#TheErasTour: How Taylor Swift won Singapore (and the world!) in 10 albums

Pink guitar in hand, Taylor Swift smiles at the crowd and asks a straightforward question, “Who here lives in Singapore?”  

Resounding cheers come in response, following a stated fact that she is playing a sold-out show of 60,000 people on her second night. She nods knowingly and says, “Okay, okay. I want to know who flew all the way here to be with us tonight?” The din is raucous, almost feral, as the rest of Southeast Asia, including me, screams. Amid the noise, the blinking wristband lights, and the song that follows, a ticket to The Eras Tour was the year’s passport to being part of something great. 

In July 2023, 22 million people pre-registered for her Singapore leg, the only stop in Southeast Asia. It was rare, we were there, we remember it all too well.

For casual listeners and blatant non-fans, it is hard to understand why their polar opposites would stay up, shiver and shake as they wait in queues, break down due to technical difficulties, and scream out songs. In July 2023, 22 million people pre-registered for her Singapore leg, the only stop in Southeast Asia. 

Singapore has an estimated population of only 5.45 million. It was rare, we were there, we remember it all too well. Getting a TicketMaster code alone was one of the dragons we had to fight through to earn that night we would remember as “the time of our lives.”

An overture in Singapore: Swiftmania in the Lion City

Banner photo and photo above of Swift performing in Singapore from @taylorswift on Instagram

Prior to her gut-wrenching rendition of Evermore’s most popular heartbreaking hit “Champagne Problems,” Swift tells a story to the audience on Night 1 of the leg. “My mom actually spent a lot of her childhood with her mom and dad and her sister growing up in Singapore,” she shares to the crowd. She then adds that her grandmother Marjorie, whose opera days produced an eponymous track in the same album, also had a theater stint in the country. 

In the same breath, Singapore beautifully paid tribute to the singer’s six-day residency. Flag carrier Singapore Airlines had select albums of Swift for passengers to pass the time with. Changi’s Jewel airport had a BeJeweled signage by the iconic fountain, where performances of the songs were held at night. 

Marina Bay Sands, the official presenting partner, put up era-significant installations in different parts of the mall. There was the Reputation throne (modeled after the throne Swift sat in her Look What You Made Me Do music video), the glitchy 1989 television sets, the silver Fearless guitar taking center stage in a field of grass, the Evermore piano covered in moss, the Lover billboard, the Speak Now carriage in the garden, Midnights’ Lavender Haze” clouds, and the Red room filled with lights. 

As if a curated playlist blasting in the mall was not enough, the Marina Bay Sands Shoppes held a daily lights and water show down at the Lower Boardwalk every evening. Beloved hawker center Lau Pa Sat held Taylor Swift karaoke jamming sessions. The list goes on. 

Friendship bracelets in one arm and excitement in the other, Swifties swarmed in their best Swift outfits and paid visits to those sites. But the anticipation lied in the six evenings that awaited. 

“Welcome to The Eras Tour!”

A bejeweled Changi Airport. Photo from Singapore Tourism Board

I, along with 59,999 other people, were lining up by the doors. It was three in the afternoon and a slight drizzle met me and a friend as we ran up the stairs. “Could we possibly trade bracelets with you?” As early as in line, we were already keeping that tradition alive. It was a great way to pass the time (and the heat!). 

Cheers came like waves as the doors were finally opened. After a quick trip to the merch stand and more bracelet trade-offs, the feeling sank in. I was there at The Eras Tour. Years of scribbling “In a storm, in my best dress, fearless” in notebooks and crying to select songs have led me to this moment. This was the core reason why Swift held the world. She allowed fans to come into hers, along with a committed passion to see this feat of a tour through. After all, she told Time that she powered through 44 songs on a treadmill everyday for six months. Taking words from Midnights’ You’re On Your Own Kid, she “gave her blood, sweat and tears for this.”

Doe-eyed darling Sabrina Carpenter was the perfect opener to Swift. Her sweet demeanor coupled with a powerhouse voice riled the crowd towards the crucial 30- minute mark. It was 6:30, following Carpenter’s customized “nonsense” outro that had the line “Singapore, I hope you like my songy.” 

Around 6:54, a clock replaced the generic signage with 2:30. It was a countdown to a nostalgic opener that brought the world to tears. As the clock ticked towards its last few seconds, scenes of the famous Lover house from Swift lore came in parts. “It’s been a long time coming” drawls through the speakers as Swift reminisces through eras in echoed song. “It’s Fearless, big Reputation, and they said Speak Now.” Dancers in purple-pink sky capes come in throes and fan the bottom of the stage and uncover a glimmering Taylor Swift all set to open the Lover era with Miss Americana and The Heartbreak Prince. 

“It’s you and me, that’s my whole world.” She sings that to us. For three and a half hours, we were in the same room as her and that was a feeling I will hold on to for years on end. 

“My name is Taylor and I was born in 1989!”

Singapore National Stadium, Marina Bay Sands and Changi Airpot. Photos from STB’s Facebook page

What is so appealing about The Eras Tour is that, at its core, it is a celebration of Taylor’s achievements and the fans that brought her to where she is today. She takes us through 17 years of music, from the bright, hopeful Fearless to the angst-riddled folklore and through the frenetic, hiss-filled Reputation era. Despite an explicit effort to power through a comprehensive setlist, she never forgets to check in on the audience once in a while. 

One of the best ways she connects to the audience is through the acoustic set. Dubbed one of the most awaited parts of the concert, it’s an “Anything Goes” portion where fans wait with bated breath to hear their dream songs live. Night Five, in my opinion, had the best—Sparks Fly and Gold Rush and False God and Slut!_two glorious love song mash-ups possibly attributed to the fact that her beau Travis Kelce was in the audience. But I couldn’t complain. Night Two, my night, had an acoustic 1989’s “Clean” mashed up with Evermore album’s Evermore and Speak Now’s The Story of Us coupled with Evermore’s Long Story Short. Plus, we got to be part of another announcement related to Swift’s 11th album Tortured Poets Department. 

Whatever night you were in was, to me, in itself a win. 

In her Reputation set, Swift croons, “Is it chill that you’re in my head?” As I write this, I throw back to the time where she yells, “All right, Singapore! We have arrived.” She did arrive that night, and as I am surrounded by the memories of that marvelous time, I hold on to the thought that it never ended.

The new lifestyle.