banner ad
banner ad
banner ad

LIVE: TAYLOR SWIFT – April 13, 2023

| 16 April 2023 | Reply

Venue: Raymond James Stadium

City: Tampa, FL

Dates: April 13, 2023

Review and Photographs by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur (

There has been a buzz for days in Tampa and the impending arrival of Taylor Swift and her Eras Tour is the source of the energy and anticipation. The tour finds her bringing a long show pulling deep from within her catalog and offering up a true greatest hit type show for all of her fans, whether they have been along for the ride since her self-titled debut in 2006 (the only disc not getting any play in tonight’s show) or recent additions to the Swiftie Army and the 2022 release Midnights.  In an unprecedented move, Taylor has cultivated a setlist from each disc bringing in hits, fan favorites, and some personal pieces that she felt compelled to share with the crowd but grouped the tracks from each release to keep themes and vibes cohesive between songs. She grouped the tracks and releases in an order that created the perfect ebb and flow of songs that took you from one edge of emotion to the other end of the spectrum and back again. Some of my favorite tracks of the evening kicked off the show with songs from 2019’s Lover that included a killer intro swirled with “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” as well as other great tracks “Cruel Summer,” a rousing version of “The Man” as well as the title track and a couple of others. Digging back to the oldest material in the set, Swift settled on her 2008 release Fearless next and ripped through three tracks including the title track and one of my personal favorites in her catalog, “You Belong With Me.”  The production was flawless as she swept through her catalog and jumped from era to era of her songwriting, signing, and overall song production. The structure in her performance and the staging demonstrated her growth as an artist and performer. Pulling from one of her 2020 releases, she highlighted five songs from evermore and the crowd was with her every step of the way. At times it was difficult to tell who was having more fun over the course of the evening and setlist, Taylor or the packed SOLD-OUT venue.

Rolling back to one of her last releases prior to the stoppage of touring, Taylor and crew dropped some tracks from 2017’s reputation, with the crowd boiling over as she worked through “Delicate,” “..Ready For It?” and there seemed to be an extra kick of attitude and energy in the air on “Look What You Made Me Do.”  Swift rolled easily into “Enchanted” from Speak, with the title track appearing a little later in the set for a special segment that seems to be a different pair of songs on each date so far. The biggest facet of the show for me is the production. I know and enjoy some of the songs in tonight’s set, am slightly familiar with even more as you could not escape Taylor on the radio over the last 15+ years. The real magic of the evening was the production. You cannot deny the unspoken bond between the performer and her fans, but the presentation was everything you could want and more. Full disclosure: I cut my teeth on 70’s and 80’s rock, with KISS’ 1979 Dynasty tour being my first concert ever. I have seen pyro, production, costumes and changes, etc. It is rare you see it all tossed into the same live performance and conducted seamlessly as witness during tonight’s show. The use of a large stage complete with a trap door, scaffolding, and makeshift elevated staging added a big exclamation point to the overall feel of the show and reflected Swift’s desire to deliver the show she wanted her fans to see… experience. Next on the setlist was 2012’s Red and a handful of songs – including the tandem of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble” – that were perfectly cultivated to perfectly represent the album and its place in the hearts of the 70,000 (give or take) fans in attendance as well as the mark in her career and life.  You only need look as far as her catalog to determine the track and trace of her life, love, and experience. Tonight’s setlist was no different.

My favorite of the 2020 releases, folklore, had a large number of tracks in the set with “illicit affairs,” “cardigan,” and “betty” included in the show must to the pleasure of the crowd and without missing a beat from song to song, the crowd sang along, swayed, cried, and bonded with each other and from afar, even Taylor herself.  In what was the first of three nights, early in the show Taylor mentioned “Tampa – look what you’ve done.”  This was a joint effort between every fan in the stands, including Taylor and her crew, tons of fans, and a multitude of parents and chaperones that enjoyed the show as much as anybody at Raymond James Stadium, whether they admitted it or not. Forget what you know about who’s home field this is or other events held here… tonight and for the remainder of the weekend, this place belongs to Taylor. Another key element to the evening was Swift’s use of a wall of screens that perfectly enhanced each track with light, color, visuals, or just quick glimpses of fans singing and enjoying or Taylor doing the exact same thing. Next on the agenda as the setlist worked itself toward the end of a long performance was 2014’s 1989.  As someone who didn’t jump into total TS fandom at any point (before tonight), this produced arguably the most widely known track of her catalog and legacy, “Shake It Off.”  Nearly every news broadcaster or radio personality in Tampa made some veiled reference to the song in their segments, as you couldn’t escape her in the week leading up to the trio of sold-out shows. Hell, even I found myself bouncing along and singing with the legion of fans by this point in the evening. The disc was also highlighted by four other songs, including “Bad Blood” and “Style.”  Next was the ‘surprise’ part of the evening where Taylor mixes things up and tonight was no different as she played both “Speak Now” and “Treacherous” for the first time since her 2018 trek. Writing a new page to concert etiquette, she savored the close of the show – normally reserved for a performer’s greatest hits – and treated us to seven songs from her most recent release Midnights, including what I think is a phenomenal, yet oddly dark for her, track “Anti-Hero” which followed “Lavender Haze.”  Make no mistake in judgement, this may not be the same Taylor Swift some of tonight’s fans grew up with, but at the same time, it is exactly the same Taylor Swift… forging her own path and rewriting the rules (if only to say there are no rules) for anyone that comes after her, as witnessed by her closing numbers “Mastermind” and “Karma.”  You may not walk in the venue a Swiftie or even a fan but take it from me… you will walk out one. If the tickets are in reach and available, do not miss this one when it swings near you… trust me, you will miss one of the best productions and overall shows out there today.

SETLIST: Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince – Cruel Summer – The Man – You Need to Calm Down – Lover – The Archer – Fearless – You Belong With Me – Love Story – ’tis the damn season – willow – marjorie – champagne problems – tolerate it – …Ready for It? – Delicate – Don’t Blame Me – Look What You Made Me Do – Enchanted – Red – 22 – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – I Knew You Were Trouble – All Too Well – seven – the 1 – betty – the last great american dynasty – august – illicit affairs – my tears ricochet – cardigan – Style – Blank Space – Shake It Off – Wildest Dreams – Bad Blood – Speak Now – Treacherous – Lavender Haze – Anti‐Hero – Midnight Rain – Vigilante Shit – Bejeweled – Mastermind – Karma









Category: Live Reviews, News, Photo Galleries

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad