Review By Ryan Renger, Photos Provided By TAS Rights Management
The anticipation had grown for eight months since millions of fans waited numerous hours in virtual queues to purchase tickets for the biggest tour ever. The 60,000 faithful lucky enough to secure their tickets to the Friday portion of the Santa Clara stop were treated to a full day of memories that will last a lifetime. As soon as the parking lots opened at 2 pm, thousands of Swifties filed in and created a cacophony of joyous sounds that signaled the start of an amazing experience. Seeing the thousands of random fans brought together by the music of one superstar becoming friends was an amazing sight. The trading of bracelets, which had become extremely popularized by this tour, was in full force. Colorful beads, coupled with empowering statements and song titles, were just one of the many ways that everyone felt connected together.
The togetherness continued as music coursed through the hundreds of speakers at Levi's Stadium. Opening the show for this stop on the tour was a young and talented singer-songwriter, Gracie Abrams, who caught the hearts of many that showed up early enough to catch her. The 23-year-old from Los Angeles opened her set with a rousing rendition of Where do we go now? Abrams has a vibrant vocal tone that resonated perfectly with the Santa Clara crowd. She continued with her set, playing more great tunes like 21 and Block Me Out, which led to a loud response. Abrams was the perfect choice to open this leg of the Eras tour. Her style compliments Swift's very well. By the end of her set, while playing I miss you, I'm sorry, it was obvious that everybody in the stadium if they weren't before, were now just as big Gracie Abrams fans as they were Taylor Swift fans. This tour will be a major career opener for the young Abrams. She will embark on the Europe leg of The Good Riddance tour in September, as well as opening for the Eras tour again in 2024.
Next on the massive stage was another California native act, the super talented and well-respected group of sisters, Haim. The Pop-Rock trio from LA was greeted with a standing ovation as they graced the crowd with their presence. They opened their set with Now I'm In It, a three-minute masterpiece that kept everyone in the building standing while they bopped their heads along to the incredibly groovy song. Santa Clara was also greeted to a nice surprise as Haim played Forever on Friday night, a song they did not play the week prior while in Seattle. The chemistry between the three sisters was on full display for the night, with them dancing together and harmonizing their unique voices. It was obvious that their years of experience together had been a main proponent in their shared success. Their set ended with two fantastic songs, Gasoline, and The Steps. By the time these songs were played, the stadium had almost filled to capacity in anticipation of Swift. It was obvious that just like Abrams, the proclaimed favorite band of Swift, Haim, was another excellent choice to help warm the crowd up. Haim will finish up the rest of the Inglewood dates with Swift before journeying to London to play the All Points East Festival at the end of August. They are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut album, Days Are Gone, so if you have yet to listen to the band, that would be a great first listen!
Finally, it was time for the moment all had been waiting for. The tension grew as the clock appeared on the giant screen. The seconds counted down as Swift's emergence was growing nearer. With each tick, the significance of The Eras Tour became clearer. The talented Nashville artist has spent 19 years of her life entertaining and injecting life into millions of fans' lives. This tour is an accumulation of 10 albums of work, with each having its own place in the hearts of the thousands of Swifties in the Bay Area. As soon as the clock hit its target mark, incredibly dressed dancers came out from an opening in the back of the stage carrying a flag-type object that would prove to be an incredible background display for Swift as she rose from underneath the stage for the opening song, Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Princess. The first Era for the night is the comprehensive and pop-heavy Lover Era. The 2019 album, released to much fanfare, set the stage for the night, with Swift
playing six songs off the album. This Era was full of great costumes and illustrious stage designs, including an office-like setting that Swift introduced, after showing off her guns and flexing for the crowd, as she jumped into The Man. As the Lover Era concluded, it was the ever-popular Fearless Era to follow. Three of Swift's most popular songs, Fearless, You Belong With Me, and Love Story entranced the crowd, with everyone from OG Swifties to the youngest generation screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs. Love Story was arguably one of the loudest moments of the night and was extremely special for a select few in the audience as it was the moment when their Love Stories came true, with numerous proposals happening throughout the stadium(hint, hint for the guys reading this...). The Evermore and Reputation Eras took the show to its middle point. It didn't feel real at this point that the night was already halfway over as it felt like it couldn't come soon enough but was also disappearing as quickly as it came. This portion of the show also brought back Haim to
thunderous applause as they joined Swift on stage, donning their signature attire from the Bejeweled music video, for no body, no crime. A favorite Era for many, Speak Now, widely popularized by the recent release of Taylor's Version of the album, followed. While it was sad that Swift only played two songs from this Era, it was amazing to see the two songs she picked, Enchanted and Long Live. It is also worth mentioning that Speak Now did get some more love later in the show, but that's still a whole three Eras away. Donning a white t-shirt and top hat, Swift burst out for the Red Era with 22. The song, one of the most popular from this Era, ended with a special gift for one lucky fan, with a younger fan receiving Swift's top hat. He most certainly took advantage of the opportunity, with him giving Swift a massive hug, an experience every fan wishes could happen to them. I Knew You Were Trouble, We Are Never Getting Back Together, and All Too Well also made appearances. The second longest Era of the night, which also happens to be the first of two albums Swift released during the pandemic, folklore, created countless emotions in listeners' minds. Highlights of this Era included the 1, which opened the Era, along with august, and the incredibly raw my tears ricochet. Swift spent time during this Era explaining the significance of fans to her life and the strength she gains from performing for them. Following folklore, 1989 made its long-awaited arrival. The album is another immensely popular release close to its 10th anniversary. The love that fans felt for this album was obvious, as the screams from the crowd echoed as Swift started singing Style. Continuing on, Swift, dressed in a stylish yellow two-piece, instructed everyone to Shake It Off, after which they experienced a host of flames spread out across the stage as the Era finished out with Bad Blood. In one of the most awaited moments of the night, the conclusion of Bad Blood signaled the time for the surprise songs, and as numerous people have pointed out, Santa Clara won the night with the surprise songs bestowed upon them. Bringing out longtime songwriting partner Aaron Dessner, an acoustic-laden performance of the evermore song, right where you left me. Taylor expressed that this song is one of her toughest to perform, and stated that she had been working in rehearsals for over six weeks to try and nail it. Although there was a little snafu towards the end, Swift absolutely nailed the song. The next surprise song, with a piano in tow, was a from the vault song off of Speak Now, Castles Crumbling. As soon as the night started, its end was in sight as Swift started her last Era, Midnights. The quickest-selling album of her career and the most recent, Midnights, is a party album, and party is what Santa Clara did. Singing along to song after song, like Anti-Hero, Vigilante Shit, and Bejeweled, before the night, unfortunately, ended, although in grand fashion, with Karma.
As confetti cannons boomed over the crowd and fireworks paraded the sky, it signaled the end of the best night of many people's lives. The night will be ingrained in the minds of Swiftie Clara forever. It was one of the best concerts I have ever experienced, and I can not say enough great things about this show. There is only one complaint that could be made for the otherwise incredible night, and that was the rude treatment of some fans by Levi's Stadium security. This was not for the lack of Swift trying to dissuade this type of behavior as around the barricade stood signs displaying things like "Be Kind," "Have Positivity," as well as many other statements of the like. This is yet another reminder of how much Swift truly cares about her fans, who are like a family to her. This family of Swifties will always have the night of July 28th, as the night they were graced with the presence of a superstar.
If you had trouble securing tickets to this round of The Eras Tour, like many did, don't fret! Along with a series of overseas dates, Swift just another set of US dates in 2024, with all surely being more magical shows, just like this one!