Live Review: Taylor Swift, Anfield Stadium Liverpool – 13th June 2024

Photo Credit: TAS Rights Management

So you’ll be aware dear reader that it’s not often that we cover acts with the reach of Taylor Swift here on AUK, and I knew when I began writing this review that I’d have to start it with a justification for appearing on an Americana website, so here goes. Taylor Swift’s origins were of course in country music, although perhaps not the sort of country that readers of AUK would listen to on a regular basis. But she has always been an interesting artist, entirely removed from the mawkish/histrionic/pick your adjective MOR which passes for mainstream country today, and she has an authenticity to everything she does, particularly in a live setting. Her two lockdown albums were bang on in terms of the type of indie-folk we dig around these parts, with nods towards Americana, and hey, most of all, how often do we here at AUK get offered tickets to see an act which would fill a whole stadium?

And so to the show in Liverpool last night, the first of three in the city in which this website is based and notable for a few reasons – it was her 100th on a tour which has already spanned the four corners of the globe, it’s her first sold out show in the city and it is, she tells us, the highest record ever for attendance at Anfield. Still, as a first take on Liverpool, the positively February-like weather can’t have made a great first impression, and although the rain let off by the time the show started, the gloom didn’t. Which made the performance all the more compelling – coming on stage following an enthusiastically received support set from Tennessee’s Paramore, it was genuinely like that moment in The Wizard of Oz when the picture turns from grey to colour. Swift seemed genuinely happy to be in Liverpool, despite the drizzle, and was effusive about the crowd throughout as she kicked off with ‘Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince’ from her “Lover” album before running through songs from all the “eras” of her career, not in any particular order although the older albums tended to come first and there was perhaps more of a focus on her more recent material. Sets came and went in a whirlwind (there’s that Wizard of Oz thing again), if you were for instance lumbered with a 9-year-old who needed the toilet every five minutes (no comment) you could genuinely miss a whole world magically created in what felt like the space of seconds. The log cabin covered in shrubs for the “Folklore/Evermore” section was particularly effective, and not just for the set – I was looking around at people from a huge range of ages and dressed in anything from glam to kitsch to cardigans who knew the words to these songs inside out and I mean, some of these aren’t what you could exactly call pop, but they were received just as enthusiastically as her most radio-blitzed tracks.

Photo Credit: TAS Rights Management

From the letters page of The Guardian in recent days, you’d think Swift had come from another planet to perform goregrind – the reality is that she’s mainstream enough to have wide appeal but is constantly experimenting with genre. However what it comes down to are the songs, and these are songs that sound just as good stripped of all their production, with just her playing the guitar or piano – which it has to be said she does without effort. The “surprise” extra songs exemplified this most obviously, with two tracks from her “Speak Now” record among them – in fact we got two mashups so four bonus songs in total. Her ability to do this with virtually any song from any album and make it look like it’s off the cuff is a talent that few artists can pull off, but she nails it.

Photo Credit: TAS Rights Management

You get the feeling that the Eras Tour, given its very nature, might be a goodbye to one part of her career, a celebratory waving off to some of the music, particularly in her “country” days, which were part of the journey to the artist she is today. If that is the case, it’ll be a real shame, as there is a tenacity to some of the songs which particularly through her recent re-recordings of the early part of her back catalogue have had new life breathed into them. But at just 34 years old, it’s reasonable enough to assume that the best is still to come, and the amazing thing is that no one has any clue what that looks like yet.

Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour continues in Liverpool tonight and tomorrow before heading off around the universe.

About Mark Whitfield 2037 Articles
Editor of Americana UK website, the UK's leading home for americana news and reviews since 2001 (when life was simpler, at least for the first 253 days)
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keith hargreaves

Nice work and Mark

Mike Ritchie

What a fine, open-minded take on an act who pleases so many. It’s great when a review arrives more or less immediately after the show, too.

John Jenkins

Great review – I was there myself and she was nuclear. As a songwriter she’s always been top of her game and always willing to try new sounds out, putting these into a three and half hour set shows the depth of the songs and the amazing ability to communicate with her audience. when i saw Springsteen for the 1st time in 1981 i never thought anyone else would rival that engagement between artist and audience as good as he but last nights show was equally impressive. I think i had as good time watching the audience as i did as Taylor. One literally did not think about all the misery of the world and what’s going on it once during the performance. It felt like all was good with life x

Les Smith

Glad you enjoyed it Mark. One granddaughter went to Murrayfield. The other is ticking off the days to Wembley. I went two miles down the road last night to see Freddy Trujillo, Our Man in the Field, and the Delines. Although the attendance was over two orders of magnitude lower, the demographic was comfortably double and there was a dearth of set/costume changes, it was a pretty damn good night in Chester too.

Chas Lacey

Terrific review Mark, made me resolve to watch the Eras film at the earliest opportunity. You also reminded me of my trip to see Taylor at Shepherds Bush in 2009 with an 11 year old grand daughter. Luckily she didn’t need the loo.

jessica anley

taylor is amazing