Taylor Swift kicks off her London Eras Tour in style with Nicola Coughlan and Keir Starmer

Updated

London was certainly ready for it when Taylor Swift finally brought her globe-trotting, career-spanning Eras tour to the capital city this week.

The pop titan, 34, kicked off the London leg of her tour on Friday night (21 June) in good company as VIP guests including her NFL star boyfriend Travis Kelce, Bridgerton actor Nicola Coughlan, Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, and Cara Delevigne descended on Wembley Stadium.

Prince William was also rumoured to be in attendance, with reports emerging that the royal had booked a private box to celebrate his 42nd birthday alongside Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, nine, and Prince Louis, six.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who recently professed his love of rapper Stormzy, is apparently also a fervent Swiftie. The politician snapped a photograph of himself and his wife, Victoria, amid the crowd of approximately 88,000 fellow fans.

Kansas City Chiefs tight-end Kelce was all smiles as Swift closed her mammoth 45-song setlist with the kaleidoscopic pop tune “Karma” and amended the lyrics to the 2022 hit song to: “Karma is the guy on the Chiefs / Coming straight home to me.”

The Eras Tour has certainly been a long time coming for London-bound Swifties, having kicked off over a year ago in March 2023. Friday’s concert is the first of eight sold-out nights at Wembley for the singer.

Kier Starmer and ‘Bridgerton’s’ Nicola Coughlan were among those in the crowd in London on Friday (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Kier Starmer and ‘Bridgerton’s’ Nicola Coughlan were among those in the crowd in London on Friday (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The capital, which is predicted to receive a £300m boost in the economy courtesy of the concerts, welcomed the 14-time Grammy-winner in style with a themed Tube map as well as a special performance of her euphoric 2014 bop “Shake It Off” during the Changing of the Guards outside Buckingham Palace. Fans hoping to secure a good spot in the crowd arrived to queue outside the stadium as early as eight hours before Swift’s scheduled stage time at 7.30pm.

They came predictably dressed to impress, in clouds of glitter and a sea of sequins. Outside the stadium, makeshift shops touted pink cowboy hats and “I LOVE TAYLOR” scarves for anyone who missed the memo.

Even the British weather appeared to oblige, with the clouds making way for sunshine all throughout the evening. The conditions were a far cry from her previous show in Edinburgh earlier this month, where the low temperatures led to an on-stage hand cramp and a runny nose.

Midway through the performance in London, fans waited in anticipation as Swift plunged into the acoustic portion of her show (the only part that deviates from the set-list with each performance).

To people’s surprise, the singer performed neither “So Long, London” (2024) nor “London Boy” (2019) – both songs rumoured to be about her ex-boyfriend British actor Joe Alwyn.

Any hopes of a cameo from James Corden or Idris Elba, then, were then quickly scuppered. Both actors lent their voices to the opening few seconds of the latter track.

Swift played ‘The Black Dog’ live for the first time at Wembley (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Swift played ‘The Black Dog’ live for the first time at Wembley (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Swift’s geographical location nevertheless factored into her selection for the evening as Swift launched into a heart-wrenching medley of “Hits Different”, “Death By A Thousand Cuts”, “Come Back Here”, “Maroon”, and for the first time live, “The Black Dog”.

Both “The Black Dog” and “Come Back Here” are swoony London-inspired ballads, with the former track, taken from her latest album The Tortured Poets Department, inspired by a pub of the same name in Vauxhall and rumoured to be about her brief dalliance with The 1975 frontman Matty Healy.

More than once, the singer commended Wembley security guards for their speed in getting assistance to those who needed it in the crowd. “Wow, you guys are fast!” she exclaimed on stage. “You’re the best.”

Elsewhere, Swift reminisced on the early days of her career spent in London playing smaller venues such as King’s College and the Shepherd’s Bush when she was 17 years old.

“You just continued to support me more and more and the rooms got gradually bigger,” Swift said.

As has become custom during the Eras Tour, more than one proposal occurred during the singer’s swoon-worthy performance of her aptly titled early hit “Love Story”.

The crowd was definitely feeling the love, as strangers everywhere embraced and watched transfixed as the woman they had waited so long to see delivered a stellar performance that more than lived up to the hype.

You can read The Independent’s five-star review of Swift’s first UK show in Edinburgh here.

Advertisement