The most exciting, wonderful experience! I truly think Taylor Swift is one of the best, if not the best, performer of our time. I didn't think I could get tickets, until I got particularly lucky...
Getting tickets to the Eras Tour was beyond exciting, incredible, a night that I looked forward to for months! But what we experienced the day before certainly wasn’t. A friend and I had both signed up for presale and she was sweet enough to get us both tickets when I was waitlisted and she was accepted. It was a 15 minute easy and painless process for incredible seats and we were beyond excited! We got on our Amtrak bright and early Saturday morning, jittery with excitement for how incredible the weekend was going to be. However, we spoke too soon.
Once we dropped our luggage off after our 7 hour train ride, we headed straight for the TKTS booth, hoping to snag some discounted Broadway tickets. After hearing gushing reviews, we decided on the up and coming show “Shucked”. The moment we heard that there weren’t 2 seats available together, we panicked and chose Camelot before things got too awkward (and got a $25 discount when we hesitated at the price). Mistake #1. Of course, Camelot was the one and only Broadway show that was a whopping 1.5 mile walk from the TKTS booth, almost 3 hours long so it wouldn’t finish till almost 11 pm, and incredibly far from our storage location too. Not to mention, the bus stopped running at 11:30. We walked the mile or so back to the TKTS booth, hoping and praying that he’d give us a refund and we could pick a different show. Thankfully, he took pity on us (it was needed, it was obvious, we were so desperate lol) and we got Tickets for Life of Pi instead. Thinking that would be our only mishap of the night, we grabbed dinner and headed straight for the show.
Life of Pi was incredible! The actors, the animations, the set, everything (would 100% recommend, especially if you’ve seen shows like Wicked and Lion King already)! Not to mention, we had both read the book freshman year of high school, not so long ago that we didn’t remember the basic plot line but long enough that I didn’t always remember what came next. I was fully staring at the stage in awe the entire 2 hours.
After a wonderful evening and excited for what was to come in the next 24 hours,we called an Uber to take us to our hotel from the train station, expecting it to take maybe 30 minutes max. Mistake #2. We paced around the outside of the train station for what felt like eternity, searching for our Uber driver. As we walked back and forth, up and down, quite literally everywhere we could think of (with our luggage too), we became more and more frustrated. Eventually, we had to tell him that we just couldn’t find him. At this point, it had been an hour of waiting. We then eventually found the parking lot where our initial Uber driver was stationed, realizing that it was the floor above the one we were initially on. It had gotten so late, though, that we had hit the post Eras Tour traffic and consequently, the exorbitant prices. Every single “taxi” (sketchy looking personal car with middle aged men cheerily telling us to hop in for $60+) didn’t seem reliable or affordable (despite the security guard casually telling us to take one…). We kept refreshing both the Lyft and Uber apps, hoping that a driver would be available, but no such luck for the next 10, 20, 40+ minutes. We finally were able to get an Uber for $30 to take us just a few miles to our hotel.
We made it to our hotel in Secaucus, New Jersey, a town that was overrun with Taylor Swift fans, by 1:15 AM, expecting a seamless check in process and no line. Both of those expectations proved to be false. There was a queue of several people, many of whom were told that their reservations had been canceled. I had an ominous feeling that perhaps that would be our fate too but brushed it away thinking that I was just being ridiculous. Mistake #3. The moment we heard that our reservation had been canceled I went into a state of panic. We had called only a few hours earlier to confirm our reservation, with the name, confirmation number, and time of check in. We had done everything right?? We argued, we pleaded, but there were no more rooms available. And that’s when I called my dad, hoping that by some miracle maybe he could fix this? Maybe I just had to be firmer, more assertive? But nope. So, we began searching for another hotel that would hopefully take us at what was 1:45 AM. Luckily, after a good deal of searching, we found a place that took pity on us and took us in for the night. Ironically, apparently, you had to be 21 to check in so late at night (strange rule, I know), so my dad fully emphasized that I was 20 and a half, so basically 21, reminding me of when I would firmly say that I was 6 and a half NOT 6. The guy at the front desk said that made him laugh and he really just felt bad for us and the fact that we had to go through all that without a car and so late into the night. And that’s how we found ourselves in a 5 star hotel at 2 AM and we hadn’t even gone to the concert yet…
We woke up the next morning absolutely exhausted from the night before. Our initial idea of venturing out and exploring quickly went out the window as we just didn’t want any more debacles thrown our way. We went to the front desk, aiming to figure out our game plan for transportation there and from the concert, a process we knew would be hectic regardless. We were told that we each needed $40 cash in order to purchase the shuttle wristbands, which is so ridiculous…they made so much money off of us. I, thankfully had that much cash thanks to mom thinking of everything that I had forgotten to think through, but my friend wasn’t so lucky. Still, we thought, easy, the hotel has an atm right there. Wrong. With our luck, ofcourse, the atm was out of order. We made our way to the Dunkin across the street to use their atm, expecting a seamless process. Mistake #4. We spent over 20 minutes trying to figure out why it wasn’t giving us the option to withdraw cash. Even one of the employees had no idea why it wasn’t working (all of us were probably clueless and didn’t know exactly how to work an atm). So, off we went to check out the supposed Subway atm, which was nonexistent much to our dismay. We were then told that the smoke shop next door would have an atm we could use! So we made our way over, hoping that this would be our 4th and final stop. The 2 employees looked at us with confusion as we walked inside. Apparently we don’t look like their typical customers… who would’ve thought! We quickly told them we weren’t looking to buy any products and just needed to use their atm machine. Thankfully, it worked and we got our cash. After lunch and ice cream as a treat after our exhausting weekend thus far, we headed back to the hotel, hoping for an early check in. This is where our bad luck turned around!. Our room was ready an hour before it was supposed to be, reversing some of the bad luck…maybe?
We quickly got ready and headed to the shuttle where we met people who had traveled all the way from North Carolina to see her. Taylor’s influence has no bounds. Once we got to the stadium we were shocked. 2.5 hours before the opening act even started (which is another 75 minutes before Taylor comes out in itself) there were hundreds of people waiting in line. We also got in line, wondering whether we should’ve arrived even earlier?? Regardless, we were beyond excited as we waited for the doors to open and then of course, immediately got in line for merch. The line was already quite lengthy, but we knew it would only get worse as more and more people got in. We waited in line for an hour, hoping and praying that maybe our first or second choice would still be in stock? We both wanted the venue specific pullover, but much to our dismay, by the time we got to the front, they were sold out of both our first and second choices. The crazy thing is that the line had doubled behind us, so I can’t even imagine at what time those who were furthest back would have gotten to the front and whether anything would have even been available at that point. Still, we got our t-shirts and finally headed towards the stadium. We eventually made it to our seats and breathed a sigh of relief. Despite the ordeal we went through the night before, we had made it.
Most concerts have one opener. However, Taylor being Taylor and this being the biggest and most popular tour in history (?!), had 2. The first guy was pretty new (OWENN I think), but I thought he was good! Her second opener was Phoebe Bridgers, someone most people in the arena would’ve gone to see anyways. It was her last tour with Taylor and seeing the relationship they developed was not only sweet, but also showed how humble the both of them, especially Taylor, had (seemed to have) remained, despite all of this fame. Phoebe was incredible and then, finally, 3 and a half hours after we had arrived, Taylor came out. Everyone gasped (and then screamed of course). I don’t think I’ve ever seen a room (arena?) full of people so excited to see someone, it was insane. I also don’t think I’ve ever screamed (sang?) as loudly and passionately as I did during those 3 hours. You Belong with Me, Love Story, and Fearless all transported me back to when I was 7, subjecting (no really enlightening) my parents to Taylor 24/7. I recorded all of Enchanted and still periodically go back and watch the videos. She was beyond captivating, incredible, the best performer. Anyone would be beyond lucky to see her live and I’m so glad that I was one of the lucky ones, despite the many many bumps along the way.