Sam Wrench directs Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, the screen version of the artist’s ambitious tour of the same name. Through careful camera work and stunning visuals, he manages to convey a real sense of being present in the arena with the best seats in the house.
It has been five years since Taylor Swift embarked on a tour. The COVID pandemic, among other things, kept her off the road. So, she knew that this tour needed to be something spectacular. To the shock of many, she announced the Eras tour, featuring over forty songs from a whopping ten albums. Different sets and graphics were commissioned for each album “era,” a band, backup singers, and a large collection of dancers were assembled, and she set out on the road. As if all this weren’t enough, the last dates of the concert were filmed at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, rounding out something that most would not have thought possible.
Swift is a dynamic powerhouse from the first moment she appears onstage until the final song. Her energy, through three hours and over forty tunes, is astonishing. Accompanied by lavish sets that coincide with the album and its most famous songs is a team of backup dancers that mesh perfectly with her styles; she takes the audience on a journey through time and her mind. Throughout, she maintains a solid connection with the audience, even asking them to sing with her at times. As much work as a set like this may be, she’s clearly having fun and bringing the audience along for the ride. This infectious joy extends to the theater audience with Wrench’s careful filmmaking. But while the direction and camera work are commendable, there are a few moments where it might have been better for a camera to linger than to switch over to a different one too quickly. This minor flaw doesn’t happen often, but the effect is noticeable when it does. Other than this, the filming and stage work are flawless. It isn’t until the end credits that a few mistakes and foibles during the production are shown. By this time, they simply add to the charm.
Many modern concert tours have themed sets, but that doesn’t even come close to describing what Swift and her team have created. With this many scene changes, one would expect the displays to be simple, but that is not the case. Each is its own complete world. The costumes she and her fantastic backup dancers wear perfectly match each era, from sequins to long flowing dresses to a medieval hooded cowl. Every step is planned and choreographed to time perfectly with an interactive stage floor that only adds to the thrill of the concert.
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour has all the excitement of attending a live concert without the five-hour wait to get out of the parking lot. “Swifties” won’t find any flaws, and even those not inducted into the following will be hard-pressed to criticize. The combination of song, dance, and extraordinary visuals make this epic undertaking a concert for the ages.