Fifty-two stadiums, 10 albums, 44 songs taking up in all more than three hours: Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, which kicked off March 17 at State Farm Arena in Glendale, Arizona, is a production of epic scale.
There are nonstop costume changes, large-scale set swaps and stunts on the outrageous order of a Las Vegas residency.
“It’s almost like a different Broadway musical for each song,” Dave Brooks — Billboard Senior Director of Live Music and Touring — told The Post.
“The production quality is just so far ahead of whatever has been [done] … They’re building these very elaborate sets that they’re using for several songs as opposed to the whole concert.”
The price tag is also astronomical.
“The cost has gotta be well north of $100 million … probably a lot more than that,” said Brooks. “It’s gonna be one of the most expensive tours ever, but it will also be one of the highest-generating tours financially. So it pays for itself basically.”
And it seems to have put all of the Ticketmaster-crashing drama behind the “Anti-Hero” singer with her legion of Swifties.
Erica Gabriel, an event producer who traveled from Salt Lake City to Glendale to see the second show of the tour on March 18, told The Post that the experience was “unbelievable.”
“It literally exceeded every expectation that I had set for myself — like, by 10 times — and I already had high expectations.”
Here’s a peek inside Swift’s next-level spectacle.
Setting the stage
A gigantic catwalk stretches nearly the entire length of the stadium, the better for Swift to work the runway with an army of over a dozen dancers.
The process of building that stage — and all the rest of the sets — begins at the venue weeks before the pop princess launches into the “Lover” opener, “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince.”
For a stadium tour of this magnitude, Brooks said, “They have advance teams that can be prepping and pre-building.”
Closer to the date, a team of an estimated 90 trucks pulls into the venue to construct the sprawling scene for Swift to sing career-spanning hits ranging from her 2006 self-titled debut album to her latest LP, 2022’s “Midnights.”
“It takes two to three weeks, in my understanding,” said Brooks.
The big set piece
One of the structures — the mossy cabin atop which Swift sings during the “Folklore” section — seems especially tricky to build and break down from city to city.
“It’s almost like you think that they’d have to have two,” said Brooks, “so they can be building one while the other is [being used].”
A daring stunt
Swift takes stage-diving to a whole different level.
Rather than plummeting into the crowd, the 33-year-old superstar plunges headfirst into a trapdoor in the stage after singing her breakout hit “Tim McGraw.” Then she appears to swim through the stadium via a water-filled catwalk before resurfacing — dry and fresh in a new costume — to perform “Lavender Haze.”
The stunt likely involves her landing on a crash mat and then using the same “rocket sled” apparatus that she employed to zoom through the stadium hidden from view during her 2018 “Reputation” Tour. Brooks credits the oceanic illusion to precisely timed, pre-filmed visuals that “are almost kind of a second performer with her up there.”
Swift wore more than a dozen different looks on opening night, including a gold Roberto Cavalli flapper dress, a lavender Alberta Ferretti gown and bedazzled bodysuits by Atelier Versace and Oscar de la Renta.
Quick changes are key.
“All costumes are typically modified in some way that’s going to make it really easy to get in and out of,” Dan George, a onetime tour manager who has worked for Shakira and Britney Spears, told The Post. “A dress that would typically have buttons, maybe they add a zipper on it instead. Or the performer might need to have a pouch for a battery pack in a costume. You know, little customizations that make things easier.”
A marathon playlist
And at the end of the day, Swift— who will bring her Eras Tour to MetLife Stadium May 26 to May 28 — is the ultimate special effect, no matter how massive the production is.
“Her endurance is really the ‘next level’ to me,” said Brooks. “The fact that she’s gonna do these marathon, three-hour-plus shows — it’s gotta be exhausting.”
George, however, notes that her style of singing isn’t as tiring as some divas.
“Taylor is more of a stylistic vocalist. She’s got a very pretty voice, but she’s not a power vocalist. So when she’s singing live, she’s not screaming at the top of her lungs,” he said. “So it’s not, like, super challenging for her vocally.”
Still, the performance is an amazing feat.
Brooks said, “You can innovate a stage, a touring element. But you can’t really innovate the human body too much — and the person’s ability to deliver.”
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