Sunday, June 16, 2024

Inside night two of Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” weekend in Philadelphia

MosaicInside night two of Taylor Swift’s "The Eras Tour" weekend in Philadelphia

BY GABY NIEVES
Co-Managing Mosaic Editor




Dressed in a “Midnights”-themed outfit and donning a bold red lipstick, I had a blast at night two of Taylor Swift’s weekend performances in Philadelphia. Since this was both my first stadium concert and my first time seeing her perform live, you could say my expectations were high — and Swift did not disappoint. Following opening acts GAYLE and Phoebe Bridgers (my favorite artist second only to Swift), she started the evening with songs from her album “Lover,” which is filled with both passionate and viral hits such as “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince,” “Cruel Summer,” “The Archer” and more.

Part of my preparation for the concert was listening to the Swift albums I was less familiar with (which didn’t include “folklore” or “Fearless,” as I mentioned in my last article), so I became well acquainted with “Lover” in the months leading up to the tour date. As such, I was singing all of the lyrics at the top of my lungs as soon as the show started — yet I couldn’t even hear myself! Somehow, despite the sounds of thousands of fans doing the same thing as me, I could still hear Swift loud and clear over everything else. I was glad I could both sing along and hear her impressive vocals.

Following the “Lover” era was “Fearless,” and I have to admit that hearing her perform that album live for the first time in the 15 years that have passed since I discovered it felt like a real full-circle moment. My inner child jumped out and had the time of her life.

Songs off of Swift’s “evermore” album were played next, which slowed things down for a few moments. It was at this point in the set list that you could see which members of the crowd were the older Swifties that preferred the country and pop hits she released throughout the 2000s and 2010s over the indie folk albums she released in 2020. Many audience members took a break from standing or chose to visit the concession stands and restrooms during this portion, but I for one loved the “witch in the woods” act she put on throughout this part of the show, and sang my heart out to my favorite song off the album, “champagne problems.”

The mood of the show then did a 180. As Swift left the stage to change into her fourth outfit of the night, my eyes were glued to the snake that began to slither across the jumbotron. The sounds of heels clacking against the floor rang out. The singer asked the question we were all waiting for. “Are you ready for it?”

Out of respect for her most mature pop album, I had no choice but to pull out all of the aggressive dance moves and finger-pointing I had in me. In the midst of this, I witnessed the most metal song transition ever as she sang “Don’t blame me for what. You. Made. Me. Do.” Cue the guitar shredding. Cue all of the lights flashing throughout the entire arena. Cue Swift’s seamless transitioning from “Don’t Blame Me” to “Look What You Made Me Do” to finish out the era.

Then came another 180 as Swift disappeared from the stage once again, this time to emerge in a princess ball gown to sing “Enchanted,” the only song on the set list from her album “Speak Now.” Although it’s the era with the shortest time slot, it does beat out her debut album, “Taylor Swift,” which she didn’t play any songs off of for my concert. I didn’t mind, however. Including myself, many Swifties rank her debut as their least favorite record.

Following up her ball gown ensemble were several costumes dedicated to “Red (Taylor’s Version),” the album that includes such hits as “22,” the 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” and “Nothing New,” the latter of which features one of her openers, Bridgers. So of course Swift had to bring her back out on stage to perform the duet. A sad song sung by my two favorite artists, live? Obviously, my eyes watered again!

After “Red (Taylor’s Version)” came the album I anticipated most of all. You guessed it: “folklore.” However, at the start of this part of the concert, reality started to settle in. We still had 21 songs to go through, and my body was already starting to feel the effects of dancing and singing to the last 24. Regardless, I persevered. I put my exhaustion on pause as I told myself, “Pain is temporary, Taylor Swift is forever.”

Wearing a beautiful, flowing green gown with embroidered leaf detailing, one of the many “folklore” songs Swift sang was “the last great american dynasty,” during which her feet actually caught and slipped on the aforementioned dress. Countless fans caught this on video and posted it on social media, but the craziest thing is that when you listen to her singing in those videos, the falter in her voice is barely — just barely — perceptible as she regains her balance. Talk about a powerhouse performer! 

A few songs after this, Swift closed out the era with “cardigan,” my favorite song out of her entire discography. I can safely say that during that song, the worst seats in the stadium were the ones next to me.

Some of her most mainstream pop hits, “Style,” “Blank Space,” “Shake It Off” and “Wildest Dreams,” were performed next as Swift entered her “1989” era. After the emotional ballads of “folklore,” the stadium turned into a dance party once again as she “[shook] it off” in a matching orange sequin set. The only interruption to the light mood was when, still singing in between her words, Swift started shouting “She’s fine! … She wasn’t doing anything!” into the crowd. The next lyric was punctuated with an assertive “Stop!”

It is rumored that she was speaking to a security guard engaged in an altercation with a fan, but what’s become more viral than the incident itself is the audio of her shouting. Since the altercation, fans have been making TikTok videos using what has now been dubbed a “Bad Blood” remix. I actually caught the whole event on one of the few videos I took throughout the show, but I had no idea what was happening at the time.

After finishing “Bad Blood,” Swift sang two acoustic “surprise songs” — songs that are not a part of the regular set list. At the May 13 show, she sang “Forever & Always” and “This Love.” After diving down into a stage door and “swimming” to the other side of the stage, Swift sang tracks from her latest album and final era of the concert, “Midnights.”

“Meet me at midnight…” rang throughout the stadium as “Lavender Haze” began, followed by her chart-topping song, “Anti-Hero.” One sultry chair number for “Vigilante S—,” a nod to the viral TikTok dance trend for “Bejeweled,” and a spiraling chessboard stage illusion for “Mastermind” later, Swift bid us farewell with her final song of the night, “Karma.” She, her dancers, supporting vocalists and band took a bow as fireworks went off, and she disappeared beneath the stage.
If you’ve never seen Swift in concert, you need to. I mean, even fans that didn’t have tickets to the show stood outside the stadium to listen (the sheer amount of which I didn’t even know about until after the show). I have never heard of an artist singing and dancing for three and a half hours straight, with so much thought and detail put into every aspect of the show. At this weekend of shows specifically, Swift even took special care to emphasize the references she makes to her home state of Pennsylvania (and these being her hometown shows) in both her lyrics and speeches in between songs. She truly is — as we Swifties like to call her — the music industry.

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