At long last, Taylor Swift has arrived in Los Angeles for the final stop of her U.S. tour — or so fans thought.
Earlier on Thursday, August 3 — hours before the superstar would take the stage at SoFi Stadium — she announced a second leg of North American dates for 2024. The new dates include stops in Miami, New Orleans, Indianapolis and Toronto. “Turns out it’s NOT the end of an era,” Swift wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter).
And as she made perfectly clear on the first of her six-night run in L.A., slowing down is simply not in the cards. Neither is performing the same show night after night, as evidenced by the addition of two surprise songs to each set list, which Swift says is a fun way to challenge herself to dig deep into her extensive catalog — while also keeping fans on their toes, creating a sort of “gotta catch ’em all” energy.
But on Thursday, there was an even greater buzz radiating throughout the packed stadium as 70,000 fans poured in, many of whom were eagerly discussing rumors that Selena Gomez may make an appearance or that the next Taylor’s Version could be announced on this very night.
That’s the thing about the Eras Tour: it’s safe to expect the unexpected.
As it turns out, neither rumor was true. And yet, Swift’s opening night was nothing short of magical and filled with firsts, like having never performed at SoFi before or selecting a surprise song that she has never played live. And thankfully, it was all captured by a cameraman following her every move on stage, filming for something, as Swift managed to kick her power and poise into an even higher gear.
The night also included stellar opening sets from Gracie Abrams, who will join Swift on her 2024 dates, and HAIM. Of the sister trio, Swift said: “Not only are these three individuals my besties, but they’re my favorite band,” also noting it was a hometown show for the rockers.
“We have a lot to catch up on, musically speaking,” Swift said later on. “I haven’t toured in five years before the Eras Tour; This is the last city on the U.S. leg and we knew we wanted to end someplace special.”
And that is was.
Below are the best moments from Swift’s opening night in L.A.:
HAIM’s Not-So-Surprise Guest Appearance
Considering HAIM opened the show, fans were hoping they might return to the stage for their evermore collaboration with Swift – which thankfully, they did. (They performed it together live for the first time recently in Seattle). Relatively early into the three-and-a-half hour set, Danielle, Este and Alana joined their non-blood sister Swift for the dramatic “no body, no crime.” And though the sisters stood on their own platforms, Swift made the rounds, spending time with each before the foursome ended the song in a loving group hug.
The Potentially Record-Breaking Round of Applause
The evermore era was the gift that kept on giving. After Swift performed the affecting “Champagne Problems” at the piano, she was greeted with an applause so thunderous and so long it could have rivaled her own “10 Minute Version” of “All Too Well.” Swift explained how the song was one she felt most excited to perform live, having written it in the pandemic while deeply missing her fans.
By the time she was done, it was overwhelmingly obvious they missed her just as much. The applause lasted so long a teary-eyed Swift could hardly get a word in, opting to eventually place her head atop her keys and take it all in. She eventually took her in-ear monitors out, only to be more shocked by what was happening, telling the crowd: “That is a nice thing to do for someone when they’re starting out a six-night run at SoFi stadium…That’s very generous.”
Swift’s Oh-So-Subtle Glance Back
While wearing a stunning, sparkling and incredibly poofy princess gown, Swift delivered one of the Eras tour highlights: “Enchanted.” For much of the trek, that song alone represented Speak Now — but in July, following the release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), the rallying “Long Live” was added to the mix. Following Swift’s rousing performance of the track, she sauntered to the back of the stage – pausing to quickly glance back over her right shoulder, with a smirk spread across her face and a visible twinkle in her eyes, just as she does on TV’s album art.
A Very Special Recipient of the “22” Hat
During the Red era, Swift has made a point of gifting her black hat to one lucky recipient. Tonight, it was none other than Kobe Bryant’s daughter Bianka. As her mom, Vanessa, stood nearby, Bianka knelt in front of the stage wearing a layered tutu and sparkly jacket. After the two embraced, Swift gave her a kiss on the cheek before returning to the show.
Vanessa was wearing a particularly special outfit of her own, having made a custom Swiftie jean jacket that on the back featured a photo of Swift and her late husband Kobe from 2015, when the star athlete presented the singer with a banner for the most sold-out shows at the then-Staples Center. On the front of the jacket, Vanessa had a fitting lyric from Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” embroidered: “Say you’ll remember me.”
The All Too Fast “All Too Well”
Despite this being the last city on this first U.S. leg of the Eras Tour – and despite its unprecedented length, for a pop song – hearing “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) will simply never get old. “Do you have about 10 minutes to spare?” asked Swift, knowing all too well that her fans would – and do – give her their undivided attention for over three full hours night after night. And even though the song’s length is in its title, it never quite seems that long, solidifying just how impressive a storyteller Swift is to pack such a full narrative into such a small window.
A Friendly Reminder Of the Month
“L.A., what month is it?” teased Swift with a smile, setting the scene for “August” during her folklore era. The moment did feel particularly magical, as it was the first time on this tour (and perhaps ever) that Swift performed the song during the month it was named after. And as she sang of summer slipping away, while running across the stage as if trying to chase it, the song took on extra meaning as this first leg of her history-making trek is seemingly doing the same.
A Monumental First
Swift’s surprise songs were so stellar that they deserve their own best moment breakout. She started the acoustic portion by explaining the idea behind the nightly surprise songs, saying it’s really a celebration of how supportive her fans are of her and her music. “Every night is different,” she says, “and that forces me to really go back through all of my songs and play ones that it would never occur to me to play live or I’ve never played live before, and so tonight, we got one of the ones that I’ve never played live before.” She then played the ominous “I Can See You (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” off Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) to roaring applause. As any Swiftie knows, there are few things better than being able to say, “I was there.”
The Blush-Inducing Second Surprise Song
As Swift swapped her guitar for her piano, it was soon clear the second surprise song of the night was “Maroon” off Midnights. And though she has indeed played it before on the Eras Tour, the fan favorite was warmly received. In fact, a hush seemed to fall over the stadium during the song, allowing lines like “That’s a real f—ing legacy to leave” to hit even harder, considering Swift is leaving hers in real time before our very eyes.
A Perfect TV-Made Moment
During the final era of Swift’s impressively-long set, she hammed it up for Midnights track “Midnight Rain.” As she got to the end of the song she couldn’t help but have some fun with one particular lyric, singing directly into the camera lens: “And he never thinks of me / Except for when I’m on TV,” at which point she stuck out her tongue in a confidently playful manner. And while it remains to be seen what surprises Swift has in store for her five nights left at SoFi, this moment proved one thing to be certain: whatever may result from tonight’s footage will be a knockout… Are you ready for it?