Taylor Swift’s three-hour performance might not be “crazy” — but admit it, it’s a tough one

timeThe wheels of Taylor Swift’s much-hyped private jet touched down on British soil this week. The American pop star will perform at stadiums across the country on her Eras Tour, a career-spanning gig that covers music from all 11 of her albums and lasts three hours (except for the 45-minute opening Outside of acting) from Paramore). Those unwilling or unable to pay the three-figure cost of a ticket can always make do by watching an unabridged video version of the concert on Disney+; the show lasts three and a half hours and is streamed live with the title Journey Through the Ages (Taylor’s Edition)). The name was chosen for a reason – you can’t exactly call it a Swift version.

But how long is too long for live music? 22-year-old pop prodigy Billie Eilish recently described the prospect of a three-hour show as “simply psychotic,” telling fans on social media: “No one wants this. You guys don’t want this. I don’t want that. As a fan I Not even expected. Of course, that’s easy to say for Eilish, and if you listen to all three of her albums and two EPs in a row, it still doesn’t measure up to Swift’s marathon set times. . But while the “Bad Guy” singer-songwriter didn’t mention The Eras Tour by name, it does resonate with Swift’s current minimalist style.

Let’s face it: Extra-long shows can be tough. There’s no escaping the whiff of indulgence when an artist simply decides to assert squatters’ rights on stage. To some extent, this is also a curatorial failure. Only the most ardent Swifties will argue that there is no excess fat to trim and no filler. A three-hour show also poses logistical problems, especially when returning home late at night, as well as physical problems – chronic bathroom problems. Let’s not forget the financial impact, too: a three-hour show is bound to be more expensive, and this cost will inevitably be recouped by concertgoers. This doesn’t even take into account the greater spend on drinks in three hours – a not insignificant amount, especially in large stadiums where a pint of beer often requires a small loan.

Of course, it’s not as simple as the show being “too long”. There’s no denying that a three-hour show is physically taxing. If you’re feeling fatigued as an audience member, imagine what it’s like on stage. In some cases, that extra hour can elevate a show from a fun night to one of the best nights of your life. Bruce Springsteen is perhaps the most important “long jig” in pop music, and he has made it part of his brand. And it worked: his two curfew shows in London’s Hyde Park last year were probably the best live music events of the year. But Sting had the catalog to back it up – a full half-century of recorded material, enough good songs to fill a several-day residency, no repetitions. (love tunnel Didn’t show up at all!

Assessing the relative merits of Swift’s catalog may largely be a matter of taste, but the context of the show is entirely different: Swift is 34 years old and still manages to break down her career into 10 distinct ” era,” most of which require a total costume change. If Sting tried the same concept, he would end up going through two dozen eras, 18 costume changes, and a show that probably wouldn’t end until the morning. In a way, the premise of Eras Tour illustrates the way we approach music in the modern streaming age: We have to have it all, all the time. The specificity of the set list is one of the subtle pleasures of live music. You go in expecting to hear certain songs; you leave feeling happy, disappointed or surprised, but that’s part of the experience. Eras Tour promises to provide you with everything definite Performance—but that’s the opposite of live music’s unique appeal: immediacy.

The alternative, however, is certainly worse: there’s nothing more disappointing than a show that feels too short. I personally keep a mental list of great shows I’ve seen that were great but ended frustratingly after 50 minutes or less (mostly by American rappers, understandably) Many of them didn’t really understand what the big deal was about performing to a group of mostly white British people, like Shepherd’s Bush). The price of show tickets keeps going up and if the show ends in less than an hour, you feel like you’ve been shortchanged, even if the show was perfect.

Taylor Swift releases Eras Tour concert movie trailer

When we’re talking about movies, when we’re talking about meaningful, substantive works of art like Martin Scorsese’s, this complaint seems even more egregious. Killers of the Flower Moon or Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer Disparaged for being too long. Often there are artistic and narrative reasons for the length: it is necessary to tell the story the way the artist wants it to be told. But then again, this is “Journey of Ages,” arguably conceived by Swift (who by her own admission is a wannabe filmmaker) and has more structure and narrative than your average hit song sex. From this point of view, perhaps this indulgence is justified. Or maybe Swift just spent too much time watching boyfriend Travis Kelce play in the NFL, and yelling “Go!” bore fruit deep in her subconscious. I guess we’ll never know.

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