The Eras Tour concert film extravaganza

Released in local cinemas on Nov 3, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour was the ultimate fan experience, especially for those who were unable to score tickets to her upcoming Singapore concerts in March 2024. (PHOTO: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert film is unparalleled, beyond anyone’s Wildest Dreams. Having reached much fanfare all across the world, we explored the hype behind the film and its reception by her fandom in Singapore.

Released in local cinemas on Nov 3, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour was the ultimate fan experience, especially for those who were unable to score tickets to her upcoming Singapore concerts in March 2024. (PHOTO: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

The advertisement breaks have ended. The movie theatre lights dimmed down. A hushed silence fell over the audience members, who waited in anticipation before erupting into cheers upon watching renowned singer Taylor Swift’s visage appear on the silver screen. The highly anticipated concert film, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour has just begun. 

The concert film Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour takes Taylor’s fans, also known as Swifties, through nearly three hours of live performances from one of her past The Eras Tour concerts. 

From the revenge bop era of Reputation (2017) to the reflective and mellowed instrumentals of Evermore (2020), the film drew a range of reactions from fans in the movie theatre. Whether screaming the lyrics or dancing along to the songs and performances, there was a clear sense of community and warmth felt among Swifties.

When experiencing the concert film ourselves, we too could not help but feel like we were at home amongst a sea of strangers, in spite of all the chaos happening in a typically quiet cinema.

From stage to screen

When Taylor Swift first announced The Eras Tour’s Singapore tour dates on Jun 21, fans of new and old were ecstatic. This only increased tenfold when the number of dates increased from three to six a few days later.

With the high levels of hype surrounding the event, the fight for concert tickets on the online ticketing platform Ticketmaster was anything but easy. With Singapore being the only Southeast Asian stop, millions of Swifties across the region tried securing pre-sale and general sale tickets – the former only available to United Overseas Bank (UOB) card holders, while the latter was only accessible by those that managed to obtain a unique access code.

Both presale and general sale concert tickets sold out within hours, even in spite of high queue numbers and technical difficulties faced on Ticketmaster. According to digital news publication TODAY, tickets for all six Singapore shows sold out within three and eight hours for the UOB pre-sales and general sales, respectively.

While Singapore miraculously secured six shows with Taylor in the country’s largest stadium, there are still an unlucky few Swifties that came out of The Great War empty-handed.

Seeing as we were competing against essentially the whole of Asia, it was nerve-wracking to see both the UOB pre-sale and general sale’s online queue numbers enter the millions. (PHOTO: Han Xinyi)

As such, the film was a way for them to fully immerse themselves in the “concert” experience in the film theatre, complete with all surround sound.

To replicate the experience, enthusiastic fans donned outfits inspired by their favourite Taylor Swift era, sang and danced along to their favourite tracks performed in the concert film. 

Friendship bracelets were also traded among Swifties, of which being a Taylor Swift concert tradition of sorts inspired by a line from her song You’re On Your Own, Kid.

The concert film’s tickets were also Taylor-inspired, having been priced at $19.89 each after the singer’s birth year and fifth studio album title.

Singaporean Swifties could also redeem other concert film collectables with every movie ticket purchase, such as posters and reusable cups. (PHOTO: Sophia Marie Tadeo Rosales)

While Swifties appreciated the nod to Taylor’s birth year and album, some still wished that the tickets were set at a more standard price instead. To these selected few, the tickets were more expensively priced than average.

Jing Ying Tang, 18, a second-year Diploma in Media Arts and Design student from Singapore Polytechnic, was one of the few who initially felt that the price was not very reasonable. 

“Before I went to watch the film, I enjoyed the symbolism,” shared Jing Ying. “But I’m also really broke and a normal ticket costs around $7 with a student discount.” 

Her perception changed after watching the film though, citing that the experience made her feel that every cent was worth it: “It really wasn’t just a movie. It was an experience; it felt like being at the concert itself, seeing Taylor strut about the stage, watching her singing and dancing flawlessly for hours on end with hardly any breaks.” 

Now, she would gladly pay the price again. “For someone who didn’t get tickets to the actual The Eras Tour, I would pay the $19.89 ticket several times to get to watch it all over again,” Jing Ying reflects. She is not the only one who’s eager to pay the ticket price either. Many screenings at larger theatres had also sold out swiftly, sometimes just leaving a handful of seats in the front row.  

It just goes to show how dedicated Taylor’s fans are to the artist and her music.

Screening (or screaming?) with SG Swifties

When it comes to the local Swiftie community, it is safe to say that they were more than excited when the Singapore concert dates and the film’s theatrical release date were announced.

While some of them were successful concert ticket holders, many still decided to watch the film to “get a feel” of what the real thing could be like beforehand.

“I thought it (the concert film) would only be screened in the United States as a majority of her fanbase is there,” one such Swiftie, who wishes to only be named as Charlene, shared. “After she released international film dates, I really had hope that it would come to Singapore and it did!”

“I love how Taylor made a concert film for fans who do not have the financial means to attend a live concert or did not manage to get tickets for The Eras Tour itself.”

Charlene was able to catch Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour together with other local fans as part of a Singaporean fanbase’s watch party event

Also known as SG Swifties, the event was organised by 30-year-old community fanbase founder Miss Sherry Lin, who started it up to foster friendships and generate hype among Singaporean fans about Taylor Swift and The Eras Tour.

The watch party was just one of SG Swifites’ many events set up, with others such as Taylor Swift’s birthday celebration and friendship bracelet-making sessions being done in the past year.

SG Swifties after an Eras Tour concert film screening, exchanging bracelets and taking photos (PHOTO: SG Swifties)

Miss Lim appreciates the positive community that SG Swifties has fostered. She had even met some members of the group when she went to watch the Eras Tour film. 

“My experience watching (Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert film) was great. Many Swifties bonded together through this film,” the SG Swifties founder said. “There were strangers giving out light sticks to everyone in the cinema to enhance the experience, and I later found out that they were part of our SG Swifties Telegram community. It was really cool!”

The sentiment was mutually shared with Charlene, who not only enjoyed the overall film experience but also appreciated its value as well. “While we might have been judged, the movie was actually super fun. I poured my heart out to illicit affairs’ bridge with my friend and traded a lot of bracelets.” 

As much as the concert film itself tried to immerse fans by replicating the concert experience as much as possible, the Swifties themselves greatly enhanced the experience as well. The community and their enthusiasm – be it through their outfits, singing, dancing, friendship bracelet exchanges, or even just their energy during the screenings – are what made the screenings and by extension, The Eras Tour, so thrilling.

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert filmgoers were free to get out of their seats, move to the main stage and groove to the singer’s iconic tunes and performances. (GIF: Sophia Marie Tadeo Rosales)

Perhaps this is why Taylor Swift herself encouraged fans to keep up with the “joyful chaos” in her Instagram post. 

“I’ve been watching videos of you guys in the theatres dancing and prancing and recreating choreography, creating inside jokes, casting spells, getting engaged…Thank you, so much, forever, wow, just thank you!!!” her post mentioned.

A record-breaking success

To top it off, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert film broke numerous records. According to Variety, it has now grossed S$332 million worldwide. 

According to Rolling Stone, the film is now the highest grossing concert film of all time, being the first to hit S$1 billion in movie ticket sales and surpassing the 2009 concert film Michael Jackson: This Is It

Following its massive box office success, Taylor announced that the film would soon be available for rent on selected streaming platforms, though a Singapore release date has yet to be announced.

Beginning of a new era

2023 has, without a shadow of a doubt, been Taylor Swift’s year. She has broken records, gone on a world tour, made a box office hit, became Spotify’s Top Artist of the year and so on. She stands as the epitome of the modern career woman, demonstrating to Swifties that you can have your cake and eat it too 

Fans are eagerly awaiting the six The Eras Tour shows at the National Stadium in March this year and the last two re-recordings of her older albums. Many are hopeful for the announcement of Reputation (Taylor’s Version) soon.

Like how fans wave their phones and flashlights during the song Marjorie, Taylor continues to bring joy and serves as a positive light for Swifties.