitar.” Fans’ voices echoed throughout the city, generating nostalgia for not only the audience, but also the singer. The track launched Swift into the country scene, seamlessly creating a full-circle moment for her.  


It’s what fans were all waiting for. After Swift’s stage dive into the water, she reemerged to play tracks from her newest album, “Midnights.” 

The “Midnights” era has a ’70s nostalgia with inspiration from indie and alternative artists. Set with unbelievable choreography and lots of glitter, the “Midnights” era felt like a little bit of everything that could be found in Swift’s discography.  

The Eras Tour is the ultimate showcase of Swift’s record-breaking and glittering career. It was a concert you attend to get over your ex. It’s a concert you attend to bond with your friends. It’s a concert you attend for your childhood self. Full of emotion and nostalgia, it is no wonder why a ticket to this show is the most coveted in the world right now, and why Taylor Swift continues to be a generational talent who promises to make the whole place shimmer.