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[REVIEW] Almost as if Taylor Swift was in Seoul: Swifties flock to theaters for ‘Eras’


Taylor Swift arrives for the ″Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour″ concert movie world premiere at AMC The Grove in Los Angeles, California, on Oct. 11. [AFP/YONHAP]

Taylor Swift arrives for the ″Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour″ concert movie world premiere at AMC The Grove in Los Angeles, California, on Oct. 11. [AFP/YONHAP]

 
Korean Swifties may still be disappointed that Taylor Swift isn’t coming to Seoul to perform as part of the global superstar’s high-acclaimed “Eras” world tour, but they were at least able to enjoy the concert film instead.
 
“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” which documents Swift’s shows at SoFi Stadium in California, premiered at select CGV theaters in Korea on Friday.
 
“It’s been a long time coming,” Swift sings — and the lyrics couldn’t ring truer to Swift’s Korean fans, because it’s only now that the country is screening the film, nearly a month after its worldwide premiere on Oct. 11.
 
It’s now the highest-grossing concert film of all time, raking in over $203 million in the box office worldwide as of Oct. 30.
 
 
At CGV Yongsan in central Seoul the same day, several fans were gathered outside the theater doors chitchatting and exchanging friendship bracelets, a trend formed among Swift concertgoers in which they trade their colorful beaded bracelet collections, some of which stretch from their wrists all the way to their elbows.
 
It stemmed from a lyric of Swift’s song “You’re On Your Own, Kid” from her album “Midnights” (2022), which reads: “So, make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it.”
 
The creative activity allows Swifties to “swiftly” bond over their love for the singer — even if they had just met prior to the film.
 
“We were so devastated that Taylor isn’t coming to Seoul,” three Swifties, who were strangers to each other yet had just enthusiastically swapped homemade jewelry pieces, told the Korea JoongAng Daily on Friday.
 
The trio said that they had each opted to get tickets for Swift’s shows elsewhere, with two of them going to Japan and another to the Australian performances.
 

Taylor Swift fans take photos in front of the poster screening prior to the premiere of ″Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour″ at CGV Yongsan on Friday. [SHIN MIN-HEE]

Taylor Swift fans take photos in front of the poster screening prior to the premiere of ″Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour″ at CGV Yongsan on Friday. [SHIN MIN-HEE]

 
Swift skipping Korea was inevitable, as there is no stadium large enough to accommodate the global superstar. “The Eras Tour” is Swift’s most expansive tour yet, being an all-stadium tour. The only Asian cities Swift is visiting, Tokyo and Singapore, have stadiums that can seat at least 50,000. Seoul’s largest stadium, the Jamsil Olympic Stadium, normally seats around 60,000 but is undergoing renovations until the end of 2026, and other indoor stadiums in Korea only accommodate up to 20,000 at the most, barring outdoor stadiums.
 
When the three Swifties heard that the concert film, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” was hitting the big screen in Korea, they rushed to purchase seats, but even that wasn’t easy.
 
“I tried getting tickets for IMAX, but they sold out instantly,” Lee Chae-won, one of the three, said. “I thought, wow, at this rate if Taylor ever actually comes to perform in Korea I might be unable to get seats for myself. But I’m so happy I at least get to see it in 2-D.”
 
It was not an exaggeration when overseas reports from the past month said that fans were raving over the singer in their theater seats, as it appeared to be a universal phenomenon.
 
Korean Swifties were no different in expressing their wholesome affection for the singer. Despite Swift not actually being there in the flesh, fans were at the edge of their seats as soon as the two-hour 45-minute-long film started. As Swift appeared on screen, fans shrieked with joy and sang along to the singer’s first number, “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” (2019).
 
The theater was filled with die-hard fans as not only did they sing along to every single lyric, they were already skilled at the fan chants and claps for certain songs like “Bad Blood” (2015) and “Shake it Off” (2014). They were jiggling along to the music so much that if they weren’t required to be seated, the whole theater would have just become a dance floor.
 

Taylor Swift performs during ″The Eras Tour″ in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 5. Swift is releasing her ″Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” concert film on Oct. 13. [AP]

Taylor Swift performs during ″The Eras Tour″ in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 5. Swift is releasing her ″Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” concert film on Oct. 13. [AP]

 
The concert film showed Swift singing some 40 songs, all spanning across her different eras of music: from Swift’s earlier hit albums like “Fearless” (2008) and “Red” (2012) to the later ones like “Reputation” (2017) and “folklore” (2020), finally concluding the show with her latest album, “Midnights” (2022).
 
After singing her last song, “Karma” (2022), Swift thanked everyone and left the stage, and the Swifties in the theater cheered and clapped. It was almost as if Swift had actually just been here in Seoul.
 
“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” is available in both 2-D and IMAX at select CGV theaters across the country. Tickets are 25,000 won ($19) for 2-D and 30,000 won for IMAX.

BY SHIN MIN-HEE [shin.minhee@joongang.co.kr]





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