Reviewer: Janet Martineau
Venue: Cinemas Everywhere
First up a brutal admission: I ain’t no Swiftie.
But… But… Holy cow!
Went to the movie version of Taylor Swift’s acclaimed Eras Tour on Saturday, and was literally blown out of my mind.
What a production, what a performer, what a visual experience, what new standards this has set for concert movies. It may have set a bar too high to ever exceed indeed.
And does one review it as a movie or as a concert or as a delightful new highbred. Will it be eligible for an Academy Award of any kind?
17 years of music from 10 albums; 40 songs performed in just under three hours; 16 showings a day (Thursday through Sunday) in Saginaw’s two movie theaters.
And the ticket price for a senior citizen, which I am, a bargain $13.13. For adults $19.89, which is still a bargain considering the cost of attending in person a live performance.
The visuals: the glow of around 70,000 smartphone lights surrounding her when this was filmed during a live venue performance, smoke machines and a huge slithering snake, billowing dancing clouds, a folklore cabin with smoke coming out of its chimney and moss on its roof, ocean waves, ladders, swimming, a helicopter, an umbrella dance, lavish costumes, a steam engine train crossing the stage, red balloons, a bevy of bicycles.
Some of these were actual and some digital projections.
The stage/set: a thrust stage nearly as long as a football field (sorry for that analogy) that gave ample room for everything that happened. Numerous vignettes with staging like scenes in a play. The (kinda overused) use of hydraulic platforms, putting Swift and others in peril in my mind. Multi levels.
The cast: 14 dancers, four backup singers and six band members, in addition to Swift.
And oh my God, those dancers. Actors as well. In all shapes and sizes – as in some of them with meat on their bones. Ethnically pleasing when it comes to racial backgrounds. Lovely tribute to “Chicago” with chairs. Costuming incredible. The choreography is the stand out of this production actually along with the cinematography.
Swift: Did not realize the range of her voice. How she relates so beautifully to the camera and to the audience. Her hair becoming a wet mess as the evening progressed. Wondering if she was going to plunge off that folklore roof. Sexy and flirty and also an incredible actress.
So many costume changes one could not possibly keep track — from barely clad to a T-shirt top to a huge ballroom gown.
An acoustic set to full out numbers. At home on the piano or on her guitar. A 10-minute minute song (“All Too Well”). How does she do this night after night. Incredible when she sings an angry song (“We Are Never Getting Back Together” was particularly intense), but can turn right around with a soothing sound.
We aren’t naming the song titles because, frankly, we are not familiar with them. Would love to know the name of the one with orange gowns and black cape costuming and orange orbs held by the dancers. Loved it.
There were 21 of us at the showing I attended at the The Quality 10/ Emagine Theatre.
Four dancing teen girls in Swifty T-shirts who shouted – not sang — the lyrics to every single song and screamed in delight when the first few notes played and they knew what it was. Not disruptive but actually fun.
An adult in the lower right hand side underneath the screen, who danced through most of it. Reminded me of myself back in the day when I danced through live concerts by the likes of Madonna and Bruce Springsteen.
In back of me, a collection of young elementary kids, who also danced through most of it.
Interesting to observe the range of ages that Swift attracts.
If you attend one of the showings stay through the credits. First to observe how many people it took to pull this off. You don’t get credit lines at live performances, and they are so overdue. And also the credits feature of some wonderful outtakes of fans and costume malfunctions.
Loved it all, and her.
Below this is a link to an interesting opinion column about the possible addition of more concert films.
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