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After months of waiting, I finally made it to Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras’ tour. This is what it was like

<i>Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images</i><br/>
Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Essay by Alli Rosenbloom, CNN

(CNN) — It had been nearly nine months since November 15 – the day I managed to secure three face-value tickets amid Ticketmaster’s infamous meltdown to Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour concert in Los Angeles – when I finally got to see the show this week.

The concert, which was the singer’s penultimate show on the first US leg of her tour, was the most impressive three hours and fifteen minutes of live music I’ve ever seen, purely based on her epic delivery of a fully loaded 44-song setlist. And it happened in an atmosphere that celebrated positivity, respect for others and an openness to connect with new friends.

It must be said that I fully knew what to expect at this concert. I have been writing about the “Eras” tour pretty regularly as both an outlet for my Swiftie-ness and just to bide my time until my show, so avoiding concert spoilers was impossible.

But it didn’t matter. Watching clips of the “Eras” tour opening sequence on social media – as I’d repeatedly done for months – could never compare to the feeling of being in the audience when the two-minute countdown clock started ticking as the crowd roared in anticipation for our “Anti-Hero” to appear.

I’d been planning logistics for my “Eras” show for months, as it became an “Alli’s Version” bachelorette party of sorts, which two of my best girlfriends and soon-to-be bridesmaids attended with me.

Clad in my “Reputation” era look, and flanked by my friends in their “Lover” and “Midnights” era outfits, we were on our way to the venue about four hours before Swift was set to go on to allow for ample time to get merch and catch her openers, Gracie Abrams and Haim.

The scene outside of SoFi Stadium was vibrant and palpable. Moms and daughters in matching costumes were seen posing for photos and we weaved through groups of sparkly concertgoers representing every era of Swift’s musical oeuvre until we finally found our entrance.

It was in line for merch when our group was first approached by another fellow Swiftie to trade friendship bracelets, and the moment is a core memory that will stick with me. My friend, who so selflessly volunteered to stay in line during the start of the show, later managed to nab one of those concert-exclusive viral blue crew necks.

At our seats, in the 200’s section in the center, we rejoiced about our perfect view, and when that two-minute countdown clock began, cheers from the audience rang through my head crescendoing louder and louder with each passing second until the lights went down and Swift finally appeared on stage.

Standing in that stadium alongside over 70,000 Swifties collectively scream-singing the bridge to “Cruel Summer” with Swift on stage wearing her iconic bejeweled “Lover” corset was truly something to behold.

The entire show is a complete spectacle. Total stimulation. Flashing lights highlighting her massive stage, elaborate sets and flashy costumes complementing her perfect vocals as she sang all of her greatest hits from the past 17 years, era by era.

The epic journey took us through the “Fearless” and “Red” eras, with bangers like “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” and “I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor’s Version)” bringing forth a nostalgic vibe and audience members audibly singing every single lyric.

The energy of the “Reputation” era set – my personal favorite, with songs such as “Are You Ready For It,” “Delicate,” “Don’t Blame Me” and “Look What You Made Me Do” – was electric as Swift snaked around her stage belting her iconic tracks.

Her uber-appreciative crowd gave a minutes-long standing ovation following “Champagne Problems” in the “Evermore” era, one of the longest standing-O’s she’s received to date. The cheering was so loud that even ear plugs wouldn’t have masked the shrill.

Other points in the show, particularly the “Folklore” era, felt super personal both as a listener and as what felt like a bystander bearing witness to Swift’s deepest emotions, something she’s talked about so many times before with respect to her own connection to that 2020 album.

Swift released no less than four new albums, including “Folklore,” since she last toured in 2018. Finally seeing her perform these songs in concert after connecting with that album so deeply during the darkest days of the pandemic was almost too much. The feeling really materialized during “My Tears Ricochet,” arguably one of her saddest songs, and to me, one of her most beautiful. This is precisely when I let out a sob, and my friends laughed at me – all in good fun, of course.

Of course we speculated for months about which surprise songs we’d get, and when she sang “King of My Heart” from her 2017 “Reputation” album as her second surprise song, the crowd went insane, myself included. “I Know Places” from her megahit 2014 album “1989” was the first surprise song.

At the end of the night, we were in complete awe. I could barely walk by that point, yet Swift was perfectly executing her choreography while hitting those high notes in “Karma” at the end of her three-hour set. During her fifth show in six days. A masterclass in stamina.

Sad that it was over, but grateful for the experience, we left the venue feeling very much a part of a community of (mostly) women who valued respect, friendship and empowerment of one another. “Eras” was more than a concert – it was a bedazzling display of femininity for all ages, and a celebration of individuality with one common denominator: the joy of music.

On our way to find my wonderful fiancé whom we had enlisted as our driver for the night, we walked out of the stadium seeing the faces of elated Swifties with what appeared to be permanent smiles on their faces. Mine is still there.

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