Walking into the NRG Stadium was like scrolling through my TikTok for you page. The crowd was filled with Swifties dressed in attire inspired by one of Taylor’s ten albums – from the golden age of Fearless to the frilly, pink era of Lover to the dark, snake-filled Reputation period.
Thousands packed inside the Houston venue on Friday night to see Miss Swift live. And they got their money’s worth. For over three hours, Swift performed and took you through her music career – fifteen years of music, nine albums, and a 44-song setlist. “Tonight, we’re going to be going through an adventure, one era at a time,” Swift told the crowd of over 62,000 people.
The night kicked off with Los Angeles native, Gracie Abrams. The 23-year-old singer-songwriter performed four songs including “21” and “I know it won’t work.” After Gracie, beabadoobee hit the stage. The indie-pop singer took the stage and performed nine songs, including her recent release “Glue Song” which features Clairo. If anyone didn’t know who either of these artists was before entering NRG Stadium, they definitely left fans of both opening acts! Similar to Swift’s Rep Tour, the night was filled with back-to-back performances by incredible female artists.
Highlights of the Eras Tour
When a clock appeared on the screen counting down to Swift’s set, you couldn’t hear yourself think. Concert-goers screamed until the clock struck midnight – seemingly a nod to her most recent album, Midnights.
Swift opened the show on the T-shaped stage with a shortened version “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” from her Lover album. The lyric, “I counted days, I counted miles to see you there…it’s been a long time coming” felt very fitting. It’s been five years since Taylor last toured. In fact, the last time I (and many others) saw Taylor Swift live was in 2018 during her Reputation Tour. That September night, she broke an all-time attendance record for a female artist in the Superdome. In a similar fashion, she broke another record at NRG Stadium – the first artist to sell three nights at the venue!
Swift shared with the crowd that The Eras Tour is her favorite tour, a billion percent! After planning this tour for over a year, she appreciated the way fans got so excited about the tour announcement. She expressed that the fans’ enthusiasm is what makes it her favorite tour thus far. And honestly, seeing the Swifties in their element in NRG Stadium was a major highlight for me, too. From the chants to the tears shed to swapping TS friendship bracelets to the unique outfits they wore. They brought back the “1, 2, 3, let’s go bitch” during the intro of “Delicate,” they screamed “You forgive, you forget, but you never let it go,” during the bridge of “Bad Blood,” and they did the little “Karma” dance along with Taylor from their seats. And of course, fans sang every single lyric along with Swift during the 10-minute version of “All Too Well.”
During the night, Swift took her time to talk to the crowd. She mentioned writing music during the lockdown, putting out her re-recorded albums, and the urge to get back to performing for them. “There was one song (that she wrote during that time)…man, I really want to play Champagne Problems live,” she shared. After she finished singing the Evermore track, the crowd cheered for about a minute straight as she sat by the piano flustered by the crowd’s energy. “Oh Houston, Texas, I love you so much. Thank you again.”
During her performance of “22,” Swift walked to the end of the catwalk where a fan – who was randomly selected by a member of her team – was standing. She took off her Red era fedora and handed it to the lucky fan before blowing her a kiss. Such a simple gesture but it definitely meant the world to that random, lucky fan!
Before moving into her final era, Midnights, Swift sat alone on the stage with just a piano and guitar. Each night she has an acoustic segment where she plays two surprise songs from her vast discography. For Houston, on night one, the surprise deep vault tracks were “Wonderland” from 1989 and “You’re Not Sorry” (Taylor’s Version) from her re-recording of Fearless.
Taylor Swift doesn’t just get on a stage. She performs and tells stories while doing it. During “tolerate it” she crawled on top of a long dinner table. As she made her way across the table, she knocked over silverware while singing, “I know my love should be celebrated but you tolerate it” – playing the role of a lover/spouse who is tired of giving all their love to someone who doesn’t reciprocate it back.
Everyone, including the crowd, plays a part in the show. Each fan was given a wristband as they walked into the stadium. The free light-up wristband changed colors throughout Swift’s set – illuminating yellow during the Fearless era tracks, flickering between blue and orange during “Shake It Off,” and lighting the entire place Red during “All Too Well” (10-minute version) (Taylor’s Version).
Similiar to the music video, there were lots of symbolic references in the “Love What You Made Me Do” performance. Dancers were in glass boxes dressed from different eras of Swift’s decade-long career including her white 1989 tour outfit, the TS cheerleading outfit from the Shake It Off video, and the circus ringmaster look from her 2012 MTV EMAs performance. As she recited the infamous line, “I’m sorry. The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh…cause she’s dead,” a visual of breaking glass flashed across before all of the ‘Old Taylors’ were freed. As they all walked out, she rose up – similar to how she stands atop a mountain of former selves in the video.
Like I said, Broadway-like production. So here’s a few more of my favorite moments and reference throughout the night.
- The Lover House – a dollhouse that features rooms of each of her albums – was engulfed in flames (pyro) during “The Archer.”
- Swift maneuvered through a multi-level office set-up during “The Man” where she ends up on the top floor with her feet perched on a desk seemlngly becoming The Man herself.
- Dancers rode around the stage on neon bikes during “Blank Space” while Swift swung a matching golf club.
- During the Folkore portion of the show, the set featured a moss-covered cabin with a smoking chimney.
- Swift had an almost magic-like quick change during the middle of her performance of “Midnight Rain.”
- During “willow,” the dancers were draped in orange dresses and green velvet capes in a witch-like fashion and they danced with illuminated orange orbs.
- And of course, when Swift dove (yes, literally dove headfirst) into the stage.
An Electrifying Show
As the Reputation era portion of the show came to an end (which was about halfway through the show), I had to just sit back and think how insane it is that Taylor Swift performs a three-hour set on a stadium stage with her only breaks being to change clothes. Insanity. I was already exhausted just from being in the crowd and singing along! And to think, this was just night one of three for her in Houston.
Regardless of whether you’re a Swiftie or not, there’s no denying her unreal artistry and dedication to putting on the best show possible for attendees. If you missed the Eras Tour in Houston, the tour continues to make stops around the United States until August. It’s a must-see show that takes you back in time through the various eras of Swift’s incredible music career.
Missed the Eras Tour or just want to re-live the night? Check out my Instagram Highlight from the show and view the photo gallery below.
Use code “TERRELL” for $20 off your first SeatGeek order.
Follow NOLA Concerts for ticket giveaways and more concert tips and tricks like what to bring to a concert and how to get the best tickets!