Live Review

Taylor Swift kicks off UK leg of her Eras Tour with breathtaking first show at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium

7th June 2024

Across her epic three and a half hour show, she offers up a masterclass in pop performance.

It’s not easy to fully convey the atmosphere in Edinburgh tonight. To describe the excitement around the first UK shows of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour as anything short of pandemonium doesn’t quite do it justice. Across the city, the streets are swarming with fans; businesses are taking part in an ‘Edinburgh Taylored Taste Trail’, flogging their wares with a Swiftie spin; one of the Tram services bound for Murrayfield tonight has been a given a Tortured Poets Department wrapping; even the penguins at Edinburgh Zoo are donning intricately-beaded friendship bracelets for the occasion.

It’s little wonder as to why the Scottish capital is going all out. Not only has the Eras Tour been forecast to generate over £1 billion for the UK economy, but - with an attendance of over 73,000 fans tonight - the first of this weekend’s shows doubles as the highest attendance at a Scottish concert ever. She’ll welcome almost a quarter of a million fans across her three-night stint here - and they’re just the ones lucky enough to have secured tickets in the first place.

So, could a show with this much anticipation actually live up to the hype of being the highest grossing world tour of all time? In short, absolutely. Even after 96 dates across the US, South America and Asia - all of which have been spliced into thousands of clips shared across social media - and the release of an official concert film last October, the show still somehow feels fresh and captivating; a shimmering but staggering beast that breathes new life with every city it rolls into.

First up tonight come Taylor’s Nashville peers Paramore, who - despite having what some would consider a tough job - seem positively gleeful to be here. Decked out in matching, monogrammed outfits - the backs of their jackets read Fine Print, the moniker that fans are speculating could be their new label - their set is a joy to watch, with the band’s Hayley Williams playfully ribbing the crowd’s singing efforts ahead of an explosive ‘That’s What You Get’. It’s the gorgeous ‘Ain’t It Fun’ that really captures hearts tonight, though, with the band funkily strutting down the stage’s runway in unison, during what is a giddily good run-through of their biggest hits.

Taylor Swift, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Taylor Swift, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Taylor Swift, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Taylor Swift, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

And just like that, it’s time for the main event. By the time that Lady Gaga’s ‘Applause’ roars across the stadium’s sound system, the excitement reaches fever pitch (Swifties know what’s coming next), with fans barely able to contain themselves when an ornate clock appears on the stage’s giant backdrop, counting down to midnight. The screams just get louder too when, from a flurry of gorgeous, feathery plumes, Taylor Swift emerges in all her bejewelled glory - even after seeing it plastered across the internet for over a year now, her entrance is breathtaking all the same.

From then on, she offers up a masterclass in pop performance; effortlessly navigating the tour’s ambitious concept and sprawling stage set-up in a way that somehow feels both monumental and intimate all at the same time. In fact, it’s only her intro to ‘The Man’ - where she conducts a stadium-wide Mexican wave of screams - that things feel that little too overwrought. Otherwise, she barely misses a beat and, despite the colossal amount of work that’s very clearly gone in to the show’s choreography, somehow makes it look effortless.

For a show so huge in its scope - she performs 45 songs from ten albums over the set’s three and a half hour runtime - the balance is also remarkable. Each era is executed perfectly to best embody its personality, with Taylor stepping back into past versions of herself with ease. Whether through the ethereal Scandi cottage that emerges for her now-combined ‘folklore’ and ‘evermore’ section, the delightfully dark whip-snapping stature of ‘Reputation’ (unquestionably, one of the show’s stand-outs) or the monochrome melodrama served in support of latest album ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ - the section comes brilliantly dubbed ‘Female Rage: The Musical’ - each new twist is thrilling and enchanting in equal measure. Even the scope of the production is outstanding: few stadium shows manage to captivate an entire audience but the staging, with its multiple risers and runways, works brilliantly.

And yet, even on a tour of this magnitude, it’s the tender and unexpected moments that linger longest: the teary grin transfixed to the young fan she hands her ‘22’ hat to is enough to have anyone well up at the sight; an unexpected in-crowd proposal during ‘Cardigan’ that's highlighted by Taylor, when she’s actually able to see it with the sun still in the sky; the sure-to-be-viral-by-now moment in which her hand cramps midway through playing ‘Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve’, a timely reminder that - while the Eras Tour is truly otherworldly - the star is merely mortal. That’s the magic of the entire thing; for all this may be the biggest tour this world’s ever seen, when you're actually in the room, it's easy to forget the hype, the scale, the statistics, and instead be enraptured by the woman at the centre of it all.

Taylor Swift, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

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