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Taylor Swift's tour arrives to shake up Europe

By AFP

May 7, 2024 09:42 AM


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Having shaken four continents, Taylor Swift's Eras Tour finally brings the biggest pop culture icon of the century to Europe from Thursday, starting with a four-night run in Paris.

Swift has broken almost every record in music, and her sixth tour is no exception.

The Eras Tour, which began in March 2023, is already the first to sell more than $1 billion in tickets, and is expected to more than double that by the time it concludes in Vancouver this December.

Swifties in Paris are especially excited to hear songs off her new album, "The Tortured Poets Society", being performed for the first time.

Many critics have derided the 31-track album as bloated and mediocre -- "a rare misstep" in the words of British music mag NME.

Such blasphemy leaves her devoted fanbase seeing red -- Paste magazine felt the need to keep their damning review anonymous, knowing all too well how her fans would react.

But a few bad reviews are unlikely to lead to a cruel summer for Swift -- the album sold 1.4 million copies on its first day and broke every streaming record going, reaching a billion streams on Spotify within five days.

Some 42,000 people will see Swift in Paris before she heads on for dates in Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Poland and Austria.

Many are travelling a long way -- around one in five of the Paris audience is coming from the United States, according to the La Defense Arena where she is performing.

- Economic juggernaut -

The 34-year-old's tour remains a money-making machine beyond the wildest dreams of promoters and venues.

Research group QuestionPro estimated that last year's US dates generated $5 billion for the country's economy. The US Travel Association said the figure may have exceeded $10 billion when hotel rooms, restaurants and other indirect sales were included.

The La Defense Arena says it has doubled the previous record of merchandise-sellers across its dates.

The mere mention of a London pub, The Black Dog, on her new album was enough to send a swarm of Swifties to its doors this month, potentially saving the struggling boozer.

Fans tracked it down after realising it lay close to the home of British actor Joe Alwyn, with whom Swift had a six-year relationship that ended last summer.

Swift's tell-all dissections of her love stories have been the fuel powering her global domination, and fans have been pouring over "The Tortured Poets Department" for cryptic clues about Alwyn, her short-but-dramatic fling with Matty Healy (lead singer of The 1975), and her current beau, American football star Travis Kelce.

"There is something in her music that captures the adolescent desire for a poetic existence, charged with passion, danger and love," said Satu Hämeenaho-Fox, author of "Into the Taylor-Verse".

Soukeyna, a 16-year-old fan travelling up from southwest France for opening night, said Swift gives her "the feeling of being part of a community".

"She's a complete artist who writes her own words, and you really have to listen to the lyrics and understand them, which is something unique," she added.


AFP


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