2023 is the year of Taylor Swift. With 131 shows across five continents, the Eras Tour is the singer’s biggest endeavor to date. In addition to the tour, Swift has continued re-releasing her version of her albums with Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) coming out at midnight before the show in Kansas City.
The parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, was full of getaway cars and giddy fans outside trading homemade friendship bracelets for Night One of Taylor’s shows there. The fashion for this show was full of sparkle, playful color and recreations of some of Taylor’s looks throughout her career.
Gracie Abrams opened the show wearing a Speak Now tee in honor of the album re-release. The Interscope artist’s set was brief with just four songs, but got the night started on the right note.
MUNA came out strong as the second opener to a full stadium. The playful, power pop band got the crowd moving with their hits “What I Want” and “Silk Chiffon”. The openly queer group gave Kansas City a lot of love and dedicated their performance to the LGBTQ+ community.
After their set, a countdown clock appeared on a video wall and the excitement in the stadium was palpable. When the clock hit zero, dancers emerged with enormous pastel-colored fans and ran toward the B Stage in the center of the stadium. Taylor rose from below the stage opening her nearly four-hour set with “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince”. The crowd took the energy to the next level while Taylor performed “Cruel Summer,” scream-singing it with her.
She thanked the crowd for making her feel like a boss before launching into “The Man,” while taking to a multi-tiered stage setup that looked like an office full of employees. After this, Taylor addressed the crowd by saying, “Welcome to the Speak Now release party.” She went back to the B Stage with a pink guitar to play “Lover”.
Swift admitted she missed the connection with the audience from not touring for five years. She said that she decided to make as many albums as humanly possible during the pandemic. She called the new albums new family members. “Champagne Problems” found the singer at a moss-covered grand piano in a pumpkin colored gown.
Snake videos filled the screens to lead into the Reputations era with “…Ready for It?”
“Long Live”, off Speak Now, was the first of the surprise songs peppered into Swift’s set. It featured her koi guitar, which was on current display at the Country Music Hall of Fame until it went ‘missing’ mysteriously right before this show. I was happy to have my venue approved Sony point and shoot camera to capture the moment from my seat. Mystery solved tonight in KC!
The Red Era followed, with Swift wearing a “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” tee. “22” kicked off that section of songs. Before the ten-minute long version of “All Too Well”, Swift talked about wanting to own her music and re-recording the albums for Taylor’s version. She again expressed gratitude to the fans for helping her fulfill that dream. As she re-records them, she is adding in songs from the vault that previously didn’t make the album.
The folklore era began with Taylor on top of a cabin in the trees. This era began with “The 1” and ended with the mega popuplar “cardigan”. Swift changed to an orange two-piece sparkly outfit for the 1989 era before performing “Shake It Off” and “Wildest Dreams”. The entire stadium was on their feet, throwing up heart hands and singing every word. All the fans in the crowd were given bracelets that lit up in sync across the stadium. The screens changed to fire burning across them for “Bad Blood” and real pyro fire was also unleashed as she performed the song with her amazing backup dancers who never missed a beat.
Kansas City Night One was special, too, because it was where Swift showed the world premiere of the video for “I Can See You”. The music video stars Taylor Lautner, Joey King and Presley Cash. The song is rumored to be about Swift’s ex, Lautner so it was a surreal moment to see them together again. Swift said she wanted the screening to be like a movie premier and brought her video co-stars out. The music video immediately began trending on Twitter.
The official surprise songs, which are special songs that Swift plays at each date without ever repeating them, were “Never Grow Up” and “Emma Falls in Love”, off Speak Now. Both songs were played acoustically, with Swift playing guitar and then a piano with hand-painted flowers.
The Midnights era was kicked off with “Lavender Haze”. Fireworks lit up the stadium sky for the grand finale of “Karma”.
Swift took fans on an emotional journey through her discography, delivering a night of music, spectacle, and pure enchantment. True to her reputation, Swift spared no expense in delivering a visually stunning spectacle. The stage design and production values were nothing short of extraordinary, seamlessly transitioning between each era.
From grandiose sets to mesmerizing lighting effects, every element was meticulously crafted to complement the unique atmosphere of each song. The visuals served as the perfect backdrop for Swift’s boundless energy, ensuring that every audience member felt fully immersed in the experience.
The Eras Tour will continue to roll across the US through Aug. 9, wrapping its final shows in Los Angeles. Swift recently announced she will be taking the record-breaking tour overseas to Europe, Asia and Australia next year, with dates through Aug. 17, 2024. If you haven’t seen it catch it before it’s gone. It’s the show of the year!