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Taylor Swift Eras Tour Melbourne review: ‘A poignant lesson in self-expression and vulnerability’

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Taylor Swift Eras Tour Melbourne review: ‘A poignant lesson in self-expression and vulnerability’

 

When Taylor Swift first addressed the crowd halfway through performing “Cruel Summer” on night one of her sold-out Eras Tour in Melbourne, Australia, the singer asked a question she already knew the answer to: “Does anyone know the words to this bridge?”

 

This is the world’s biggest pop star, after all. The city had already welcomed Swift-mania with open arms with a two-day academic conference on the star, various pop-up merch stands (with one Swiftie telling me they queued for two hours for the privilege of wearing a hoodie with the singer’s face on it), and practically every makeup, clothing and op-shop celebrating her arrival with a Taylor-filled playlist. Even the Jetstar pilots flying in fans from across Australia had pre-rehearsed an in-flight announcement full of Swift Easter eggs.

Nonetheless, the performer — who will be performing a grand total of seven shows between Melbourne and Sydney in her record-breaking tour — was visibly choked up after the audience of 96,000 sang back every last lyric to “Champagne Problems”. Her first piano ballad of the show was a stunning rendition of the emotional track which left both her and the crowd in tears.

Taylor Swift Eras Tour Melbourne review: ‘A poignant lesson in self-expression and vulnerability’

“This is the biggest show that we have done on this tour or on any tour I have ever done,” Swift admitted, struggling to hide her Cheshire cat grin as she made the revelation to the crowd. The Eras Tour marks the highest-grossing concert tour of all time — yes, really — dethroning Elton John’s years-long Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. And once consumed by the pure magic of the three-and-a-half-hour show, it’s easy to see why.

Though the tour moves through eighteen years of music including nine studio albums — showcasing all her original releases except her self-titled debut — Swift’s setlist remains much the same as fans in the US, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Japan experienced. However, the singer leaves two spaces in the acoustic set for “surprise songs”, a legacy that has followed through since her Red Tour days.

On night one of her Australian leg, Swift graced an electric audience at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with an acoustic cover from the very era where the nightly surprise setlist first transpired back in 2013: Red. She then thrust us back to the present day with a live debut of her emotive track “You’re Losing Me”.

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