The monstrous Lincoln Financial Field stood in all its glory right before us.
“You ready? Let’s go.” I said to my sister Natalie.
“I guess.” she squirmed.
Her doubtful compliance thrust us forward, each step carrying us closer to Taylor Swift herself. It all seemed surreal. I mean, I never thought I’d be within a mile of Taylor, let alone less than a football field’s length.
After we passed through the ticket gate, we were handed bracelets that looked like Apple Watches by employees who looked just thrilled to be there amongst thousands of loud boys, girls — and, yes — women, and men who looked like mini versions of Taylor’s various music video characters. These snazzy bracelets would later on light up in different colors, and flash in-sync with her songs, dousing the stadium in a beautiful glow. On the side was a little tab that would eventually turn on the plastic jewelry, “Should I do it? Should I pull the tab? I’m scared, what if I break it?!” I nagged as we took off up the steps, two at a time. At the top, we were greeted by a very charming gentleman who gave us 1989 Tour buttons and a piece of paper directing us toward a photo booth presented by Xfinity, “Jen, we made it,” Nat said in total awe as she scanned the stadium.
“WOOOOO. I KNOW, LET’S GO!” I shrieked. I guess I’m more the type to show my emotions.
I pointed in a random direction that ended up being correct, and off we went into the vast world of Taylor Swift. We found the photo booth and hopped in a line that, despite feeling longer than a normal school day, was cheered up by none other than me. Why yes, I was asked to get the line going by singing the Swift Jam “22″, and I happily obliged. I took a deep breath and looked at Natalie as if to say: “I already know what you’re going to say, so shut up in advance”, then began singing…It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters, and make fun of our EXES. Oh oh, oh oh.
The rest of the line joined in, and soon we had a slightly off-tune chorus of girls and boys singing a universal hit. Quite soon after, Nat and I were up next to take our picture in front of a background that consisted of the same seagulls on Taylor’s shirt, which she dons on her 1989 album cover. The staff working the three booths were extremely kind and patient, helping us with our belongings and taking their time to make sure they typed the correct phone number.
Next up on the Tay-Tay-Train was the classic concert picture with the glamorous stage as our backdrop. After finding just the right person to snap the pic, we made our way to our seats. Great location — perfect for panoramic shots of all the bracelets lit up. Little did we know that the huge tower holding the lights and speakers would be directly in front of us, blocking our (expensive) view of Her Majesty. We booked it to customer service where, after a marathon of eyelash-batting and innocent smiling, we got our tickets exchanged for even better seats in the level below us. On our way back, we saw loads of creative costumes hand-crafted by adoring fans. Nat and I even correctly picked out some fans who would definitely make it to her after-concert-meet-and-greet called Loft 89 (like the shirtless boys covered in purple glitter…why didn’t we think of that?!).
One of my concert rituals is to make friends with the people around me. Not only because it’s a nice thing to do, but also because they’re the people who will be directly affected by my screaming and flailing later on. Better safe than sorry. There was a little girl behind me who I constantly talked with before the show, asking her which song she likes best (it was Shake It Off, which she actually slept through…poor little girl’s internal clock couldn’t keep her awake until the end of the show), and asking her if she promises to dance the whole time (she for sure danced, until she wore herself out).
Shawn Mendes and Vance Joy absolutely rocked the stadium with their beautifully unique voices and darn good looks. Hey, Shawn, I’m your age. You’re my age. I’m just putting that out there. Also, happy early birthday.
After a bit of anxious waiting, our legs sticking to our seats more and more with each minute, the stadium lights finally turned off and a wave of excited cheers erupted all at once. The stage began to light up, and our bracelets followed suit. Can you guess what happened next? If you guessed more screaming and definitely some crying, then you are correct! Our wrists were twinkling in the glorious summer night, and the entire stadium looked like the sky had dropped all its stars in one lucky place. Soon we heard city sounds…but not Philly city sounds, which directed our attention towards the dancers climbing out from under the stage. The sounds grew louder, and not just the pre-recorded car horns and incoherent chatter, but also the crowd’s screaming and occasional chant of “Taylor! Taylor! Taylor!”.
The spotlights grew brighter, and more focused on the huge “1989 World Tour” text in the center of the stage. And just like a dream, Ms. Swift walked out from underneath the stage in her metallic skirt and flashy jacket, with her signature crop top and began singing her vibrant tune “Welcome to New York”. I think I did some serious damage to my innards at that moment — all caught on camera, of course. The tears were there, and they were all too real. But as she began singing, I felt immeasurably jovial. I’ll have to admit, seeing her strut down the catwalk didn’t seem as foreign to me as I thought it would. I’m assuming that’s because she interacts so heavily with us that, even though I’ve never met her, I feel as if she’s an old friend. But, of course I was still shocked at the sight of her supermodel long legs and radiant smile.
During her groovy hit, “Style”, Taylor decided to inflict heart pain on us when she brought out the one and only Cara Delevigne and Mariska Hargitay to dance with her on the catwalk. Like, are you serious? That was an unbelievable moment. Not to mention the other surprise guests: Echosmith and their fun tune “Cool Kids” .
The show was remarkable. So many colors, costumes, emotions, and surprises. Now, through the wonderful invention of the television and the Internet, I’ve seen her perform at awards shows, festivals, in hospital rooms, but never has she performed as spectacularly and flawlessly as she had on June 12th, 2015 (besides the rest of her tours, of course).
Taylor has a thing for incredibly inspirational speeches that she happily bestowed upon us every few songs, which I personally adored and looked forward to. She has become quite wise in these past ten years, and I’m just grateful that she has decided to share her vast knowledge with her loyal fans. Taylor said something quite profound before she sang her euphoric tune “Clean”; she said to us, “Remember, you are not your mistakes. You are not damaged goods. You are not the opinion of someone who doesn’t know you.” As silly as this may sound to non-Taylor fans, I took what she said seriously. So, for her to tell me that just because I’ve made a
few many mistakes in my life so far that those mess-ups don’t devalue me as a human being, made me rethink past blunders I’ve made and forgive myself literally right there in that stadium. I guess you could say I felt…clean.
Thank you and I love you, Taylor.