Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour
Dir. Sam Wrench (2023)
In which Taylor Swift performs her The Eras Tour concert at sold-out SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Once in a blue moon, The Horror Revolution takes a break from the gory and ghastly recesses of genre cinema and presents a different sort of film for your reading pleasure. Today, we're taking on Taylor Swift and her The Eras Tour, a concert performance for the ages and one that terrified me every bit as much as the scariest horror film I've ever seen. I was dragged kicking and screaming to this show by my webmistress The Morrigan, intent in my belief that this was the type of torture upon which the Spanish Inquisitors based their methods. I had no idea what to expect, but I was pretty sure I was going to fucking hate every minute of it. I... did not.
Ok, so here's the deal. Taylor Swift is fucking impressive as hell. She's a performer, and I mean a true performer, in every sense of the word. I knew that she was a singer/songwriter type of musician, and I knew that a lot of her poppy songs that I've heard ad nauseum from various commercials and elevator radio stations were catchy as all hell. What I did not know is how incredible she really is as an entertainer. From the moment she takes the stage in front of approximately 70,000 screaming fans at SoFi Stadium, she delivers a show that should be the envy of other popstars everywhere. She stomps out those lyrics, forming a connection with each and every crying fan in the stands, delivering those words straight into their hearts and minds with the vocal talents of a prima donna and the dance moves of someone who made their career by topping the pop charts.
This is where Tay Tay is the most surprising, however. She is not your standard pop singer. She is a truly talented musician, releasing a rangy discography that runs the gamut from old-school country to indie rock to gangsta rap (ok, that one's not true). Her writing is incredible: it's not the dumb words of some teenybopper scorned lover the way that so many of her detractors like to paint her lyrics. There's some real soul in them, some truly impactful prose that leads one to believe she could have just as easily become a famous novelist or some oratorical preacher. Because she chose her pulpit to be the Top 40 stations, she has reached an entire generation (and then some) of young women who have taken her words to heart, at times modeling their own life choices after those of their pop idol. It's a lot of responsibility, and its something that Taylor clearly takes to heart, doing her best to deliver good values and empowering ideals to these fans who worship the ground upon which she walks.
It's a career that is, thus far, relatively absent of real controversy. She's been in the public eye for nearly two decades, and the worst anyone has to say about her is that she's dated a lot of guys. What most critics ignore, and what is perhaps most impressive about her, is that she walks the walk of respect that she demands in her lyrics. Her fight against greedy record companies, re-recording her own albums in order to get out from under the weight of someone who refused to allow her to buy back the music that she entirely created herself, is not only an impressive feat but an important one. She single-handedly showed that it is the artists who have the real power, and that none of these hand-in-pocket execs would ever have a career if it wasn't for people like her being willing to play the game. Her refusal to continue to play it has earned her over a billion dollars, with no end in sight to her considerable net worth.
Perhaps what is most impressive about The Eras Tour, however, is the production itself. Taylor delivers the goods, no doubt, but this is a stage show to end all stage shows. The huge video screen works perfectly with her music, the rising platforms elevating her above the stage and the setpieces telling the stories of the songs that she has written in a way that simply listening to them could not convey. And at the center of it all is Taylor herself, a consummate performer who hammers the songs while seeming eternally grateful that you would ever bother to listen to her. Despite her fame, despite her popularity, she... seems like a totally normal person who is truly in awe of what she has been able to accomplish. To maintain that attitude in the face of worldwide acclaim and impossible public scrutiny is, in a word, astounding.
I've never been a huge fan of live music, at least not to the point where I'm willing to shell out however-many-thousands-of-dollars that it costs to get through the door. I'll occasionally watch a recorded concert, appreciating where I can the live performance that I am watching not-so-live. The Eras Tour was different: the girls in the audience, ranging in age from tweens to their middle-aged mothers, were enthralled. They stood in the aisles, holding cellphone flashlights aloft and swaying to the movies, at one point even running to the edge of the screen as if they were standing at the edge of the stage. I have never seen anything like it, a true concert experience despite being thousands of miles away in a movie theater. The adoration displayed felt like I was watching a true rock star, someone who understands this devotion and gives far more than she will ever take from her fans.
Which I guess includes me now.
Who this movie is for: Live music fans, Swifties, A lonely boy from Westlake, Ohio
Bottom line: Ya'll, this was truly an incredible show. While I certainly won't be mortgaging my house to get tickets to a show, I would definitely call myself a fan. A Swifty, if you will. Taylor Swift delivers an incredible performance, and her range of music is far greater than I had expected from someone who I thought I had pretty much pegged. It's the best live performance I've ever seen, bar none, and fans of the pop star get every bit of their money's worth. I highly recommend checking this one out in theaters, especially if you're not a fan, because I can pretty much promise you that you will be afterwards. Swift is a generational talent and one that's worth watching at her very best.