Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’: A concert film spectacle beyond our wildest dreams

A career-defining victory lap for the history books
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour: A concert film spectacle beyond our wildest dreams

A 13-second countdown appears on screen. In an instant, the once-quiet cinema erupts in a sea of gasps, cheers and ecstatic cries. Friends grab onto each other’s arms, shaking in anticipation for what’s to come. As the timer ends, the large clock on-screen opens up, revealing the words: “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” atop a grand aerial shot of SoFi Stadium. The intro music kicks in, dramatically unveiling a series of dancers carrying larger-than-life fabric fans on their backs. They lower their fans toward center stage and after a moment of silence, they them lift up again, revealing Swift onstage in a pink and blue sequin bodysuit.

In the moment, it’s nearly impossible to discern the cheers of the pre-recorded stadium audience from the real-life audience in the movie theater. Of course, Swift is not physically present to perform at the Hadley Cinemark, but with the pure energy and adrenaline coming from the audience, one would think “The Eras Tour” made a stop in western Massachusetts.

Filmed over three nights in Los Angeles, CA, “The Eras Tour” implements seamless editing techniques, creating the illusion that the event is happening in real time. It includes songs from across Swift’s 17-year-long discography, with highlights from each of her 10 studio albums, which Swift and fans alike refer to as “Eras.”

After an incredible demand for tickets for the Eras Tour itself, the film offers fans who couldn’t secure physical seats an opportunity to witness the historic tour. Tickets only cost $19.89, a reference to Swift’s fifth album, “1989.”

Like its in-person counterpart, “The Eras Tour” film has shattered ticket sale records. The film became the highest-grossing concert film of all time after just opening weekend, surpassing Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never.” It’s a remarkable achievement, given that most ticket revenue came from pre-sale purchases.

For Swifties eager to scream their heart out to “All Too Well” at the movies with Taylor, it’s crucial to buy tickets sooner rather than later. “The Eras Tour” won’t be featured on any streaming services, a result of its filming coinciding with the Screen SAG-AFTRA strike. In order to create and release the film, Swift and her team complied with SAG-AFTRA’s demands, striking a direct deal with AMC theaters. In doing so, streaming giants like Netflix or Disney+, with whom she has released multiple documentaries, won’t get distribution rights from the film.

In true concert style, “The Eras Tour” features exclusive merchandise that can be purchased by movie going Swifties at the concession stand. For $10, you can purchase a branded metallic cup, featuring images of Swift across each of her 10 “Eras”. For $13, you can purchase a large popcorn bucket of the same design, complete with glittery pink sugar atop your popcorn as a special touch from Cinemark. Naturally, my roommate and I purchased both items.

“The Eras Tour” merchandise at the Hadley Cinemark concession stand. (Nathan Legare)

If purchasing admittedly pricey merchandise in addition to already expensive concession snacks doesn’t sound ideal, each movie ticket comes with an included mini poster.

Part of what made the actual Eras Tour such an exciting moment in pop culture is that each night of the tour featured two surprise songs, often deep cuts from Swift’s vast discography that, with little exception, are never repeated. For example, at Foxborough night one, Swift performed “Should’ve Said No,” off her self-titled debut album in 2006, and “Better Man,” a from the vault  track off of 2021’s “Red (Taylor’s Version).” After being played live at Gillette Stadium, those songs were never replayed for the remainder of the tour.

“The Eras Tour” film continues this tradition, including two surprise songs. First, she played an acoustic guitar rendition of “Our Song,” which was a smart choice, considering its inclusion marks the only song from her debut album in the entire film. Next, she played “You’re On Your Own Kid,” a song from 2022’s “Midnights” on the piano. This choice is significant, because they contain the lyrics, “so make the friendship bracelets / take the moment and taste it / you got no reason to be afraid.”

Fans attending both the in-person concert and the theatrical version bring and trade friendship bracelets adorned with letter beads spelling out Swift’s album titles, song names, and lyrics. The tradition is so important to “The Eras Tour” that post-credits, a thank you note from Swift is spelled out in friendship bracelets on screen.

I had the pleasure of seeing “The Eras Tour” film twice. Once in a standard theater, and again in Cinemark’s XD theater. While the tickets are slightly more expensive, it’s worth the upgrade to see the film in the biggest theater possible. With a more immersive, dynamic sound system and a massive screen, it truly feels as though you are front row at a Taylor Swift concert. The bass is strong enough to rattle the floor, providing electrifying moments such as Swift’s “Reputation Era,” where she sings the powerful  anthem “…Ready For It?”

“The Eras Tour” runs nearly three hours, but, believe it or not, a few songs were cut from the physical tour to reduce runtime. Notably, “The Archer,” “Wildest Dreams,” “cardigan” and “‘tis the damn season” were nowhere to be found in the film. This is surprising, considering “cardigan” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and “Wildest Dreams” hit number five.

“Long Live,” a recent addition to the setlist, following the July 7 release of “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” was also cut from the performance, but can still be heard in the film’s credits atop a blooper reel montage of tour mishaps. It’s a perfect conclusion to the film, as the song which she wrote after her first performance at Gillette Stadium, is a love letter from Swift to her millions of fans.

If you’ve already seen “The Eras Tour” in person or are an excited Swiftie looking for a night out on the town, this is the movie for you. I’ve never experienced such a fun audience experience in a movie theater, with dancing and singing with hundreds of moviegoers all at once. This film is an absolute victory lap for Swift, whose star-power will only grow brighter as time goes on.

Nathan Legare can be reached at [email protected].

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    Jess LukaskiewiczOct 17, 2023 at 4:09 pm

    Love this article! It really captures the essence of The Eras Tour Film.