A Swiftie always remembers where they were on 18th March 2023. Maybe they were collecting non-laggy live streams as they would with different versions of cardigans, each patchwork star matching its album’s aesthetic color scheme. Perhaps on FaceTime with a best friend who’s less of a “crook who was caught” and more so knows how to use the zoom feature, or if you’re borrowing luck from the number 13, you were sitting front row. Either way, all those things have one thing in common: the opening night of The Eras Tour! With several sections designated to a particular era from Taylor Swift’s discography (except the debut, which, uh, Taylor! How could you?), it acts as a celebration of her legacy.
However, as we all know, it’s a legacy that Taylor has had to take back after the masters for her first six albums were sold in 2020. Well, that was over three years ago, and in that time, Taylor has “come back stronger than a ’90s trend” as she re-records those albums. Fearless, an album that truly put our then-country gal on everyone’s radar with ‘Love Story,’ was the first to get the Taylor’s Version treatment with its release on 9th April 2021.
Today, we want to celebrate Fearless (Taylor’s Version) by re-imagining what that section of The Eras Tour would look like if THP got its hands on it! Our hypothetical plans will be stacked with concert spoilers, so if you’ve somehow managed to avoid knowing everything thus far, then click off! If you’re still with us, we’ll cover the set list, costumes, stage design, and visuals!
The songs on the Fearless section of The Eras Tour are a no-brainer to anyone who’s been attending Taylor’s concerts for the past decade. Whether it’s slipping into a mashup, strumming underneath a lit-up rotating tree in a certain purple dress, or belting out in a downpour during a surprise song segment, these songs remain ingrained into the tour experience. Obviously, we’re talking about ‘Fearless,’ ‘You Belong With Me,’ and ‘Love Story.’ Therefore, we won’t be covering them as part of our re-imagining, but which songs will take their place?
‘Hey Stephen (Taylor’s Version)’
Back in the days of secret messages through capitalized letters, the code for this song revealed whom it was about: Stephen Barker. It spelled out “Love And Theft,” his band that opened for Taylor when she was on tour. In true fairy-tale Taylor fashion, she sent him a text saying, “Hey, Track 4,” to which he sent an email reply back, having been none the wiser. However, that’s not why we chose this one! We love that it’s one of those cutesy, innocent, untainted perspectives on love where you put the other person on a pedestal, a sentiment that bleeds into other tracks on the album. It showcases Taylor’s innocence and how deeply she romanticized love even back then.
‘Fifteen (Taylor’s Version)’
Doesn’t it just make sense for ‘Fifteen’ to be a part of The Eras Tour? It’s a track that could’ve easily subbed in if any of the other three needed to sit on the musical bench for a night, which has happened for the folklore section! We digress. ‘Fifteen’ also has us traveling back to Taylor’s high school experience, as the song’s inspiration comes from her and Abigail Anderson’s first taste of love and loss.
‘Change (Taylor’s Version)’
If your Swiftie brain is still hunting for Easter eggs, you can probably guess the theme interwoven into these three choices! But just in case, we’ll spell it out for you: a coming-of-age centric story sees Taylor go from being so engrossed with the locker gossip of high school romance to something that she’s labeling as much more important to her: her career.
It’s in the ‘Hey Stephen’ couplet “All those other girls, well, they’re beautiful / But would they write a song for you?”, and the ‘Fifteen’ line “Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday / But I realized some bigger dreams of mine” after realizing that her talent doesn’t only have to be used to seduce her crush to ‘Change.’
‘Change’ is a little more complicated, as its meaning has shifted over the years for Taylor. Initially, it was about the struggles of being a 16-year-old country singer, after winning the Horizon Award at the 2007 CMAs.
I looked over at Scott Borchetta after I won, and he was crying,” she continued. “It was absolutely the most amazing night of my life, getting to see the emotion of all the people who worked so hard for me. So I wrote that song about that.
Taylor Swift in Country Aircheck, August 2008.
Today, perhaps ‘Change’ holds more weight than ever. If she had interwoven this song into the Fearless set, not only would it do what ‘Long Live’ would’ve done by creating an environment to celebrate what we’ve overcome as a fandom, but it would truly cement the fact that despite everything, Taylor doesn’t give up, and that’s why she’s so successful.
Taylor’s Eras Tour look for this section isn’t the Fearless era exactly, but it’s still a callback to her early days! Taylor loved a good dress and cowboy boots combo, and the fringe style replicates the costumes worn in both ‘Fearless’ and ‘Picture To Burn’ during the Fearless tour! However, the exact one that Taylor references is a custom Roberto Cavalli gold-ombré fringe dress that shook us during ‘Sparks Fly’ for the Speak Now Tour. For those unaware of the old Taylor, this dress is so iconic that fans forever cosplay it. So far, Taylor’s revisited this look using the same designer in two ways! The first can be found here, and the other is a longer spaghetti-fringed dress.
One of the fun costume transformations from The Fearless Tour is during ‘You Belong With Me,’ where Taylor would go from full-on band geek to superstar! We wanted to draw inspiration from that as it suits the re-imagined set list and is how Taylor could’ve paid an ode to the Fearless era.
While we’re starting with the band geek costume to represent the high school themes, it’ll then tear off to the red ‘Love Story’ custom gown by Aubrey Hyde to symbolize that idealism. Through this tour, Taylor has paid homage to the eras, but she’s also turned something borrowed into something new. We’d love to see something still full-sleeve but off-the-shoulder, playing with cutouts!
Stage Design And Visuals
With the ‘Lover’ house set in the background to represent her different eras, it makes sense for Taylor to walk through the golden room upon starting this section of the concert. As she walks and those first memorized guitar chords echo around the stadium, a silver guitar that matches the one held in her hands, sequined by her family members, stretches out onto the stage as a screen visual.
The Fearless section of The Eras Tour is the second shortest with only three songs – the only one that beats it is Speak Now with ‘Enchanted’ – so the stage design has to be limited as the changeover is quick! For The Fearless Tour, Taylor used screen visuals to create the atmosphere of a high school for ‘You Belong With Me,’ so we wanted to do something resembling that for ‘Hey Stephen’ and ‘Fifteen.’ While the visuals used were of lockers, this could be the creation of a choir room; think Glee, just Taylor by herself until we transport into her dreamworld where we see her as the artist she later became. To even step into this, we could use the door visual seen in the music video for ‘Fifteen.’
Rain is also symbolic of this era, primarily associated with her ACM Awards’ ‘Should’ve Said No’ performance. Rain perfectly suits the climatic uproar of ‘Change.’
Creating Your Own Version!
Did we re-imagine the Fearless (Taylor’s Version) section of The Eras Tour just as you’d envision? If not, what early tunes with that country drawl would you like to see on the setlist? Tweet us @thehoneypop. We’re always in the mood to gush over this superstar!