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Taylor Swift fever grips Paris at start of Europe tour

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Taylor Swift-fever struck Paris on Thursday as the highest-grossing tour in history finally arrived in Europe, with fans treated to the first-ever performance of songs from her latest album. 

The Eras Tour began its European leg with four dates at the La Defense Arena in Paris. 

“I wish I could have toured Europe more. This is a dream crowd,” the 34-year-old megastar told the ecstatic audience. 

There were deafening shrieks as images of typewriter sheets indicated that songs off the new album “The Tortured Poets Department” were starting late in the show.  

Emerging in a lyrics-covered dress, she ran through several of the darker new tracks starting with “But Daddy I Love Him” and including “Fortnight”, a particularly furious rendition of “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” and an elaborate “I Can Do it with a Broken Heart” with a golden-era Hollywood dance routine. 

“You were the first crowd to see songs from ‘The Tortured Poets Department’,” she said, before adding: “Or, as I like to call it, ‘Female Rage: the Musical'”. 

That was a dream come true for many in the audience.  

“I’ve been so excited for so long, I can’t believe it’s actually happening,” said 11-year-old Emma, who had flown in with her mother from New York. 

The venue said a fifth of the crowd were from the United States — many attracted by Europe’s rules against charging huge mark-ups on resale tickets that can save Americans thousands of dollars compared with shows at home. 

Georg’Ann Daly decided to celebrate her 23rd birthday with the Paris show. It meant flying from Nashville to Chicago to London and catching the Eurostar to Paris. 

“I’ve always been obsessed with Taylor Swift,” she told AFP. 

A handful of superfans camped out from Tuesday in Paris to ensure they got a prime spot. 

“I didn’t plan to, but I came to check it out and I saw the first tents and I panicked a little,” said Chris, 30. 

Noah, 20, is seeing all four Paris concerts — he used 22 email addresses to get through the lottery system and secure the tickets. 

Some 42,000 people will see Swift in Paris before she heads on for dates in Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Poland and Austria. 

The Eras Tour has worked its way across North and South America and Asia since starting in March 2023. 

By the end of the year, it had already become the first to sell more than $1 billion in tickets and is on track to more than double that by the time it concludes in Vancouver this December. 

Swift’s popularity shows no sign of dimming — the new album shifted 1.4 million copies on its first day and broke every streaming record going, reaching a billion streams on Spotify within five days. 

Swift’s tell-all dissections of her love stories have been the fuel powering her global domination, and fans have been poring over “The Tortured Poets Department” for cryptic clues about ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn, her short-but-dramatic fling with Matty Healy (lead singer of The 1975), and her current partner, American football star Travis Kelce.

“Taylor talks about toxic relationships, impossible love, politics, mental health, and so much more,” said Chris as she waited by her tent for the big moment. “I think we can all find a song that resonates with our experiences.” 

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