Friday night, pop megastar Taylor Swift brought the first of three sold out nights to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, delivering a three-hour show that spanned highlights of her illustrious career.
Called the "Eras Tour," it's part of a U.S. tour that began in March and extends through August and serves as a career retrospective, featuring tracks pulled from key albums including Lover, Fearless, and Evermore.
Swift is only 33, but already has 10 albums under her belt, and has explored a variety of genres, from country to pop to indie. The show artfully displayed her evolution as an artist, demonstrating how she has matured from teen pop star to seasoned performer able to connect with a wide demographic.
Every performer has fans but a Taylor Swift show is on another level: Virtually every one of the 70,000 people in attendance at AT&T seemed to know every song and every lyric. The audience was probably 80 percent women, lending a subtly empowering aspect. (I had seats on the floor and counted a total of 10 guys in my section, which had about 60-80 seats.)
The show was impressively staged. After openers Muna and Gayle had completed their sets, Swift's entrance was preceded by the image of a countdown clock, ticking down, setting off a wave of raucous screams.
The show cycled through albums, with Swift performing a few tracks from each, though not necessarily in chronological order. It was almost like a series of well-orchestrated mood swings, from fast-paced dance hits to the more subdued music of her 2020 album Folklore.
In between albums, the show would pause for mini-interludes, oftentimes with a video, serving as a transition and giving the stage crew time to quickly usher in a new set of props, many quite elaborate.
For example, the Folklore segment featured a quaint moss-covered A-frame house, complete with a chimney wafting smoke, as she crooned to the tour debut of her hit "The 1."
During her Evermore set, a background video showed a dark, moonlit forest adorned with dark green trees reaching into the sky. Black-cloaked dancers emerged, slowly swinging glowing orange orbs as Swift crooned the haunting lyrics to her hit "Willow."
That segued into her Reputation album, summoning the fast-paced energy reminiscent of her 2018 tour, as she kicked it off with the rambunctious hit "…Ready For It?"
She also played the 10-minute version of "All Too Well" from the Red album, a song that was originally five minutes long but which she re-recorded in her effort to regain control of her music after her back catalog was sold behind her back.
Setlists for this tour are being posted hours after each performance, including shows in Arizona and Las Vegas, a fact that Swift playfully acknowledged.
“You think you can just scroll the setlist? You think you can just come prepared? Let it be said about The Eras Tour … there’s hijinks,” she said, before offering surprise acoustic renditions of "Sad Beautiful Tragic" and "Ours."
The final half hour closed out with hits from her latest album Midnights, including “Lavender Haze” and “Anti-Hero." There wasn't an encore, but after a sprawling three-hour set that never flagged, it wasn't needed or missed.
Leading up to the weekend, there were gloomy reports anticipating traffic issues, but many fans arrived early and entrance to the venue went smoothly with virtually no lines even an hour prior to the show.
She'll be in Arlington for two more nights, on April 1 and 2.