Five Things Pittsburgh Will Remember From Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour
Tens of thousands of Swifties flocked to the city this weekend for the record-breaking, headline-making concert.
Taylor Swift performed two sold-out concerts this weekend at Acrisure Stadium during the Pittsburgh leg of The Eras Tour.
The shows on June 16 and 17 came five years after Swift last performed in the city. In that time, she has released four studio albums and two re-recordings of previous albums.
“We have a lot to catch up on,” Swift said as she chuckled, welcoming Friday’s stadium audience of more than 70,000 fans and thousands more on the streets and on the Allegheny River to the show.
The concert was a whirlwind journey through Swift’s new music and past hits, with a setlist of 45 songs that spanned nine albums and kept fans singing and dancing along for close to 3½ hours. While everyone has their own favorite show-stopping moments and eras of music, here are five elements of the show that we think will stay with Pittsburgh longer than the sparkles that are stuck on the stadium seats.
The Eras Tour was certainly the Met Gala of concerts, encouraging fans of all ages to show off their Swiftie style. Some outfits were inspired by Swift’s past tour costumes and music videos, while others were designed to match the theme of an era of Swift’s music.
Fans meticulously placed beads and pearls in their hair, created complex makeup designs, painted the number 13 on their hands — a tradition once used by Swift for luck during shows and now adored by fans — and got dressed up in outfits that took months to plan. The crowd was a sea of feathers, sequins and cowboy boots, all celebrating Swift’s classic fashion statements.
Swift matched the crowd’s enthusiasm with her own breathtaking looks. With quick outfit changes between each era’s set, Swift sported apparel and accessories to match the theme of each album. Fan favorites included a bedazzled ball gown for the “Speak Now” era and a sleek black jumpsuit embellished with red sparkly snakes for the “Reputation” era.
The Swiftie Community
Large crowds often are synonymous with frustration, road rage and elbowing your neighbors to be the first in line for the bathroom, not trading friendship bracelets. But fans, deprived of a Swift concert experience and live music as a whole during the pandemic, were determined to create a Swiftie community over a shared love of music.
Social media trends and word of mouth led audience members to make armfuls of friendship bracelets before the show, stringing beads together to represent various songs and albums. At the concert, fans traded bracelets with each other to curate a collection from across the eras.
Swift herself received a bracelet, according to TribLive. At every show of The Eras Tour, Swift has been giving her hat from the “Red” era set to an audience member. On Friday, the young girl who received the hat gave Swift a bracelet in return.
The Special Effects That Spanned All Four Elements
Fans know to expect a full spectacle from Swift, complete with stunts, constant choreography, and use of the entire space of the stadium, but The Eras Tour went above and beyond with special effects.
Swift had control over the Earth, summoning trees to grow from the stage to welcome the “Evermore” set. She also manipulated the air, with clouds of steam rising around the stage during songs like “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
Fans at every stop of The Eras Tour are raving about Swift’s water effects, too; the star magically swims into the “Midnights” set by diving through a trap door on the far end of the stage while a video of her swimming to the other end of the stage is projected for the audience to see.
Fire also shot along the perimeter of the stage for songs such as “Bad Blood,” and the show ended with a fireworks display for the 2023 chart-topper “Karma.” If sparkle was an element, Swift would have mastered that one too. Outfits, sets and audience members’ synchronized light-up bracelets shined to the highest tiers of Acrisure Stadium.
The Seamless Transitions
Swift created a different universe for each era, changing the set, lighting, outfits of herself and her backup dancers, and images on the digital panels that lined the stage to build an entire world around the themes, symbols and emotions of each collection of songs.
Yet the movements between eras never felt disjointed or random, but rather seamlessly cohesive and purposeful.
Sets effortlessly faded into each other, with aid from pre-recorded videos that consumed the stadium-long catwalk stage.
Swift has included two surprise songs at every show of The Eras Tour, rounding out the setlist with a unique acoustic performance for each city. On Friday, Pittsburgh witnessed a first for Swift — she performed “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” a song released in 2021 as an addition to the re-recording of her 2008 “Fearless” album, live on guitar for the first time.
Saturday’s acoustic additions featured another debut — a performance of “Seven” from “Folklore” with a special appearance by the National’s Aaron Dessner.
The other surprise songs for Friday and Saturday played on piano, were “The Last Time” from the 2012 “Red” album and the “Story of Us” from the 2010 “Speak Now” album.