State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
The electrifying start of the singer-songwriter’s first tour in five years saw a mammoth, fan-pleasing 44-song set and extravagant staging
By Friday afternoon, there was a new destination in Arizona: Swift City, population 70,000 fans in town for the first stop on Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, and designated by some of them on Google Maps as a place of worship. “Welcome to ERAzona,” the 33-year-old pop star’s publicist emailed me hours before the show, referring to one of the hashtags Swifties developed to tag their arrival for what was billed – and delivered – as an expansive celebration of her undeniably prolific catalog. Team Swift is, as ever, attuned to the online conversation around her; you cannot consume Taylor Swift music without dipping (or diving) into Taylor Swift content. This is an artist who, as some have argued, has come closer than Mark Zuckerberg to building a true metaverse and cultivated a famously chatty, close virtual relationship with her fans.
Those fans turned out in force on Friday night in Glendale – fittingly for the base of her popularity, a suburb, roughly the same distance from Phoenix as Hendersonville, the town in Tennessee where Swift attended her one year of high school, is from Nashville, home of the country music industry that shaped her early career. Mostly women and gay men (along with a few good sport boyfriends/husbands) dressed in the instantly recognizable iconography of her 10 albums – Reputation-era black leotards, Lover-era pastels, mock-ups of her 2021 Folklore Grammy dress, rhinestone-adorned bodysuits a la Bejeweled music video, and at least two men in “sexy baby” T-shirts (see: Antihero).Continue reading...