"I could have sworn at times it was just me and her"

taylor swift concert
Taylor Swift's Eras tour was a night to rememberGetty Images

‘This night is sparkling, never let it go…’ On Sunday 9th June, myself, Taylor Swift and 73,000 people spent three hours together at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, for an evening of music, friendship bracelets and career-defining performances.

Taylor Swift is, without question, at the top of her game, a career that has culminated in The Eras tour, that as she describes it, spans 18 years of music, performed one era at a time. As somebody who has been a fan of Swift for many years, this is not my first Taylor Swift show, but it is without question the most ambitious event of hers I’ve attended.

My trip to Edinburgh comes a decade overdue - despite being an avid listener and follower of her career (I’ve even written a book dissecting Swift and her fanbase) I haven’t seen Taylor perform live since 2015.

The Eras Tour would be an occasion: post-pandemic me and nine friends all clubbed together to secure our tickets. Murrayfield offers hospitality packages that removed the anxiety of enduring Ticketmaster’s general sale. So, ten Taylor Swift fans - all of us invisible string-ed together from smaller friendship groups - found ourselves together in Scotland, several hundred pounds lighter after tickets, travel and hotel costs, but buzzing with excitement and anticipation for an evening to remember.

taylor swift eras tour
Kat McKenna

Taylor Swift often sings about holding onto memories, taking the moment and tasting it, doing what makes you shine and shimmer. That, for tens of thousands of fans, is attending the Eras tour. I was thrilled to be one of them, and the show that unfolded over 200 minutes was high-quality, fast-moving and non-stop entertainment.

Swift is a master of stage presence. She is also, evidently, a master of understanding her brand and how each stage of her career has defined her success and redefined her artistry time and time again.

The sets vary wildly: from the opening number in a sequin encrusted bodysuit, poker straight hair and trademark red lip where she invites the crowd to ‘cross the first bridge of the evening together’ (musical bridges are big in the Swiftie universe), leading the audience to erupt into a deafening rendition of Cruel Summer - to the more sedate folklore performances complete with white gown in which Swift floats across the diamond-shaped stage.

She stomps powerfully in the reputation era, in snake-jewelled bodysuit, and wails of broken love in a bespoke Vivienne Westwood gown for a new Tortured Poets Department set (added to the Europe leg of the tour).

How Swift has the stamina to do this – to sing live – and sing live she does, with a handful of notes dropped here and there - to dance, to lead a crowd, to master a stage, every night I have no idea. This is gold-medal, Olympian standard live performance, and a mystifying feat to behold.

My highlight, however, is the surprise songs segment, in which Swift appears without dancers or backing singers, without drama: it’s just her and her guitar and two handpicked songs each show. Intimate and special, as she sits at her piano Swift tells us, “this section is just for you guys - nobody else will have this experience with me.”

On top of the musical and visual joy of the show, experiencing live events with friends and loved ones is what brings the magic to life. Swift’s fandom is notoriously engaged with her, but also each other: a sense of unity, mutual understanding runs through the culture of her self-proclaimed Swifties.

The Eras tour has taken this to the next level; inspired by a line in You’re On Your Own Kid, fans make friendship bracelets to swap with glee at shows. My core group of three (bonded through careers in publishing, but glued together by a love of Taylor’s music) arrived with a modest armful each.

Two young girls sitting in front of us with their mum, delighted in swapping with us, three women in their late thirties. Behind us, a teenager and her dad - the parent of the two giddier than his daughter, climbing down into our row to offer one of the bracelets on his arm.

To many, Swift had reached a level of fame that makes her impossible to identify with. This year she has reached billionaire status. But in that stadium, I could have sworn at times it was just me and her. She has always written lyrics that I felt could help me understand life better. That makes sense in the privacy of my earbuds. But in a stadium of 73,000 people, Swift’s enduring ability to appear as a star, but act like a friend sharing her personal experiences, is evident.

She tells us: “these were once songs I wrote about a feeling I had, or something that happened to me, but after tonight they will be about you, and the memories you made here tonight.”

It was a night to remember, a performance curated by hundreds to pull off every night - but one woman sits at the centre of us all, reminding us that dreams can come true. That woman is Taylor Swift.

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