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Era's Tour Confessional (From the Vault) (Chloe's Version)

ENTERTAINMENT

Written By Chloe Bettina (she/her) | @c.hloeb | Contributing Writer


Illustration by Ann Mariya (she/her) | @yourloveannnn | Contributing Artist


For the last two months I have been hiding in silence, behind my sparkly gold cowgirl hat. Now it’s time to speak my truth. This is everything I thought about the Eras Tour that I was too scared to say out loud - even to my best friends.


“THE VERY START”

When I was a sweet, petite, seven year old I borrowed a CD from the library called Taylor Swift. As soon as the first five guitar twangs of “Tim McGraw” hit my eardrums, I was mesmerised. I asked my mom to burn the album onto our home computer, and then onto another CD so we could listen to it, on repeat, in the car.


After that my childhood was a blur of guitar. Clearfiles overflowing with Taylor Swift chord charts, fighting with my sister over who got to keep our Swift CD collection in their room, and timing my showers by singing “The Other Side of the Door”. The song was the perfect length to keep my water usage to under five minutes. My very first concert was even the ‘Speak Now World Tour’.


Admittedly, I had a bit of a hiatus during the Reputation era. But her music wasn’t on Spotify and “Look What You Made Me Do” just didn’t seem to fit into my Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Hamilton music fixations of 2017. Nevertheless, when I groaned awake on a random afternoon in 2020 and saw the folklore announcement, you bet your eardrums that album was my soundtrack to the remainder of that godforsaken year. And if this is not enough proof of my hardcore Swiftie status for you, we can 1v1 on a Taylor Swift Heardle competition.


“THE LUCKY ONE”

Despite my evident Swiftie superiority, after I realised I would have to break the bank for the Eras Tour, I was hesitant. It took a considerable amount of convincing from my best friend, and even my boyfriend (yes, he’s also a Swiftie) saying “I’m going with or without you” for me to agree to fork out the hundreds of dollars for this “experience of a lifetime”.


Three of us “blocked out our calendars” for the ticket buying operation: myself, and two of my Swiftie besties, Dani and Maisie. My work desk was set up with my computer, laptop, and iPad, all loaded up with the Ticketek waiting room. I even had all my lucky jewellery on. My phone was non-stop buzzing with messages on our “SWIFTIES ON TOUR” group chat. When one of my coworkers walked over to ask me something while I was waiting, I passionately yelled “Not now!” so they would go away. The task at hand needed all my attention and a blessing from the Ticketek gods. And I must have had some sort of beginner’s luck because after only half an hour of waiting, I got through.


“DREAMING ‘BOUT THE DAY”

Then began the torturous eight month wait. Excitement came to me in waves. I’d message the SWIFTIES ON TOUR things like “can’t believe we’re going to hear this song live” with a link to “august” or “Cruel Summer”. We’d get delusionally excited every time there was a fan-fabricated new album rumour. I even found the perfect Debut album themed dress in the kids section of a Red Cross Shop for $4.


I couldn’t wait to experience the Eras Tour for the first time in person. And afterwards I wanted to be an inspired, ecstatic, emotional wreck on the MCG floor. I fully believed the live show would blow my cowgirl boots off, so I didn’t even watch the film version when it came out. I figured, it’s a stadium concert! It’s going to be best experienced in real life and in a stadium.


“MAGIC, MADNESS,” MELBOURNE

When we got to Melbourne, I realised my Eras Tour experience was not only going to be within the walls of the MCG. Everywhere you turned you could see people wearing friendship bracelets, dads wearing tour merch, shopping bags with glittery outfits peeking out. And my personal favourite, the public transport assistants were sneaking Taylor Swift song titles into their conducting scripts. “This tram is full but Shake It Off, there’s another one coming in two minutes!”


On the night of our concert, hordes of Swifties were sardined into trams. We were spilling out onto the streets in a flood of sparkles and cowgirl hats. There I was, in my faux denim corset, pastel pink tulle skirt, cowgirl boots and hat - a whole outfit inspired by Taylor’s Debut album. We may not have been able to get on a tram, but I was striding towards the MCG with my besties and boyfriend in tow, nothing was going to stop me from having the absolute time of my life.


“A MARVELLOUS TIME”

After hiking through Kings Domain, crossing the Yarra river, and trudging up and down the stadium stairs to try find the elusive Level 2A, we were at our seats. Being on the third level was both elevating and dwarfing. It was exhilarating to be so high up and have a clear view of the stage, but at the same time I felt like a wee dot, in a glimmering ocean of thousands. Lady Gaga’s “Applause” started to play, and Dani let me know that this was the last track before the show officially began. The crowd swelled as we all stood, and the volume in the stadium swelled too. My eardrums were bursting, and Dani was bawling her eyes out next to me, but I stood there, still as a stone. I thought: “Everyone is so excited right now. I should be excited. Why am I not excited?”



I stayed a statue until the fifth song, “Lover,” where I expelled every drop of liquid in my body through my tear ducts. After that, I started to defrost a bit. The first chords of “Fearless” filled the stadium and suddenly I was swaying and screaming “I don’t know how it gets better than this” with my hands above my head in the iconic heart shape. I felt absolutely sure that Taylor could see me even though she was but a faraway fingernail clipping to me.


An hour into the show, and you’d think the crowd would have tired at least a little. But as the sky grew dark and we got into the Reputation set, the crashing screams around me reached a decibel that drowned out the concert itself. I jammed my fingers in my ears and thought, can everyone else hear the music except me? I felt strange. I was no longer absorbed in the sea of fans, but a raindrop suspended above the stadium, separate from the experience. I became aware of the cameras and their operators, the sound mixing tent, the bar staff leaning against heir counters on the VIP floor. Of course I appreciated the mammoth operation, but I didn’t want to be thinking about that at that moment! My childhood musical inspiration was strutting and belting in front of my very eyes! I tried to tune my attention back to the stage, but it was proving difficult.


Relief came in the acoustic set. The enormous production suddenly shrunk down to an intimate concert with Taylor talking and playing to just me. I barely had enough time to process her introduction before she launched into “Getaway Car”. I thought of every time I had zoomed down the motorway belting “We were jet-set Bonnie and Clyde oh oh”. After she masterfully mashed “august” into the second half of the song, I thought it couldn’t get any better, but then I heard “With your face and the beautiful eyes” and I shrieked. She was singing “The Other Side of the Door,” the song I used to sing every day in the shower. I was euphoric.


As the show ended, confetti sprinkled down around me, but I was a statue again. I vividly remember Dani saying, “I think that might have been the best night of my life.” And I struggled to wholeheartedly agree. I enjoyed myself, I screamed at the top of my lungs, I even cried, but only once. I cried more at a Taylor Swift DJ party on K Road back in 2022. As we began our pilgrimage out of the stadium, I kept feeling like I wanted more. The show was amazing, but my galaxy- high expectations had not been satiated.


“LONG STORY SHORT”

The headlines that describe the Eras Tour as an “eye-popping spectacle”, “unrepeatable feat of stamina”, and “simultaneously intimate and colossal” are true. And I believe a Swiftie of any level, or even a yet-to-become Swiftie, would have enjoyed themselves that night. But something I’ve realised since then, is that nothing is ever going to top the feeling of listening to Taylor’s music as the soundtrack to my showers, and the rest of my own, mundane life.

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