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Taylor Swift @ Amsterdam ArenA

CONCERT REVIEW: Taylor Swift Turns Gloomy Day Into Dazzling Fairytale

Seeing Taylor Swift live has been a dream for many, us included, and her recent performance in Amsterdam’s Johan Cruijff ArenA lived up to every expectation. From her debut in 2006 at just sixteen, Taylor Swift‘s star has only shone brighter. Now, with eleven studio albums, countless hits, and a devoted fanbase, she came back to Amsterdam after nearly a decade.

The Eras Tour is the pinnacle for Swifties, a dazzling showcase of her career to date. The show is a grand spectacle, offering over forty songs in more than three hours.

Opening for Taylor Swift was Paramore, fronted by Hayley Williams. Paramore‘s extensive discography knows many genres, but for this purpose, it made all the sense in the world that Paramore focused on the more pop-oriented albums/songs. The setlist included the likes of Still Into You, This Is Why and Hard Times. Even with the more pop-oriented setlist, the band’s iconic Misery Business could not be left out. Luckily, Paramore are quite popular themselves and many concertgoers were evidently familiar with the song that helped shape the golden era of pop-rock.

As the clock counted down to Taylor Swift‘s entrance, the arena was filled with an enchanting anticipation. Her dancers come out on stage, waving big shimmering fabrics of pink and orange, in style of the Lover era. When the dancers huddle up together, it is only seconds before Taylor emerges from a hole in the stage, standing on a platform that rises 8 feet up. Starting with Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince, which quickly merges into Cruel Summer, we can see TayTay sincerely delighted by the audience’s energy and enthusiasm. After quickly addressing her excitement and gratification to be in Amsterdam for 3 sold-out arenas, while in the meantime the stage is being transformed into a big office, she receives a glitter jacket from one of her dancers and tells the crowd “you make me feel like I’m the man”, clearly initiating The Man. After explaining the purpose of The Eras Tour, she ends the Lover era with a beautiful acoustic rendition of the title track, for which she accompanies herself with a pink guitar. After an impressively quick wardrobe change, the Fearless era starts. Classics like You Belong With Me and Love Story had the crowd singing along joyously. Unfortunately, we have not seen any marriage proposals this evening, something that happens quite often during the bridge from Love Story.

The transition to the Red era was marked by red lights and decor, with lively performances of 22, We Are Never Getting Back Together, and I Knew You Were Trouble keeping the energy high. She is then provided a beautiful shimmering gown and a red guitar and asks the crowd if they have about 10 minutes, inaugurating the 10-minute version of All Too Well. Swift‘s ability to switch effortlessly between spectacle and intimate, emotional moments was evident throughout the show.

After a beautiful performance of Enchanted, the only song from Speak Now, for which she wears a beautiful, purple, fairy-tale-like ball gown, the kinky, gothic era that is Reputation kicks off. Introduced by the iconic snake on the big screen and the runway, Swift walks on stage, dressed in a tight black and red catsuit. From all the genres that she has touched over the years, this is her most alternative one, almost touching rock. Accompanied by intense guitar riffs and a provocative performance, she ends the era with single Look What You Made Me Do.

The folklore cabin gets rolled on stage and to all Swifties’ delighted surprise, the purple folklore dress had finally returned after not making an appearance for 33 shows. After performing a beautiful rendition of cardigan, she tells the audience about her experience writing the album during the pandemic. She reveals how it was her escape and how it felt nice to be the narrator for once, instead of always writing about her own feelings and experiences. The folklore era gets combined with sister album evermore, which she ends with the beautifully choreographed willow.

If we had to tell you which era got the most participation from the crowd, it would definitely be 1989. The megahits, such as Blank Space and Shake It Off, turned the entire arena into one giant dance party. The defiant Bad Blood is accompanied by pyrotechnics on the big stage, complementing the strong and aggressive tones of the song about betrayal.

Next up was Miss Americana’s latest addition to her discography: The Tortured Poets Department, aka Female Rage The Musical, a term which the singer coined herself the first show this era was added to The Eras Tour. This entire eras truly felt like a musical, with stunning visuals and props. Especially the more upbeat track I Can Do It With A Broken Heart, which was preceded by a small theater piece, was met with wild fervour.

For the final era of the evening, a realization that you’d think would not feel as daunting after two and a half hours, but definitely did, the entire arena turned Lavender with the audience’s synchronized LED lights. Megahit Anti-Hero, fierce and vengeful Vigilante Shit and the empowering Bejeweled could not be missed on the setlist. Ending the era, and thus the show, was a lively performance of Karma, accompanied by fireworks, giving the evening a grand finale.

The gloomy day in Amsterdam was transformed by Taylor Swift into a fairytale evening filled with shimmering, glittering moments, confirming her status as the reigning pop queen.

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Eva van den Bosch Head Editor, Photographer
Eva van den Bosch combines concert photography with a prominent editorial role at Strife Mag.