Photos courtesy of TAS Rights Management
The pop superstar brought her transcendent Eras Tour to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara
Marks of time come in different forms: seconds on a clock, stars aligning, songs tied to memories…They measure how far we’ve come and, admittedly, rekindle thoughts of the past. And while we can’t change time that’s passed, sometimes we get a chance to reclaim those marks like new. A night at The Eras Tour is the perfect example of that.
Taylor Swift brought The Eras Tour to Santa Clara, CA for two sold-out stops at Levi’s Stadium over the weekend. Being the last stretch of the U.S. leg, these shows have racked up a groundbreaking reputation—45 songs from 10 albums, dexterously performed in three hours. Each album had its own section of the setlist, revisiting concepts and costumes from its respective era. The play-by-play makes up for lost time due to the pandemic preventing tours for Swift’s last four records. Of course, this isn’t news to the average Swiftie, but the shows were a testament to time in more ways than one, exceeding expectations in a way only Taylor Swift can.
Flashback to night two, a nearly full moon in view above the stadium. A large timer counted down the seconds til showtime, and at zero, the words “it’s been a long time coming” echoed in the air. Euphoria sunk in as sunset hues and escapist visuals set the scene for the Lover era. In a flash, Swift appeared on a riser to kick things off with “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” and “Cruel Summer.”
“These songs started out being written about something that happened to me in my life, or something that I felt one point in time,” Swift said a few songs later. “After tonight, my goal is that every single time you hear one of these songs, you’re gonna think about us and the memories we made together.”
Fans made it clear they held Swift’s music close to their hearts for similar reasons. Many of the 58,000 in attendance based their outfits off songs and eras, even exchanging homemade friendship bracelets that referenced album and track titles. Everywhere you looked, fans partook—toddlers with “22” hats, friend groups decked in sequins á la 1989, students in DIY “You Belong With Me” shirts, dads in Reputation attire. All walks of life found their way to Swift’s music for one reason or another. And just for the evening, their paths crossed and there would be no looking back the same way.
There was a lot to process from this show, and putting each moment into words would not be enough to live up to how it all unfolded and felt in person. Every detail, from the choreography and the live band arrangements to the multiple costume and set changes, was seamlessly executed. It’s no easy feat to deliver a high-impact 3-hour show, yet Swift’s dancers carried out their moves with precision and passion and her band sounded larger than life, absolutely nailing their parts. She kept fan engagement high and her vocals, guitar, and piano chops were all on point.
Even surprise moments worked in Swift’s favor, like when fireworks at a nearby amusement park went off during the punchy “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Swift took it as an opportunity to point out her newfound title of honorary mayor of “Swiftie Clara,” a ruling the city had in place for the weekend.
With the Lover era came a fleeting Fearless era—short, sweet, and spritely, the way a first love story usually is. Next came the evermore era, muted and introspective in nature, featuring Swift at a grand piano surrounded by lush forestry. In contrast, Reputation brought fierceness and fury, eventually softened by the tenderness of Speak Now. Red reminisced the highs and lows of coming-of-age, while folklore took that nostalgia and added a whimsical touch. 1989 was wild and carefree, getting spirits high for the night’s much anticipated surprise songs: a stripped down version of “Stay Stay Stay” and the live debut of “All of the Girls You Loved Before.”
Finally, the time came for Midnights, which hit like the rush of a vivid fever dream. The stage and fans’ light-up wristbands flushed the arena in violet and jewel tones as Swift embodied a version of herself that seemed truest to her. She was glowing on “Lavender Haze,” “Anti-Hero,” and “Bejeweled,” then switched up the mood for “Midnight Rain,” “Vigilante Shit,” and “Mastermind.” If all other eras represented past selves, Midnights felt like reaching final form, hugging your inner child, and going on to live your best life. But knowing Swift, there’ll be more in store from here, and like clockwork, whatever she brings in her next release will be bigger than before.
The show ended with the anthem of the summer, “Karma,” and a finale of fireworks set off into the sky, the moon no longer in sight above Levi’s. Swift gave a long goodbye as the last few flames turned to ember—one last mark of time as her set closed a half-hour to midnight.
The Eras Tour continues in Los Angeles early August, and then in Latin America, Asia, Australia, and Europe from late 2023 into early 2024.