Tay Day dawned bright and breezy in Edinburgh as the capital prepared for the first date of Taylor Swift’s 15 date UK tour, one stretch of an ongoing world tour which is now by some distance the highest grossing ever.

By the time the mid-morning coffee hour rolled around, those fans queueing outside Murrayfield stadium had the Scottish drizzle to contend with but after that the sun shone. As for the Queen of Pop, she dazzled in a near three-and-a-half hour set which rarely dropped below the breathtaking. Scotland really has never seen anything like it, and it wasn’t false modesty when the singer alluded to the fact.

It’s close to Midsummer, of course, and not even Taylor Swift can suborn our northern latitudes to her will, so there’s still over two hours of daylight left when the clock on the huge stage backdrop counts down to one and she finally emerges via a platform rising from the long, wide apron stage. Then the phones are out, the fans are on their feet and when the screaming abates it’s straight into tried-and-tested set opener Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince, from 2019 album Lover.

Taylor Swift performs on stage during her Eras Tour at the Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.Taylor Swift performs on stage during her Eras Tour at the Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. (Image: PA)

Costume number one is a blue and gold sparkly leotard with matching knee high boots. There will be many others over the course of the night. One is a simple t-shirt bearing the message: ‘This Is Not Taylor’s Version.’ One is all white and festooned with lines of poetry – the tortured sort, presumably. One costume change is even conducted as a sort of striptease on stage, to the delight of the fans. The predominant tendency is towards the blingier end of the sartorial spectrum, something reflected in the crowd apparel too.

They know what’s coming for the most part, of course, thanks to the Eras Tour concert film. But that doesn’t lessen the thrill. For the 70,000 people packed into Murrayfield, it’s about the experience, about simply sharing the same air as their heroine. Filling their lungs with it and singing along.

They play their part in other ways too. There’s the syncopated swaying of the arms during the chorus of You Need To Calm Down. The hands held up in a heart shape during You Belong With Me. The extended, ear-piercing applause which follows Champagne Problems, the highlight of the Folklore and Evermore section. And their voices are an ever-present aural backdrop to the hits and fan favourites as they roll in and roll out again, like waves on the shore (a very Swiftian metaphor that).

Style, Bad Blood, Lavender Haze, Blank Space, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, an epic Shake It Off – they’re all there, alongside the only real surprises in the set, two songs in what is known appropriately as the Surprise Section. Edinburgh is treated to Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve, a bonus track on the 3am edition of Midnights, and another new-ish song, ‘Tis The Damn Season, from 2020 album Folklore. Swift pauses the first song to ensure someone in the crowd who needs medical assistance is helped, at the same end of the stage from which she had earlier bestowed her hat on a young girl who probably still can’t believe what has happened to her.

Taylor Swift performs on stage during her Eras Tour at the Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.Taylor Swift performs on stage during her Eras Tour at the Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. (Image: PA)

There’s some chat too. “My name’s Taylor,” the singer says winsomely to huge cheers as she clutches a blue acoustic guitar and strums the opening chords of Lover. Elsewhere there’s appreciation for her admission that Scotland was an influence on the Folklore and Evermore albums, and more cheers when she wonders aloud why it’s nearly a decade since she graced our shores. It’ll be good karma which brings her back again soon – and it’s a great Karma which closes the evening. Not an obvious showstopper, but one with traction, at least going by the number of fans I see wearing t-shirts which reference it.

Time Magazine made Taylor Swift its Person of the Year in 2023, an accolade she now shares with Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Pope John Paul II and the home computer. The accompanying interview was predictably gushing but one line stood out: “Swift has a preternatural skill for finding the story.” Half right. She’s also an extraordinary – and extraordinarily driven – entertainer, as she will show Edinburgh over three nights. And while better minds than mine, with sharper pens and a deeper knowledge of her oeuvre, have tried to catch in words the thing that makes Taylor Swift such a phenomenon, perhaps it’s as simple as that: stories of heartbreak or empowerment, winningly told and held dear by people who find great meaning in them.

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Certainly if you prize word-smithery in your musical icons – if you hold a torch for the lyrics of Dylan, Morrissey, Nick Cave etc. – it’s not ridiculous to grant Swift at least a place at the foot of that pantheon too. “Did you hear my covert narcissism I disguise as altruism like some kind of congressman?” she sings on Anti-Hero, standout of the blazing final section drawn from Midnights. Yeah, sure. It could come straight from a self-help manual. But still I’ll doff my neon pink Stetson to anyone who can send a song with that line in it to the top of the pop charts across the English speaking world.

Tonight, you’d need a heart of stone not to be moved by the sentiment on display. Tin-ears to not recognise a great pop hook when you hear it. Beyond cynical to dismiss the choreography, the staging, the adoration of the fans. And beyond numb to not thrill at the vibe they create. This is what the power of assembly looks like – and this is the heavy, heavy gravity that surrounds a true mega-star.