On Saturday night, I had the privilege of seeing Taylor Swift preform for the second time in my life. When the 1989 tour came through Houston, I was in sixth grade and just starting to get really into Taylor Swift. I liked her music, but I was far from knowing every word to every song on every album. Seeing the concert, though, made me a die-hard Swiftie, and, now, as an eleventh grader, I know every lyric to every song, including the bonus tracks off 1989 which came in handy when she pulled out "Wonderland" as the secret song.
Always my concert buddy, my dad and I filed into the stadium close to six, an hour before Charlie XCX, the first opener, would take the stage. I'll admit, my paranoia about lines and parking was unfounded, but I didn't mind having a little extra time to scope out the venue and soak in the whole Taylor experience. I spent my extra time walking around the venue, scoping out the barricade and the B stages, talking to the many security guards posted about. I had to finalize my plans, solidify all the advice I'd read on Reddit in my head before the show began.
From the second Charlie hit the floor at 7, I was dancing my heart out, jumping around in my painstakingly handmade Junior Jewels shirt and penguin pajama bottoms. My earplugs had already fallen out of my pockets, so I figured I had nothing to lose. With my hearing gone, my voice and mobility could go with it the next morning. You can probably guess that I had Rep Room aspirations, but this is not a story about that. According to Twitter, there wasn't even one at my show. I was surprised how much I loved Charlie's set and how many of her songs I knew. She had everyone up on their feet and bouncing around as the venue slowly filled with people. There wasn't a single slumping moment in her whole set.
Then the lights went back up while we all waited for Camila Cabello to take the stage. I got to know my seat mates. Our section was pretty full of parents with their kids of all ages which was really nice. For some reason, I stood the whole intermission.
Camila hit the stage with a bang, and I was again surprised at how many songs of hers I knew. While a few songs were awkward to dance to and meshed together, overall, I enjoyed her set as well. The adrenaline of Taylor being even closer probably helped as well.
When Taylor came out, I danced and belted the words at the top of my lungs. A lot of the opening songs I couldn't see because I was in a grove of very tall people (some supporting Medusa headbands that didn't help), but the screens made me feel like I didn't miss a minute. Hearing her preform live is amazing, and the way she spins songs to make them new and interesting is wonderful.
Honestly, though, the whole time, I was waiting for the song, Delicate, that meant I should start walking the few rows back to the barrier. But then there were hordes of people moving from the front sections back, and, even though it was earlier than I expected, I had to follow them. Even though I was uneasy about breaking the "no leaving your seat" rule that the ushers were heavily enforcing, I charged back and wiggled my way close to the barrier. I wasn't going to miss my chance to be close to Taylor as she walked through the crowd.
When the security guard came to tell us that the only rule was no fighting, it was hard not to laugh. Though I've heard stories about dangerous concert pits, the girls I was sardined with were all super nice and just as in awe of the show as I was. I'm not sure any of us were able to fully pay attention as Taylor did her set on the B stage. We all knew that Taylor would be walking by soon.
When she did, I was in awe. While all the other girls had their phones out, ready to snap a photo as Taylor passed, I reached over to stick my hand out. I wanted the chance for Taylor to take my hand. When she walked by, she turned to face our group, and I stretched my arm a bit further so our fingers connected as she beamed at all of us. And then she was past us and up on the B stage, standing over us from two feet away. It was the only time during the show that I took pictures. I've never been that close to someone famous, especially someone I look up to that much.
While I know Taylor is a real person, just like everyone else, being so close to her is an interesting reminder of just how real she is when most of the time she feels almost untouchable. I think that contributes to why Swifties are the way they are. Taylor's mission has always been to share with them, give them access to her, whether it be inviting them into her home or walking through the crowd. While some people say it's the least she can do for how much fame she has, I think it's brave. I also think it makes people feel so connected and almost protective of her because she makes it easy to remember she's a vulnerable human being as she glitters on stage. And I don't think she's ever forgotten how special these moments are to her fans, and I don't think she's stopped appreciating how devoted her fans are because she looked into all of our eyes and glowed with as much happiness and excitement as we did.
To anyone who says Reputation proved Taylor changed or that the gossip was right about her, you should look at a video of her preforming on You Tube. You'll see that the old Taylor is alive and well. Though her artistic expression has gotten edgier and the boundaries have expanded with age, she still loves and cares about her fans and career as much as ever.
The Reputation Tour lived up to my expectations and more. Everyone involved did an amazing job with the set and costumes. Taylor put so much effort into making sure that fans in every seat felt like they got a personal connection with her, and she sang and danced her heart out. It was nothing less than awesome, exhilarating, and unforgettable.