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The Eras Tour Hits Different on TV — What the Taylor Swift Concert Loses (and Gains) on Disney+

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COMMENTARY
The Eras Tour Hits Different on TV — What the Taylor Swift Concert Loses (and Gains) on Disney+
BY CLAIRE FRANKEN

MARCH 14, 2024 3:00 PM
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour makes its streaming debut on Disney+ Thursday, and, at first, it won’t quite measure up to the stadium experience.

In May 2023, my five closest friends and I attended Swift’s show at MetLife Stadium — and it wasn’t just a concert. For a group of single twenty-something women, it was, in many ways, our wedding, our bachelorette party and maybe even our own funeral! What I mean is, it was a ritualistic occasion — a holy sacrament.

For us, the Eras Tour wasn’t simply an after-work get-together, it was a grand, all-day affair. Brunch was had, toasts were made. Dresses were steamed, lipsticks were traded. Glitter was swiped onto eyelids, cheeks and chests. And, of course, Eras were selected and embodied in fishnet tights and gauzy purple dresses.

Taylor Swift | Grammys 2024 Best Moments

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour makes its streaming debut on Disney+ Thursday, and, at first, it won’t quite measure up to the stadium experience.

In May 2023, my five closest friends and I attended Swift’s show at MetLife Stadium — and it wasn’t just a concert. For a group of single twenty-something women, it was, in many ways, our wedding, our bachelorette party and maybe even our own funeral! What I mean is, it was a ritualistic occasion — a holy sacrament.

For us, the Eras Tour wasn’t simply an after-work get-together, it was a grand, all-day affair. Brunch was had, toasts were made. Dresses were steamed, lipsticks were traded. Glitter was swiped onto eyelids, cheeks and chests. And, of course, Eras were selected and embodied in fishnet tights and gauzy purple dresses.

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We took several high-speed and low-speed trains to get there — “there” being a New Jersey football arena that had metamorphosed into a mecca of girlhood. Despite MetLife Stadium being packed with thousands and thousands of individual fans, we all vaguely resembled the same person and our particulars washed away, for better or for worse. That night, we were Swifties.

When Swift finally emerged from the dramatic water-colored fans and took the stage, our brain chemistries were altered — whether by the sheer force of the vibration in the stands or the simple coming of Mother remains unclear.

Despite our position in $140 seats in the fourth-to-last row, we could feel her power and her control over the crowd. She commanded the massive stage and surrounding stadium, even while playing the notably low-key acoustic surprise songs (which were, that night, the glorious “False God” and the dubious “Holy Ground”).

But on Thursday, Disney+ subscribers will face the same hard truth as I did when I rented the concert movie on Prime Video in December: Swift’s magic was not what I thought. I felt duped! Where in concert she was huge, on TV she is small. Where on tour she spoke to hundreds of thousands, on screen she’s just talking to little old me. In all honesty, though it pains me as a Swiftie to admit, I found myself cringing at the pop icon’s just average ability to move about the stage.

But as a card-carrying member of the Swiftie Union, I kept watching and I realized I recognized the pop star’s dancing. When examined in documentary-style close-ups, I discovered that the woman isn’t dancing at all! Swift is merely hand-dancing, orchestrating a series of musical charades corresponding to actions in her l

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