FOXBOROUGH — One of the many high points of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, which opened its three-show run at Gillette Stadium on Friday, comes near the end of the night, when she throws caution to the wind and uses her huge Songbook opens with what are known as “surprise songs”. Friday’s first, “Should’ve Said No,” was a kick to the curb from her self-titled debut with a shoutout that she sang and grooved to enthusiastically; The second was “Better Man”, which Swift wrote for her 2012 album “Red” and which was recorded four years later by country-pop act Little Big Town.
Swift introduced the wistful, yet resolute ballad, which she performed solo on piano, talking about its genesis, commenting, “It was so surprising to be recognized as a songwriter by another artist who wrote something I wrote. wanted to record the song.” The past few years of Swift’s career — which have included not only ambitious, glitzy stadium fun, but also four brand-new albums and two re-recordings of her old albums (with another on the way in July) — have been all Swift has to offer. further proving that point while also showing off her pop star bona fides while establishing herself as one of the leading singer-songwriters of the generation.
The Eras Tour setlist is organized around Swift’s discography, which now spans 17 years and 10 albums (not counting re-recordings, all of which contain copious amounts of bonus material); Each had their own mini set with appropriate costumes and set pieces. It highlights the album’s importance as a cohesive body of work, as well as live broadcasts of songs from four albums released since her previous Gillette run, which was back in 2018. To celebrate Foxboro 2019’s “Lover” in 2020, Friday’s was the first album to appear, Lockdown Casualty.)
Swift winks, saying that she’s known for using her life for material. But on 2020’s “Folklore”, which she said she began writing “two days into the pandemic”, she broadened her perspective, brainstorming songs from the perspective of newly invented characters; Cuts like the dreary “Cardigan” and the anxious “The Last Great American Dynasty” revealed new dimensions to Swift’s artistry, and even though part of those songs’ appeal lay in their homespun feel, their power didn’t diminish from their blown Thi was up to the size of the stadium. She also performed a 10-minute version of “All Too Well”, a slow-burn reminiscence of a relationship told in images, which was among her best songs when it appeared as five-plus-minutes on “Red”. was one of the The longer version strips away the dread that comes with recalling the accumulated slaves of a raucous romance, with lyrics like “And you call me again like a promise to me to break / Carelessly in the name of being honest.” Cruel” and even more destructive.
Those moments of catharsis were complemented by big-tent pop blowouts. Songs like the gleeful C-y anthem “We’re Never Ever Getting Back Together” and the defiantly upbeat “Shake It Off” allowed the massive crowd to explode in song and movement with Swift and her backup dancers. others used the massive stage to awe-inspiring effect; The simmering “lover” track “The Man”, which plays with notions of institutional sexism, was set in a sprawling office building with Swift sporting a sequined blazer, while the serpentine “reputation” cut “Look What”. You Made Me Do” featured a matrix of Tha Taylors, all dressed in different outfits to reflect her changes over the past nearly two decades, pulsating on the screen behind her.
Friday night’s 45-song set ended with a set spotlighting “Midnights,” the spiky, yet dazzling album she released late last year. Its lead single “Anti-Hero”, with its immediate, self-deprecating refrain “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me,” has become a rallying cry for those who want to talk about their inner monster. know, and the response is reflected on Friday. He. Other tracks like the spite-selfie “Bejeweled” and the icy closer “Karma” showed off their ability to bring together top-notch pop songwriting and the spectacle that the latter reaches. In the end, the Eras Tour brought his career a full circle—one that was packed with thousands of people, and open to whatever might happen.
with Phoebe Bridgers and Gail
Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Friday; saturday and sunday too
Maura Johnson can be reached at [email protected].