Taylor Swift performs onstage for the opening night of “Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour” at State Farm Stadium on March 17, 2023 in Swift City, ERAzona (Glendale, Arizona). The city of Glendale, Arizona was ceremonially renamed to Swift City for March 17-18 in honor of The Eras Tour.
John Shearer/G for TAS Rights Management
It’s no secret that Taylor Swift is the queen of Easter eggs. Since the early days of her career, the superstar has regularly planted clues, hints and callbacks in her music videos, live appearances, interviews and even the liner notes in her albums.
“I love to communicate through Easter eggs,” Swift said in a 2019 interview with Entertainment Weekly to help kick off her Lover era. “I think the best messages are cryptic ones. … You know, when you plan something that far in advance, you’re kind of just flexing on planning. That’s what an Easter egg really does.”
So it should come as no surprise to Swifties that The Eras Tour is no exception to their queen’s masterminded penchant for hyper-specific planning and eye for gorgeous, perfectly plotted detail — all the way down to the colors painted on her nails during tour rehearsals.
As the U.S. leg of the wildly anticipated tour kicked off, fans at the first two shows in Glendale, Ariz. — and later across the Internet, thanks to #SwiftTok — paid keen attention to each of the singer’s choices onstage. From her costumes to her choreography, and even the songs she included (or didn’t) on the setlist, nearly every detail elicited wild analysis and speculation for what it all could mean.
Below, Billboard rounds up an ongoing list of Easter eggs spotted by fans as The Eras Tour makes its way across America. Read on to discover what hidden messages and surprises many a Swiftie surmises the star could be sending from the stage.
The ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ T-Shirt
During the part of the setlist where Taylor revisits her Red era, she dons a T-shirt similar to the one she wears in the music video for 2012’s “22.” In the visual, the shirt spells out “Not a lot going on at the moment,” which would go on to become a famously surefire sign to Swifties around the world that their queen was, indeed, working on a major surprise. (See: the one-two punch of 2020’s Folklore and Evermore.)
However, on the opening night of the tour (March 17), Tay’s shirt rewrote the phrase to read “A lot going on at the moment” in bold block letters, with “A lot” sticking out in bright red. The next night, the shirt changed to a spoken lyric from “22”: “Who’s Taylor Swift anyway? Ew.” This time, “Ew.” was highlighted in red.
One fan on TikTok thought the red words would eventually lead to an anagram spelling out “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).” While the shirts didn’t make it all the way through Speak Now, Swift did, in fact, announce the 2010 third studio album as her next re-recording, out July 7.
Breaking ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’ Out Of Its Box?
Footage of Swift performing Reputation lead single “Look What You Made Me Do” piqued fans’ curiosity as multiple backup singers seeming to represent her many album eras appeared on stage trapped in giant plastic boxes.
Given the rampant online fan speculation that Speak Now would be the next re-recording the star plans to drop, special attention was paid to the backup vocalist in the box wearing a purple halter dress remarkably similar to an outfit Swift wore on her Speak Now World Tour throughout 2011 and 2012. As Taylor approaches her box, the star pounds on the glass along to the beat as the singer inside tries to get out. At first glance, the moment looks innocuously like part of the choreography, but many Swifties surmised that it could represent the pending release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), which had been entangled in legal red tape over trademark and copyright issues until earlier this week.
Interestingly, most of the other singers-as-album eras are eventually freed from their boxes, but by song’s end, the Speak Now avatar and one other singer representing a mystery era remain stuck inside theirs.
Check out fan-captured video of the moment on TikTok.
Of course, the theory was confirmed May 5, when Swift officially announced Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium.
‘Speak Now’ or Later?
Another Speak Now theory came in a reverse Easter egg. So far, her setlist is one for the ages — 44 songs from 10 albums over the course of three hours and fifteen minutes. But out all the fan favorites she performed at Arizona’s State Farm Arena during the first two shows, she included only a single song from 2010’s Speak Now in the form of album cut and originally planned title track “Enchanted.”
The absence of hits such as “Mine,” “Back to December,” “Dear John,” “Mean” and “The Story of Us” felt like a glaring omission, but as with everything Taylor does, the choice may have been entirely intentional. Plenty of fans theorized that the singer was purposely minimizing the attention of her third album because she could be on the precipice of releasing Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).
The Light-Up Wristband Colors
OK, one more Speak Now Easter Egg for good measure. A week before Swift’s announcement that Taylor’s Version of her third album is on the way, she teased Eras Tour attendees at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium when their light-up wristbands turned purple at the end of the show, a color that represents Speak Now.
A Manicure for Her ‘Eras Era’
One day ahead of the tour, Tay shared a sneak peek at the rehearsal process on social media, coyly writing, “In my Eras era” alongside a carousel of photos from the stage. The last snap in the slideshow, though, showed off the star’s delicate manicure featuring a different shade on each finger representing a separate album era — sparkling gold for Fearless (Taylor’s Version), shiny teal for 1989, matte black for Reputation, and so on.
She can make the whole stadium shimmer! During the portion of the setlist dedicated to 2022’s Midnights, fans took notice when Swift broke into the viral “Bejeweled” choreography created by TikTok user Mikael Arellano, strutting across the stage with her dancers before twirling and doing the creator’s “twinkle fingers” move with her hand. Watch Arellano’s giddy reaction to seeing the dance here.