By Elijah Nevlin
On Oct. 13, Taylor Swift’s iconic summer tour made it to the big screen in a movie fittingly titled, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.” As a part of MAACness, free tickets were provided to Rider students by the Student Entertainment Council, allowing many to fill the blank space in their weekend and see the concert film themselves.
The moment the show began and Swift was revealed to the crowd, the energy in the venue was monumental even on a screen. From that moment on, both the theater and live crowds were in the palm of her hand.
The second song, “Cruel Summer,” acted as the release point for a groundswell of positive emotion from every “Swiftie” who saw the film, and navigated her setlist with impressive smoothness.
As someone who has attended dozens of concerts, I have never seen a performer draw from so many different periods of their career with such attention to detail. Each era feels like its own show with new costumes, props and high production value.
Swift’s opening “Lover” era started off big. By the end of her time spent with the album, she highlighted the album’s slower ballads. This ensured a smoother transition when her breakthrough country record, “Fearless,” took center stage. Suddenly, Swift’s band took charge over backup dancers and things felt less grand, but the energy never suffered.
The third era, “Evermore,” was an acoustic folk album. Swift stood alone on stage, singing softly about loss and playing the piano in a way that would never ordinarily command a stadium.
Miraculously, she did.
Swift followed this somber performance with “Reputation,” a loud pop record that absolutely felt right in a stadium. Swift and her dancers donned snake-themed costumes, the lights shone bright, smoke machines were in full effect, and the show’s energy shifted from low to high. The most visually appealing performance of the movie was for the song “Look What You Made Me Do,” where Swift confidently proclaimed death to her old self while her dancers appeared in boxes on stage, each dressed like a previous Swift era.
This was succeeded by the most breathtaking performance of the night. As the stage donned a purple hue, Swift wore a ball gown to honor her “Speak Now” album with just one song, a short but enchanting moment, nonetheless.
Next is perhaps the fan favorite era, Red. Swift was clad in a snippy t-shirt, gifting a hat to Bianka Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s daughter. She then played the most notable song of the night. After making sure the crowd had ten minutes to spare, she launched into her beloved “All Too Well (10 Minute Version),” which matched “Cruel Summer” as a massive moment of emotional release.
As the concert continued, it entered “Folklore,” another acoustic album. This time, Swift lounges on the roof of a makeshift cabin and plays guitar. At other moments, she sat on the porch. The show felt the smallest at this moment, yet Swift never felt out of place in front of a stadium crowd or on the big screen.
After the show’s quietest point, Swift brought back the vibrant colors and bright lights with the triumphant “1989” era.
My personal favorite era had a rather short stay on stage compared to other albums in the film, but the most was made of that limited time. Swift packed all her biggest songs back to back, from “Bad Blood” to “Shake it Off.”
Following “1989” was the most exciting part of the show for many ‘Swifties,’ as Swift performed two unique surprise songs. Of the many that she played throughout the tour, the two highlighted for the movie are “Our Song,” a throwback from her self-titled debut album, and “You’re On Your Own, Kid,” a track from her new album “Midnights” which inspired the bracelet trading that helped define the Eras Tour.
After a three-hour musical journey, the movie arrived at the final era: “Midnights.” Swift’s newest era was accompanied by prop clouds that circled the stage and an incredibly bejeweled outfit. The final song of the film was “Karma,” which, if you attended a New Jersey concert, you would have seen it performed with a guest verse from Ice Spice. In the movie, however, Swift sang solo.
The Eras Tour was a very special experience live, and the movie captures that energy perfectly. For those who did attend the tour, those who missed out and those who might just be casual Taylor Swift fans, I recommend the movie for all. You don’t want to miss out on your last chance to witness the concert of the summer.