Recently, I foresaw a moment many years from now, in which my as-yet-unborn children ask, from the backseat of a sensible car, if I attended Taylor Swift’s legendary Eras tour.
“I was there,” I’d tell them, dewy-eyed and reverent.
I wasn’t always like this. While I’ve lived and loved through Swift’s music for several of my own eras, pledging full allegiance as a white millennial woman felt too on-the-nose. But after months of screaming Reels, ticket scarcity, and near-religious experiences reported, I was overcome with projection anxiety. It was necessary to be honest and ask: Is this my Woodstock? Am I looking down the barrel of decades of regret if I miss it?
My sister had an extra ticket to this summer’s final U.S. Eras show, in Los Angeles. Acknowledging this miracle, I decided that if I had the privilege to witness pop history, I didn’t want to attend as a casual fan.
The prep was serious. I memorized the setlist and the song lyrics. (To clarify: it’s He looks up grinning like a devil, not He looks so pretty like a devil.) I speculated about the secret songs she’d sing between the 1989 and Midnights eras. I spread my arms to trust-fall into full Swiftie mode.
Being new here, I’ve learned that belonging to this subculture is like joining the least-exclusive club, in a good way. The communal spirit began the morning of the show, when I spent 30 minutes of the drive to L.A. behind a Pathfinder painted with the words “Honk If You Love Taylor!” I leaned in and gave a polite press of my horn. The semi-trucks sharing the road were even more enthusiastic.
Building a distinct world for each of her 10 albums, Swift has created a solar system by her early 30s. My 29-year-old sister, a resident of Planet Reputation (though she travels), explained to me that it’s notable Taylor doesn’t have any fashion or makeup lines, and she rarely promotes other projects, allowing her fans to focus their attention on her music and its obsessive myth-making.
Swifties yearn to relate to the woman who makes the minutiae monumental, the highly personal universal. At the stadium, I asked the security guard checking my ticket if she was a fan. She wore the beaded friendship bracelets that’ve become a currency of the tour. “I wasn’t, but I am after these six shows,” she told me. “Taylor and I have a lot in common. We both have the same initials and birth year.”