Atlanta in Its Taylor Swift Era: The Eras Tour Comes to Atlanta


Taylor Swift performs in Mercedes Benz Stadium on April 28th. Photo by Terence Rushin/Getty Images

Shae Cotter, Reporter

Two weeks ago, Atlanta ended April on a high note with a visit from one of America’s favorite musicians: Taylor Swift. Swift appeared not only once, but three times, in sold-out shows at Mercedes Benz Stadium on April 28th, 29th, and 30th, with over 60,000 lucky fans in attendance each night. These concerts marked the first time Swift performed in Atlanta since August of 2018, when she performed two shows at Mercedes Benz on her Reputation Tour. During Swift’s nearly five-year hiatus from touring, she released four new albums and two re-recorded ones, providing plenty of new material for fans to look forward to hearing live. For many, this long break, along with the new music it produced, made the concert experience even more meaningful.

“It just made it that much more special and that much more of a bigger environment with more people because of the longer amount of time that more people were being introduced to her music,” said Emma Huitt (‘25). 

Since Swift’s last tour in 2018, not only has her discography increased, but her musical style has evolved, and some of her newer albums, particularly folklore and evermore marked a departure from the more “pop-y” style that many fans had become accustomed to with a more alternative sound and a focus on storytelling. 

“With her newer albums, she catered to a whole new genre of music lovers, especially with folklore and evermore, it was less pop and more alternative than her other albums,” said Huitt.

For some, these new releases became new favorites, and the fact that they made up much of the setlist was definitely a crowd pleaser for many.

“My favorite eras at the concert were Lover and folklore because they’re the ones I’ve listened to the most and the effects were so cool. You could tell she put her heart and soul into every single word she spoke, so those were definitely my favorite eras,” said McKenzie Hensarling (‘25), who attended the concerts on April 29th and 30th. 

Though songs from Swift’s newer albums are more heavily featured on the setlist for the Eras Tour, the premise of the tour including all of Swift’s “eras” means that fans have heard her perform songs from all ten of her albums on tour. All of her albums have come over a period of nearly seventeen years, and the variety in her discography has been felt by many during the Eras Tour concert experience and been further enhanced by the concert effects.

“Each era is represented by a different color, and [Swift] very much played into that. So the lights on the stage are the lights around our wrists on our bracelets or the color from whatever it was,” said Hensarling. 

The light-up bracelets at Swift’s concerts are a unique part of the experience that provide even more visual effects to the already high-budget show. When every fan enters the stadium, they’re provided with an LED bracelet that, once the show starts, lights up at different times and in different colors to provide extremely coordinated visual effects. The bracelets operate using infrared technology and receive specific signals for when and how to light up, and the results provide for an exciting experience. 

Swift performs “Blank Space” at night two in Atlanta. Photo courtesy of Shae Cotter

“Before the concert, you take a tab out of the light, and when the concert starts, the bracelets light up and blink and they’re all synced up together, so it creates visuals around the stadium, which was really cool seeing from the nosebleeds. There were hearts being made, there were a bunch of flashy colors, it was really cool,” said Hensarling.

Not only do the bracelets affect how concertgoers see the show, Swift herself acknowledged the effect they had on her viewing experience.

“I think the bracelets made it better for the fans to interact with her more and she said could see all of us better with the bracelet lights, so that was cool,” said Maya Rao (‘25). 

In a massive stadium such as Mercedes Benz, good effects are crucial, and Swift’s concerts, famously elaborate, delivered not only with the bracelets, but with complex lighting and visuals.

“The effects she had were insane, and “baby” Taylor when she just started her career didn’t have access to that. Now that she has a lot more access to it, it was amazing, it was a full production, not just a concert,” said Hensarling.

Mercedes Benz, in particular, has unique aspects that helped improve the viewing experiences for some, especially for those who may have had seats further from the action.

“The nice thing about Mercedes Benz Stadium is that they have circular screens, so no matter where you are you can see the show. It was really good, they had lots of different effects,” said Mackenzie DeWoody (‘25).

The effects involved in the show further helped distinguish Swift’s different eras as they were being performed and loosely adhered to a different visual theme for each one. Swift herself also changed from era to era, literally, as she switched outfits multiple times throughout the night to open each new era.

“The outfit changes, I think there were like twelve different outfits, and the color schemes and the lights and the wristbands, because each era has a different color scheme, all changed and you could tell with the production, the screen, and the wristbands,” said DeWoody.

Aside from Swift herself, the effects weren’t the only thing that helped make the night even better for many.

“The people there were so nice,” said Huitt. “We would just walk up and talk to people that we’d never met before, and we traded friendship bracelets.”

Huitt was one of many to take part in the new tradition at Taylor Swift concerts of trading friendship bracelets, which is inspired, like many rituals of devoted fans, by a line in one of Swift’s songs.

“In her song ‘You’re On Your Own Kid’ she has lyrics relating to friendship bracelets, so I guess it just kind of became a thing,” said Anika Mano (‘25).

Though the fan-favorite “You’re Own Your Own Kid” wasn’t on the regular setlist, Swift performed it as a surprise song at her show in Tampa. At each stop on the tour so far, Swift has performed two surprise songs that she hasn’t played yet on the Eras Tour, giving fans at each show a special experience to look forward to.

“Hearing the surprise songs, they were both so good,” said Emma Huitt, who attended the concert on April 29th. “I was a little jealous of night three, because ‘I Bet You Think About Me’ is so good, but ‘Gorgeous’ and ‘High Infidelity’ are so good.”

Unlike other surprise songs on the tour, “High Infidelity” was one surprise song that many fans were able to see coming on that particular date due to a special line in the song.

“The reason that she had to play ‘High Infidelity’ on April 29th is because the song literally says ‘Do you really wanna know where I was April 29th?’ And since she had a concert on April 29th, she had to play it. We were all screaming “Do you really wanna know where I was April 29th?” because we were at Taylor Swift,” said Huitt. 

Even though Swift will remain on tour until August, fans won’t have to wait long for the release of another album. At her first concert in Nashville, Swift announced that her re-recording of her album Speak Now, known as Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), will be released on July 7th, confirming the theories of many and raising much excitement.

“I’m so excited. I cannot wait for the vault songs and ‘Dear John’ re-recorded,” said Mano, referring to songs released “from the vault,” or unreleased ones produced alongside the others in the album. Swift has announced that Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) will include six songs from the vault.

Even with the re-release of Speak Now approaching, it may take some fans time to process the concert experience first. 

“Before the concert, it didn’t really hit me that I was going to see Taylor, it was more like, ‘Oh I’m going to the Mercedes Benz stadium,’ but then once she opened with ‘Miss Americana [and the Heartbreak Prince],’ I started crying. Both nights!” said Hensarling.

The level of fame that Swift has and the devotion of her many fans can contribute to her portrayal as an untouchable public figure, and being in the same stadium as her was understandably surreal for some.

“Just knowing that she was singing live and was interacting with us, that was my favorite part,” said Hensarling. “It made her feel a lot more real than I thought she was before.”