Taylor Swift and her Eras Tour have rolled into Chicago for three sold-out shows at Soldier Field. The stadium has a concert capacity of 63,500, and at the opening night gig on Friday, Swift made it clear that every one of those ticket holders should feel welcome.
For her first show of Pride Month, the 33-year-old performer took a pause before playing “champagne problems” during her through-the-years setlist to describe her audience as “brilliant crowds of people who are living their authentic lives.”
She continued, celebrating those who were “loving who they want to love, [and] identifying how they identify, and allies who get to support them in and celebrate them in that.” She added, “This is a safe space for you. This is a celebratory space for you. And one of the things that makes me feel so prideful is getting to be with you, and watching you interact with each other, and being so loving, and so thoughtful, and so caring.”
Okay, so the word Swift was going for may have been “proud” and not “prideful,” but the international pop sensation was speaking extemporaneously—and saying righteous things, to boot!
More importantly, she talked about the joy she felt hearing her fans sing along to lyrics like “Can you just not step on his gown?” and “Shade never made anybody less gay” from the song “You Need To Calm Down.”
“You guys are screaming those lyrics with such solidarity and such support of one another,” she said. She continued by wishing every environment was equally safe and beautiful for people.
“We can’t talk about Pride without talking about pain,” she said. “There have been so many harmful pieces of legislation that have put people in the LGBTQ and queer community at risk. It’s painful for everyone, every ally, every loved one, every person in these communities, and that’s why I’m always posting, ‘This is when the midterms are, This is when these important key primaries are.’”
She said that it was important for people to do research on elected officials to determine if they are advocates, allies, and protectors of equality. She ended by saying: “I love you guys so much. Happy Pride Month.”
This was not the first time Swift spoke about LGBTQ+ rights during a Pride Month show. Here is a clip from her Reputation Stadium Tour from 2018.
In a 2019 Vogue interview, Swift detailed her realization about using her pulpit to be more blunt. She described a conversation she had with her friend Todrick Hall, who wondered how she would react if she had a gay child. “The fact that he had to ask me . . . shocked me and made me realize that I had not made my position clear enough or loud enough.” She continued, “If he was thinking that, I can’t imagine what my fans in the LGBTQ community might be thinking.”
The Chicago gig lasted three hours and 25 minutes, as per the stats-happy setlist.fm. Sorry to the Second City, but night one in New York (well, technically East Rutherford, New Jersey) outlasted you by fifteen minutes. And unlike that show, where many parked at the American Dream shopping center down the Turnpike to soak up Swiftian vibes, the directive was clear in Chicago—if you don’t have a ticket, don’t come.