It was Sunday, July 2, only 12 days before Taylor Swift’s Denver stop on her Eras Tour.
We had fought like hell to score two tickets in the lower bowl to see the singer-songwriter. Our Pinterest inspiration board was pristine, our outfits were sketched out, and all of the supplies to make them had been purchased, thanks to some help from two kind old ladies at JoAnn’s craft store. My friend Rai and I sat across from one another at their kitchen table, staring at the hundreds of beads, yellow sunflowers, paint, fluff, and rhinestones laid before us. Taylor Swift’s music filled the room. We were just a couple of Swifties, armed with Starbucks, a hot glue gun, and a deadline. The first course of action: making friendship bracelets.
Swifties are known for our tight fanbase, largely made up of women. At Swift concerts, we come prepared with handmade “friendship bracelets” that have lyrics to our favorite songs, inspirational quotes from Swift, and inside jokes from the fandom spelled out in tiny beaded letters. We trade bracelets with one another while waiting in line for food and drinks or dancing in our seats. It’s a way to connect with other fans and take a small memory from the concert home with you. Rai and I made enough to cover both of our forearms. We understood the assignment. I lost count of how many times I traded bracelets with other Swifties on Friday night, but my favorite bracelet I received says, “Fighting Dragons,” lyrics from one of her songs, “Long Live.”
The Eras Tour saw Swift performing original music from the past 17 years rather than just one album like most concerts. Each album represented a different one of Swift’s “eras.” Us Swifties dressed accordingly. Some dressed for her “Fearless” era, wearing white dresses and cowboy hats and boots to commemorate Taylor Swift’s country album. Others opted for her “Lover” era, wearing bright pink ruffled outfits adorned with sequins and sparkles as an ode to her 2019 album. Rai and I dressed as “sunshine” and “midnight rain,” a reference to the lyrics of one of our favorite songs, “Midnight Rain.”
When Swift first came out onstage, I was struck with a wave of emotions. It’s not that I didn’t care about the opening acts, but I can’t say I paid much attention to them (sorry, MUNA and Gracie Abrams. It’s nothing personal.) I caught a glimpse of Taylor and instantly burst into tears. The funny thing about Swift’s fanbase is that no one seemed to bat an eye at my miniature meltdown. Everyone was freaking out together.
“The woman who was standing next to me at the concert laughed with me, cried with me, danced with me, and sang with me the whole night,” said Eliana Wieder, a fellow Swiftie and Eras Tour attendee. “I didn’t get her name or contact information, but I’ll always remember her as being a safe person to express myself and my feelings around during this incredible concert.”
One of my favorite moments on Friday night was when Taylor joked with the crowd about the media buzz surrounding the Eras Tour.
“People said, ‘What are you gonna do, like, a three-and-a-half hour tour and play all of them?” she said. “And I was like, ‘Yes. And it’s called the Eras Tour.”
She also praised Colorado’s natural beauty to the crowd’s amusement. Everyone loves when Swift makes them feel like their city is special to her, Denverites being no exception to this rule. When speaking about her writing process for “Folklore,” she spoke of a cabin in the woods.
“To be perfectly honest, when I did imagine this cabin, I kind of did picture it in Colorado. It’s pretty here!”
And of course, it wouldn’t be the Eras Tour without acknowledging the whole Ticketmaster debacle. “I have a question. Is there anyone here who has gone to a substantial, extensive amount of effort to be with us here on this Friday night?” Swift paused as the stadium erupted with cheers and screams. “I thought so. That looks to be about all 73,000 of you.”
Eliana Wieder was one of many Swifties who fought in the Great Ticketmaster Battle. Unfortunately, shortly after securing a solid spot in the queue, Ticketmaster froze the site to fix glitches. Right when Wieder had to take an exam.
“Getting my hands on those tickets was a genuine struggle. I woke up early to be able to get into the queue right as it went up,” she said. “I had to make the incredibly difficult decision to close my computer and forfeit my spot in line.”
After getting back on the website, she had dropped from spot 2,000 to 50,000 in the queue.
“I ran out of class to focus on buying the tickets. And luckily, I got the two tickets I wanted!”
Rai and I can definitely relate. We originally didn’t get tickets the first go-around, despite registering for the presale on Ticketmaster’s website weeks in advance, getting in the queue early, and checking all of the necessary boxes. Using the power of social media and contacting the company directly, we were given a second chance to buy our tickets. By the time the concert rolled around, we were ready to “Shake it Off” and celebrate Swift’s artistry—and how she empowers women, lifts up her fans, and encourages everyone to be themselves.
Collette and Emma Sappey, a mother-daughter duo at the Eras concert, enjoyed spending the night making memories together.
“As much as I enjoyed the concert, I enjoyed watching Emma enjoy it even more! These experiences together are priceless,” Collette said.
Like many young women, Emma Sappey noted that Swift’s music is incredibly relatable.
“Especially as a young woman myself, it’s something that you can share with her and others around you. It’s not just being a woman in the music industry; it’s about being a woman in this time.”
Swift has started a new tradition of playing “surprise songs” at each concert on the Eras Tour, where she performs a song not on the original Eras Tour setlist, and on Friday, she played “Picture to Burn,” and “Timeless.” Although Swift changed the original controversial lyrics to Picture to Burn, which she wrote when she was 15, the crowd loudly chanted the original lyrics: “So go and tell your friends that I’m obsessive and crazy, that’s fine, I’ll tell mine that you’re gay!” and erupted with laughter. This was an especially fun moment for Rai and me, both being part of the queer Swift fanbase.
The festivities didn’t end when Swift left the stage. As tens of thousands of fans left the stadium, heading for what would become a difficult night for Denver’s overcrowded RTD system (take it from yours truly—it was rough!), we were greeted by the Brothers of Brass band, playing Taylor Swift songs in the tunnels as everyone danced. For those of us who were lucky enough to score tickets to this event, we’ll be sure to remember this moment.
This was my fourth time seeing Taylor Swift in concert, but my first time seeing her as an adult. There’s something special about growing up listening to songs like “22,” and then seeing her perform “22” when you’re finally at that age (well, 23, but close enough.) Swift’s music has carried me through every phase of my life, beginning when I was a young girl and continuing into my early twenties. My first heartbreak, my parent’s divorce, my father’s death—you name it, there’s a Taylor Swift song that I can think of that helped me heal. It’s often said that laughter is the greatest medicine, but to me, it’s always been music. If life’s greatest challenges are sicknesses, Taylor Swift’s songs are prescriptions to me.