Taylor Swift lights up 70,000 seat stadium in Philadelphia


Photo by Zsuzsanna Juhasz

Swift opens “The Eras Tour” by singing “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince.”

Now, after more than four months of anticipation, Taylor Swift (dubbed “The Music Industry” by fans) set out on “The Eras Tour” on March 17 in Glendale, Arizona. 

With 52 United States shows scattered across the six month period (March 17 through Aug. 9), the 12-time Grammy-award winning artist sold out multiple stadiums with approximately 70,000 seats apiece. 

On Nov. 15, 2022, Swift released tickets on Ticketmaster for her 52 shows. It was once a much fewer number of shows, but because of the demand for the verified fan code (which was needed to gain access to the waiting room on Ticketmaster) Swift added more shows so that more people who wanted to see her perform could go. The website crashed multiple times, buyers were kicked out of the waiting room and the show sold out on the first day of sales — before general admission could even be released. Tickets were sold at inflated prices and fluctuated throughout the day, increasing in price as demand for tickets grew. At the end of the day, many Swifties were upset that they couldn’t get their hands on tickets after the battle they had gone through. 

On her May 12 show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Swift performed 44 songs: six songs from “Lover”, three songs from “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”, five songs from “evermore”, four songs from “reputation”, one song from “Speak Now”, four songs from “Red (Taylor’s Version)”, seven songs from “folklore”, five songs from “1989”, two acoustic surprise songs and seven songs from “Midnights”. 

The openers for that night were GAYLE and Phoebe Bridgers. Those who have Bridgers as an opener luck out, as they get “Nothing New (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” from “Red (Taylor’s Version)” performed by both Bridgers and Swift during the “red” era of the show, as Bridgers is officially featured on the track. 

Swift opened the show with the iconic line, “It’s been a long time coming” from the song “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince”. She chose this lyric as a reference to the years lost because of Covid, and how it’s been “a long time coming” up to the point of her comeback tour. 

Opening with the album “Lover” was a tribute to the fact that the “Lover Fest” tour was canceled due to the pandemic. Swift was supposed to kick off the tour on April 5, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.

She then transitioned to her Grammy winning album “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”, where she sang three tracks: “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”, the iconic “You Belong With Me (Taylor’s Version)” and “Love Story (Taylor’s Version).” This album is nostalgic with its youthful, golden sunshine, bringing back the happy 2000s vibes where Gen-Z had no issues besides the drama during recess in elementary school.

Afterwards, she moved “back in time” to the “evermore” era. Tall pine trees rose from below the stage and an eerie feeling of being lost in the woods crept upon the audience. Instead of singing the song “seven,” which is actually from the album “folklore”, she recited it in a poetic format, as many of Swift’s songs start out as a poem. This portion of the show had unique witchy vibes that many fans adored. 

We then got to hear songs from her sixth album, “reputation.” Swift dramatically entered from backstage, clapping her feet to “…Ready For It?” She then followed with “Delicate” and a medley of “Don’t Blame Me” and “Look What You Made Me Do”, which resulted in an eruption of cheers from the massive crowd. 

After “reputation,” Swift sang “Enchanted” from “Speak Now” in a gorgeous pink gown. As excited as everyone was to hear a song from “Speak Now”, fans were hoping to get more than one song from the entirely self-written album. The energy of this album screams nostalgia, eagerness and courage — something Swift did an amazing job of illuminating in her performance. The stadium glowed in pink and purple, highly reminiscent of the hues of the album cover. The colors come from LED bracelets the stadium passed out before the show. The bracelets are pre-programmed to synchronize with everyone else’s bracelets in the colors that Swift pre-selected. 

As the purple quieted down, red ascended to fill the space. When the instrumentals of “22 (Taylor’s Version)” from “Red (Taylor’s Version)” entered the room, Swift emerged in a white t-shirt with the words “A lot going on at the moment”, in reference to an outfit she wears in the music video. It nods to how much love she has for touring and the development from “not a lot”, which was what the shirt said in the video, to “a lot”. In the middle of the song, her team brought up an excited fan to the front of the barricade by the stage for Swift to hand them her “22” hat. To end the “Red” era, she sang “All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)”. The heartfelt song left many emotional supporters in tears, since the song has such a powerful message encoded, which details the many aspects of her relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal.

On a more whimsical note, Swift shifted to the “folklore” era. Her “folklorian” cabin was brought out onto the stage. She began by describing how quickly she started writing songs for “folklore” when quarantine began, and that it was refreshing to create her own characters and a new world far from the realities of her life and society. She introduced the inspiration behind the names she used in “august”, “cardigan” and “betty”. Because of her close friendship with actress Blake Lively, she used Lively’s three kids’ names Betty, James and Inez in the lyrics as key characters. The precision and detailing in the “folklore” era was incredible to witness from the stands. 

Then, Swift moved onto “1989”, her official transition from country to pop. She sang pop-hits “Style,” “Wildest Dreams,” “Blank Space,” “Shake It Off” and “Bad Blood”.

Swift finished off her setlist with songs from her most recent album, “Midnights.” Starting with “Lavender Haze,” Swift entered her final era with incredible energy despite it being 11 pm. Not once did she falter during the three hour show. She sang seven songs from this album, finishing off with “Karma” while fireworks shot out of the stadium, leaving our jaws on the ground and eyes filled with wonder. 

With her colorful outfit palette, beautifully arranged set pieces and changing light sequences, Swift truly lit up the stage. She gave her absolute everything and left it all on the stage. And to do this three nights a week for 52 shows is insanely impressive. As Swift has mentioned before, she genuinely loves being on tour and seeing her fans; so when the opportunity to tour rose before her, she grabbed it and exceeded our expectations. 

Overall, Swift brought her entire musical journey to the stage and created a magnificent show that brought tears to many eyes. Her magical, lyrical story unfolded on the stage and left the audience in absolute awe. No one does it like Swift.