Why our Scotsman editor will always remember 'this is Swift season' after Eras Tour extravaganza

The Scotsman editor made it to Murrayfield this weekend for the Eras Tour - and will never forget it.

Four years ago, spring was ruined for us all: weeks of sunshine in 2020 spent stuck at home, no socialising, no long walks, amid the deep unease of early Covid.

Yesterday was the day when the dark clouds of that pandemic season were bundled up, wrapped in a pink feather boa, and topped with a big, glittery, mocking cowboy hat.

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Now, a little bit of me will always remember: this is Swift season. I won’t be alone.

Three helpings of 70,000 people - equivalent one in 20 of the Scottish population - packed into Murrayfield Stadium, principally to see Taylor Swift but also to sing their hearts out with friends old and new, dance in cowboy boots until their feet bled, laugh and embrace.

The pop icon dazzled fans as she took to the stageThe pop icon dazzled fans as she took to the stage
The pop icon dazzled fans as she took to the stage

Living near Murrayfield, I’d been treated - and it was a treat - to three days of joyous crowds trooping to the stadium, hours in advance, ready to have the time of their lives. Out walking the dog on Saturday night, past all the dads waiting in their cars for the daughters to come home, I’d hear the shows - and the huge, communal sing-song, and reflect: back in the days of social distancing, one-hour walks and darkened pubs, restaurants and theatres, we wondered if this sort of thing would ever happen again.

It was a sentiment that Swift herself voiced to the Murrayfield crowd on Sunday night. Her confession came as she introduced songs from her “Folklore” album, written during those dark days, in which - isolated with only her partner for company - she placed herself in an imaginary world, created fictional characters and spun intricate storylines for them to explore in her songs.

Swift appeared surprised at the rapturous reception that period in her music received from the crowd last night. Maybe its folk-infused mood struck something deep for this mostly Scottish crowd. But, whatever its appeal, it was a productive period of writing for the star. It played a big part in leading her, and us, to here. She, now the biggest artist in the world with almost certainly the biggest show in the world, singing in the Edinburgh rain.

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One of Swift’s many talents is an ability to create warmth, and intimacy, in a chilly stadium filled with tens of thousands of screaming people. And the love flowing back towards the stage was entirely heartfelt. Swift was so convincing in her shameless flattery of crowd it was hard to believe we weren’t all extraordinary too.

The American star broke Scottish records for the biggest-selling stadium show - with nearly 73,000 fans in attendanceThe American star broke Scottish records for the biggest-selling stadium show - with nearly 73,000 fans in attendance
The American star broke Scottish records for the biggest-selling stadium show - with nearly 73,000 fans in attendance

At one point in the show, Swift chooses a member of the crowd to pass her cowgirl hat to: some dust must have caught in my eye, again, as Swift passed the hat and offered a smiling embrace, the little girl, open mouthed in awe, pressing her palms to her cheeks in shock at the gesture. It was a beautiful moment.

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There was laughter, too. The show contains a famously large number of costume changes - roughly 16 a night, although the roster of exactly which outfits appear when changes from show to show. But she remarked that she’d never seen costume changes quite so quick, or in such volume, as when the heavens opened mid-show and the standing crowd - exposed to the Edinburgh elements - donned ponchos and other wet wear in unison, in seconds.

“You came prepared,” noted Swift, approvingly. Welcome to Scotland, Taylor: where’s your cagoule?

As the memory of these specifics fade with time, what I’ll be left with is what will recast this season for me. Of a billionaire star, yes, and a multi-million show (each night) rolling into town, of course, with all the corporate grind that implies.

But, more importantly, of hundreds of thousands from across the world coming together in their love for that star and her extraordinary body of work. And her, at the centre of all this, leaving not a soul disappointed.

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