Taylor Swift's Eras Tour: Details You May Have Missed at Her Concerts
The playlist that precedes Swift's performance includes "My Song 5" by HAIM, "Number One Fan" by MUNA, and "True Blue" by boygenius, all of whom opened for Swift during the tour's US leg.
It also features songs by close friends of Swift like Selena Gomez, Lana Del Rey, and Suki Waterhouse.
From the very first show back in March, the playlist even contained an Easter egg: "In Ha Mood" by Ice Spice, who hopped on a remix of "Karma" and joined Swift on stage in New Jersey.
Other notable staples include "That's What I Want" by Lil Nas X, "American Teenager" by Ethel Cain, and "Applause" by Lady Gaga, which is always the penultimate track.
"You Don't Own Me" was originally recorded by Lesley Gore, but Swift's playlist features the 1964 cover by Dusty Springfield.
The song plays when the countdown clock appears on the big screen. It includes poignant lyrics like "I'm not just one of your many toys" and "I'm free and I love to be free / To live my life the way that I want."
This could be a subtle message to Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun, whose purchase of Swift's masters spurred her to rerecord her first six albums.
In addition to signature hits like "Spooky" and "Son of a Preacher Man," Springfield was also known for rebelling against constraints in the music industry and meticulously crafting her own public image. According to biographers, she was often branded as "difficult" — although, in retrospect, this was more likely a reaction to a strong-willed woman in a male-dominated industry.
Springfield's love life was also a common source of tabloid fodder. In 1970, she publicly came out as bisexual and suffered an immediate plunge in commercial success. But 20 years later, she released an album titled "Reputation," which helped revive her career.
"Dusty was assumed to be a nightmare on a personal level," Neil Tennant, who coproduced the album, told The Telegraph in 2020. "Couldn't sing any more. Probably some sort of drug addict. Whispers of sexuality, which was regarded as a problem. But the minute she walked in she was really sweet. And it was immediately evident she could sing as well as ever."
Swift arrives on stage by emerging from a cocoon of tapestries, which resembles the scallop shell in Sandro Botticelli's classic painting "The Birth of Venus." In Roman mythology, Venus is the goddess of love.
The Eras Tour kicks off with songs from "Lover," Swift's seventh studio album, which she has described as "a love letter to love itself — all the captivating, spellbinding, maddening, devastating, red, blue, gray, golden aspects of it."
The 2019 single is Swift's most emphatic declaration of support for the LGBTQ+ community.
The music video is stuffed with bright colors and rainbows, which is reflected in the crowd during Swift's performance. (Upon arrival, concertgoers are given light-up bracelets that are programmed to follow the show's cues.)
The famous house first appeared in the "Lover" music video, which premiered in 2019.
The house is a key visual during the "Lover" segment of the Eras Tour. While real-life Swift sings the namesake ballad, the house is projected on the big screen with mini-Swift moving around inside.
At one point, mini-Swift can be seen wearing a yellow dress in the pink room. She moves towards the floor-length mirror and steps inside of it, disappearing from view (possibly as a reference to Lewis Carroll's novel "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There").
After Swift sings "The Archer," the final song in the "Lover" set, golden sparks fall from the top of the stage. Meanwhile, on the big screen, the visual of the house catches on fire.
Fans with floor tickets may not be able to see the intricate stage visuals beneath Swift's feet.
While she sings the title track from her second album "Fearless," the stage transforms into a sparkling silver guitar, much like the one Swift uses in real life.
For her performance of "Willow," Swift dons a green cloak and simulates witchcraft with her coven of dancers, mirroring a key scene from the song's music video.
Swift herself said "Willow" is about "intrigue, desire and the complexity that goes into wanting someone."
She told fans, "I think it sounds like casting a spell to make someone fall in love with you."
Swift's performance of "Delicate" is tightly choreographed. As she moves around the central diamond, she stomps her feet in certain moments. Each stomp seems to create a crack in the stage.
With one final hop at the end of the bridge, the entire stage appears to shatter.
Yet another sneaky detail on stage, invisible to the average floor-ticket holder, is that Swift's shadow takes the shape of a snake while she sings "Look What You Made Me Do."
During her infamous feud with Kim Kardashian and Ye in 2016, Swift was compared to a snake by critics online, who believed her to be untrustworthy. So Swift adopted the serpent as her sigil when she released "Reputation," an album that partially served as a response to those critics.
In the self-referential music video for "Look What You Made Me Do," Swift stands atop a pile of her own personas.
She recreates this moment during the Eras Tour with dancers dressed in her old outfits, all clamoring to push her off the main platform.
Swift announced "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)" during her concert on May 5.
After the album was released on July 7, Swift added the fan-favorite track "Long Live" to the setlist. She plays the song using her iconic instrument from the 2011 "Speak Now" tour: a blue acoustic guitar with koi-fish inlays.
She previously teased the guitar's reappearance in the "Lavender Haze" music video.
Of course, extremely online Swifties will be well aware of this change. But less fixated fans may not be aware that "Invisible String," a tender love song, was the original opener for the tour's "Folklore" segment. Now, it's "The 1," a heartbreak anthem for wistful nostalgics.
The switch came shortly before news broke that Swift had split from her longtime partner Joe Alwyn.
For every show on the Eras Tour, Swift's fingers are freshly painted with a specific color combination, ordered according to her studio album releases: green for "Taylor Swift," gold for "Fearless," purple for "Speak Now," red for "Red," light blue for "1989," black for "Reputation," pink for "Lover," gray for "Folklore," beige for "Evermore," and sparkly blue for "Midnights."
In the music video for "Blank Space," Swift plays a parody of her own boy-obsessed persona. Once her latest fling disappoints her, she takes a golf club to his fancy car — living up to the lyric, "I've got a long list of ex-lovers, they'll tell you I'm insane."
Swift references the video on the Eras Tour by wielding a neon-lit golf club and standing atop a fancy car.
She also carried a golf club while performing the song on The 1989 World Tour.
Swift's pyro-packed performance of "Bad Blood" sees the return of the "Lover" house.
On the big screen, Swift struts through the house in a dramatic black outfit. She takes a seat at her vanity and flicks a lighter into the wreck.
The facade goes up in bright blue flames, perhaps to match the "1989" color scheme, or maybe as a reference to the "All Too Well" lyric, "Did the twin-flame bruise paint you blue?"
The lighter itself could be a reference to the original "Midnights" album cover, which includes a close-up photo of Swift striking a lighter.
Swift's song "Ivy," the 10th track on "Evermore," also includes the lyric, "He's gonna burn this house to the ground."
"Lover" and "Midnights" act as bookends in the Eras Tour setlist, like the sun coming up and going down.
Fans have long theorized the albums are like sisters; according to Swift, the original title for "Lover" was "Daylight." The similar set design for each segment serves to underscore this connection.
In the "Anti-Hero" music video, Swift creates an explicit contrast between her private and public selves.
During the second verse, an oversized version of Swift crawls into a dining room full of regular-sized people.
"Sometimes I feel like everybody is a sexy baby / And I'm a monster on the hill," she sings. "Too big to hang out, slowly lurching toward your favorite city / Pierced through the heart, but never killed."
When she sings "Anti-Hero" on the Eras Tour, another massive version of Swift appears on the big screen, wearing a similar striped top. She stalks through a tiny city, huffing and puffing in frustration. She looks out into the audience and screams silently, waving her hands and pointing to her chest.
Meanwhile, the onstage Swift skips around in a sparkly T-shirt dress, looking comparatively small and cheery.
"Mastermind" is the penultimate song in the setlist. In the "Midnights" track, Swift describes herself as a "Machiavellian" genius and compulsive planner.
During her performance of the song, the stage is lit up in black-and-white squares, resembling a chessboard. During the second verse, her dancers stand in a specific formation, only moving forward when Swift gestures to them like a puppeteer.