Concert tourism was thriving before the pandemic, and it’s safe to say that music lovers are now inspired to continue traveling to see their favorite performers and bands. Thousands of fans came to Glendale, Arizona, to see Taylor Swift’s first concert of The Eras Tour on March 17, 2023.
The anticipation was so great that Glendale ceremonially changed its name to Swift City for March 17 and 18 in honor of the opening weekend of The Eras Tour. Paramore and GAYLE opened for Swift both nights at the State Farm Stadium which held 70,000 fans.
Taylor Swift wowed fans in a high-energy, theatrical celebration of the prolific career she’s had so far. She sang 44 songs from all her albums and performed for over three hours. She talked directly to fans throughout the show, respectfully and affectionately addressing them at one point as “guys, gals, and non-binary pals”. She also shared inside jokes with the Swiftie fandom and shut down the online rumor that she doesn’t like her album “Evermore.” On the contrary, she declared her love for the album and sang several songs from it, including “‘Tis the Damn Season”, “Marjorie”, “Champagne Problems”, and “Tolerate It”.
She performed lesser-known songs and a lot of her greatest hits. The set list included several songs from the four albums Swift released after her last major tour in 2018 for “Reputation”. The high point for many was Swift’s performance of her groundbreaking fan favorite “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” that she released with the re-recorded “Red (Taylor’s Version)”.
Fans were along for the entertaining ride. Britni Sizemore traveled across the country to see the show from Thomasville, North Carolina. She and her husband flew into Phoenix a day ahead of the kickoff concert, and they attended both opening weekend shows.
For the March 18 performance, Sizemore had VIP floor seating and observed, “Once I was on the floor, I realized the magnitude of what I was experiencing. When Taylor performed, it was like the world exploded. I was so close to her, and I cried when Taylor played Fearless because I could not believe that this was real life and that I was one of the lucky people who was able to attend her concert opening weekend.”
Rebecca Trevisan and her best friend Sam Callahan, who are both teachers, flew in to see the show from Boston, Massachusetts. This was an impulse treat for the friends who got their tickets two nights before the show. She said, “Most people around thought we were crazy, especially due to the costs and the fact that, as teachers, we don’t have a lot of extra income to spend. But it all boiled down to our love for Taylor Swift. When I spoke to my husband about it, I had expected him to be against the idea, but instead he said, ‘I think you should go. It’s expensive, but hey, it’s Taylor Swift.”
“We just knew that going to the opening night of The Eras Tour would be a once-in-a-lifetime event that we just couldn’t miss. The way I looked at it was simply. After this weekend, Taylor would only have played six opening night shows, and we would get to have been at one of them. This show, and our crazy, last-minute journey to get there, would be a story we will tell for the rest of our lives.”
Trevisan added, “The show was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The show itself was a masterpiece of performance, art, and fun. Her voice did not falter once in her incredibly long set, and we were excited always wondering what was going to come next.”
“An unexpected perk of the trip was also getting to connect with other Swifties from all over the continent. We made friends who travelled from Massachusetts like us, Vermont, Washington, Georgia, New York, and even Canada! Everyone we met was so nice, and the friendships we formed from our shared love for Taylor’s music was unlike anything else I have ever experienced,” she explained.
Taylor Swift ended the show by playing several songs from her latest hit album “Midnights” which broke multiple records, including . Before ending the show with the upbeat “Karma”, she performed “Lavender Haze”, “Anti-Hero”, “Midnight Rain”, “Bejeweled”, “Mastermind”, and more.
Taylor Swift was once called “The Music Industry” by Barbara Walters because of all her successes, and fans keep the nickname alive. Swift’s power as a performer was evident throughout both opening weekend shows. The singer will continue The Eras Tour in several cities across the United States through its final scheduled US concert on August 9, 2023, at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Performers who will be opening for her along the way include HAIM, Gracie Abrams, MUNA, girl in red, and Phoebe Bridgers.