Taylor Swift at Wembley review: 'I laughed, cried and danced through 3-hour masterpiece'

MyLondon reporter Anna Willis at the Eras Tour at Wembley Stadium on Friday night (June 21)
-Credit: (Image: Anna Willis)

A ticket to Taylor Swift's The Eras Tour in London is one of the most valuable commodities going right now. The pop star has been performing the more than three-hour show in cities around the world, and finally, on Friday night (June 21), Taylor arrived in London.

The excitement was palpable, even at midday when I stepped out of Wembley Park station and saw people wearing an impressive amount of sequins making their way towards the stadium. Olympic Way gradually became busier as more Taylor Swift fans arrived, but there was plenty to do, from getting photographs on the Taylor Swift steps to sitting in the sun swapping friendship bracelets.

Once doors opened - 4pm for early entry, 4.30pm for general admission - queues moved fairly fast and we were inside just as the first support act, Mette, started. We grabbed drinks, including a beer (Stella Artois, £7.85 for a 440ml can) and water (Princes Gate bottled water, £3.20 for 500ml),

LIVE: Taylor Swift Eras Tour at Wembley updates including setlist, stage times and Tube updates

Hayley Williams warms up the crowd with tonnes of energy

Paramore on stage at Wembley as they support Taylor Swift's Eras Tour
Paramore on stage at Wembley as they support Taylor Swift's Eras Tour -Credit:Ron Walker

Our standing tickets meant we got down to the stage quite quickly, and caught some of Mette's performance, which was big and bold - an exciting new voice. She finished her set at around 5.50pm, with Paramore taking over the stage ten minutes later at 6pm.

The stage itself is designed with a long catwalk and a big diamond in the middle. There are also huge screens behind the main stage, so even from the nosebleed seats at the back of the stadium, you'll be able to see what's going on.

This was a great set from the pop-punk band, with Hayley Williams warming the crowd up with loads of energy and some great tunes including Hard Times, Still Into You and Misery Business. The nine-song set finished just before 7pm, giving anxious Swifties just over half an hour to wait until Taylor was due to appear.

'London, will you cross this bridge with me?'

'I feel like I'm the Man' - Taylor Swift performing The Man at Wembley Stadium on Friday, June 21
'I feel like I'm the Man' - Taylor Swift performing The Man at Wembley Stadium on Friday, June 21 -Credit:Anna Willis

There is something incredibly magical about the introduction to the Eras Tour. The huge "ERAS TOUR" screen melts away to be replaced by a giant clock, counting down from 2 minutes and 23 seconds into a stunning and eerie opening featuring dancers what looks like massive peacock feathers.

The soundtrack as the dancers walk down the catwalk into position reflects all of Taylor's eleven albums, a taste of what's to come. And then, Taylor herself appears from the middle of the stage, rising into the air with the chorus of Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince, and you know you're in for something special.

The Eras Tour is divided into Taylor's albums, or 'eras', and she starts with her album Lover, playing cult classics including Cruel Summer: "London, will you cross this bridge with me?" and hits like You Need to Calm Down. The production of the show is incredibly slick, as Taylor moves between contrasting songs with aplomb, easily bringing her audience with her.

She goes from huge, performative crowdpleasers like The Man to the romantic ballad Lover, which she sings standing still on a rising block while playing a sparkly guitar. The first era over, a short transition is made into the Fearless era, featuring one of the pop star's most famous songs, Love Story.

This era felt like one the whole crew - dancers, Taylor and band alike - all loved to perform together, with big smiles and a sense of camaraderie between the team. Hearing some of the songs you've grown up listening to performed live, echoed by almost 90,000 people is a really special moment.

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'Why don't you just bog off!'

Taylor wearing a 'Who is Taylor Swift anyway? Ew' T Shirt during the Red era
Taylor wearing a 'Who is Taylor Swift anyway? Ew' T Shirt during the Red era -Credit:Anna Willis

Third up was the Red era, where for this performance Taylor started by wearing a shirt with the words 'Who is Taylor Swift anyway? Ew' written on it. The energy continued to flow, and dancer Kam added a London twist on We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together: "Why don't you just bog off!"

A ten-minute version of the song, played live with minimal staging would normally be something most performers would shy away from - but not Taylor Swift. All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) didn't wow me, with a lull in energy caused by the length of the slower song.

But the next song, Enchanted, which encapsulates the whole of the Speak Now era, was cleverly placed to match the slower speed of All Too Well but bring a more positive energy back to the show. Taylor came out in a stunning gold sparkly ballgown, and as she sings "I was enchanted to meet you", it really feels like she's singing right towards you.

Smoke and fire

Taylor Swift during the Repuation era
Taylor Swift during the Repuation era -Credit:Anna Willis

Possibly the most impressive era shift came next as Taylor stalks out to the heavy synth bass notes of Are You Ready For It, the opening track from her album Reputation. Wearing a striking black bodysuit with red snakes on it, this album was a turning point in Taylor's career and her anger at being cancelled back in 2016.

This era is full of smoke and fire, and it really shows off the versatility of Taylor Swift as an artist. The standout from the Reputation era is during Look What You Made Me Do, when she has all of her 'past selves' lined up inside glass cages she then tries to break - now with success after the re-release of almost of all her albums.

The Reputation era is also one of the most powerful within the show and highlights why the show is called the Eras Tour in the first place. Listening to the songs from the albums we had heard previously to Reputation, you'd think they had been made by different artists.

Another big contrast followed as the 'Folklore cabin' appeared, with Taylor perched in the roof where she sings songs from her 2020 albums Folklore and Evermore. At this point I found myself flagging slightly, despite loving some of the songs she played, including Betty and My Tears Ricochet.

Taylor Swift in the Folklore cabin
Taylor Swift in the Folklore cabin -Credit:Anna Willis

However, this is more likely to be due to having been walking around Wembley since midday and standing in the stadium since 5.30pm - and demonstrates the sheer physicality and fitness that Taylor herself has to not only lead and perform the three-and-a-half hour show, but to do it for several nights in a row week after week.

Following the 'Folkmore' set, Taylor then reappeared in the middle of the catwalk for 1989, wearing a sparkly orange/red bralette top and a blue skirt - a hint towards the UK flag? Opening with Style, this brought the vibe right back up, and even the popular songs that Swifties claim to skip, like Shake It Off and Blank Space, saw the whole stadium on their feet dancing away.

Female Rage: The Musical

The Tortured Poets Department brought a heightened sense of drama to the show
The Tortured Poets Department brought a heightened sense of drama to the show -Credit:Anna Willis

The visuals for this era were fun and almost silly - a nice contrast from the intensity of Folkmore - with dancers on glow in the dark bicycles and Taylor waving an electric blue golf club. Next up was the new era, The Tortured Poets Department, with Taylor in a white dress a zooming around on a raised platform while singing Who's Afraid of Little Old Me.

For such a new addition to the tour, this was one of the most exciting eras to watch, with the sheer passion and drama Taylor brought to each of the songs. She's called the set 'Female Rage: The Musical' and it's certainly apt - and the crowd was screaming right along with her.

The transitions between eras are remarkably quick, given the costume changes Taylor is doing - often adding multiple layers on top of each other. So impressively fast, Taylor appeared in an orange dress for the acoustic set, where she performs surprise songs each night.

'I guess you're in London today...' - surprise songs

Taylor performs an acoustic set of surprise songs every night
Taylor performs an acoustic set of surprise songs every night -Credit:Anna Willis

And London night one got very lucky indeed. A mash-up of Hits Different and Death By A Thousand Cuts was connected by Taylor's love of the two bridges, which then combined together into a 'megabridge', as the crowd went wild.

But then, for the second song of the set on the piano, she gave us a smirk and said: "I've never played this one live before" before diving into The Black Dog, a song from her album which refers to a pub in Vauxhall. This was impressive enough, before she transitioned into Come Back...Be Here, with its mentions of London: "I guess you're in London today..."

And if we thought that was where Taylor was finishing, we were wrong, as the song slid into Maroon, from Midnights. Subtly savage, these songs could all be referring (directly or indirectly) to her ex-boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, in a progression from a lover far away, to a relationship breaking down as Taylor watches him "walk into some bar called the Black Dog", and feels the "rust growing between telephones".

These live songs are a unique energy - playing an acoustic song simply by yourself, with no band, visuals or anything else for support, is an incredible feat, let alone to a huge stadium filled with 88,000 people. But Taylor Swift, with her star-quality, manages to bring the whole crowd in to listen, as if she's playing just for you.

A tour-de-force

Taylor waving to the crowd at the end of the Eras Tour
Taylor waving to the crowd at the end of the Eras Tour -Credit:Anna Willis

The last era is Midnights, as darkness had properly fallen in London. The eerie sense of being awake at the wrong time is cleverly created through Lavender Haze, but it's Vigilante S*** that makes you look up and pay attention.

And during Midnight Rain, the heavens opened and it began raining, making me still unsure as to whether Taylor is such a global phenomenon, she now controls the weather. The show ended with a rousing shout of "Karma is the guy on the Chiefs" as Taylor's boyfriend, Travis Kelce, was at the show, and with bows and huge smiles, the performance ended.

It's a tour-de-force of a show, and possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see such a global pop star at the dizzying heights she has reached. It will make you laugh, cry, smile and cheer, as Taylor runs around the stage with such infectious energy and her dazzling grin.

Tickets provided in exchange for a review.

Got a story for us? Email anna.willis@reachplc.com.

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