by Caitlyn Tarney
If there was any doubt that Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour would have a lasting impact on the music industry, it was squashed by the record-breaking number of fans lined up anxiously on Ticketmaster last November, hoping to get their hands on a highly sought-after ticket. Fans of country, pop, or indie alike can find something to love in Swift’s collection. The resulting battle for a limited number of tickets had eyes on her worldwide. Immediately, the tour impacted culture in a way no other tour possibly could. Ticket sales were the first of many records broken, as multiple stadiums saw attendance records shattered. Each night brought together upwards of seventy thousand dedicated fans and celebrities from all over the country, pouring into their seats to watch a once-in-a-lifetime performance.
Taylor Swift, Photo by Lisa Hiser
Fans were sure to leave no room to question their loyalty and enthusiasm for Swift and her music. They showed up with “13” painted on their hands and outfits, showing off their favorite albums, lyrics, or inside jokes. Fans’ wrists were adorned with colorful friendship bracelets traded between strangers with an automatic link to the one reason they were there: Taylor Swift. The three-hour set showcased her distinct albums, celebrating the four new albums and two re-releases added to her collection since her last pre-pandemic tour, and Swift put on more of a theatrical performance than a concert. Her sets, choreography, backup dancers, and actors added to each song, setting the scene for each musical story she told. Even with an already packed set, she ensured that none of her followers grew too comfortable. The North American leg of the tour, lasting from March to August, was littered with surprises. Surprise guests, music video premieres, and the ever-changing surprise song section of the show kept her worldwide audience on their toes. A rotating collection of outfits led to a fan-created fantasy football game, “swiftball,” where fans bet on which dazzling costume she’d appear in on stage each night.
Two announcements for her newest re-recordings, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) and 1989 (Taylor’s Version), the latter of which will be released on October 27th, made Swift’s journey to own her work more personal to her fans who witnessed the live announcement, as well as the thousands crowded outside the stadium or watching via live streams. Even the tour has impacted the economy, as each stop brings with it a rise in booked hotels and booming businesses all over the city. The eyes on her span across the world, across genres and celebrities, as no one from fellow singers to NFL players would pass up the chance to see the show. It would be no surprise for artists to keep the enormous success of the tour in mind when planning their next move. For Swift, the presentation is just as important as the music, and others seem to be following suit; adding levels of personalization to the production of each show is sure to be a hit.
The Eras Tour has changed the game for other artists and fans who have attended the tour and can’t get the experience out of their heads. Thousands of fans coming together to celebrate what is treated as more of a holiday than a concert is something that isn’t seen on most tours. Frequent concertgoers were quick to notice the shift in atmosphere as a result of the Eras Tour. One trend popularized by the Eras Tour was the trading of friendship bracelets. Several fans have taken the tradition to the following concerts they go to. Dressing as their favorite era is something many fans have carried on as well; picking out an outfit has become more of a challenge to stick to a theme, while many choose to recreate a favorite look or represent a favorite lyric.
Photo by Lisa Hiser
With international dates and a second leg of the US tour leaving her booked until the end of 2024, the tour is far from wrapped up, and time will tell what kind of a legacy it will leave. After only the first leg, Taylor Swift remains one of the only artists who could manage a tour so similar to a greatest hits tour without it being the end of her career. Understanding the secret behind her success may leave artists everywhere wanting to try a piece of her process, being sure to add their take to it each time. Fans will never forget the Eras Tour, which may have changed concerts forever.
*Cover photo by John Shearer/Getty Images/ TAS Rights Management