Live Review: Taylor Swift at Gillette Stadium (Night Two)

Posted: by The Editor

All photos by TAS Rights Management

Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” is one of the most anticipated tours of our generation. Despite a tumultuous ticket presale that had Congress quoting her lyrics on the Senate floor in an effort to disband Ticketmaster, the tour is now smooth sailing across the United States. As the weeks went on, we saw batches of tickets rightfully making it into the hands of fans in an effort to combat scalpers. By the time it was the tour kickoff, many fans were able to snag a seat in stadiums across the country. 

The tour has turned into a real cultural phenomenon, with a quick internet search yielding thousands of results of meticulously planned outfits. There are light up bracelets handed out at the beginning of the show that correspond with each of Taylor’s eras and songs – we even saw someone with a suit that was connected to the light up bracelets. Groups from all over gathered with each person dressed as their favorite era – we were color coordinated with Red before the news of torrential rain broke (more on that later).

The gates for Gillette Stadium opened at 4pm, and our first opener, Gayle, came out at 6:30 for a brief but impactful 20 minute set. Her meteoric rise to stardom started with the release of last year’s hit “ABCDEFU” and now she’s running down Taylor’s runway. Next, Phoebe Bridgers took the stage to her signature walk-on song “Down With the Sickness” by Disturbed. Due to the rain, Phoebe and her band had to stay back on the main stage under tents to avoid damaging their instruments, but they still gave their all for the performance. While Massachusetts wasn’t fortunate enough to have Matty Healy as part of her backing band, we did get to hear “Motion Sickness”, “Garden Song”, and “Funeral” in the rain which counts as our therapy appointment for this month. Wrapping up her eight song setlist with “I Know the End”, Phoebe invited fans join in on her iconic visceral scream.

By now, the worst of the rain was pouring down on the stadium, but that didn’t stop the fans’ excitement when they saw the countdown clock indicating Taylor was about to come on. As the clock struck zero, dancers began to take the stage in elaborate outfits and Taylor made her appearance, kicking things off with “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince”. Fans all over rejoiced at the Lover era being debuted first after Lover Fest was canceled in 2020 and the album never received a proper tour. She wore a sparkling blue and pink body suit as she gave a speech proclaiming night two a “rain show” and then continued into “Cruel Summer”. Taylor then took a minute to connect with the crowd, saying “all this cheering is kind of going to my head, almost makes me feel like I’m the man?” before she kicked off “The Man”. 

The Lover era had the 70,000 fans in attendance full of excitement and adrenaline, and everyone was ready for her transition back to the Fearless era. Hearing the opening lead to “You Belong With Me” immediately teleported everyone back to middle school dances. She also played “Love Story” with her and her backing band all on moving risers that were set up in the middle of the stage.

We thought that the calmer nature of evermore songs that came next would allow everyone to take a second to catch their breath but we were proven wrong! Pine trees decorated the stage as Taylor came out in her next outfit, a forest orange/green dress, and started with “‘tis the damn season”. During the third evermore song “marjorie”, fans turned their phone lights on unprompted to show respect for Taylor’s late grandmother. 

While the Lover era had a tour planned initially, the Evermore era (and subsequently, the Folklore era) were both created during the pandemic and it was unsure if they would ever be performed live. Taylor noted this concern but mentioned that when she wrote “Champagne Problems”, she created it “with the idea of playing it in a stadium where everyone could sign along” to stay optimistic in a time of turmoil. Upon finishing “Champagne Problems”, the entire stadium gave a five minute standing ovation that resulted in Taylor taking her in ear monitor out to confirm she was hearing it right. As the crowd settled down, she expressed her gratitude for the applause before concluding the era with “Tolerate It”.

While Taylor disappeared for another outfit change, a snake appeared on the screen which was the clue that the Reputation era was next. Coming out in a red and black jeweled suit, Taylor and her dancers began using the elevating stage pieces as part of the choreography. While this era had a shorter setlist than others, Taylor gave us the highlights of Reputation with “Delicate”, “Don’t Blame Me”, and the lead single “Look What You Made Me Do”. As the visuals started transitioning, Taylor quickly went backstage and reemerged in a purple dress, playing “Enchanted” in support of the Speak Now era before disappearing backstage.

To kick off the Red era, one of Taylor’s dancers came out with a red musical box that proceeded to play audio clips from the album every time they opened it. While elaborate outfits were worn for the previous eras, Taylor came out in the iconic white t-shirt that says “A Lot Going On at the Moment” before jumping into “22”. Red was a staple in our teenage lives where it felt like Taylor Swift truly became a household name and to hear “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “ I Knew You Were Trouble” felt full circle. Red was also the first album to be re-recording (Taylor’s Version) in an effort to own the masters of her own work. We at The Alternative are in full support of Taylor, and any other artist, doing what is necessary to not allow a label to steal your work. The “Taylor’s Version” of Red also brought a plethora of “vault tracks” that were cut from the album to light including “Nothing New (featuring Phoebe Bridgers)”. Taylor took center stage and invited Phoebe back out on stage to perform this together before concluding the era with the 10 minute version of “All Too Well”. 

The folklore era was similar to the evermore era: it was a calmer portion of the show that featured Taylor in a similar white dress. She reconstructed the cabin she imagined while creating the album and brought to life fan favorites such as “the 1”, “the last great american dynasty”, and “cardigan”. By the time folklore was finished, the torrential rainfall was back over the stadium. Taylor managed to power through the upbeat singing and choreography of the 1989 era with ease despite the weather. Without missing a beat, she powered through “Blank Space”, “Shake It Off”, and “Bad Blood” before exclaiming “this is the rainiest rain show ever”. 

Every night after concluding the 1989 era, Taylor plays two surprise songs. For night two at Gillette, she opened with “Question…?” from her latest album Midnights. Starting and briefly stopping the song due to rain, the 70,000 people in the audience all sang along. While she does not repeat surprise songs, she made a stipulation that if one of them gets messed up, she’ll try it again. Before her second surprise song, she sat at her piano on stage pushing puddles of water off the piano while exclaiming “it’s like trying to play songs in a waterpark”. The rain from this night ended up breaking her piano the next night when she tried to play it. She also expressed that if one surprise song was going to be from her most recent release, it makes sense that the other should be from the beginning of her catalog before starting “Invisible”. Technically speaking, this was one of a few shows that saw every era (her self-titled album does not receive a spot on this tour). To end her surprise song set, the stage opened below her feet and she dove under it while a visual of her swimming backstage played.

It was time for the final era. Despite the rain soaking through all our clothes, the audience still brought their energy to sing and dance along to the Midnights era. Opening with the first song from the album, “Lavender Haze” had Taylor elegantly moving along that stage while lavender colored clouds followed her. Moving into “Anti Hero”, Taylor interacted with the crowd further by moving to each part of the stage to point and wave as she sang “It’s me, hi! I’m the problem, it’s me”. The irony of “Midnight Rain” being played just an hour before midnight in the pouring rain didn’t prevent any of us from enjoying it. Given the time constraints, Taylor powered through “Vigilante Shit”, “Bejeweled”, and “Mastermind” leading us to the final song of the night. Voicing her endless appreciation for all of us sitting outside in the rain for three hours, she thanked everyone for coming out and kicked off “Karma”. Fireworks lit up the sky during this grand finale and fans cheered Taylor on one last time. 

The Eras Tour is truly a showcase of elaborate production, musical talent, and unequivocal support of an artist. It pushes the boundaries for what other artists can do in a live setting and the hype surrounding this tour is true. Despite getting drenched in New England all night, we left feeling euphoric with smiles across our faces, just like everyone else in the stadium.If you have the opportunity to see this tour, we cannot express enough how much you should go. Until the next tour!



Kyle Musser//@godvfwine