There are shows, then there’s the Taylor Swift Eras Tour.
The 3½-hour music and visual spectacle landed Friday, May 26, at MetLife Stadium to deafening squeals, cheers and screams from the 70,000 inside. There was music, dancing, video, pyrotechnics, confetti and a retrospective of Swift’s career so far.
The latest chapter? A collaboration with Ice Spice, hip-hop’s new breakout star. They’ve just released a remixed version of Swift’s single “Karma,” on which Spice raps. Not only was a new video debuted at MetLife, but Spice came out to perform the song live to close the show.
“I not only fell in love with her but I decided that she’s the entire future,” said Swift when introducing the video, which touches on classic motifs.
Ice Spice was a Venus in the shell.
Still, the night was all about Swift, framed in multimedia tableaus representing stages in her career. She came out in a sparkly body suit and spangled boots and did not look back, spanning her country pop roots to the synthy rhythms of her latest album, “Midnights.”
Swift was backed by a live band and a dance troupe of more than a dozen who were in constant motion, except when Swift took center stage by herself. She oozes magnetism and charm, and the audience — who hadn’t seen their hero on stage since 2018 — couldn’t get enough.
At the conclusion of “Champagne Problems,” performed by Swift solo at the piano, the crowd roared spontaneously for minutes while Swift’s eyes seemed to moisten.
“What are you guys doing?“ Swift said. “This is so nice.”
Swift is a storyteller, dancer and singer, whose phrasing and cadence really brings home the melody. That was especially evident in her performance of “August,“ which soared beautifully in sound and sight as Swift danced in a billowing dress.
It was a Jersey night. Swift, who summered at the Jersey Shore when she was a kid, spoke about her fondness for the MetLife audience. A Jersey musician joined her on stage: Jack Antonoff, her frequent collaborator and the frontman for Bleachers. He helped deliver an acoustic version of “Getaway Car.”
“Jack feels like a cousin of mine at this point,” Swift said.
Gayle and Phoebe Bridgers opened the show, which ran five hours in total. Bridgers later joined Swift for “Nothing New.”
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Taylor-mania hit the area in the days leading up to the concerts.
“We are declaring the official state sandwich of New Jersey the Taylor Swift ham, egg and cheese,” said Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday, May 25, adding a Swiftie lyric expertise to the announcement. “Welcome to New Jersey, Taylor. We have been waiting for you and it would have been a cruel summer without you.”
New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he’ll be at MetLife, the team’s home stadium, for Swift.
“I’m a fan,” said Rodgers on “Mad Dog Sports Radio.” “I’m a big fan.”
His favorite album is “Folklore,” and “August” is his favorite song from the album, he said.
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Swift’s Eras Tour, which began March 17 in Arizona, is her first since the Reputation World Tour in 2018, which also played three shows at MetLife. In the interim, Swift released “Lover” in 2019, “Folklore” and “Evermore” in 2020, “Midnights” in 2022, and the re-recorded albums “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and “Red (Taylor’s Version)” in 2021.
Swift re-recorded her early albums to ascertain ownership of the master recordings, giving her rights to usage of the material.
Swift released a new “Midnights” deluxe album (“Till Dawn Edition”) at midnight on Friday, May 26.
Taylor Swift Eras Tour at MetLife:Here’s everything you need to know about the shows
In November, Ticketmaster announced it was canceling a Swift general public onsale because of the huge demand for tickets. Ticket prices were $49 to $449 before fees, and higher for VIP packages.
The initial presale was supposed to be open to 1.5 million verified fans, but 14 million people and bots jumped in, said Live Nation Chairman Greg Maffei on CNBC.
The problems with the tour onsale prompted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s anti-trust subcommittee to hold a hearing in January to question if Live Nation Entertainment, the owner of Ticketmaster, needed to be broken up.
Tickets prices began at $1,100 on the secondary market before the show on Friday.
Taylor Swift MetLife Stadium setlist
- Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince
- Cruel Summer
- The Man
- You Need to Calm Down
- The Archer
- You Belong With Me
- Love Story
- Tis the Damn Season
- Champagne Problems
- Tolerate It
- Ready For It?
- Don’t Blame Me
- Look What You Made Me Do
- We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
- I Knew You Were Trouble
- Nothing New (with Phoebe Bridgers)
- All Too Well (10-minute version)
- The 1
- Illicit Affairs
- My Tears Ricochet
- Blank Space
- Shake it Off
- Wildest Dreams
- Bad Blood
- (Debut of new “Karma” video with Ice Spice)
- Getaway Car (with Jack Antonoff on guitar)
- Lavender Haze
- Midnight Rain
- Vigilante (Blank)
- Karma (with Ice Spice)
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Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; email@example.com