It’s been a long time coming: Was the Era’s Tour worth the hype?

Sophomore friends Elsa Santighian and Lena Sbaschnig pose in the front row of their General Admission seats, ready for Taylor Swift to appear on stage.  Santighian (left) dresses as Swift’s “1989” era, while Sbaschnig (right) dresses as Swift’s “Lover” era.  “Taylor walked straight up to us and looked at us during ‘my tears ricochet’ and ‘The Archer,’” Santighian said.

Photo courtesy of Elsa Santighian

Sophomore friends Elsa Santighian and Lena Sbaschnig pose in the front row of their General Admission seats, ready for Taylor Swift to appear on stage. Santighian (left) dresses as Swift’s “1989” era, while Sbaschnig (right) dresses as Swift’s “Lover” era. “Taylor walked straight up to us and looked at us during ‘my tears ricochet’ and ‘The Archer,’” Santighian said.

Gigantic pastel sheets enter the stage in a perfectly choreographed routine, mesmerizing fans while waiting for their idol to appear. Snippets of the song “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” play as the sheets cover a particular section of the stage, and a voice echoes through the stadium putting fans in a frenzy. As the sheets rise, Taylor Swift’s figure appears on the stage, and the stadium floor shakes in response.

Taylor Swift announced the United States leg of her long-awaited “Eras Tour” on Nov. 1, 2022. The tour was advertised to cover all 10 studio albums by the pop star, sending longtime Swifties back to 2006. The response was as expected—fans went ballistic, trying to sign up for various presales sponsored by Capital One and Ticketmaster.

The supposed “guaranteed and easy” presales had fans waiting in the dreaded queue for hours. Ticketmaster could not handle the demand of Taylor Swift’s colossal fandom, and many fans were left without tickets, even after waiting hours. Angry fans blamed Ticketmaster for their wretched experience, and many resorted to buying tickets for ridiculously high prices or watching the event through screens.

Nevertheless, fans went to vast extents for the star. The question remains, was the concert worth the tribulations and hype people gave it?

The answer from many Walter Johnson students is “most definitely.”

There were no locations near Maryland, so many fans traveled to places like East Rutherford, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Maryland fans arrived with their A-game, dressed as different Taylor Swift “eras” from each of her albums. Fashion was essential for fans as they encapsulated their favorite albums through Swift’s style at the time.

One Swiftie, junior Brandon Moon, went as his favorite album, “Red.” He wore a red bandana and a red muscle shirt that read “Lover 22” as a tribute to Swift’s seventh studio album and the song “22” from “Red.” “I dressed up as Red because it’s my favorite album; the music on it impacted me,” Moon said.

Ticketmaster made the ticket-buying process strenuous. There were many complaints about Ticketmaster’s inability to handle the swarm of Swifties. Freshman Yael Ben-Eliyahu was given a “Verified Fan” code but could not enter the queue. Instead, she found herself dancing in a parking lot in New Jersey on May 26.

Ben-Eliyahu would not miss seeing her idol perform live, even if she had to listen from the parking lot. Even from the outside, the concert exceeded the expectations she had set.

“The concert definitely outlived my expectations, although I wanted to be able to see her. I couldn’t hear her when she was talking, but I could when she was singing,” Ben-Eliyahu said.

Even though she was unable to see the star, Ben-Eliyahu’s favorite moment of the concert was when Swift sang one of the fan favorites, “All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault).”

“All the Swifties were screaming, and I also loved it when she played ‘Ready For It…’ because, on the three beats, everyone jumped and landed on the floor at the same time,” Ben-Eliyahu said.

Some fans paid for expensive last-minute tickets. Junior Federica Gavelli got tickets for the last New Jersey show on the concert day. This was her first concert, and she claimed it surpassed every expectation.

“Everyone at the concert was excited to be there, and you could definitely tell. They were all so nice, and everyone’s excited energy made me more excited for the concert to start,” Gavelli said.

Some fans had better luck getting tickets for the show. Sophomore Elsa Santighian got front-row tickets to the last New Jersey concert. She has been a Swiftie for as long as she can remember and was committed to getting tickets. She got a “Verified Fan” code, and her friend’s father waited all day for tickets.

“The concert was genuinely one of the best things ever, and it was definitely worth the hype,” Santighian said.

Inside or outside the stadium, the environment is vivacious. Swifties congregate before the show, sharing one thing in common: their love for Taylor Swift. As a tribute to the song, “You’re On Your Own, Kid,” from her newest album, “Midnights,” many fans brought friendship bracelets to trade with each other.

“I got to the concert with zero friendship bracelets and left with seven. I loved the friendship bracelet idea, and some people brought bags worth to give to others,” Ben-Eliyahu said.

The chaos begins for fans looking at the International Eras Tour dates announced on June 2. International dates are expected to be in high demand, similar to that in the United States, and fans are excited to see their idol again.

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