March 24, 2023 | 8:01 p.m
From more than a dozen costume changes to 90 tractor trailers, here’s what it takes to bring Taylor Swift’s massive Eras Tour to life in stadium after stadium.
NY Post composite photo
Fifty-two stadiums, 10 albums, 44 songs spanning more than three hours: Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, which kicks off March 17 at State Farm Arena in Glendale, Arizona, is a production of epic proportions.
There are constant costume changes, massive set changes and stunts in the infamous Las Vegas residency sequence.
“It’s almost like a different Broadway musical for every song,” Dave Brooks — Billboard’s senior director of live music and touring — told The Post.
“The quality of the production is so far ahead of anything that has gone before [done] … They build these very elaborate sets that they use for a few songs, not the whole concert.”
The price is also astronomical.
“The cost should be well north of $100 million … probably a lot more than that,” Brooks said. “It will be one of the most expensive tours ever, but it will also be one of the highest-grossing tours ever. So it basically pays off.”
And it looks like he’s put all the drama of the Ticketmaster debacle behind the “Anti-Hero” singer with her legion of Swifties.
Erika Gabriel, an event producer who traveled from Salt Lake City to Glendale to see the tour’s second show on March 18, told The Post the experience was “incredible.”
“It literally exceeded all the expectations I had set for myself – about 10 times – and I already had high expectations.”
Here’s a peek at Swift’s next-level performance.
Setting the scene
A giant catwalk spanned nearly the entire length of the stadium for Swift to work the track with an army of over a dozen dancers.
The process of building this stage—and all the other sets—began on location weeks before the pop princess launched into Lover, Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince.
For a stadium tour of this magnitude, Brooks said, “They have advanced teams that can prepare and build in advance.”
Closer to the date, a crew of around 90 trucks arrived at the venue to build the expansive stage for Swift to sing hits spanning her career, ranging from her self-titled debut album in 2006 to her latest album in 2022. “Midnights”.
“It takes two to three weeks from my understanding,” Brooks said.
The big set
One of the structures—the moss-covered summit cabin that Swift sings about during the “Folklore” section—seems particularly difficult to build and tear down from town to town.
“It’s almost like you think they’d have to have two,” Brooks said, “so they can build one while the other is [being used].”
Swift takes stage diving to a whole different level.
Instead of collapsing into the crowd, the 33-year-old superstar dived head first into the stage hood after singing her breakout hit ‘Tim McGraw’. She then appears to swim across the stadium via a waterlogged catwalk before resurfacing – dry and fresh in a new suit – to perform ‘Lavender Haze’.
The stunt likely involved her landing on a crash mat and then using the same “rocket sled” apparatus she used to traverse the stadium out of sight during her 2018 “Reputation” tour. Brooks credited the oceanic an illusion of precisely timed, pre-filmed visuals that “are almost like a second performer with her up there.”
Swift wore more than a dozen different looks on opening night, including a gold hooded dress by Roberto Cavalli, a lavender gown by Alberta Ferretti, and shimmering bodysuits by Atelier Versace and Oscar de la Renta.
Quick changes are key.
“All the costumes are usually modified in some way that will make getting in and out really easy,” Dan George, a former tour manager who has worked for Shakira and Britney Spears, told The Post. “A dress that normally has buttons, maybe they add a zipper instead. Or the performer may need to have a battery pouch in suit. You know, little customizations that make things easier.
And at the end of the day, Swift — who will bring her Eras Tour to MetLife Stadium May 26-28 — is the best special effect, no matter how massive the production.
“Her endurance is really ‘next level’ for me,” Brooks said. “The fact that she’s going to do these marathon, three-hour-plus shows — it must be exhausting.”
However, George notes that her singing style is not as tiresome as some divas.
“Taylor is more of a stylistic vocalist. She has a very beautiful voice, but she is not a strong vocalist. So when she sings live, she doesn’t scream at the top of her lungs,” he said. “So it’s not super challenging for her vocally.”
Still, the performance is an incredible achievement.
Brooks said, “You can innovate a scene, an element of a tour. But you can’t really upgrade the human body too much – and the human ability to deliver.