The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” Film Dazzles Like the Real Thing

Taylor Swift performs a show from her Eras Tour on Aug. 9, 2023. The filmed version of her concert dazzles audiences like the real thing.

Dizzyingly high above the field, I caught my breath. The timer hit 1:00.

In just under 60 seconds, I would embark upon a musical journey like no other. I had practically memorized the setlist ahead, albeit unintentionally, and I knew which iconic moments were coming – I’d prepped my dad to take the phone from me so I could scream “SHADE NEVER MADE ANYBODY LESS GAY” while still getting a perfect video for later. I knew what was to come, but I didn’t really.

On July 15, I saw Taylor Swift in concert for the first and only time at Empower Field in Denver, Colorado. I’d won the “Ticketmaster Great War,” so to speak, and scored sky-high tickets in section 512 for my parents and me. I had looked forward to the moment Taylor emerged from coral-colored silken fans in the center of the stage for months – and yet, the show still blew me away.

Taylor is what we call a generational performer. There’s just no one else quite like her right now – or at least, no one else that surpasses her level. She sells more seats than seems humanly possible, she crosses genres effortlessly, she creates a set full of costume and stage changes that only fit together because of the charisma of the performer herself. You just don’t know until you see it.

It was one of the best nights of my life, and I figured I would never experience it again – save for the rush of adrenaline I feel when I watch videos of Taylor’s Denver “Long Live” and “Back to December” performances, or the short clip my dad got of the whole stadium screaming “1, 2, 3, Let’s Go Bitch!” (Again, you just don’t know until you see it.)

Then the “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” movie was announced. And an entire world of Swifties rejoiced. Mourning the end of Taylor’s U.S. tour leg? Not for long! Now you can see it on the big screen!

And see it I did – one of my first plans for my short October break voyage home was to visit my favorite movie theater and watch Taylor shine, complete with padded reclining seats and a reusable bucket of popcorn. 

The film throws you right back into the concert spirit – starting with the timer that appears as Taylor is preparing to take the stage and ending with the post-show fireworks that do little to console you as Taylor is leaving. The cinematography is insane – maybe you’ve seen those lights before, but definitely not like this. Overall, from start to finish, it was so fun to watch. But here are some of my favorite moments.

Taylor begins in her Lover era, and you are immediately enveloped by her pinks and oranges. She opens with a tidbit from “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince,” which features the line “it’s been a long time coming,” but the real opener is “Cruel Summer.” This scream-worthy pop song just hit Billboard #1, four years after its release, and I give much credit to the Eras Tour performance. After seeing this performance, you just will never understand how to hear “Cruel Summer” in any way other than singing it from the top of your lungs, ever. And as if to hammer that in, Taylor pauses before the song’s iconic bridge, inviting the audience to prove they know it. My theater definitely knew it.

Taylor then brings her band out for her Fearless set before calming it down for her evermore set. To finish evermore, she kept the cinematic performance of “tolerate it” on the setlist for the film – and for good reason. The camera follows the intricate choreography of Taylor and one of her dancers through the song, which portrays a relationship between the two falling apart because Taylor’s partner just can’t care enough about her efforts. We see Taylor’s face so up close that we’re not sure whether to hold her hand or be scared for our lives. It’s so immersive, and as much as I knew that performance was good in the original show, I never could have predicted it to be this intense.

A similarly intense sequence during “illicit affairs,” incredible cinematography and effects during the reputation set, a sweet moment between Taylor and Kobe Bryrant’s daughter during “22,” dazzling lights during “All Too Well,” and emphasis on the choreography in “the last great american dynasty” sort of make up for Taylor’s decision to cut “Long Live,” “The Archer,” and a few other songs from the final movie. I understand that this movie could not be as long as the concert itself was, but it was still mildly disappointing to skip over such legendary performances. Still, even without, you feel like you’re getting the whole show.

From “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” to “Karma,” the movie left me wanting more. Luckily for us Swifties, Taylor released an extended cut available to rent on her birthday, Dec. 13 – because while you might not be able to attract theatergoers for three and a half hours or more, you can definitely attract Swifties at home.

I’ll treasure this film’s ability to bring me back to July 15 for a very long time. And you can bet I’ll be hitting up Taylor’s other concert films very soon.

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About the Contributor
Carly Philpott, Assistant News Editor
Carly is a first-year from Centennial, Colo. The Student was a major reason she chose Bates after a longtime love for journalism. You can find Carly at the Bates Historical Society or taking photos of ducks on the Puddle for the Bates Communications Office. She also enjoys quality time with her pet toads, pictured.

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