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Taylor Swift is a 'mastermind' on Eras Tour -- even in the 'midnight' rain

Taylor Swift performs during "The Eras Tour" on Friday, May 5, 2023, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)
Taylor Swift performs during "The Eras Tour" on Friday, May 5, 2023, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)
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When Taylor Swift said “meet me in the pouring rain,” she meant it.

The pop superstar took a sold-out, 70,000 person crowd through a journey of 17 years of music at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts Saturday night -- in downpours.

The midnight rain didn’t stop her, as she showcased her evolution as an artist during a 3.5 hour setlist made up of 45-songs from each era of her music.

Opening acts Gayle and Phoebe Bridgers took the stage first. Gayle showcased her grit and universality with a poprock sound, performing classics like “Bennie and the Jets” and more modern music, like her hit song “abcedfu.”

Phoebe Bridgers changed the pace with an indie folk sound, performing songs like “Motion Sickness“ and “I Know The End" that highlight her raw talent and lyricism. Bridgers, whom Swift said is one of the "best songwriters and coolest artists", would later come back on stage with Swift to perform their duet “Nothing New.”

It was then time for the much-anticipated event: The Taylor Takeover.

She kicked things off with 2019’s Lover album, which may have been a nod to the tour being cancelled a few cruel summers ago due to the pandemic. In a bedazzled bodysuit and studded boots, Swift sang hits like “The Man,” “Lover” and “The Archer."

The next stop was Fearless, an album she described as a journey “back to high school.” Fearless was released when Swift was just 18-years old and became her first number one album, spending 11 weeks at the top of the Billboard 200.

Paying ode to that breakthrough moment in time for her, Swift got the crowd jumping on their feet with performances of “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story.”

The stage then transformed into a forest for her Evermore era. Evermore is the sister album to Swift’s pandemic-release album Folklore.

Swift told the crowd she was nervous about chatter that stadium tours would never bounce back post-pandemic, but rather than mull on that, she decided to make art to “try to connect” with her fans.

She certainly did just that. Keeping the stadium on their feet through the rain, fans stayed captivated with her heartfelt songs like “Marjorie” and “Willow.” Both songs are poetic and retrospective in tone.

During this setlist, Swift took the time to reflect on her journey with Foxborough fans, telling the crowd the first time she ever “experienced a rain show was in this stadium.”

She added, “the whole day it was going to rain and my team and I, we really didn’t know what that meant for the crowd because in my mind that meant, ‘the crowd is going to want to have a nice evening, therefore, they are not going to want to get rained on the whole night, right?’

Instead, she recalls how the crowd didn’t shy away from the raindrops and she says that's taught her a lesson she’s taken with her on every tour since: “The fans and crowds in the New England, Boston, Foxborough, Massachusetts area do not care if it rains. Instead, that kind of makes it more fun for you!”

In perhaps the biggest show of her evolution as an artist, Swift then takes us to her Reputation era. The album is known to be categorized as her rebellious era and her performances depicted just that.

Sporting a black and red asymmetrical bodysuit with a snake projected on the jumbotron, she energized the crowd with songs like “Look What You Made Me Do,” “Delicate” and “Are You Ready For It?”

It’s a stark contrast from her Speak Now era, which came next. Swift performed just one song from that album, “Enchanted,” in a sparkling ball gown.

From there, it’s on to Red. This era captures a bouncy, young and carefree era of Swift. She performed hit songs like “22,” “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.”

She told the crowd how important it is for her to own her own music, which is why she’s re-recording all of her old albums. Swift is known to release “vault tracks”whenever she does so, which are songs that didn’t make the album the first go around. She decides to release them years later to give fans the "full picture" of that moment in time.

One of her most popular vault tracks has been “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)". Swift, joking with the crowd, asked if they had 10 minutes to spare as she performed that heartfelt, achingly beautiful track that represents the nostalgia and pain that comes with love lost.

It was then to a cabin in the woods for Folklore. This album really depicts the evolution of Swift, as she tells the crowd she went from writing eerily honest songs about her own life and experiences, to making up fictional storylines, hence the title Folklore.

This era was one of her longer set lists, performing songs like “Cardigan” and “Betty.” She also paid ode to her Watch Hill house, performing “The Last Great American Dynasty” in front of a coastal backdrop depicting the beautiful Rhode Island beaches.

She then seamlessly transitioned to an earlier era in time, 1989. Named after the year she was born, this album represents her transition to pop music, proving that Swifties stay loyal to her music no matter the genre.

This era was met with upbeat energy, with the backdrop depicting a cityscape as Swift dawned a lime green, sparkly two piece. She performed choreography alongside her back-up dancers (again, in the pouring rain) to hit songs like “Blank Space” and “Shake It Off.”

This led to a much-anticipated moment from all of Swift’s tours: her two surprise songs.

For night two at Foxborough, the surprise songs were “Question...?” off her latest album Midnights. Swift played an acoustic version of this, stopping a few lines in to soak in the moment, literally, telling the crowd “it’s really raining" and declaring it the "rainiest" rain show.

She then decided to change gears and performed the song "Invisible" off her very first album. Swift was stripped of the colorful lights, choreography and vibrant backdrops. Instead, it was just her, a piano and her powerful vocals, proving she really can do it all.

Switching gears once again, she put on a fur coat and sparkly t-shirt dress, ending the 3.5 hour marathon performance with songs off her latest album Midnights. The setlist consisted of the popular songs like “Lavender Haze,” “Anti-Hero” and “Bejeweled” before she capped things off with “Karma," as pyrotechnics shot into the night sky.

All in all, it was a triumphant return to touring for Swift.

She's known for her captivating lyrics detailing romantic relationships and the highs and lows that come with them, but the Eras Tour highlighted how much she’s evolved as an artist over the last decade – and how much her fans have stood by her side, rain or shine.

Swift redefines what it means to be an artist. She’s more than a good voice; she is a storyteller, lyricist, performer and musician who continues to reinvent her legacy.

The Eras Tour was a spectacle like no other and "I don't know how it gets better than this." But Swift is a mastermind and will find a way to reinvent the wheel and continue to take her fans on an enchanted journey.

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A big thank you to Tree Paine & Dana Lobb with Premium PR who provided the tickets to this event.

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