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The Eras tour finally hits the UK

June 8th, 2024

In Edinburgh, The Eras Tour energy descends on the city long before the show begins. Trains to the Scottish capital are jam-packed as Swifties flock to Murrayfield Stadium (with one even named “The Flying Swiftie” in honour of the occasion); on street corners, stalls selling cowboy hats and feather boas have popped up; Swift’s greatest hits are blasted throughout the city; and everywhere you look there’s a flash of sequins and sparkle from punters decked out in their finery for the occasion.

Tonight’s sold-out show – night one of three at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium – is not only the earliest chance for UK fans to witness the megalithic Eras Tour on home soil, it’s also the first time Swift has played in Scotland since 2015. It’s something she acknowledges tonight. “And I was wondering, what’s it going to be like when we go back to visit them [in Scotland]. What’s it going to be like? How are they going to be, as a crowd?” she reflects early on during the stadium show.

“And you know what, you kind of answered me before I even got on stage,” she grins. “Because I had someone pull me aside and say: ‘hey, we’ve checked this 20 times and we swear it’s accurate, tonight’s concert is the most highly-attended stadium show in Scottish history.”

Taylor Swift in Edinburgh. Credit: TAS Rights Management

Of course, The Eras tour is no stranger to record breaking – it’s on-track to become the most lucrative tour in music history – and since kicking off in Arizona last March, the megawatt show has circled the globe, been turned into a smash concert film and become a mainstay on the Internet (where clips of the show constantly trend).

The three-and-a-half hour, 45-song show is an epic, taking tonight’s 73,000 fans on a journey through Swift’s musical “eras”, showcasing the 11 albums (although her self-titled debut album doesn’t hold a permanent spot in the set-list) that have made her a record-breaking pop colossus. Staging and visuals are electric, shifting for each era. There’s a mossy-covered cabin in the woods that Swift climbs atop for folksy sister records ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’, the wind a featured actor for the evening as it causes her green dress to dramatically billow around her. Meanwhile, slithering snake imagery (and some well-timed pyrotechnics) appear for the bombastic ‘Reputation’; and there’s dramatic black and white settings for the show’s newest set-list additions taken from most recent record ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ (including a white bed-slash-office that’s moved across the stage during ‘Fortnight’).

Each era is a distinct chapter. The aforementioned visuals (which are aided by distinct colour palettes) are accompanied by wardrobes of (rapidly changed, often brilliantly bespangled) costumes for Swift and her dancers, and – of course – the differing musical worlds. In the live setting the synth-led sound of ‘Reputation’ is rocked up, Swift’s guitarists (she’s joined on-stage by a slick six-piece band, and four backing vocalists) shredding exuberantly. In fact, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ has never sounded better.

The big hitters sparkle too. The glossy synth-pop of ‘1989’ and its bountiful belters (‘Style’, ‘Blank Space’, ‘Shake It Off’ to name three) are effervescent earworms, while the country-led sonics of ‘Fearless’ offer pure nostalgia. And when Swift begins the bridge of fan-favourite ‘Cruel Summer’ (“I’m drunk in the back of the car…”) – which appears second in the setlist – it’s a giddy moment of pure euphoria.

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift in Edinburgh. Credit: TAS Rights Management

Then at the centre of it all is Swift herself, guiding the audience through the hit-stacked show era to era. The ringleader of the entire Eras Tour shepherds us through with razor precision, an utter pro who’s energy doesn’t waiver throughout. And even among the meticulously rehearsed and choreographed performance which runs like clockwork, she finds pockets of humour and moments to connect with the crowd. She tells the audience that the Scottish countryside may-or-may-not have inspired the imagery for ‘Folklore’, gets a dancer to put on a Scottish accent for a spoken word quip in ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’), and laughs off having to pause during an acoustic rendition of ‘Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve’ for the surprise songs portion of the show due to a “weird cramp” in her hand while playing guitar.

Despite being an arena show, in a huge, cavernous venue, Swift and her fans have managed to cultivate a community. Strangers swap friendship bracelets, laugh and cry together, and embrace the tour’s in-jokes and lore (for example shouting “one, two, three, let’s go bitch” during ‘Delicate’). It’s the power of Swift, an artist who’s inspired not only the renaming of a Scottish Loch, but also countless fans to come out and embrace being a part of the Eras family. With The Eras Tour, then, Swift’s managed to craft a marvel of a show that comes with a beating heart.

This content was originally sourced and posted at NME »
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