After four nights of sold-out shows at the iconic Tokyo Dome, Taylor Swift is expected to head straight into another mammoth journey: a long-haul flight back to the United States, with the clock ticking before the Super Bowl kicks off Sunday evening.
That is a question that has riveted audiences for weeks: will Swift make it back in time to attend the game, where boyfriend Travis Kelce is playing for the Kansas City Chiefs?
Swift’s last concert in Tokyo, rounding out the Japan leg of her multi-continent Eras Tour, ended Saturday night local time – prompting fans around the world to frantically calculate whether she had enough time to travel back to Las Vegas.
Japan’s position works in Swift’s favor. As one of the first countries to the west of the international dateline, Tokyo is a full 17 hours ahead of Las Vegas.
When she finishes her concert, that’s still early dawn hours Saturday morning in Las Vegas, leaving her plenty of time ahead to get back if she leaves right after the concert.
Swift has been a regular at Kansas City Chiefs games since she turned up at Kelce’s family suite in September last year to watch them against the Chicago Bears, sparking frenzied fan and media speculation that the two were dating.
The pair later confirmed in separate interviews that they had already been seeing each other prior to that game. And that relationship has been credited with finding a whole new audience for the game, and for a ratings bump for football since Swift and Kelce went public.
That influence has been visible in Tokyo among the thousands of fans attending Swift’s concerts, many of whom turned up in Kelce’s number 87 jersey with Kansas City Chiefs and other NFL inspired outfits.
Among them were Roke and Hiro, from the east-central prefecture of Saitama. The two friends who secured tickets to Saturday’s last show said they started out as NFL fans and became “Swifties” after Kelce and Swift’s romance began.
Holding up a little pouch she made from a toddler-sized Chiefs’ jersey, Indonesian fan Ari Novianti said she had been collecting any Kelce related items she could find back home since her idol started dating the NFL player.
“I will pray hard that she will make it. She will make it,” she said, pointing both her palms skywards.
US fan Tricia Mears, clad in a Chiefs jacket, said she was there for Swift for her “great influence on women, and women supporting women.”
“Travis Kelce is a bonus to that. He’s been extraordinarily supportive of her career,” she said.
On the prospect of Swift making make it back home in time, she said: “She’s showing up for something that she loves and that’s something to celebrate.”
Many fans, like Welch, had traveled from other countries to attend the Tokyo concerts – including some who’d bought tickets to all four nights.
Swift, who had last performed in Tokyo in 2018 during her Reputation stadium tour, thanked her fans on Wednesday for those who had traveled a great distance to attend. She added that it had been a good week for her – just days before her Japan leg, she had won the album of the year Grammy for her 2022 album “Midnights,” becoming the artist with the most wins in the coveted category.
Prior to her win of the coveted award, Swift was tied with Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon, who along with her all previously won album of the year three times. She took home golden gramophones for album of the year in 2009 for “Fearless,” 2015 for “1989” and 2021 for “Folklore.”
At the Grammys, Swift also announced she’s releasing her 11th studio album “The Tortured Poets Department” in April.
Speaking at the Tokyo concert on Wednesday, she said she had planned to announce the new album at the Grammys if she won anything – and announce it in Tokyo if she didn’t win.
Saki Toi and Himari Semans contributed to this report
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