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The artist masterfully blends EDM, pop and hyperpop on a record that feels like a night out with her.
Review: “BRAT” by Charli XCX
Published June 12, 2024

Taylor Swift triumphantly brings the Eras Tour to Minneapolis

Swift’s career-spanning 2023 tour proves to be the musical event of the year.
Image by Ethan Lambert
Swift and her dancers performing “Shake it Off” on Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Taylor Swift is now several months into her monumental Eras Tour — the megastar’s first full-scale tour since 2018’s Reputation Stadium Tour. 

Since COVID-19, Swift has evolved as an artist and fostered an even more meaningful connection with her fans by being extremely prolific in recent years — from surprise albums “Folklore” and “Evermore” to the re-recording of her 2012 classic “Red” (with the release of the 10-minute version of “All Too Well”, a fan favorite) and her return to pop with the 2022 cultural sensation that was her 10th studio album “Midnights.”

Before Swift even took the stage, it was obvious from the outfits worn by thousands of fans (an unwritten rule of attending the Eras Tour — dress up as your favorite Swift era) the Minneapolis Swifties were eager to experience songs from Swift’s seventh studio album, “Lover,” live, with the plurality of attendees clad in pink — the dominant hue of the album cover itself and its associated aesthetic.

Swift took to social media in Novmeber 2022 to describe the upcoming 2023 stadium tour as “a journey through the musical eras of my career.”

With Swift’s statement was the promotional tour poster showing 10 distinct images of Swift (representing each of her 10 studio albums). The Eras Tour was advertised as THE tour for any and all Taylor Swift fans, regardless if they became obsessed with her songs during her country era; or when she was solidified as a pop mainstay in the early 2010s; or when she explored a mellow singer-songwriter style with “Folklore” and “Evermore.”

On both nights in Minneapolis, Swift opened her sets with several songs off “Lover.”  The set list of the Eras Tour has remained largely the same aside from the two surprise songs she does every night of the tour towards the end of her performance.

Serving as the exposition to the setlist, Swift opened with “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince.” A mid-tempo, yet incredibly catchy track, it was an excellent precursor to the second song in Swift’s set, the anthemic “Cruel Summer.” 

“Cruel Summer,” which is now being promoted as a single four years after the release of “Lover,” was a perfect cathartic release of all the hype and anticipation of an audience eager to see Swift perform live after releasing four albums of brand-new material in the past four years. Swift shined vocally during the second song of the show, powerfully delivering the song’s vocal run in the chorus and commanding the audience’s attention in the stadium.

“Are you ready to go back to high school with me?” Swift asked the audience before she and her backing band ushered in a performance of the country-pop anthem “You Belong With Me,” a song that tells the story of having a high school crush on a boy who is already in a (toxic) relationship, one of her many iconic singles off her second LP, “Fearless.” 

Moving through Swift’s studio albums and their respective eras non-chronologically, “Evermore” followed up the “Fearless” portion of the concert for a comfortable lull in Swift’s three-hour performance. The singer-songwriter performed fan-favorites like “‘Tis the Damn Season” and “Champagne Problems” off the 2020 studio album.

Later on in the setlist, Swift performed seven songs from her other 2020 release, “Folklore,” with each section of the show contrasting well with other high energy eras like “Red” and “1989,” which are riddled with high-energy pop hits.

After a relatively mellow period in the setlist, the sold-out crowd was riled up once imagery and sounds of the “Reputation”-era snake iconography were shown on the massive screens on-stage and heard from the loudspeakers.

The loud, distorted bass intro of  “…Ready For It?,” the opening track of her 2017 LP, blasted throughout the stadium to thunderous cheers from fans. Swift’s performance proved that the song is a mindblowing masterclass of pop, even six years later. With excellent group choreography, on-stage visuals, Swift’s vocal performance and the pure excitement of the concert-goers, “…Ready For It?” was one of the best moments of Swift’s two-night stint at U.S. Bank Stadium. 

Despite being an album that is clearly polarizing in online music discourse, one can not deny that “…Ready For It?” and “Look What You Made Me Do” are powerful songs that will go down as some of Swift’s most experimental and iconic, one of the myriad of examples of her versatility as a songwriter.

Following “Reputation,” Swift played just one song off “Speak Now” (the re-recording of which is set to be released in July), her ballad “Enchanted,” to many adoring fans loudly singing along to the passionate lyrics in the bridge: “Please, don’t be in love with someone else. Please, don’t have somebody waiting on you.”

Towards the end of Saturday night’s performance, however, Swift treated the sold-out crowd to another song off “Speak Now” as one of the night’s two surprise songs: “Dear John,” a song she had not performed live since 2012. 

Before performing the song, whose lyrics reference her former relationship with singer-songwriter John Mayer, Swift told her audience that the re-release of “Speak Now” is not meant to be an opportunity for fans to defend her from her exes from many years ago. 

“I don’t care about anything that happened to me when I was 19 except the songs I wrote and the memories we made together. So what I’m trying to tell you is I’m not putting this album out so you can defend me on the internet against someone you think I might have written a song about,” Swift said.

There is just one flaw (or, rather, an omission) that sticks out like a sore thumb on the Eras Tour — the lack of any songs from Swift’s 2006 debut album on the main setlist. At one point in her performance Swift announces that the Eras Tour is meant to celebrate 17 years of music.

But is it really celebrating all 17 years of her uber-successful career if she does not give her debut any room in the setlist at all?

Even from the seats furthest away from the stage, the Eras Tour stage design is visually spectacular. (Photo by Ethan Lambert)

Instead, the earliest Swift material in the consistent setlist of the stadium tour (discounting surprise songs, in Minneapolis’ case none of which were songs from her debut) is from 2008’s “Fearless,” really making it a celebration of 15 years of her catalog instead of a truly all-encompassing one.

“Speak Now” was given just one space for a song on the setlist. Swift could have easily taken one song off the “Folklore” or “Evermore” sections of the concert to make room for performances of “Our Song” or “Teardrops on My Guitar” as an homage to her career beginnings. Her self-titled 2006 album might be her songwriting in its infancy (still in her country era), but the songwriting is still great and is beloved by many fans to this day, making its exclusion from the setlist confusing.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a nitpick, because Swift’s two nights in Minneapolis will go down as some of the best concerts to grace the Twin Cities in 2023.

Following “Speak Now” was the sixth act of the concert, dedicated to her trailblazing pop-crossover album “Red.” Potentially the most engaging stretch of songs for both nights in Minneapolis, Swift brought iconic singles from the album “22,” “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble” to life — the three songs featuring some of the best choruses in Swift’s entire catalog. Closing the “Red” era for both of her Minneapolis performances was the now even more beloved fan-favorite “All Too Well,” in its glorious, uncut 10-minute version.

Swift later fired up the crowd once again with “Style,” initiating Swift’s blockbuster “1989” era.

Swift continued to honor her 2014 studio album by performing chart-topping singles “Blank Space” and “Shake It Off” with choreography and symbolism that called back to the music videos for the songs. “Shake It Off” proved to be explosive and uplifting in a live setting, with Swift and her many backup dancers swinging and swaying to the song’s extremely catchy rhythm.

Concluding both concerts were seven selections from Swift’s 2022 LP “Midnights,” the biggest allotment given to any album era in the setlist. Swift kicked off the finale of the show by singing to the lush, dreamy production of “Lavender Haze,” then queued in one of the biggest songs of 2022, “Anti-Hero.” Closing out both nights was “Karma.” An infectious, hooky song from “Midnights,” it was a perfect conclusion to the three-hour concert, giving the packed stadium one last chance to dance like there was no tomorrow before Swift left the building.

As if there was even any doubt before, Taylor Swift has, once again, proved to the world that she is one of the (if not the single) most important songwriters and performers of the 21st century with back-to-back tour de force performances in Minneapolis.

Get ready to hear attendees of the tour rave about it for years to come.

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