Taylor Swift and her #ErasTour shakes SoFi Stadium

Taylor Swift SoFi Stadium 2023 DF mainbar

Where to even begin with Taylor Swift‘s gargantuan spectacle The Eras Tour at SoFi Stadium? After all the celebrities seemed to have made their rite of passage to the Inglewood stadium, the fourth night of Swift’s residency or takeover seemed to live up to all of the other dates she has traversed throughout the United States. “Eras” really was the perfect name for the tour, because at three-and-a-half hours, Swift was non-stop and truly created her own era with the tour alone.

The Swiftie friendship bracelets were out, the fan costumes were on display like LA was Taylorchella or Taylorween and the decibels experienced were life-changing. This tour is no show, it is an event, bookended beautifully with her two most recent pop-leaning albums, 2019’s Lover and 2023’s Midnights. It was particularly special experiencing these two, enjoying their first-ever tour plus the two pandemic albums Folklore and Evermore. It seems the tour really was a gift to fans, showcasing material from these four albums for the first time and playing tunes from each of her 10 albums [Editor’s Note: one caveat being that Swift’s debut self-titled album was not covered in LA, however its essence was clear during the surprise section].

Most artists wouldn’t flinch at the thought of this because not every album is a commercial success, however Swift has had hits on all albums. With diverse production and varied sonic influences, on Eras, she has created almost an Epcot Center of adventure like she’s the world and we’re living in it. After all, her tour gross is edging 4.6B, which is higher than the GDP of over 35 countries. And if it’s a small world after all, or maybe a “Cruel Summer” (like her 2019 song that has become 2023’s unofficial Song of the Summer), fans are certainly reveling at the opportunity to journey through Swift’s different career moments. The 10 albums, from her breakout self-titled collection to the dreamlike Midnights all represent ten vastly different sides and personalities that make up Taylor Swift. Where most artists wouldn’t touch each album, Swift embraces all of her babies, and really impressed on each, giving flavors and textures, sonic landscapes and dreamscapes to play in. She might even make some fans (and music critics) reconsider the vastness and power of the underrated Reputation.

This “Mastermind” of songwriting, showmanship and marketing genius has captured the hearts of millions across the globe, from young children to adults alike, attracting NBA stars like the late Kobe Bryant (and his children), glitterati like fashion models to Hollywood elites. Mindy Kaling, who attended opening night brought her daughter on Night 4 and you can’t be much more accurate than her sentiment that “There were no highlights. It was all highlight”. If Eras were a film, those lines should be the promotional poster quote on a billboard posted on Sunset Boulevard or in Times Square describing this historic feat. Fans may have thought the U.S. dates wrap in Los Angeles come Wednesday, but the tour has been extended with newly-released dates arriving in October and November in Miami, New Orleans, Indianapolis, while our Canadian friends up north get six dates in Toronto, just like Angelenos. Monday night, Kevin Costner was the dad of the night, bringing along his daughters to the show, while numerous other celebrities appeared including actress and recording artist Reneé Rapp, Jessica Capshaw, Diana Silvers and Sarah Jeffery. The stars last night also included Cameron Diaz, Flavor Flav, Josh Brolin, Tiffany Haddish, Sophia Bush, Colton Underwood, Zoe Saldana, Kaitlyn Dever, Dane Cook, Haley Lu Richardson, Dita Von Teese and so many more.

Color and fashion went hand-in-hand with the production and lighting design, with Ms. Swift leaning into a number of sequined looks, fringe and flowing, goddess-like dresses and gowns. Each guest at SoFi was given a light-up bracelet, unifying the entire crowd for the full show, shapeshifting with color as the Eras and songs changed. The Eras really represent not only what Taylor Swift was, is and who she strives to be, but she is also giving a nod and a wink-wink to her fans, that women can be all of these things —all the Eras, one by one or all at the same time. Out of respect for all of the Eras, we have broken down some moments from each act:

Mood: Accepting and smitten
Color Palette: Pinks, Purples and Pastels

After the loudest screaming you’ve ever heard, ever, it was fitting that Lover kicked off the Eras; after all this was the album that was to tour in early 2020. SoFi Stadium lit up everyone’s bracelets in white, changing quickly to pink for “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince”, followed by the newly anointed anthem “Cruel Summer”, with Swift in a shimmering bodysuit, greeting the crowd mid-song on a rotating cube, surrounded by seashell-looking fabrics in pink and purple hues. It was kind of like a moment of, Who’s Barbie now? Is this a Super Bowl champ right here? Yes to both. And while we’re at it, yes to Taylor who is so poised right now to be a Super Bowl halftime performer. Taylor paused, smiled and looked out into the crowd, taking in the moment with piercing screams permeating throughout. “Look at you, look at what’s happening right now”, said Swift. “I kind of want to try something, I just want to see what happens”. She pointed into the crowd into different pockets and the noise erupted as she conducted. She posed with a flex of her bicep, kissed it and winked too. Donning a black sparkly jacket with gold accents, “The Man” had her dancers in business attire while she was looking like a boss, sitting atop the desk like Logan Roy of Succession. A colorful house was lit up with the “employees” for the very lively “You Need To Calm Down”, which did nothing to calm the fans. T. Swift’s baby blue guitar was out as she greeted everyone, “Los Angeles California, welcome to The Eras Tour”. Roar from the crowd. “We’re just getting to know each other but I have a really good feeling about you and I just have some questions. Is there anybody who put an extensive amount of energy into being here tonight?” More roars. She gave props to her outstanding crew and openers calling them top-notch, adding that Haim is her favorite band. “We’re going on an adventure”, adding that it’s 17 years worth of material. “I’ll be your host for the evening, my name is Taylor, thank you for being with us”.  A shortened, pure and romantic version of “Lover” had the stage floor in magenta for days as dancers in elegant dresses and formalwear graced the stage with Taylor atop some steps. The place echoed nicely, followed by “The Archer” concluding Lover, with Swift coming down the catwalk like a trained ringmaster and an arm out with grace. The minimalist electronic tune found the superstar smiling out at fans, solo, with so much power in that moment. Gold pyro streamed down from the lighting fixtures and two of the guitarists came forward, to rock out on a stadium-ready instrumental, as background singers marched, two from each side, silhouetted in the gold shimmer.

Mood: Confident and innocent
Color Palette: Gold and Silver

Fearless had only three songs, but it packed a punch with hit songs. First up was “Fearless”, with the star in a silver fringe number and a silver rhinestone guitar, spinning around to make the place got nuts. The country-rock song had Swift in her feels by the end with her hands over her end, configuring a heart with her hands. “You Belong With Me” was a singing fest, with Taylor and her four musicians atop golden cubes and her hand out at the end, followed by her arms around her talented background singers. “Love Story” was the cap on the Era, with beautiful spotlights shooting up from the stage floor and truly stunning stage design. Taylor Swift leaned on one of her guitarists at the front of the catwalk with all her dancers and musicians together like one happy posse.

Mood: Enchanting and inviting
Color Palette: Moss, Rust and Blue

Ice melted on branches to open the wonderful evermore, which felt symbolic of the pandemic freezing over much of human life. Lush forests and an engaging instrumental score introduced the environment, as Swift emerged again in a long brown/auburn gown with sparkle, joined by the Haim sisters for “no body, no crime”. The bluesy tune had attitude and strong guitars and the four gathered together at the end, leaning on one another, laughing and embracing. Pine trees were met with fog at dawn for “willow”, with blue hues sweeping in around the trees and the mysterious song had yellow fiery accents on the screen as Swift got into some sorcery stuff with a cape on. The stage design was incredible here and how did this tune not make an episode of Yellowjackets? The evermore Era set up a perfect moment to address the fans on all of the new music. “Musically speaking, we have a lot to catch up on. That’s why we need a three-and-a-half-hour show to do it. This tour has meant more to me than you’ll ever know. If you’ve been to any shows before, thank you so much. We didn’t tour for five years. It was a global pandemic and there were much more important things than the live music scene. I remember when I realized I wasn’t going to see you guys for a long time. I decided I was going to make and record as many albums as humanly possible. There are some new musical members of our family I’d like to acknowledge, their names are: Lover, folklore, evermore, and last but not least Midnights. evermore, which is the era we’re in, that was the second pandemic album. I thought it would be so cathartic to get to sing “Champagne Problems”, so let’s do it”. While at the keys, Swift played under a glowing tree with moss decorated on the piano and next to her as fans sang along. Following the song and over a minute of applause (and screaming), she looked out from the piano and paused to take in all in, in her own Taylor Swift way. She smiled, pointed to fans and loved the love. She leaned on the piano and mouthed, “What is this?” The totally magical Era ended with an introduction of new bandmate Karina DePiano, who shared a gorgeous piano intro of “Tolerate It”, with Taylor seated center stage at a table. She was joined by a male suitor at the end of the table, with Taylor later standing atop it in a chartreuse dress.

Mood: Dangerous and unapolagetic
Color Palette: Black and Red

Reputation was a kick in the face from start to finish, with hits and fire and danger. Snake skin, hissing and snake heels clip-clopping more rapidly, and creating a beat, setting the stage for a wild Era. “…Ready for It?” had the stadium erupting, with Swift in an asymmetrical serpent-themed black and red outfit, whipping her hair with flair. The energy was high and the dancing was excellent, with Swift spinning around at the end, posing like a predator. “Delicate” had a pulse that throbbed throughout the venue with Swift working it solo on stage. “Don’t Blame Me” may have been the high point of a rather strong act, with magnetic yet cool energy at the same time. The ensemble was surrounded by red candles, lights blazing on either side of the stage and the gospel elements of the song took hold of the standout moment. For anyone who slept on Reputation, this Era was a reminder that it’s full of drama. It represents so much of Taylor’s growth, fending off rumors, non-stop press and balancing the life of a pop star and reality. The fire continued with a possessed Taylor Swift, hair all kinked out going ballistic on stage for “Look What You Made Me Do”, with dancers emerging from boxes like dolls, because this is the Summer of Barbie…ahem Taylor, right?

Speak Now
Mood: Regal and feminine
Color Palette: White and Pinks

Speak Now, like Fearless got full tours in the past and have been played a lot over the years, so while apropos to of course play some songs, there were just two completing the Era, with a pair of Swift’s most feminine, yet timeless tunes about teenage fantasy. “Enchanted” was up first, with the singer in a sparkly silver princess gown (We have our own royalty and her name is Taylor Swift). The cascading spotlights floated over hues of pinks with accents of blues and purples as the whole place sang along to a song that was in stark contrast to the previous song and also represented formative years for the megastar building her devoted fanbase. Swift was all smiles for the anthemic, “Long Live”, with another blue guitar, singers and musicians on either side of her on risers. Swift made her signature girly faces with big eyes, with the crowd joining in on the positive and uplifting message, holding the guitar up with pride by the song’s end.

Mood: Playful and flirtatious
Color Palette: Self-Explanatory

Red has sorority vibes built into it all over, and Taylor has sorority sisters for life with her fans. The audience brought the noise for the red lights and mind you, about halfway through the set (with over 90 minutes left), Taylor barely stopped all night, if anything just to change her outfit about a dozen times. A dancer comically pushed a red cart at the start and Swift was later joined by dancers in sporty red outfits of all types. The carefree, energetic “22” found the performer in a black hat and a white t-shirt, crowning a lucky fan with her hat. In her red and black ombre jumpsuit, Swift and her crew performed one of her biggest hits, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” with some fierce choreography alongside the dancers, later saying “like ever” with emphasis. The shenanigans continued with storm clouds of smoke and lots of movement from the dance crew on “I Knew You Were Trouble”. “This crowd is absolutely hilarious”, mused Swift. ” I can see you all, you are going hard out there. Did you do some sort of endurance training in order to go to this concert?” That should be asked of Swift. For a much-needed change of pace, Swift took her black bedazzled guitar for the “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”, solo on stage (and later with the background singers joining her in red dresses) along with fans joining her for what seemed like the entirety of the song.

Mood: Sophisticated and angelic
Color Palette: Plum and Turqoise

folklore was a treat to those who flocked to the first of Swift’s 2020 albums, with timeless songs, and a focus on storytelling and serenity. Fireflies enveloped the screen, with Swift appearing, leaning and laying down on a treehouse in a flowing, purple fairy goddess outfit. “And so we brought the folklore cabin to Los Angeles, California. I feel really grateful the way you embraced it, allowing me to play and experiment. That freedom, to me, is the most fun thing in the world. I started writing it two days into the pandemic. It is an imaginary world I created in my head. We all needed to go to different places in our imagination during that time”. The songwriting was a standout on “betty” and it followed with “the last great american dynasty”, with turn-of-the-century Victorian era dresses, spinning around. It looked like an old Broadway musical, like Oklahoma! or The Music Man. There was a lot of grace to this one, with Taylor Swift seated for the last moments with her singers and musicians on the steps like they are camping out. [Editor’s Note: In our dreams, but Swift could totally tour folklore and evermore at venues like The Ace Hotel or Greek Theatre for fans who were drawn to these Eras]. An almost watercolor-like array of colors blended behind the performers for “august” as Swift’s voice soared. She ran on stage barefoot to the opposite side of the stage and flipped her hair near the end of the hazy, summer ballad. On “cardigan,” fireflies were floating in the trees of the cabin once again, and Swift really embodied her own spirit animal.

Mood: Independent and poised
Color Palette: Orange, Black and White

One could argue 1989 was Swift’s first full-blown pop masterpiece as an adult, and it is packed with hits, and a blast from start to finish. The danceable, fashion-forward bop “Style” opened this Era with pinache. Swift worked and twirled on a dime alongside her dancers, fresh in black and white outfits like it was a New York or Milan runway. Dancers rode neon Tron-like bicycles for “Blank Space” and Swift had some moves with a glowing blue cane for the monstrous song. The tour was elevating to a new level during this Era, especially on the beautifully chaotic energy of “Shake It Off”, with clever choreography from the performers at the front of the stage. A pulsing “Wildest Dreams” gave everyone a moment to take in the pulsing, dreamy song, with Swift surrounded by her four background singers, as the star moved wonderfully in her vibrant, orange two piece. This power set was capped with a fire-blasted “Bad Blood”, with a group of six female dancers joining Swift like they were the 2.0 version cast of The Craft.

Surprise songs – acoustic section

There was not necessarily a color scheme here, although Taylor wore a flowing yellow dress. Swift’s self-titled album didn’t make an appearance in the set, but perhaps this acoustic section is her 10th Era: The Now. It’s a chance for intimacy with fans, and though she did play “Tim McGraw” and “Teardrops on My Guitar” at other locations, there were no songs from this record. Swift’s debut album essence was really felt here though, with the outfit, the long blonde hair and the acoustic vibes. The two songs that made the cut for this special moment were “Dress” off Reputation and “Exile” from folklore. Both found the singer-songwriter center stage singing her heart out with fans. On “Dress”, she stood playing her acoustic guitar while on “Exile” she played deep chords on a piano decorated with flowers. She told the crowd that it was first time she ever played “Dress” live acoustic. “I wanted to challenge myself to songs I don’t play live often or songs I haven’t done in a while”. Taylor Swift bowed and then blew kisses like an angel.

Mood: Dreamy and sexy
Color Palette: Navy and Black

Recent release Midnights was the closer, with life-size cotton candy clouds on stage and ladders going up to them. It’s a bit of a dream state album, captured tastefully with some surprises. Swift had a furry purple coat over her dress for the dancey, hypnotic “Lavender Haze”. Recent Hot 100 #1 “Anti-Hero” found the star working her way to both sides of the stage and a screen size anti-hero Taylor looked around as the real-life one reminded fans “it’s me”. Umbrellas hit the stage for the downtempo “Midnight Rain”, with Swift in a sparkling navy number, dancing suggestively on a chair with her other dancers alongside her on their own chairs. 10 dancers worked their magic with the stage risers undulating to the beat. “Bejeweled” sparkled with lights in jewel tones, with memorable choreography and shapes from the dancers as Swift shouted “I polish up real nice”. “Mastermind” is arguably the best song on Midnights, and Taylor Swift strutted as she seemed to work her fingers like a magician, commanding her dancers like chess pieces on a black and white stage floor. The movement from all performers was thrilling and representative of all that Swift has achieved and will continue to achieve. In a pink fluffy shimmer coat, Swift bid farewell to a truly unbelievable evening with “Karma”. The dancers were also wearing colorful, shimmering jackets, which felt like Las Vegas-meets-circus vibes. Swift gave a shout to her singers and dancers, the band and bowed at the end under streams of confetti.

Back to that Vegas topic, Taylor Swift could easily devour Sin City in a bidding war for a two-year residency or really whatever she wants, but why stop at Vegas when you can have the world? She’s at the very top of her game, in a lane unlike any other pop artist right now. With her cultural impact, she’s becoming the current generation’s Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson, even The Beatles. The hits don’t stop, the albums are massive and the crowds are always “ready for it”. The Eras Tour continued last night and concludes Wednesday at SoFi Stadium and makes its way to Mexico City on August 24 (and other South American cities), with Swiftie-mania continuing across Asia and Europe in 2024 through August of 2024, before returning to the previously mentioned fall North American dates. She’ll make the whole place shimmer.

Words by Michael Menachem
Photos by Dara Feller