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Taylor Swift’s The ErasTour:  music and power.

The Eras tour – concert and film – is more than music. It is a historical turning point in the nature and use of power

My wife and I went to the Taylor Swift concert film, The ErasTou,r which opened Friday night in Mexico. Apparently a lot of other people did too because its opening gross totaled $97 million in North America alone -the largest concert film opening in history.

 For the two or three of my readers who might have missed it, The Eras concert tour began in Glendale, Arizona, on March 17, 2023, and is set to conclude in October 2024 after going through 15 countries. It is projected to earn $4.1 billion, plus merchandise, film proceeds and other revenue, making it the most successful tour in history.

The concert – and the movie- span over three hours, with a set list of 44 songs divided into 10 acts that conceptually portray Swift’s ten studio albums, and with them “eras” of her life and development. As UPROXX said, the concert is “The most impressive stadium show ever conceived.”

The film is a creative and technical masterpiece, totally entertaining for its entire three hours. It focuses on the tour’s show in SoFI stadium in Inglewood, California, and in many ways is better than being there (and cheaper). Swift’s film production company used drones, fixed cameras, moving cameras, long shots, and superb editing to bring the viewer the excitement of being in the stadium and the intimacy of being onstage with Swift and her dancers.

The Olympics-level (actually, better than the Beijing Olympics) concert special effects were on full display in the film from multiple angles, including from Swift’s viewpoint. The film succeeds in being both global and intimate in a way that no other concert film even approaches. And she embedded her ideological messages in it in ways that embraced, instead of dividing her audience. Truly brilliant.

My favorite part was the credits – but I will get to that later.

That Taylor Swift was in total control of the concert and the film was evident. Her hundred-person production company and the hundreds and hundreds more people involved in the film and the concert, is pulling off a technological and creative miracle, dozens of times in dozens of locations, apparently flawlessly. The amount of planning, recruiting, rehearsing, designing, choreographing, testing and thousands of other tasks involved  is mind-boggling.

Yes, I know this is what global rock bands and the tour companies that produce events for them do.  Eras was a level beyond other stadium tours, not only in its creativity and complexity, but in its engagement of the audience (Lady Gaga does this too). Rolling Stone called Eras “A Career -Spanning Victory Lap.” That is true, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Eras is also a statement of power – the kind of power that women wield and that the world needs more of.

As CEO of the company that produces her shows, Taylor Swift exhibited what management experts call referent power – the power women use to get things done, rather than the male power of dominating people. She – and other powerful women – accomplish the possible and impossible by inspiring and motivating and visioning that generates collaboration to manifest her vision as if it were everyone’s vision. This is why the study “Women Matter” by McKinsey & Company found that female-led companies report higher profits on average than their male-led counterparts. Swift is the global leader of that success.

The Eras Tour, both the concert tour and the movie, is an inherently collaborative enterprise, and in it Swift demonstrates her complete mastery of collaborative power – she even refers to it in the concert when she blushes at the applause she receives as she points to different sections of the 70, 247 people in SoFI stadium in Los Angles, saying they – they -made her feel powerful. Take that, patriarchy.

So, if the film is so brilliant, why do I like the credits most? The seemingly endless scroll of names of people and companies involved in the production of the concert and the film was graphic evidence of Swift’s referent power. All those people and all those institutions collaborated to embrace and manifest her vision. The movie showed us in living color the creative genius that is Taylor Swift; the credit scroll showed us in a black and white the CEO that is Taylor Swift.

The Eras Tour is not just a concert and a movie; it is a historical turning point in the nature and use of power. See it.

Patrick O’Heffernan

Caption: Two Taylor Swift the Eras Tour tickets at 199 pesos each, about $11 US, half the price of American tickets but over twice the usual price of movie tickets in Ajijic.



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About Patrick O'Heffernan, Music Sin Fronteras (485 Articles)
Patrick O’Heffernan, PhD., is a music journalist based in Mexico, with a global following. He focuses on music in English and Spanish that combines rock and rap, blues and jazz and pop with music from Latin America, especially Mexico like cumbia, banda, son jarocho, and mariachi. He is also edits a local news website and is a subeditor of a local Spanish language newspaper. Check out his weekly column Music Sin Frontera on Sunday nights.

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