“Oh, New Jersey, I feel absolutely fantastic right now.”
Taylor Swift brought her blockbuster Eras Tour — on track to net an estimated $590 million in ticket sales and become the biggest trek of her entire career — to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Friday (May 26) evening for the first of three sold-out shows at the massive venue.
The tour (which began in March in Glendale, Ariz., and moves on to Chicago after the Jersey dates before wrapping in August in California) is a three-hour marathon of Swift’s imposing catalog of pop, folk and country classics, which spans massive hits on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as deep-cut fan favorites.
After a muscular opening set from GAYLE and a crowd-pleasing performance by the ever-reliable Phoebe Bridgers, Swift took the stage to thunderous applause.
“There is one thing I dream of with the childlike wonder of a hundred birthdays – the first night of MetLife,” Swift told the crowd at the top of her set. And clearly, her Friday night concert for the New Jersey/New York crowd was a meaningful one for her – not only did she debut three new outfits, but she brought out three guest performers — and offered MetLife attendees an advance screening of the music video for “Karma” approximately an hour before it landed online.
From her marvelous surprise song choices to a moment when the audience surprised Swift to her flashy new threads, here are the best moments from night one of Taylor Swift’s first evening at MetLife on her Eras Tour.
New Fit #1
For the Lover era segment of the night, Swift debuted a brand-new outfit – a silvery leotard with deep purple contours and tassels. It clearly afforded Swift a lot of room for movement during the more choreography-heavy moments.
New Fit #2
During evermore standout “’Tis the Damn Season,” which proves a song doesn’t need to be loud to elicit a high-decibel audience response, Swift took the stage in another fresh outfit. The new dress was a rich, dark gold, with shimmering pinpoints of light arranged in vertical lines. Almost looking as if it were lit from within, it might be the most memorable look from this tour.
While attendees were fitted with wristbands that periodically lit up in unison throughout the night, there was one moment when the audience took luminosity matters into their own hands. During “Marjorie,” a song about Swift’s late grandmother, tens of thousands of people put their cell phone lights on and raised them up. “That was you guys telepathically communicating with each other to create a special moment for me,” Swift said after the song, clearly touched. “My grandmother was a singer, too, and I know she would have loved to sing at MetLife. But her voice is on that song, so she just did.”
New Fit #3
During “Enchanted,” the sole song representing Speak Now — which receives a (Taylor’s Version) release come July 7, and presumably a bigger setlist look after that — Swift brought out another new dress. This one was a poofy tulle outfit, which came across like an elevated version of a Disney princess’ ballroom gown; the look beautifully matched the heart-on-sleeve, fairy tale romantic longing of the song.
Phoebe’s Victory Lap
After Swift spoke on how her re-recordings offered her the opportunity to dig deeper into her past, she brought out opening act Phoebe Bridgers, guitar in hand, for a duet on a song Swift wrote when she was 22 — “Nothing New,” the duo’s collab on Red (Taylor’s Version). Bridgers had already delivered a knockout set on her own, and she was visibly jubilant to join Swift on stage for her victory lap duet.
“Karma” Is a Video Premiere
MetLife’s Friday crowd was graced with yet another first: the premiere of her “Karma” music video about an hour before it dropped online. “At the very beginning of the year, when I was just starting to train for this tour, I got reached out to by Ice Spice,” Swift explained. “She reached out and said, ‘If you’d ever like to do a collab, I would love to.’ And what she didn’t know at the time is that when I was training for the tour, I was listening to pretty much exclusively just her music every single day. All day.” The two eventually hit the studio. “I not only fell in love with her, but decided she’s the entire future,” Swift said. “I’ve been around so many artists and so many artists just starting out, but I’ve never been around an artist who’s so prepared and curious and focused on what she wants.” After that intro, the delightful, playful “Karma” video made its world premiere for an intimate audience of several tens of thousands of rapt fans.
Acoustic Surprise #1
“I know you’ve wanted to hear this song,” Swift teased before her first surprise acoustic offering. And she wasn’t exaggerating. The pick was “Getaway Car,” a beloved fan fave, and for the song, frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff joined her on stage. “He’s been one of my best friends – he feels like a family member,” Swift said while welcoming “Jersey’s own” Antonoff. In addition to singing lead on a few lines, Antonoff aided Swift with some forceful acoustic strumming on the Reputation highlight.
Acoustic Surprise #2
Midnights is the most recent album to drop before Taylor’s Eras Tour, so it’s no surprise that it takes up a good portion of the setlist. Even so, the standard Eras Tour setlist doesn’t include one of the album’s absolute best songs – but Friday night’s crowd was in for a treat. “This is one of my favorites off Midnights, but I haven’t played it yet,” Swift said, before performing a gorgeous rendition of “Maroon” while seated at an upright piano festooned with a floral design.
Spice Up the Stage
If the “Karma” video premiere wasn’t enough, Swift one-upped herself at the very end of the night by bringing out Bronx-bred rapper Ice Spice to deliver her casually confident verse on the just dropped “Karma” remix. “Make the most noise you’ve made all night,” Swift said as Spice, waiting below, was elevated up to the stage — and the crowd certainly complied. As the “Princess Diana” hitmaker performed to the largest crowd of her young career, she seemed comfortable and a bit awestruck. The two held hands while strutting around the stage, and when confetti blasted out at the end, they had their arms around each other while soaking in the rapturous response.