Taylor Swift
The Eras Tour
Review by Ross Anthony

As a music lover, non-Swiftie, and old guy, I enjoyed this film! Most of the songs were new to me, though others I'd heard on streaming services. No need to comment on the songs - they're hugely successful. So let me talk about the show, and geek out on the technical audio/video coverage and set design. As someone who has shot live music events (on a much smaller scale, for sure), I know there are many challenges to overcome, and there are holy grail shots cinematographers want to capture. Eras Tour coverage captures them well! Circling sweeping medium-close shots, Taylor's backlit hair glowing as the audience behind blurs into a mesmerizing space of flickering stars. It's been a while since I've been to a concert, so forgive me if I'm bedazzled by the new tech, but it appeared to me that each concert goer was given a glowing bracelet that wirelessly sync'd to the beat. What a beautiful way to make the darkened stadium a strong expansive element of the total light show! The glowing bracelets not only tap to the beat where needed, but slow fade to song-appropriate color schemes that accent the main LED screen (which is probably the size of a football field). As if that's not enough, a peninsula-shaped stage juts out into waves of cheering fans, and that stage is an LED screen, too, adorned creatively with dancing images as well. One of my stage display favorites: ember-paths that flickered and faded away trailing the dancers. That must have taken great care, coordination, and choreography - or perhaps some sort of electronic chip carried by the dancers directing cursers like fingers on a track pad. Either way, simply a magical tech/imaginative result. With cameras everywhere, zipping along, around and above, the final edited product provides a beautifully way to "experience" this concert. The sets are dynamic, sparkling, and ooze imagination. This is certainly a show to wow.

As for Taylor, the show can convert the non-believers. Even the songs that didn't resonate with me (not my genre favs), were good songs. And then there were the songs that rocked me emotionally. She's an excellent songwriter and you could not ask for much more in a performer. For the uninitiated, she may appear a bit pretentious, Barbie-esque, a little too self-aggrandizing in her sparkling jumper and high heel cowboy boots. I wavered on that feeling for the first few songs. But as the journey adventures forward and she directly addresses the audience, you begin to see how she fits herself into this over the big-top swirling show. You begin letting go of those judgments and start to appreciate all that she energizes. The show is so big, that it would likely just collapse under a lesser talent. It feels a bit like a broadway musical in which Swift is the lead actress, singing the big number in every scene, syncing with all the background dancers, then filling the stage solo ... all while making you feel as if you're a trusted friend. It's as if we'd been hanging out with her before the show, then had to cajole her into banging out those tunes she'd tried out on us a few weeks back.

Improvement suggestion for the next tour: I wanted more of the stage display. Editing in more of those soaring drone-like shots from above would give us that. I greatly appreciated the clean clear sound, and while it's likely a necessity to lean heavy on her pre-sampled vocals given the physicality of the performances, I'd still dare future concert films to bias the mix to favor the imperfect live vocal track. Lastly, three hours is quite a sitting (for the not-yet-fan) and more of the songs in last third of this production employ far less big-set design integration. While that may work live, cutting portions of that last third could have brought the film version in just over 2 hours. To be clear, this is still a great show, and fans are going to love and be grateful for every minute.

That said, it's big, it's beautiful and even at 3 hours I'm sure fans would love to enjoy it all over again. I, too, would be happy to marvel at some of the song productions another time. And, in addition to all the music and visuals, Swift succeeds in sculpting this many multifaceted concert into a warm welcoming musical journey.

-- Books by Ross Anthony, Author/Illustrator --

  • Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour. Copyright © 2023.
  • Starring Taylor Swift. Directed by Sam Wrench. Taylor Swift Productions.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Thursday, 28-Dec-2023 16:36:10 PST