On the Eras Tour, Taylor Swift at one point plays a piano that appears to be covered in moss. But there are certain aspects of the show that are guaranteed not to gather that substance, judging from the second night of the tour, which, like the first, took place at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
One of those is the costuming, with the pop superstar trying out some different dresses (or, in the case of “The Man,” black or grey suit-dresses) in different parts of the concert Saturday than she had at Friday night’s tour opener.
But perhaps more notably, Night 2 was already allowing for two tour premieres among the setlist, where only one wild card slot had been expected. Near the end of the set, Swift took to the acoustic guitar to play a solo rendition of “This Is Me Trying,” from the “Folklore” album, following by a short trip over to the piano for a solo reading of “State of Grace,” from “Red.” (See video excerpts of those numbers, below.)
On the first night at State Farm Stadium, those solo-acoustic slots near the end of the three-hour-plus had been filled by “Mirrorball,” from “Folklore,” and “Tim McGraw,” from her self-titled debut. Anyone who caught the opening night expected “Mirrorball” to be making a one-time-only appearance, as Swift preceded it by explaining that this was a moment in the set where each night she would do a different catalog song, never to be repeated on the more than 50 U.S. dates (unless she messed something up, she added, in which case she reserved the right to try to get it right in another city). So it was no shock to get “This Is Me Trying” in place of “Mirrorball” on night 2 — but to the extent that the song pick itself was a surprise, it was a welcome fan, as many fans had hoped “This Is Me Trying” would squeeze its way into the regular nightly set.
“State of Grace,” however, was more startling to attentive Swifties — and again, mostly in a good way, as few will ever complain about getting a bonus from “Red,” a fan-favorite album. However, losing “Tim McGraw” meant that the evening went without any representation at all from the 2006 debut LP, in a show that had material from her other nine albums present and accounted for. Will “Tim” be back after it was put on pause, or are there going to be two wild cards each night instead of the previously announced one? On night 2, Swift did not preface the no-repeats slot with an explanation like she did the previous evening, so fans may have to wait till she performs again — next weekend in Las Vegas — to “see how this is gonna go,” to quote a lyric. The faithful were already champing at the bit of the prospect of 50 or more unique songs showing up along the American tour, so if there might be even more than one acoustic surprise a night, Swifties will really have extra reason to be attuned from afar to nightly setlists as they pop up online, to find out what they’re missing.
One thing that didn’t change Saturday: the lateness of the hour. Although the Friday night closing time of 11:12 seemed like the show might have accidentally drifted past an 11 p.m. curfew that many venues enforce, the show actually went even a few minutes longer than that on Saturday. And a leaked crew sheet showed that the weekend concerts were indeed deliberately budgeted to go until 11:15, making for a running time calculated to be right around 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Although the show has many costume changes, Swift is only very briefly offstage during those roughly 195 minutes. Some of the changes even involve taking something off or putting something on while not leaving the stage, whether that’s in front of everyone’s eyes or, in one clever staging moment, behind a confluence of umbrellas that fit together to form a dressing-room shield. The fact that Swift is on stage for all but two or three minutes of the epic running time means that she’s more than matching the stamina of her fans, who have their own somewhat lesser endurance test — since there’s hardly a person in the building who’s going to sit down at any point in her set (and most also stand for her two opening acts, which this weekend were Paramore and Gayle).
Check out some of the overlapping or completely different looks Swift rocked at her second show, which largely involved different colors or textures or — in the case of “22” — a T-shirt with different lettering. (On Saturday, the shirt read “Who’s Taylor Swift anyway? Ew” instead of Friday’s “A lot going on at the moment.”) The only look that’s almost certain to remain identical from night to night — even if more than one of the pieces might have been manufactured — is her striking outfit for the “Reputation” segment of the show, in which one leg is laid bare and the other is black while her torso is all red-and-sequined snakes. That is something you don’t just sub out for the sake of doing the laundry.
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