Taylor Swift’s extraordinary victory lap filled Melbourne with joy and brought us to tears (2024)

  • ★★★★★
  • Culture
  • Music
  • Live Music
By Liam Pieper



or subscribe

to save articles for later.

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

Taylor Swift | Eras Tour ★★★★★
MCG, February 16

When Taylor Swift finally took the stage at the MCG for her first Australian engagement of The Eras Tour – and her largest-ever stadium crowd – it felt like a fever breaking.

Taylor Swift’s extraordinary victory lap filled Melbourne with joy and brought us to tears (1)

Officially the highest-grossing music tour of all time, exceeding $US1 billion ($1.5 billion) in revenue, Friday night’s show marked Swift’s first stop of seven in Australia – and a significant milestone for the singer.

“This is the biggest show we’ve done on this tour or any tour,” she told the crowd.

“I have to be honest with you about something: if I seem like I’m losing my mind, it’s about the fact that there are 96,000 people here tonight – it’s true,” she said.

“That’s the version you get of me tonight; the version of me that’s completely starstruck that you wanted to hang out with me on a Friday night in Melbourne.”

The fans – in glittering, bedazzled fancy dress – were here for an experience that was, for many, the culmination of a lifetime’s fandom. When she launched into You Need to Calm Down, the crowd, naturally, had the exact opposite reaction. No chill at all.

Witness an interlude a good five minutes after champagne problems, where Swift drove the crowd into shivers of applause simply by smiling and shaking her head as though overcome by it all.


“I love you SO MUCH. Do you know that?”

Hand on her heart, she continued: “Oh, Melbourne, look at you … every time I’m sad, I’m going to think about this.”

Taylor Swift’s extraordinary victory lap filled Melbourne with joy and brought us to tears (2)

On The Eras Tour, Swift is looking back at her career, album by album, each of which represents a different “era” of her life. “We’re going on an 18-year journey, one era at a time,” she told the MCG.

The idea of marketing the evolution of an artist from one album to the next as a series of “eras” is simple, but, in the moment, undeniably brilliant.

It provides the framing for the show and excuses for costume changes – some as elaborate as dancers wielding glowing orange orbs with a lightly witchy vibe for Willow, or as simple as throwing a spangled suit jacket over a spangled leotard for The Man.

Taylor Swift’s extraordinary victory lap filled Melbourne with joy and brought us to tears (3)

In this way, the Eras set list – in the manner of a beautifully composed painting – directs your attention to the parts Swift wants you to pay attention to. Properly contextualised, I found myself converted to certain eras that, even as a Swift completist, I’d neglected.

For no particular reason, I’d always preferred folklore to evermore. Don’t ask me why. I realise now I was wrong. They are both perfect. Whole eras – like Taylor’s heel-turn on Reputation – reveal depths to the lyricism and songwriting I’d somehow under-appreciated when they weren’t sung in a glorious one-legged sequined snake suit atop a storm of pyrotechnic lightning.

There is one era that is not officially on the line-up, however – the forthcoming Tortured Poets Department, announced at this year’s Grammys and to be released in April.

“We might talk about that later,” Swift teased on Friday night, peering out over her piano, sparking wild speculation that she might debut a track. In the end, she didn’t – but announced that the album would feature a song titled The Bolter.

“I needed to make it, it was really something that got me through,” she shared. “It really reminded me that songwriting really gets me through.”

Taylor Swift’s extraordinary victory lap filled Melbourne with joy and brought us to tears (4)

Experiencing The Eras Tour is like putting on a vinyl record in an old-timey listening booth and being nudged to really listen to the music – only for the purpose of this analogy, the booth is the MCG, and the vinyl record is 96,000 of my best friends, who are teenagers.

They are teenagers and they are screaming with joy. They know every word. They know every song Swift will play, and which lyrics will provoke a call-and-response from the crowd.

The set list is carefully planned, but each concert includes an interlude after the attitude and literal flamethrowers of Bad Blood for Swift to perform a couple of lo-fi, acoustic songs of her choice: Taylor’s versions, if you will (sorry).

On Friday, that meant a guitar-only version of Red and a stripped-back piano rendition of You’re Losing Me before the sick beat (so sorry) kicked back in with the start of the Midnights era and the spectacular conclusion.

Taylor Swift’s extraordinary victory lap filled Melbourne with joy and brought us to tears (5)

The Eras Tour is an astonishing victory lap of a show. Over nearly two decades, Swift has built both an enduring body of work and an unparalleled connection with her fans.

Her songs – for the work of a billionaire with the most ludicrous life imaginable – are remarkably grounded.

She writes about the specifics of her life in such a universal way that she invites listeners to complete the narrative and emotional arcs of her songs with their own feelings and experiences.


Her best work has a blank space, so to speak, in which to write your name. Songs that mean – for both the middle-aged rock snob writing this review, and the 10-year-old sharing a formative moment of transcendent pop with their Millennial parents – “I wrote this for you”.

She is singing to people who have sung to her in their bedrooms for years. Taylor’s eras have sound-tracked the stages of her fans’ lives, so to watch Eras feels like a curated tour of your own past. An extraordinary achievement.

Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.



or subscribe

to save articles for later.

License this article

  • Live Music
  • What’s on
  • Review
  • Review
  • For subscribers

Most Viewed in Culture


Taylor Swift’s extraordinary victory lap filled Melbourne with joy and brought us to tears (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Horacio Brakus JD

Last Updated:

Views: 5927

Rating: 4 / 5 (71 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Horacio Brakus JD

Birthday: 1999-08-21

Address: Apt. 524 43384 Minnie Prairie, South Edda, MA 62804

Phone: +5931039998219

Job: Sales Strategist

Hobby: Sculling, Kitesurfing, Orienteering, Painting, Computer programming, Creative writing, Scuba diving

Introduction: My name is Horacio Brakus JD, I am a lively, splendid, jolly, vivacious, vast, cheerful, agreeable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.