by Leslie Gontarde
The hashtags were in full effect on June 9th as the concert of the century came rolling into Detroit. Taylor Swift announced she would be doing an Eras Tour of her career and the internet went crazy. You DO NOT need to Calm Down for this! #DetroitTSTheErasTourN2
The announcement was enough to send Swifties into a frenzy but what happened at ticket master was even more chaotic. The first tour Taylor Swift has done since 2018. A mad rush for the box office ensued leading to historical demand on the Ticketmaster site. 2 million tickets sold, the most for one artist ever in one day. The presale for public ticket sales halted for hours which left many fans frustrated and walking away empty handed. Vicki Bartel was one of the fortunate ones to have ended up with her tickets and her camera in hand as she took part in #TaylorNation. As our photographer Vicki had a unique perspective to the show.
50,000 fans packed into Ford Field to watch the excitement unfold. Vicki recalls, “As the countdown hit 0, the crowd went wild.” Taylor emerged from pink, feather like flags in the middle of the long stage and started with the song “Miss Americana and The Heartbreak Prince.” As Taylor greeted the crowd she spoke only with the words “it’s been a long time coming,” which was perfect since every Swiftie in there has been waiting for a concert of this magnitude. When asked what her overall experience of the concert was, Vicki had this to say.
“Taylor sang for over three hours and did 44 songs from her discography that span across 17 years as a singer, songwriter, and performer. After the Lover era, we travelled through time to Fearless, Evermore, Reputation, Red, Folklore, 1989 and her most recent record Midnights. From a bedazzled Versace bodysuit, Louboutin boots, to an iconic Roberto Cavalli replica of the fearless dress, to whimsical Folkore/Evermore dresses, Taylor did over 16 costume changes that kept us all wondering what was next.
The sets through the eras changed seamlessly and transported fans into each of the worlds, changing colours and storylines, which kept you engaged throughout the show. As Taylor sang her fan favourite 10-minute version of “All Too Well” artificial snow started falling from the ceiling which was mesmerizing.
As she took us through the eras, Taylor used imagery that fans have become to know well like the cozy cabin for Folklore, giant snakes for Reputation, and a fashion runway for 1989. At one point during a transition between eras, Taylor dove into the stage, as if it were a pond.
On this night, Taylor’s two surprise songs were “Haunted” from Speak Now (the re-record of it is coming out July 7) and “I Almost Do” from Red. The crowd erupted in cheering for both, signaling they’ve been wanting to hear these nostalgic songs on the tour.
One wonders how it is possible, with 50,000 fans, to create intimate moments during the show but Taylor did it when she paused at the piano after singing “Champagne Problems” from Evermore and looked out into the lit-up audience. As the close-up of her face appeared on the screen, you could see the emotion in her eyes as she soaked up the moment. You can tell how personal her songs are to her and how much her craft means to her in those quiet moments.
Another highlight from the show was when she sang “Marjorie” from Evermore, a song dedicated to her grandmother, who was an aspiring singer and whose vocals Taylor sampled on the song. As everyone pulled out their phones to light up the stadium with their flashlights, it was a surreal moment that even Taylor seemed to be mesmerized by.
As the three-hour show ended, the latest era Midnights came on, people were still dancing and singing at the top of their lungs. She closed the show with confetti flying from the sky and I couldn’t help but echo the lyrics, “this night is sparkling, don’t you let it go” from my brain, as this was no doubt her best and most memorable tour experience to date.”
An extraordinary performance put on by one of this generation’s greatest talents. For those who have grown up with Taylor’s music, the concert was sparkling and a revisit to her life, career and those lyrics that hold so much meaning to her and her fans. The concert went off without a glitch and no detail was overlooked, “you just feel everything.” By all accounts the concert lived up to the hype and left Taylor Swift fans wanting more. After the Detroit show Taylor posted this on her Instagram. “Ahhhhh Detroit that was so much fun!! Thanks to those crowds this weekend for your endless energy and extremely loud scream-singing, you made us feel right at home.”