Swifties Unite! Inside The Eras Experience
Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour has taken the world by storm since she hit the road in March --- and the movie of the same name is keeping that fever alive ahead of her Australian tour in February, writes Anna Solome
By the time it finishes its record-breaking run, Taylor Swift's Eras tour will have racked up an incredible 131 shows across the globe -- and several thousand more in cinemas worldwide after the blockbuster debut of the concert version of the show.
Taylor Swift is no stranger to concert movies with four out of her five previous tours having movie releases. Each release has allowed fans to reminisce to a past time in their lives or discover a piece of Taylor Swift’s history. Swift is the biggest music star in the world -- and this ism her second record-breaking tour in a row after for 2018 Reputation Stadium Tour earning over $315 million in 2018, making it the highest grossing tour by a female artist of that year.
Getting tickets to The Eras Tour was no easy feat, with it being nicknamed “the great war” in reference to one of Swift’s songs. Her Australian dates alone had over four million people in a queue attempting to secure one of the 450,000 tickets available. It is predicted that The Eras Tour will surpass $1 billion in earnings by March next year.
It's Taylor;s world -- we just revel in it! Photo: Anna Solome
The Eras Tour film broke box office presale records worldwide, earning over $100 million before its premiere on October 13th. Swift has taken a unique approach to the distribution of the film with her own company, Taylor Swift Productions, producing it instead of a traditional Hollywood studio. In the US, the film has been exclusively distributed through AMC and Cinemark, meaning she is avoiding the usual 10 percent fee of ticket sales a studio would take. She is nothing if not business savvy!
Capture it, Remember it
Concert movies have been around for decades, but what sets Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour apart from other movies of a similar nature? It’s a combination of the fans -- Swifties -- and Taylor Swift herself. Fans have made a distinct connection to the pop star having grown up with her while listening to her music.
I spoke to some fans after a screening of the movie in Melbourne.
Grace said that she had been a fan of Taylor since the Fearless era -- making her three years old when she first heard her music! Isobelle, another Swiftie, shared that Taylor has had a “huge impact on my life” and that she has made a connection with Swift’s music. Swift has not only made a connection with her fans; the fans have formed a community amongst themselves.
Grace described Swifties as “passionate” and said she had “never seen so many people care about an artist or tour” with such fervour.
Isobelle said seeingTaylor Swift: The Eras Tour on screen was a preview of the concert she will see in February. "It's something the Swifties get to enjoy as a community and I wanted to be a part of that.”
Beyond experiencing a moment together, fans can foster friendships and make connections with others.
Char, a Swiftie who has been to three The Eras Tour shows, said seeing the movie was “magical, like reliving some of the best experiences” of their life. They “noticed details I had never seen before”, making them love the show even more. Another draw for Char was seeing the surprise songs -- Our Song and You’re on Your Own Kid -- in high quality for the first time. At the beginning of the tour Swift began playing two songs acoustically each night, naming the section “the surprise songs”.
One of the other inspirations drawing fans to theatres was seeing clips or sections of the tour across social media.
Fans such as Natalie felt that they “have seen half of the concert on social media so might as well see the full thing.”
With so many clips being shared the tour has changed viewers outlooks what they can expect from a concert experience. Fans get dressed up in costumes for Swift’s shows, with Isobelle describing them as “going all out.” She said Swift had “raised the bar for other performers by proving a three and a half hour show is possible while maintaining a high production value”.
Make the Friendship Bracelets
Like the song says, “make the friendship bracelets" -- and fans certainly did. At screenings across the globe fans wore hand-made friendship bracelets, exchanging them with each other before and after the movie. This was just one of the concert activities that translated to the movie experience.
I went to the first showing of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour at my local Village Cinemas, where we were given a complimentary poster and participated in some trivia before the event started. Everyone stayed in their seats and participated in the chants during some key moments of the movie but no one was standing up and dancing around. As I looked around the theatre I could see people in their own little bubbles dancing in their seats with their friends.
In contrast, at other theatres it appeared to be similar to a concert with everyone out of their seats and dancing around. In clips that have been shared across social media fans can be seen screaming the lyrics to their favourite songs with their phones out filming the experience. This has brought into question theatre etiquette and how people should behave during these screenings.
Personally, I think it is about reading the room and being respectful of other theatre goers when choosing how to behave.
Long Live the Memories
Movies such as Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour will immortalise Taylor Swift’s legacy.
It allows fans to travel back to a time of their lives that they would like to relive or experience the tour for the first time. The movie makes the tour more accessible to fans who were unable to get tickets or who are not in a location where they see the tour. It gives fans an up-close look at the action on stage they otherwise would not experience from any seat.
The memories fans have made at The Eras Tour and Taylor Swift’s musical legacy will live on forever.