Photos by Alexis Backus
Record-breaking pop icon Taylor Swift brought the Eras Tour to Detroit. The streets were packed with fans dressed in their favorite album-inspired outfits, swapping friendship bracelets and hopes for what the surprise songs would be for the weekend.
Starting as early as Thursday morning, fans could line up and purchase merchandise prior to the day of the show – allowing them to secure their favorite item and avoid missing anything due to long lines the day of the event. Inside the stadium, there were photo-ops sprinkled throughout for fans to pose with.
The Eras Tour isn’t just a concert – it’s an experience.
Every artist has a community of fans, but there is something about the Swiftie community that creates a welcoming and inviting environment not often found at just any concert. One could go all out and be an unapologetic super-fan for the weekend, surrounded by others sharing the same adornment.
Starting Friday evening off was singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams. Abrams released her debut album Good Riddance earlier this spring. The National’s Aaron Dessner (a major collaborator of Taylor’s) produced the album.
Abrams opened her set with “Where do we go now?” and continued with other album highlights “Block Me Out,” “I should hate you,” and “I know it won’t work.” However, her set did feature “21” from her 2020 debut project minor.
Girl in Red (Marie Ringheim) giddily took the stage. She kicked off her set with “You Stupid Bitch” from her debut album if I could make it go quiet. Ringheim exuded gratefulness for her fans and for Taylor. Prior to “Serotonin,” she shared it was one of Taylor’s favorite songs of hers.
Songs from her debut work such as “Body and Mind” and “midnight love” also appear in her set. “I wanna be your girlfriend” closed the set.
It became immediately obvious why “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince ” was the opening song for the night. This tour is highly anticipated since the cancellation of Lover Fest due to COVID-19, with four brand new albums ready for the live experience.
Despite being almost four years old, “Cruel Summer” has become the single of the summer following its live debut. Taylor introduced the iconic bridge, asking that fans “cross this bridge together.”
After energy packed performances of “The Man” and “You Need to Calm Down,” Taylor slowed things down to wrap up the Lover era. The infamous Lover house appeared on the screen as she performed its namesake followed by “The Archer.”
She creates what sounds nearly impossible – an intimate moment between herself and a sold out arena with hundreds of people.
“The stage set up has two really amazing things working in the show’s favor,” she explains. “First, the sheer size of the stage combined with the way that Taylor uses it ensures that every fan with a floor seat will get at least one absolutely breathtaking moment with her. For me, it was during ‘The Archer.’”
“The second thing is the ever-changing visuals,” she continues. “I went into day two thinking that I knew exactly what to expect. Instead, I was completely floored by the stunning scenes that played out. In my humble opinion, the stage is a work of art and being able to see it is a crucial part of the Eras Tour experience.”
The singer-songwriter is known for her easter eggs (any Swiftie will confirm this.) This tour was not an exception.
As she performed “Fearless,” her sparkled guitar and dance moves mimicked moments from the original Fearless tour. This era was short compared to others, however it still included “Love Story” – the first “Taylor’s Version” single from her re-record project.
Taylor’s change from a glittery outfit to a long, flowing gown signaled the start of the evermore era with “tis the damn season.” “willow” created a witchy atmosphere as Taylor and her dancers danced with lanterns and a woods scene filled the screens.
It would have been easy for Taylor to perform the sister albums after one another – but jaws dropped when the screens glimmered the scales of a snake and the bass dropped for “…Ready For It?”
One of the most powerful performances of the reputation era was “Don’t Blame Me.” Taylor showed off her powerhouse vocals with the lights surrounding her on stage. However the clever transition into “Look What You Made Me Do” is one of the most impactful details sprinkled into the tour.
The only song featured every night of the tour from Speak Now was “Enchanted,” which created a magical scene as she donned a ballgown and purple lights twinkled off the wrists of fans.
Taylor strives to create the best experience for her fans and goes above and beyond to do so for one lucky fan each night. At the end of “22,” Taylor gifts her hat to a fan selected from the crowd. She greets them from the end of the catwalk while singing the last chorus of the song to them.
This tour is special because fans finally get to hear the original 10 minute version of the song. Fans were singing along – not missing a single lyric between “fuck the patriarchy” and “you call me up again just to break me like a promise.”
After a spoken-word rendition of “seven” combined with elements of “Wildest Dreams,” a moss covered cabin appeared on stage. Taylor laid on the roof serenading the crowd with “the 1” featuring a fun little note change for the line “take her home.”
Highlights of the folklore era included the fun gowns and interactions with dancers during “the last great american dynasty.” This was followed with a shortened, yet heartfelt performance of “august” and “illicit affairs.”
The pop-filled era of 1989 included all the hits including “Blank Space,” “Style” and “Shake it Off.” The performance of “Wildest Dreams” captivated the crowd. It showcased one of the two songs from the album she has released her re-recording of.
On night one of the Eras Tour, Detroit was surprised with Speak Now deep cut “Haunted” and “I Almost Do” (its first live performance since 2013.) The second night of the tour, fans were surprised with 1989’s “All You Had To Do Was Stay” and “Breathe” from Fearless.
The surprise songs are a bittersweet way to close to older chapters of the tour. The final era of the tour is Midnights – her latest release. Taylor dressed in a remarkable purple fur jacket as she kicks it off with “Lavender Haze.” Fans were smiling and waving back to her during her famous greeting of “It’s me…Hi!” during “Anti-Hero.”
“Vigilante Shit” is one of the most viral performances of the tour with its intoxicating choreography. “Bejeweled” encouraged everyone to wiggle their fingers along and “make the whole place shimmer.” The closing duo of “Mastermind” followed by “Karma” created the perfect party to end the night.
Taylor Swift releases Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) on July 7th. The re-record features five unreleased tracks including two collaborations (Fall Out Boy and Hayley Williams of Paramore.) Purchase exclusive vinyl variants of the album and other Speak Now era themed merchandise here.