The day finally arrived for Taylor Swift‘s first night of three nights at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Knowing that tens of thousands of Swifties would be descending on the bay area, I knew to leave home a bit early. In normal circumstances, the drive is under an hour and a half. So I left four hours before show time. It wasn’t enough, as traffic started backing up 50 miles from the stadium and was stop and go almost the entire way killing the two and a half hour cushion I had allotted for. I arrived, parked, and got my credentials just as the opening act Gayle, was taking the stage. Needless to say, I missed photographing Gayle.
At the stadium, the mood and atmosphere was just bedlam with roads closed off for the protection of the 65,000 to 70,000 fans that were making their way into the stadium. This caused traffic backups and confusion. The Eras Tour sold over 2.4 million tickets on the day that they went on sale, breaking the all time record for most tickets sold by an artist in one day, and also crashing the Ticketmaster website. The chairman of Live Nation, Greg Maffei, claimed they were ready for 1.5 million requests, but 14 million requests for tickets came in, “We could have filled 900 stadiums.”
The Eras Tour’s setlist is divided into 10 acts grouped by eras of Swift’s 10 studio albums. This show was indeed a Broadway production and entertainment at the highest level. Fans came from all over the state as these three shows are the only stops in Florida. The tour has two stages, and while Taylor Swift is performing on one, the other is being erected in the next city of the tour stop.
Gayle, or Taylor Gayle Rutherfurd is out promoting her latest single, “Everybody Hates Me.” After she is done performing on The Eras Tour, she will be performing with Pink on her Summer Carnival tour starting on June 7. 2023. Gayle started her career at age seven, she is currently 18 years old. In 2021 she released her first album, A Study of the Human Experience Volume One. The hit single off that album “ABCDEFU” was nominated for a Grammy and charted in the top three worldwide.
I missed her performance, which I was sad because I have heard she has great energy, but I do have the setlist!
1.) Everybody hates me
2.) Sleeping with my friends
4.) Don’t call me pretty
5.) You Oughta Know (Alanis Morissette cover)
6.) Luv starved
7.) Snow angels
Beabadoobee pronounced (/biːbəˈduːbiː/; bee-bə-DOO-bee) is also known as Beatrice Kristi Ilejay Laus. She grew up in West London, UK. To date she has released two albums, Fake It Flowers, released October 16, 2020 and Beatopia which was released July 15, 2022. Both albums were extremely successful in the UK & Scotland on the indie charts. Beabadoobee’s debut single, “Coffee,” released in 2017, didn’t gain a lot of traction. Then it was used on Canadian rapper Powfu‘s 2019 single, “Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head),” and it went viral on TicTok, and it ended up being her first charting single in 2020.
This young lady is loaded with talent and her set was entertaining. Her four piece band was a bit spread out on the large stage and the musicians never seemed to move a whole lot. Especially the bass player that obstructed the view of the drummer by standing in front of him. I believe in a smaller setting the show would have been great! I just feel this young band was on a huge stage and they were set all the back from the audience. Every band member was smiling which indicates the were having a good time, but you have to think it might have been a bit overwhelming for these musicians. I ask you, wouldn’t you be a bit intimidated opening for the largest pop star on the planet?
Beabadoobee – Guitar/Vocals
Eliana Sewell – Bass
Louis Semlekan-Faith – Drums
Jacob Bugden – Guitar
2.) Apple Cider
3.) She Plays Bass
4.) See You Soon
5.) The Perfect Pair
6.) Glue Song
Looking around the 65,000+ crowd before Taylor Swift started her show, I was taking note of the diversity in age of the audience. Ages from 5 to 65 were in attendance for this epic concert for the world’s #1 pop star. Taylor Swift has been the music communities sweetheart since she broke on the country scene at 14 years old. Her 2006 self-titled debut release gave her the first female country artist a U.S. platinum-certified album. Since that time Taylor Swift has won 12 Grammys, which includes three for Album of the Year, which also ties her for the most by an artist. Taylor has had nine number one Billboard Hot 100 hits, 29 Billboard Music Awards which are the most won by a woman, and her 40 American Music Awards are most by any artist. To boot Taylor has an Emmy Award for her mantle too.
Swift has released 10 studio albums with her latest 2020 release, Midnights, selling two million copies, with half of the sales coming from vinyl sales.
The stadium stage was massive. The runway alone extended to the 50 yard line from the end zone of the stadium giving Taylor plenty of room to roam in front of her adoring fans. I was too young to experience Beatlemania in the 1960’s, but I have seen the news reels and I am sure the two are very similar with young women screaming and loosing their minds at the start of every song. Unless you were in the middle of it, there really isn’t a good way to describe the adulation the Swifties have for Taylor Swift.
This larger than life show roared on from the colorful opening of parachute/fans that rose 25 feet high on the backs of men who shielded then eventually revealed Taylor’s entry to the event. To Taylor climbing stairs in a multi level office set above the stage in a sassy dance number called “The Man,” and an illusion that maybe the coolest thing I have ever seen in a concert.
Taylor swift left the piano at the end of a surprise song, “Treacherous,” off the album Red released in 2012. She Stood around for a short delay looking a bit confused as she had changed the timing by switching two of the songs on the setlist. When the timing got caught up, She dives head first into what appears as a swimming pool in the runway wearing a yellow gown . She then swims the length of the runway, under the the runway, visible to the crowd all the way back to the main stage where a waterfall erupts. When the waters subside, Taylor is sitting on a bed on the stage, with not a drop of water on her. She then climbs a ladder into a cloud above the stage. Once she disappears in the cloud, the ladder retracts behind her up into the cloud. This was an unbelievable effect that teeters on impossible if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.
44 songs, over three hours of dancing, singing, and special effects, justified whatever amount was spent on tickets to witness this once in a life time show. I have seen some great shows in my years of covering concerts, but the Eras Tour is the new benchmark in entertainment!
THE AGENCY (TAYLOR’S BAND):
LIZ HUETT – BACKUP SINGER.
GRANT MICKELSON – GUITAR.
AL WILSON – DRUMS.
CAITLIN EVANSON – FIDDLE, GUITAR AND BACKUP SINGER.
PAUL SIDOTI – GUITAR AND BACKUP SINGER.
AMOS J. HELLER – BASS GUITAR.
MIKE MEADOWS – BANJO.
DAVID COOK – KEYBOARD AND PIANO.
1.) “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince”
2.) “Cruel Summer”
3.) “The Man”
4.) “You Need to Calm Down” (Shortened)
5.) “Lover” (Spoken Intro)
6.) “The Archer” (Extended intro)
8.) “You Belong With Me”
9.) “Love Story”
10.) ” ‘Tis the Damn Season”
12.) “Marjorie” (Shortened)
13.) “Champagne Problems” (Spoken Intro)
14.) “Tolerate It” (Extended Intro w/keys)
15.) “Ready For It?” (Extended intro)
17.) “Don’t Blame Me” (Shortened)
18.) “Look What You Made Me Do”
19.) “Enchanted” (Extended intro)
21.) “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”
22.) “I Knew You Were Trouble” (Shortened)
23.) “All Too Well (10-Minute Version)” (Spoken Intro)
Seven (Spoken word poem; contains… more )
24.) “The 1”
25.) “Betty” (Spoken Intro)
26.) “The Last Great American Dynasty”
28.) “Illicit Affairs” (Shortened)
29.) “My Tears Ricochet”
31.) “Style” (Extended Intro)
32.) “Blank Space”
33.) “Shake it Off”
34.) “Wildest Dreams” (Shortened)
35.) “Bad Blood”
36.) Speak Now (on guitar, first time since 2018)
37.) Treacherous (on piano, first time since 2018)
38.) “Lavender Haze”
40.) “Midnight Rain”
41.) “Vigilante S—“
44.) “Karma” (Extended Outro)
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Photographer and Editor/Founder of AllMusicMagazine.com. My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with equally inspiring musicians. Using the medium of photography and my publication, these memories will last forever.