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Swift generously offers a satisfying night

SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, Cal., August 5, 2023

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

For Taylor Swift fans (known as Swifties), "The Eras Tour" is certainly the primary trek to catch. Spanning the iconic artist's restlessly active career and drawing liberally from all her primary album releases, it's a 40-plus song set and a full three-and-a-half-hours of Swift music. Odds are good, most fans will hear many favorites and done so in context. It is one satisfying night of music.

Even if you don't particularly care for Swift music, it's difficult to not be impressed with this unique concert effort. Swift's team created different sets, which also included different outfits, for each album release 'era.' In addition to literal fireworks, stunning videos and lights, Swift's dancers also changed and reconfigured themselves often. At one point, riding all around Swift on neon lit bicycles.

Swift moved a lot, making sure everyone in the stadium had a pretty good view of the performer. A long ramp was used to allow Swift to roam far away from the main stage. This ramp could change its look, too, at one point morphing into a guitar – neck and all. Most amazingly, Swift made this huge stadium somehow feel somewhat intimate.

Although the young girls around me screamed/sang every word to every song, some album selections were more familiar than others. It was fun to hear "You Belong With Me" and "Love Story" from "Fearless," for instance, and five strong tracks from "1989." The Haim-assisted "No Body, No Crime," with its murder ballad lyrics, though, makes one want to dig into "Evermore" once more, and listen to it more closely.

Swift sang especially well, considering the length and physical demands of this epic show. She also took time to talk about these albums and songs, particularly the ones written and recorded during the pandemic. For example, Swift bemoaned the fact that, before this tour, it'd had been five long years since she last toured. For someone so connected with her audience, this break must have felt like an eternity.

With a mainly female crowd, mostly adhering to a dress code that can best be described as disco cowgirl, this 70,000-plus capacity stadium was filled with a lot of pink clad, Taylor Swift fanatics. While pink was the most common color of choice, just about anything that sparkled also fit. There were lots of cowboy boots, but Swift's music doesn't sound particularly country these days. Nevertheless, she's developed into an extremely strong songwriter and performer, so as a pop diva, she's one of the best ones we have right now.

Haim preceded Swift with a short, but fruitful, set. These three sisters made it a point to mention how this was a hometown gig for the trio. The act didn't have much stage time, but filled inclusions, such as "The Steps" and "The Wire" with plenty of musicality. They all play multiple instruments, and switched-up what they played often, and also easily rotated lead vocals. One was left wishing this was – and not to take anything away from Swift – a Haim headlining show. The group is just too good to be relegated to an opener.

The singularly-named Gayle opened the show with some electric guitar hard rock. She closed with her slightly profane 2021 hit "abcdefu," and included a cover of Alanis Morissette's "You Oughtta Know," proving she is truly a bit of a latter-day Morissette disciple. She is one hard rocking young feminist, for sure.

With Swift's generous set of music, this evening amounted to a night well worth getting all gussied up in pink and something sparkly.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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