Students reflect on Swift’s highly anticipated Eras Tour


As a child, junior Emily Freeman sat for hours on her iPad, rewatching the “Love Story” music video over and over again, wishing she could be Taylor Swift. She could only hope that someday she would be able to see the global popstar don the iconic white and yellow princess dress and sing the top 10 single from Swift’s sophomore album “Fearless” in person. Then, after more than ten years of being a loyal fan, she braved the Ticketmaster disaster and what fans call “The Great War” and obtained Eras tour tickets for her and her best friends, discovering on Mar 31 at the AT&T stadium in Arlington, TX that childhood dreams really can come true. 

“It was an out of body experience; it didn’t feel real,” Freeman said. “I was singing the songs, and I could see the music videos in my head. I was like, ´This is so cool”

The U.S. leg of the tour, 52 shows spanning from Mar 17 to Aug 9, has “blown up” on TikTok with the #erastour reaching 3.6B views. Fans and non-fans, including celebrities, have raved about Swift’s performances. Former NFL star J.J. Watt took his praise to Twitter after seeing Swift in Arizona on Mar 18, and other celebrities, including Swift’s friend Selena Gomez, weren’t short of compliments for the headliners 44 song set. 

Freeman agrees with Watt and Gomez: even sitting in the nosebleeds, the show lived up to the hype. Despite knowing the set list and her own TikTok “For You” page being full of videos from Swift’s first few tour performances, the 33 year old singer still managed to leave Freeman surprised, especially as she changed up her set list for the first night of her time in Arlington, playing “the 1” instead of “invisible string.”

“No matter how many videos you’ve seen, it’s still cool to be there,” Freeman said. “It was the best night of my life.”

Bowen, sitting in the lower bowl the 3rd night of the Arlington shows at AT&T stadium, has still failed to fully process seeing one of her idols in the flesh. 

“Yeah, [I cried]. It wasn’t even about sad songs. I was crying during ‘You Need to Calm Down’,” Bowen said. “I was just very overwhelmed with how happy I was, and it didn’t even matter what song was on.”

Still, the concert wasn’t perfect. With an attendance of approximately 70,000, the crowd was overwhelming, and concertgoers had a difficult time arriving and leaving. In addition, Freeman would have rather heard more songs from Debut and Speak Now than Swift’s newest album Midnights. Senior Michaela Bowen agrees. Because she hasn’t experienced one of her past tours, Bowen wishes Swift would’ve added more of her older songs to the set list.

“[The crowd] was annoying, but I definitely think with the concert itself everything was great. She’s such a performer,” Freeman said. “It was fun [no matter the songs she played]; I danced the whole time.”

Every show has two acoustic songs that aren’t usually on the set list called “surprise songs.” Freeman’s surprise songs were “Sad Beautiful Tragic” and “Ours”, which she was happy with despite wishes of hearing “London Boy”, “New Romantics”, or “right where you left me”.

Bowen, who has listened to Swift since her country days and became a die hard fan around her Reputation Era, was let down by the April 2 concert’s surprise songs “Jump Then Fall” and “The Lucky One”, especially after seeing on TikTok that the songs the night before were fan favorites “Clean” and “Death By A Thousand Cuts”. 

“I don’t think I was appreciating [my surprise songs] in the moment, but after the concert, they were really stuck in my head,” Bowen said. “I wish I would have appreciated them more when she was singing them acoustically.”

Although many fans, like senior Blake Mussino who wants “I Almost Do” and “Clean”, have strong opinions on what songs they’d like to hear, senior Audrey Rogers, who is going to the Mar 7 Kansas City show, is just grateful to have the opportunity to go, especially because for a while, she was doubtful she’d get tickets after two of her friends tried and failed.

“There was a little period of devastation for me. Honestly, I cried,” Rogers said. “I´m just really lucky to be able to go to this tour.”

Throughout the tour, openers vary and include well-known artists, like Phoebe Bridgers, Paramore, and Gracie Abrams. MUNA and Gayle opened for Freeman´s show while Gracie Abrams and beabadoobee opened for Bowen´s. Freeman was pleasantly surprised by the openers, even being transformed into a fan of MUNA´s despite never hearing their music before Mar 31. 

Bowen, who is an avid listener of Gracie Abrams, looked forward to seeing her. Yet, she was let down by the opening acts. 

“Gracie started five minutes early, and everyone wasn’t to their seats,’ Bowen said. “I feel like no one was paying attention to them. It was kind of like whenever they just play music over the radio, so it wasn’t like being at a Gracie concert.”

Still, seeing Swift in person made up for any dismay Bowen felt towards Abrams performance. 

“[The concert] was different than what I expected it to because there was just so much going on,” Bowen said. “[Taylor] is such a good performer that there was no way I could be disappointed.”