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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, April 17, 2024

‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’ brings the cultural phenomenon to local theaters

The highly anticipated concert film did not disappoint.

taylor swift.jpeg

Taylor Swift is pictured performing in Arlington, Texas.

For those who fell victim to the infamous Ticketmaster fiasco or simply want to relive one of the best nights of a Swifitie’s life, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” (2023) has made it possible to see the singer and her enthralling masterpiece of a concert up close and personal. 

The stadium tour itself had an unprecedented cultural impact. More than half of U.S. adults consider themselves fans of Taylor Swift, according to a Morning Consult survey, with 16% of adults describing themselves as “avid” fans of the singer-songwriter, so it’s no surprise that the U.S. leg of the Eras Tour sparked a media frenzy. The demand for tickets was likely spiked in part by a collective yearning for live entertainment as it is Swift’s first post-pandemic tour. It is also her first tour after the 2018 Reputation Stadium Tour, since which she has released four albums: “Lover” (2019), “Folklore” (2020), “Evermore” (2020) and “Midnights” (2022). In the movie, Swift jokes about the stylistic range of these albums, claiming that people asked her if she would include all of them in her upcoming tour, making the concert “three-and-a-half-hours long.” Her response? “Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.” Swift’s concert is over three hours and 15 minutes and encompasses songs from nine out of her ten studio albums, while the film stands at two hours and 48 minutes.

The concert was praised for its stunning visuals and high production value, to which the film offers a front row seat. Filmed during some of the final performances of her U.S. leg at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, the motion picture captures the entire standard setlist (save for a few songs which were noticeably absent) in all its glory. It also depicts the phenomenal visuals of the stage for each “era” in depth, including the “Lover House” and “Folklore Cabin.” The live concert’s brief pauses between each era in which Swift’s costumes and set pieces change were effectively eliminated through the editing of the film, replaced instead by seamless digital transitions that magnificently improve the cohesion of the viewing experience.

Whereas the visual center of attention for any performance attendee is determined by their own eyes, in a concert film, the camera decides the audience’s focal point. For this movie, the focus was entirely on Swift. This created a very intimate experience for the viewer; every one of Swift’s dramatic gestures, subtle or not, was visible. Her eye rolls, winks and smiles that an attendee in the nosebleeds could have missed were on full display in the film. Audience members truly felt the raw emotion that Swift demonstrates in each of her performances; the heartache of “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)” (2021), the wistfulness of “Enchanted (Taylor’s Version)” (2023), the anguish of “tolerate it” (2020) and the sensuality of “Vigilante Shit” (2022). This also allowed for closer attention to be paid to Swift’s dazzling costumes, which varied between each act and performance. Even for those who saw a concert live, it is possible that seeing Swift in her flowy white dress for the “Folklore” era or glittering pink two-piece ensemble for the “1989” era in the film would be a first-time experience.

Attending a screening of the film was truly an immersive experience that mimicked that of attending the actual concert. The seats were filled with fans who knew the words to each song by heart and sang them proudly, especially during “Karma” (2022), the last song of the concert, in which audience members stood up, sang and danced along. During each live performance, Swift played two “surprise songs” from her discography that varied between shows; one on guitar and one on piano. The film had its very own “surprise songs” pulled from the Aug. 4 and 5 dates of the tour: “Our Song” (2006), and “You’re On Your Own, Kid” (2022). Those who were previously unable to claim their own surprise songs now have the two from the movie to call their own. “Our Song” is from Swift’s self-titled debut album, which she claims to have written in ninth grade, symbolizing her long career and showing gratitude to her fans who have supported her since the beginning. “You’re On Your Own, Kid” is a newer, more sentimental song. Its line “make the friendship bracelets” inspired a fad of creating and trading friendship bracelets at the concert and during showings of the film with lyrics or references to Swift’s music and career, truly embodying the community among fans that The Eras Tour created and solidified.

Swiftie or not, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is a must-see cinematic event that is well worth its hype. The film offers the unique opportunity to see the tour-heard-round-the-world that boosted economies and may well bust monopolies. More than just the next best thing for those unable to get tickets to the stadium tour, the movie provides an experience that will long live in fans’ hearts.

Summary “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” (2023) is a visual and musical masterpiece that makes an incredible cultural event accessible to a much larger audience.
5 Stars