Entertainment

The spiritual feminine joy of The Eras Tour

Let me paint you a picture. It’s July 2023, and I am on a frantic phone call with my friend, Charlotte. Why is the phone call frantic? Because we were waiting with bated breath in a Ticketmaster queue to buy Taylor Swift tickets. Charlotte bought a vinyl of her 10th (and at that time most recent) album Midnights, meaning we’re in the lucky crop of swifties with access to a presale. Another friend of mine, Grishma, wasn’t so lucky but got a code for the general sale a week later. At first, we tried to get tickets for Taylor’s Thursday show in Liverpool but after waiting a few minutes in the queue, already the only tickets left were obscured viewing up in the rafters of Anfield Stadium. 

Our lack of luck made me feel instant dread, convinced we would fail to secure tickets for the Friday and Saturday shows, forcing us to battle it out in the general sales. Alas, we were blessed by the Swiftie gods and landed the very first spot in the queue for the Friday show, securing 4 standing tickets. The rush didn’t subside for several days.

Fast forward almost an entire year later and the day was upon us. For weeks swifties across the UK have been making friendship bracelets, devotedly curating outfits for the show based on one of Taylor’s distinctive eras, and fiercely manifesting their favourite songs performed by Swift. Charlotte, now heavily pregnant, went with a sequinned pink dress to emulate Lover, I chose a flowy white dress with dramatic sleeves to evoke Folklore – my favourite album. Grishma secured tickets for the Thursday show and dressed as Fearless, resplendent in a gold outfit.

At the start of June, my talented nail artist kitted my claws out with a set inspired by each of Taylor’s eras. Two days before the show during a trip to the vets, a receptionist enthusiastically complimented my nails, building to the growing excitement. In the run-up to the show, my TikTok and Instagram feeds were filled with videos of Taylor’s shows in France, Spain, and Scotland—the excitement built until the fever pitch of the day itself was upon us

The day is upon us

Even as I woke up on Friday I didn’t fully believe that I was going to The Eras Tour, with all of the content pouring into my feed it felt too grandiose to be real. Upon getting to the stadium, immediately the energy of the space was overwhelming, and healing. Charlotte and I quickly set off on a mission to trade friendship bracelets with the other swifties in the standing area. With each interaction, we swapped bracelets and hopes for the show, which surprise songs we wanted, and which eras were our favourites. Each person we met was filled with the same effervescence only felt when you connect to people who share a love of the same music. 

As the anticipation built, Paramore graced the stage, infusing me with a wave of nostalgia for days as a teenager when their music often sat side by side with Taylor’s on my iPod. Before long, the time came for the main event as Taylor graced the stage. This was it, almost an entire year of building excitement culminated in that moment. As she sang the opening lyric of the concert ‘It’s been a long time coming’ from her song Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince, I thought to myself that she wasn’t wrong – it had indeed been a long time coming. Throughout the show I sang, I danced, I cried, I marvelled, I was all in.

All in

Taylor is no stranger to putting on a show, my concert being the 101st in the run of The Eras Tour, but to see a musician truly at the very apex, not only of her own career, but of pop culture itself was nothing short of magic. It also felt profoundly healing. I grew up with Taylor’s music, associating the entries in her musical diary with my own life, my own pain, and my own story. Being in a space with everyone tapped into the Swift fairy dust mended wounds I thought were long since healed. Songs like All Too Well, Illicit Affairs, and The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived have served as therapists for me. With her lyrics Swift makes you feel seen and valid in your feelings. 

Like many people who identify with femininity, there are a lot of experiences and moments in my past that have left me with scars. Taylor is by no means a symbol for every facet of my experience, in fact, it isn’t inaccurate to say that in many ways she can’t capture the nuances of my life in her music. She has a questionable track record with her feminism to say the least. Putting these aspects of her public persona aside, her music has soothed my soul in times when I felt like I was alone. It is only when you are in her presence, surrounded by other swifties, that you realise that she has been that person for millions of other people. It makes for quite the intense experience.

I am not alone in this, The New Feminist’s entertainment editor, Daisy Edwards, attended Taylor’s first Eras Tour date in London. She shares her experience with us.

Daisy’s experience

It was confirmed. 4 tickets for The Eras tour London night 1 at Wembley stadium. They were secured over my phone on bad Maltese WiFi while on a family holiday, to much jumping and shouting, and pacing from my friend Elliot back in London. On the day the tickets were secured, my mum posted a picture on Instagram of me and my sister, titled “Celebrating today”, with an arrow pointed to my sister, labelled ‘Passed first year of medical school’ and an arrow pointing to me saying “got Taylor Swift tickets” and most people responded to her by saying “I don’t know what’s more impressive”.

Swift fever had truly gripped London. Around Wembley Stadium there were painted murals of Taylor’s face, Capital Radio had an entire station dedicated to her and social media was ablaze with speculation about what her surprise songs were going to be or what colour outfit she was going to wear. We even swapped friendship bracelets in my office at work the day before my tour date. 

There was something quite lovely about the camaraderie and friendship that comes with being a Swiftie, a group of people celebrating messy relationships, friendships that feel like family and songs that break your heart. It wasn’t just a concert, it was an experience, a celebration of girlhood, a chance to sing the songs that got you through breakups surrounded by people who’ve done the same. I don’t think I’ve quite recovered from my experience (post Eras Tour Blues are real) but I was pleased to be a part of one of the tours that will go down in history, something I look forward to bragging about to my daughter one day.  

Taylor Swift is without a doubt the most famous person on earth right now, and her Eras Tour is the victory lap to end all victory laps. The three-and-a-half-hour show is a testament to the past 18 years of music and countless obstacles that have positioned Taylor as the phenom that she is. She has built her kingdom with her own words, and her own experiences, and in doing that she has become the soundtrack to the lives of millions of women. For better or for worse, she is one of the most successful women in musical history, something that I was lucky enough to experience first-hand.

For a balanced deep dive into all things Taylor Swift check out our recent podcast episode about her and her brand of feminism here:

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