Live Shot: Taylor Swift stuns on ‘The Eras Tour’ with nostalgic three-hour set

Trisha Dasgupta, Senior Life&Arts Reporter

Screams erupt across AT&T Stadium in Dallas as the lights dim, revealing a giant stopwatch on 110-foot-tall screens. Over the speakers, Lesley Gore’s 1963 anthem “You Don’t Own Me” begins to play, counting down the seconds to an anxious crowd. The clock hits zero, and the beginning notes of Taylor Swift’s “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” play out, leaving Swift’s voice echoing through the stadium.

“It’s been a long time coming” indeed. Embarking on her first tour in four years, Swift returns to the road, bringing 45 songs from her 10-album discography to life on “The Eras Tour” at her first stop of six nights in the Lone Star State.

Opening with the syncopating pop of Lover, the stadium erupted in rainbow hues, lit by the synchronized light-up bracelets every fan received at the gates. Becoming the first woman to headline AT&T Stadium three nights in a row, she celebrated by singing her anthem “The Man,” complete with shimmering blazers and power poses. Making her way through the punchy bridges and lovestruck lyrics that define her ninth studio album, Swift danced across the pink stage, met by cheers at every step.

The singer ended the Lover portion of the setlist with “The Archer,” a glimmering synth pop ode to anxiety and insecurity that featured an extended solo outro from Swift’s guitarist Paul Sidoti, one of her longest touring band members. Sidoti, who first started working with Swift in 2007, walked the length of the massive stage, strumming a beautiful rendition of the atmospheric ballad.

The 2019 track’s outro then transitioned into the opening notes of “Fearless,” bringing the crowd to the next section of the setlist. Choosing to open this section by giving Sidoti a special moment spoke volumes of the labor of love The Eras Tour constantly proved itself to be.

With glittering gold dresses, sparkly guitars, country-twanged riffs and dramatic storytelling, Swift took the audience all the way back to 2008 for the Fearless section of the tour. For a few minutes, Swift seemed 19 again, the stage and set design almost identical to the aesthetics and visuals from her second studio album.

Not many artists possess both the discography and fame that allowed Swift to put on a greatest hits tour at just 33 years old. However, her relationship with her fanbase stands as a hallmark of Swift’s career. She has been perpetually outspoken about her love for her listeners and the connection she shares with them.

This dedication and love shined throughout the night, highlighted especially in sections such as Fearless and Red. Belting nostalgic hits back to back, Swift flaunted her long-standing ability to make songs that incite infectious dancing. However, Swift proved she’s no one-trick pony. Just minutes after her country-pop hit “22” came the 10-minute rendition of the widely beloved and heartbreaking ballad “All Too Well,” one of Swift’s most acclaimed songs.

In addition to older tunes, Swift broke out some more recent songs for the folklore and evermore sections, which featured incredible choreography and immersive stage production. The singer somehow switched from the ultra pop of Lover to the western charm of Fearless and Speak Now to the witchy indie folk of her two pandemic releases seamlessly, a testament to Swift’s versatility and touring abilities.

With a three-hour set list, Swift took the crowd through the last 17 years of her wildly successful career, further proving her chops as a bonafide pop legend.

“The Eras Tour” serves as Swift’s love letter to her ever-loyal fans, invoking nostalgia for songs that soundtracked the lives of listeners worldwide. With a stunning stage production, commanding presence and loaded discography, Swift’s “The Eras Tour” stands as a monumental display of artistry from a musician continuously breaking records and redefining what it means to reach the peak of one’s career.