GLENDALE, ARIZ. — Taylor Swift hasn’t toured in nearly five years, so there were many questions about her new Eras Tour, but mainly this: If it really was a celebration of all of her musical eras, past and present, how would she fit 10 albums worth of songs over a standard concert set of about two hours?
At Friday’s opening night show, Swift provided the answer to around 70,000 people at State Farm Stadium: She would play for three hours. (Technically, around 3 hours and 10 minutes, as she divided her albums into brief segments and played either full length or condensed versions of more than 40 songs.)
Here’s a complete recap of the set list for the show, which really did live up to the hype after causing a complete Ticketmaster meltdown.
The “Lover” era (2019)
1) “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince”
Even though this was an album cut that doesn’t get much attention among fans, it contains an ideal opening line for the first song: “It’s been a long time coming.” Backup dancers carried enormous pastel-colored parachutes and all floated together in a circle before lifting up the fabric to reveal Swift center stage, where she was clad in the first of many sparkly bodysuits and jewel-encrusted knee-high boots she would wear over the course of the evening.
2) “Cruel Summer”
This upbeat pop track was destined to become a summertime smash in 2020 until, well, you know. Fans have been obsessed with it ever since, even though it never became a radio single and Swift never performed it live, until now. One look around the stadium revealed multiple people openly weeping.
Taylor Swift loves time and numbers. ‘Midnights’ proves it.
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Superstar Taylor Swift’s music is a trove of hidden meanings tied to her love of numeric symbolism – and her tenth album, “Midnights,” is no different. (Video: Allie Caren/The Washington Post, Photo: Sarah Hashemi/The Washington Post)
3) “The Man”
Swift casually slid into a business professional sequin jacket as the set transformed into a drab office space, similar to the music video, as she sang about how people would take her much more seriously if she were a dude.
4) “You Need to Calm Down”
This single and music video, a celebration of gay rights and ignoring the haters, was somewhat controversial and resulted in debates about whether Swift centered herself too much in a song that was supposed to be about being an ally. But Swift still belted out a few lines, including the much-discussed lyric, “Shade never made anybody less gay!”
The audience roared as Swift strolled out with her guitar and explained to the crowd that they were about to go on an adventure through the 17 years of her career — and even though there would be plenty of material about breakups, this was a “good old-fashioned love song.”
6) “The Archer”
Swift walked slowly down a gigantic catwalk that took her into the middle of the stadium for the final song from this era, a low-key ballad with lyrics about her insecurities.
The “Fearless” era (2008)
As gold sparks rained down, Swift took a quick pivot back to her breakout country album, wearing a gold fringe dress and boots that defined her style in the early days of Nashville.
8) “You Belong With Me”
It was pandemonium when Swift broke out one of her first country singles that became an international hit. The crowd really lost it for the famous tale of a high school love triangle, especially with the signature lyric: “She wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts / She’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers.”
9) “Love Story”
The inclusion of this one was a given. Swift’s career-making song from a time when she romanticized the idea of happily-ever-after love stories closed out the second phase of the concert.
The “Evermore” era (2020)
10) “Tis the Damn Season”
Swifties have a running bit that “Evermore” is the “forgotten child” — it never got the same attention as its sister pandemic album (and Grammy album of the year winner) “Folklore.” But Swift jokingly insisted onstage that “Evermore” is “an album I absolutely love despite what some of you might say on TikTok.” She changed into a burnt orange gold autumnal gown, kicking things off with a song about hooking up with an ex over the holidays.
Swift threw on an emerald cape for her “dancing witch” version of the album’s opening track, surrounded by backup dancers holding glowing orbs.