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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos

TAYLOR SWIFT TRANSFORMS SYDNEY INTO SWIFTNEY FOR 'THE ERAS TOUR'

☆☆☆☆☆


“I’m calling it. We’re gonna have the night of our lives,” Taylor Swift proclaimed following a raucous ovation from over 81,000 fans at the first of her four-sold-out performances at Sydney’s Accor Stadium last night. Truer words have never been spoken.


Arriving for the three hour spectacle hosted by Swift, her devoted Australian fans braved the weather to spend the evening with the record-breaking Grammy winner as she led the crowd through a finely curated musical odyssey that drew from her illustrious catalogue. Almost two decades into her career, The Eras Tour journeys through almost all of the singers eras, led by the albums that define them.



It had been a long time coming for Sydney fans, with Swift having kicked off the mammoth tour in Glendale eleven months ago. Heavy rain and lightning strikes threatened to make the crowd wait even longer to see their prolific icon, and unfortunately the singers support act, American pop star Sabrina Carpenter, was forced to cancel her set. Having launched the tour following the release of her record-breaking tenth studio album Midnights, it’s only fitting that a clock soon appeared on stage to count down the minutes to Swift’s arrival on stage. Dancers begin to make their way down the 75-metre-long runway before the singer appears on stage within a flurry pink-hued fabric to open the show with the Lover era. It’s fitting that only hours earlier, Cruel Summer from the 2019 album hit number one on the ARIA charts - with seven of Swift’s albums also currently charting. The songs adored bridge becomes the first scream worthy moment of the evening, with the singer teasingly asking fans “does anyone here know the words to this bridge?” Looking around the stadium, I’m fairly certain we had a full crowd sing-a-long. 


As we continued on throughout the show, it’s clear Swift has crafted the ultimate setlist. Chart-topping hits rear their heads in the Fearless, Red and 1989 sets, with fan favourites played during the evermore, Speak Now and folklore eras. The crowds in the stands truly went wild for the Speak Now couplet; Enchanted and Long Live, and evermore (a personal favourite album) took us deep into the woods. A mystical performance of willow sets the tone with the singer shrouded in a cloak, before taking a seat at a mossy covered piano to play champagne problems. She caps it off with a dinner setting for two during tolerate it, where the singer shows off her acting chops. The folklore set similarly continued the magic, with the beloved cabin making an appearance. Swift performed the beloved trilogy of songs, Betty, august and cardigan, as well as a shortened version of illicit affairs that truly provided one of the shows more emotional moments. A striking performance of my tears ricochet found the singer dressed in white as her dancers followed closely behind dressed in black, evoking an almost sinister yet calming undertone. She noted both albums gave her the chance to “create an imaginary world… where I am this elegant victorian lady who is wondering through the forest,” and now she’s allowed us into that world. 




Each era set encapsulates everything about Swift’s output at the time of each albums release. She brings back the iconic Fearless twirl, pays homage to music videos (a particular nod to 22 with a glitzier version of the ‘not a lot going on at the moment’ t-shirt). Most importantly, we all got to relive our ‘rep’ era. Swift’s 2017 album, reputation, arrived at an uncertain time in the singers career and was heralded by the phrase, “there will be no explanation, only reputation.” Swift has a knack for coining an incredible phrase, stemming from her innate storytelling lyricism. She hits the stage performing the biting Look What You Made Me Do, and singles including …Ready For It and Delicate. “Take us to church Taylor!” one fan seated nearby screamed as Swift hit the high notes in Don’t Blame Me. Lights beamed up from the stage, and very nearly shot out of the earths atmosphere. If there was one song throughout the evening to steal the show, it had to have been All Too Well - the ten minute version. Elevated on a platform, Swift stood with her guitar to play her magnum opus that broke the record to become the longest No. 1 hit in Billboard's Hot 100 chart history. Adding a red coat, it was the subtle attention to detail that truly elevated the performance. Autumn leaf confetti blowing through the wind before snow-like confetti coated the stadium, she truly is a mastermind as every moment is perfectly curated.


The Eras Tour production is an unmatched live experience. Be it light up wrist bands that match each albums designated colour, platforms being raised on stage throughout, pyrotechnics during Bad Blood and Karma or the way vibrant lighting flooded the arena, there was always something engaging happening on stage but never took away from Swift herself. It’s clear this is her stage and her moment, one that far outshines anything we’ve ever seen before. Sleek choreography from the singer and her troupe of dancers filled the stage - including some Chicago inspired chair work during Vigilante Shit



The love and camaraderie between the singer and her band was truly a highlight to marvel at. Particularly her interactions with longtime guitarist Paul Sidoti and bassist Amos Heller. They shared glances and smiles throughout the Fearless and Speak Now sets, transporting us back to over a decade ago when Swift was selling out 20,000 capacity arenas. Now here she is, having sold-out four consecutive nights at a venue four-times the size.


And of course, there’s some Swiftie lore that comes out to play. Chants including “1, 2, 3 lets go…” and lyrics screamed at the top of their lungs (I’m looking at you “f**k the patriarchy.” A special moment between the singer and her devoted audience came during the bridge of Blank Space, with an iconic recreation of fans shouting “SYDNEY” during the 1989 World Tour - which appeared in the concert movie, filmed at this very stadium eight years earlier. Swift always knows how to bring things full circle. “That was so cool when you did that, I was hoping that you would and then you did. It was great!” She remarked. 




One of the tours most hyped moments is the acoustic set, where Swift performs two surprise songs. She treated Sydney to How You Get The Girl on guitar, before inviting Carpenter on stage to perform a medley of White Horse and coney island. Carpenter finally got her chance to shine on the Sydney stage, with her soothing vocals lulling the audience into a world of harmony. Their wholesome interactions filled the stadium with even more joy, speaking of their adventures to the zoo this week, raving about kangaroos and koalas. Swift then dove into the stage and ‘swam’ down the runway - one of the tours more viral moments. 


Closing out the 44 song setlist with tracks from Midnights, it’s clear that Taylor Swift’s music is universal. Her poetic lyricism, ear-worm melodies and meticulously structured competitions strike a chord with fans from all walks of life who congregate together for a shared experience provided to them by her music. Throughout the performance, friendship bracelets were traded, fan costumes were complimented and bonds were formed. I saw the toughest looking security guards dancing in the aisles to Swift’s pop hits, grown adults being brought to tears during her ballads, and strangers embracing each other. Have you ever been to a party with 81,000 of your best friends? That is the experience that The Eras Tour provides.



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