September 8, 2023 | ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT | By Katie Rowley

Friday, July 14, 2023, was the best night of my summer, maybe even my entire life. And, I’m pretty sure if I asked the 70,000 or so other Taylor Swift fans who filled into Empower Field at Mile High to witness Swift bring “The Era’s Tour” to Denver, they would share the same sentiment. July 15, when Swift performed for a second night in Denver, and July 22, the first night of Swift’s Seattle escapade, easily take second and third place in the ranking of best nights of my life.

If you weren’t already aware, Swift the superstar has been traveling around the globe performing 17 years’ worth of her discography on a tour known as “The Era’s Tour.” Announced on Nov. 4, 2022, it took Swift just a week to add more dates to her United States leg, which would commence on March 17, 2023, with two nights in Glendale, Ariz., but it would take her four months to reach Arizona’s catty-cornered state, Colorado.

As a Colorado native and a fan of Swift since I was six years old, seeing the popstar bring over a decade of music to my state was not something I was going to miss out on. The powers that be did try to prevent this, though.

No matter what I did, I could not convince Ticketmaster that I was a verified fan, so I missed out on presale. The cancellation of the general sale attempted to crush my hopes and dreams of seeing Swift, but, while others were busy suing Ticketmaster, I was attempting to find tickets any way possible.

My high school best friend, who is currently attending college in Seattle, was one of the lucky verified fans and snagged us tickets for Swift’s July 22 show. Despite having secured the chance to see her, as the days to the Denver shows got closer, my anxiety over not being able to see Swift in my hometown, where I grew up loving her, got worse. I spent hours searching Twitter, talking with obvious scammers, and refreshing ticket resale sites, hoping to find a real ticket under $1000. My budget grew at the same rate as my anxiety – call it desperation.

Eventually, I joined a Twitter group chat full of Colorado-based Swift fans who were attempting to find tickets themselves and help others. Through this group chat, I was able to obtain a nosebleed seat five days before Swift’s July 15 show. With one show down, I could spend the next four days focusing on getting a ticket for night one.

When I woke up on July 14, I still did not have a ticket for the show that was starting at 6:30 p.m. that evening. Swift, of course, wouldn’t start until 8 p.m., but as a fan of both her openers, Gracie Abrams and MUNA, I wanted to be inside Empower Field by 6 p.m. at the latest. The backup plan was to “Tay-gate” with several of the people in my Twitter group chat who had also failed to find tickets, despite reports that the police would not let fans linger in the surrounding parking lots while the show occurred. When I left Colorado Springs for Denver at 2 p.m., I still didn’t have a ticket. But, with some stroke of luck, and irresponsible driving practices, on the drive to Empower Field, I was able to buy tickets in the lower 100s. I had done it.

I was overjoyed walking into the stadium that night. Surrounded by so many women of so many ages buzzing with the same excitement I was, complimenting each other’s outfits, and trading handmade friendship bracelets, a tradition born from a lyric in Swift’s song, “You’re On Your Own, Kid.”

I tried to keep myself in the dark about the setlist, letting each journey through an era surprise me. I have never screamed so loud, nor have I cried that much. When Swift took the stage, I felt 6 again, and 13 and 17. I felt so connected with the younger versions of myself that have loved her.

It’s hard to narrow down the best part of that night, maybe even impossible. Notably on tour, Swift plays two different songs from her entire discography, known as “Surprise Songs.” For night one in Denver, she played “Picture to Burn” and “Timeless.” The crowd was uncontrollable during “Picture to Burn;” so loud you could barely hear Swift herself.

Swift acknowledges the volume she brings to cities in her song, “The Last Great American Dynasty” during the “Folklore” set of the night, singing “there goes the loudest woman this town has ever seen.” This line is nothing but euphoric to sing along with her. And, in Seattle, she might have very well been the loudest woman, causing seismic activity.

When Swift finished singing “Karma” from her newest album “Midnights,” bows and fireworks concluded the Friday night performance. I was more than grateful I would get to experience the concert the next night. And that I would get to see her the next weekend.

Now that my summer with Swift has ended, I find myself eager to see her again, even attempting to buy tickets for the small, additional, 2024 U.S. leg Swift announced on Aug. 3 of this year.  Thankfully, I won’t have to wait that long, as Swift took to Instagram on Sep. 1, announcing that a filmed version of her tour would be released as a movie on Oct. 13, 2023. And yes, I do have tickets to see “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” the film.

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