Standing at an impressive 2 hours 48 minutes, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is a cinematic version of Taylor’s ongoing and critically acclaimed world tour. Celebrating 17 years of music, the tour has been nothing short of a triumph amongst fans, affectionately dubbed ‘Swifties’. In fact, its success is such that many missed out on the gold-dust tickets, sometimes standing outside arenas just to get a piece of the action. Thanks to the new film, these Swifties now have the chance to see the production – with its dazzling costume changes, inventive set design, lighting and sound effects – in all its glory. Even for those lucky enough to obtain tickets (including me, who hasn’t stopped internally screaming about it since), the film offers the opportunity to spot all of the intricate details of the concert up close.

Why ‘The Eras Tour’?

Prior to the Eras Tour, Taylor would release an album and go on a tour bearing the same name. Yet, having now released multiple albums without accompanying tours, partly as a result of the pandemic, something would have to change. Ever the creative businesswoman, Taylor turned this situation into an opportunity to showcase songs from across all of the albums, or ‘eras’, of her prolific career. It is an effective way of displaying her versatility as an artist who, from country roots, has experimented with new sounds from the indie music of Folklore and Evermore to the moody, futuristic pop of Midnights, for the concert now contains a more wide-ranging selection of her styles.

Timing, release details, and pricing

It took me a little by surprise that Taylor chose to release the film before the end of the Eras Tour, which is coming to international locations, including the UK, in 2024. However, it is a wise way of making the fans who missed out on tickets feel more included, allowing them to enjoy the viewing experience while the excitement of the tour is still very much alive.

The film’s release date of 13 October is also no coincidence. Like many aspects of Taylor’s musical universe, it is a carefully hatched easter egg, this time alluding to her lucky number 13. As a Swiftie, you grow to love looking for these clues in everything Taylor says and does, so when I booked my Odeon ticket, I found it amusing to see that children’s tickets are also set at £13.13, while adult tickets come in at £19.89, in a clear reference to 1989 (Taylor’s Version). This album is set to come out on 27 October and I for one will be avidly streaming it. 

Celebrating a concert in film

This is not the first time that Taylor has put out a concert film, as the Reputation Stadium Tour, which I’ve watched multiple times on Netflix, has already set a precedent. The difference is that the Reputation Tour never came to cinemas. Taylor’s increasing presence in the film industry has already been noted; not only did she produce an award-winning short film for the music video of “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)“, but rumour has it that she also plans to direct a feature-length film. Taylor even wrote “Carolina” for the soundtrack of the 2022 film, Where the Crawdads Sing. My unpopular opinion is that this is one of her best songs. Lyrically, it captures the mysterious essence of the novel on which the film is based, while somehow managing not to spoil the ‘whodunnit’. It’s also a lesser-known fact that Taylor only used instruments available before 1953 to make the song sound authentic to the period in which the story is set. They don’t call her a musical genius for nothing. It would have been nice to have seen this song on the Eras Tour tracklist, but perhaps it’s a bit niche. A girl can dream.

My reflections on the film

The Eras Tour film is a masterclass in visual display, which makes it a joy to watch. Each era is perfectly associated with a different aesthetic, from the black leather and snakeskin of Reputation, to the witchy capes of Evermore. My favourite set was the moss-covered cabin Taylor uses for her album Folklore, which she jokingly associates with wandering around a forest holding a candlestick. Despite the massive stadium setting, the cabin helped to capture some of the intimacy of this album, a reflective work born out of the lockdown period.

My favourite albums are Folklore and Evermore, especially for their poetic lyricism and cottagecore aesthetic, so I was thrilled that Taylor gave them adequate attention. Even songs that aren’t the most well-known made an appearance, singles like “Marjorie”, a moving track about Taylor’s grandmother. Some might claim that these more gentle, ethereal albums suit a stadium setting less than the electric Reputation, for example, but the staging brought them into beautiful life. I particularly appreciated the production of “The Last Great American Dynasty”, an absolute bop based on the life of Rebekah Harkness. There’s a shift I love in this song when Taylor starts to draw parallels between Rebekah’s life and her own. This was represented visually in the film, as a dancer who incarnates Rebekah – in a gorgeous ball gown, no less – exchanges a significant look with Taylor in a ‘passing of the torch’ moment as she starts to sing about her own life. This subtle attention to lyrical detail is what makes the staging of the tour so special.

A few songs were cut from the setlist, the most surprising one for me being the hit single “Cardigan”. Additionally, while Taylor delivers two different surprise songs at every show, she only chose to include “Our Song” and “You’re On Your Own, Kid” in the film. However, it never felt like there was anything lacking. Someone with as extensive a discography as Taylor cannot show everything, and over 40 songs ought to be enough.

How has the film been received by Swifties?

If the figures are anything to go by, the film seems to be a glowing success, with ticket pre-sales alone reportedly grossing over $100 million. At the premiere in Los Angeles, Swift encouraged her audience to sing and dance along. On opening night at Oxford’s George Street Odeon, I can confirm that Swifties were quick to respond to this incentive, with songs like “22”, “Shake It Off”, and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” going down particularly well. The end of the film even saw many enthusiastic spectators rush to the front of the cinema to dance. Who else could have this effect? As we Swifties so often say, Taylor is the music industry.

The end credits of the film show a friendship bracelet spelling out a thank you message to the fans, as Taylor gets in on the trend of concert-goers trading bracelets with their favourite song titles on. It’s clear that she understands her fans and their traditions exceptionally well. This, alongside Taylor’s staggering productivity, is what arguably makes Swifties one of the most rewarding musical fandoms in the world. Overall, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour film is, in my view, a triumph which captures the artistic creativity, vibrancy, and legacy of Taylor’s musical career. In the credits, the fan-favourite song “Long Live (Taylor’s Version)” plays. As the lyrics go, ‘Tell them how the crowds went wild / Tell them how I hope they shine / Long live the walls we crashed through / I had the time of my life with you.’ It’s a message that the film conveys perfectly.