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STORYTELLER

  • Writer's pictureJennifer Howard

SWIFT


Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour

Once upon a time, the planets and the fates

And all the stars aligned

You and I ended up in the same room

At the same time


I discovered I was a #Swiftie in the 1989 Era. I will never forget when Shake it Off came on the radio and I thought, “Oh my god, who is this?! I LOVE this!” and it was Taylor. Then came Reputation, and I became an absolute diehard. That snake, Taylor’s ability to evolve in her work with each and every album, one never resembling the last. I love these things about her as an artist. I love Taylor as a storyteller, her innate ability to heal, rage, grow, lust, play, dance, love, feel herself, her power, and show anyone trying to disrespect her, “Checkmate, I couldn’t lose.” Taylor’s confidence has grown with every album, every era, every year.

Never forgiving myself for missing the last two shows, I knew I would be one of the thousands of sparkling lights in the State Farm stadium on night one of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.

Securing a seat at this show would prove to be immensely harder and more unlikely than Charlie Bucket finding one of Wonka’s golden tickets. The whole world wanted them. Millions registered as verified fans to be assured a spot in the digital queue. The big presale day came and with millions more than expected vying for a ticket, Ticketmaster crumbled and most Swifties ended the day exhausted and empty-handed. Myself included. Lucky for me, my friend Kwyn had gotten through and allowed me and our friend, Grace, to have one of her tickets. As it happened, the night before Ticketmaster had announced to the world that they would not be opening the general sale up as expected, I had already gone to Stub Hub and bought a closer seat. Golden ticket secured.

The build up to the show started weeks before her arrival. The Van Buren hosted Taylor Swift night, other venues held Taylor Raves, Taylor Swift Drag Brunch. Sweet Dee’s Bakeshop brought Swifties from all over the city to partake in Taylor themed cookies, macaroons, donuts with the faces of Taylor’s beloved cats, Meredith Grey, Olivia Benson and Benjamin Button, Taylor themed beverages, named for different songs, different eras, complete with lyrics written on the glass or served in mirrorballs, and so much cute merch from every era. Next, the City of Glendale announced it would RENAME the city for Taylor. Mayor Swiftie (as he is now known) renamed Glendale, Swift City, Eraszona. A ten-minute press conference was held to read the proclamation and announce to the world (through the clever use of many of Taylor’s lyrics) that we were getting her first, and the whole goddamn city was in a lavender haze.



At last, March 17 arrived and I started seeing social posts from every Swiftie I follow about them flying into Arizona to experience the long awaited kickoff of The Eras tour. When I picked up my friend and fellow Swiftie, Grace, we had our girl on shuffle, talking about all of our favorite songs, favorite eras, which ones must be on the set list for tonight and so on. The department of transportation had Taylor’s lyrics up on all the electronic freeway signs “Cut off? Don’t get Bad Blood. Shake it Off.” Well done, ADOT. On the way to the show, we saw decorated cars, my favorite being marked, the “Getaway Car.” Lovve! Swifties descended upon the city from across the country, likely from many corners of the world.


We met up with Kwyn and her family at Westgate and drank and danced the afternoon away with all the revelers. There was a St. Patty’s crew out for sure, but more so, it was Swifties everywhere. Dressed in attire that represented every era, every album, every song, every lyric, every inside joke we share. It was incredible. Everywhere I looked, there were my people. Sporting snake earrings, red heart sunglasses, the colors of Lover, lavender jumpsuits, bejeweled everything, sequins and even a mirrorball helmet. Dying. Mash ups of her songs played everywhere we went, and everyone was singing along, getting hyped up for what was about to take place.



And then we were in. We were in the stadium, light up bracelet on our wrists, running around to check out the view, the merch, but most of all to people watch as I have never seen anything like this in my life. 70,000 diehard Swifties all in one place after five years of anticipation. After five years of all that had happened. Grace and I had to split at that point as she was seated up with Kwyn and her family and my ticket was down, just one level above the floor.



When I got to my seat, I made friends with all the Swifties around me. I mean, like, instant friends. They even gave me a friendship bracelet (iykyk). The Swifties at the Irish pub had offered me an extra pair of their REPUTATION snake earrings. I’m telling you, there are no more loving and generous souls on the planet than Swifties. Paramore opened the show and was fantastic. I realized, once in my seat, that I was exactly eye-level to the right side of the T (the T part of the stage that Taylor will walk out on to). That’s when I really started to feel it. I am here. I am right here in the middle of this. My friends from work were in various sections of the arena and we were all texting each other, respectively losing our shit.



The Midnights clock on the screen began to count down and then…there she was. We had no idea what was even about to take place over the next three hours and fifteen minutes, but the whole stadium was lit up from the inside out. She began in the Lover era, and we were so here for it. The eras went: Lover, Fearless, Evermore, Reputation, Speak Now, Red, Folklore, 1989, Surprise songs, Midnights. Every set, video, costume, prop, dancer, lighting, special effect was mind blowing. Every swiftie in the place was screaming, singing, and full of excitement to experience this first night of tour. The night so many Swifties would give anything to experience.

Wind in my hair, I was there, I was there.

Being with Taylor felt familiar. She caught us up like the dearest of friends meeting up after a long couple of years. The bond and connection Taylor has built with her Swifties is formidable. Her genuineness allows each and every Swiftie to connect with her on some level, and feel connected to each other. Throughout the show, Taylor would just talk with us about how she was feeling, what had happened since we last talked, what she’s been working on, how we were. She always talks to everyone in the entire stadium, reminding us, I can see each and every one of you (as we all had those fab lighted wrist bands that illuminate, flash and glimmer at just the right lyrics and beats). She makes each person feel 100% seen. It felt like being wrapped in a warm hug from your best friend.


This night is sparkling, never let it go.



There were some moments I just stood quietly, taking it all in, but more occasions where I was scream singing every lyric with all my new friends. Top songs to sing at the top of your lungs with your fellow 70,000 Swifties:


You Belong With Me

22

Look What You Made Me Do

All Too Well (10 min version)

Shake it Off

Enchanted

Bejeweled

Karma



The performance that left everyone’s jaw dropped:

Vigilante Shit

The moment the fire lit up the stadium:

Bad Blood

Surprise Song:

Mirrorball (acoustic)

I want you to know

I’m a mirrorball

I’ll show you every version of yourself tonight.


Three hours and fifteen minutes of every song we’ve ever loved, spanning nearly two decades, elaborate costume changes, endless surprises (to include Taylor swan diving into, and then beneath, the stage like it was a swimming pool), and 44 songs where everyone was singing, hands in the air, 13’s on hands, light up bracelets in every bejeweled color may leave me feeling golden the rest of my life.

The next day, I had a total Swiftie hangover and was so proud of it. Everyone I knew who went was recovering, sharing stories, pics, feelings, moments, everything. Social was blowing up and Taylor left us a little love note (just for the first night of the Eras tour Swifties) “I miss you like it was the very first night.” And IG stories, “Tonight we danced for all that we’ve been through.”


Indeed.

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