Just over a week ago, Taylor Swift brought her legendary Eras tour to Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The last time Swift performed a show in Nashville, was in 2018 when she was on her Reputation Stadium Tour. Lots of things have changed since then. Notably, Taylor has released 4 more albums, broken countless records, and proven time and time again that she is one of pop’s biggest stars. However, there is one thing that has stayed the same since Swift’s performance in 2018. She is still one of the most captivating performers of the modern era. I have been lucky enough to see Swift live 3 times: The 1989 World Tour in 2015, again in 2018 for the Reputation Stadium Tour, and most recently The Eras Tour in Nashville, TN on Night 1. Taylor's show was the first concert I attended, so she has always held a special place in my heart.
When tickets for The Eras Tour went on sale, I stayed online in my dorm room for 7 hours and missed 2 classes to secure seats for my sister and me. Once I had my tickets, I began the long process of waiting months in anticipation of the start of the tour. Taylor Swift certainly did not disappoint. For me, the night started by getting dressed in a bedazzled outfit I had made myself inspired by the Reputation album. For this tour, the fun starts before you even get to the stadium as fans have turned Taylor’s shows into “bejeweled” fashion shows. It makes walking around the stadium that much more fun. Everyone was complimenting each other’s outfits and trading beaded friendship bracelets inspired by the different eras. Each show has an aura of love and support, an environment carefully crafted by Swift herself. With 9 possible different openers, there is not a bad option.
However, I was especially excited that Nashville Night 1 (of 3) was going to be seeing Gracie Abrams and Phoebe Bridgers. Gracie went first with a four-song set filled with impressive lyricism and fantastic vocals. She sang favorites such as “21” and “I know it won’t work.” She seemed awestruck at the fact that she was opening for Taylor Swift and her enthusiasm was infectious.
After Abrams left the stage, there was only a short break before Phoebe Bridgers took the stage. This was Phoebe’s first night on the eras tour and her set was masterful. Bridger’s set included hits such as “Kyoto” and “Scott Street” which had most of the audience standing and singing along (a difficult feat to achieve at a stadium show). However, a definite highlight of the set was when she was joined onstage by the other members of her breakout trio Boygenius: Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker. The trio performed their single “Not Strong Enough.” The crowd went wild for Boygenius as the trio’s musical genius has been a hot topic since the release of their latest album. Finally, Dacus and Baker joined Bridgers for her final song “I Know the End.” This was a high of the entire night. The song ends with a scream and the crowd was more than happy to join in, screaming at the top of their lungs as Boygenius ran down the catwalk laughing, hugging, and falling to the ground. It was cathartic, awe-inspiring, and an incredible way to set the stage for Taylor Swift.
Around 8:55, a 2-minute countdown clock showed up on the big screen. The stadium became electric as the crowd anxiously awaited their first glimpse of the superstar. For me, the introduction was an indicator of what the night was about- nostalgia and newness becoming one. Taylor has been in my life since I was a little girl, playing her CDs and dreaming about what it would be like to fall in love to one of her songs. Getting to experience each era and the music that was the soundtrack to my childhood was so special. It felt like Taylor and I were on a journey together, reclaiming these songs as the women we are today.
When Taylor’s voice was first heard saying “It’s been a long time coming” as she began with “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” you could sense the sincerity in that statement. She had been waiting for these shows with just as much anticipation as her dedicated fans. The night was all about singing along and simply having a good time as soon as she appeared. My sister and I swayed along to “Lover” as Swift accompanied with her guitar. We laughed as it coincidentally started to rain during “Fearless” when she sang “In a storm in my best dress, fearless.” We screamed along to “Champagne Problems” and gasped when we heard her incredible high note during “Don’t Blame Me.” We watched in awe during the theatrical performance of “my tears ricochet” and danced harder than ever to “Shake It Off.” My favorite moment of the night was during the Red era when she brought out Phoebe Bridgers for the live debut of “Nothing New.” I sobbed throughout the entire song and those 3 minutes will stay with me forever.
After “Bad Blood,” the whole stadium knew that it was time for the infamous surprise acoustic songs. In each show, Taylor plays one song on guitar and one song on piano which are different each night. In the moment of truth, she directed the crowd’s attention to the screen where the album cover and a release date for the re-recording of her album, Speak Now, appeared. Every single person in the crowd erupted. I have never experienced that feeling at a concert before in my life. Immediately, she followed the announcement with a performance of “Sparks Fly” from Speak Now. Everyone was singing along as the stadium lit up with purple lights. It was magical. After that special moment, she moved over to the piano where she talked about how special Nashville was to her. She launched into a beautiful rendition of her song “Teardrops on My Guitar” from her debut album. This was a welcome surprise as it meant that the Nashville Night 1 crowd got to hear a song from every single one of Taylor’s albums, a rare occurrence on The Eras Tour. Finally, she moved into the final era of the show – Midnights. It was everything that you could want it to be and more. When it was over and she had finally left the stage after 3 hours and 45 songs of pure wonder, I was completely in shock. Taylor Swift is a musical force to be reckoned with and her concert is possibly one of the best live shows ever produced. In the week since I attended, I have not stopped thinking about it. Taylor Swift’s concerts are a place of celebration. Whether you are someone who has grown up with her or you are just now realizing her genius, The Eras Tour has something for everyone, and it is a great example of how impactful live music can be.