70,000 people can now say 'I was there' when Taylor Swift stepped out at Murrayfield and I was one of them

How much did I love the Eras Tour... let me count the ways.

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NW | NW

I found out rather late in the game that I had tickets, and would be attending the Saturday night show at Murrayfield, so I had very little build up. Last minute outfit plans, only four bracelets made, a friend driving at break neck speed from the North of England to join me. Wild and joyous chaos planning - “is this really happening? Are these tickets real? Something’s definitely going to go wrong.”

We booked a spot for lunch in Edinburgh - Cafe Andaluz thanks for asking - and then wandered along to Murrayfield in good time. There was a music festival atmosphere, and at points - as my friend pointed out - a girls holiday to Tenerife atmosphere, and believe me, this is a good thing.

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Feathers, cowboy boots, and God, the glitter - everywhere. The whole day, even before the concert, was truly sparkling.

OK, there were queues everywhere. You couldn’t move anywhere without having to queue, but we were prepared, and so took it in our stride, apart from every time I was jostled with sent me into an internal rage spiral. I’m not really good in crowds, only the lure of Taylor Swift could have compelled me.

Murrayfield - the stadium of dreams

Entering the stadium into the standing area for the first time was almost a spiritual experience. I think it was the first moment it actually occurred to me that this was happening. That I was there. This was my Oasis at Knebworth. This was my generation’s Woodstock. This was one of those times that I could say “I was there”, and I’m never anywhere.

There was a long wait, sitting on the mucky, metal floor waiting, and waiting. Fortunately, I’ve been pals with my plus-one for far too long, and we were able to comfortably people watch, point out amazing outfits, gasp and cringe as people tried to move through the large crowds with a drinks carrier holding four too-full beers. What if they spilled it? It was edge of the seat stuff.

Then first up, Paramore. For my sins, I don’t really know much about the band, but one of the only coherent thoughts I had as they played was “note to self - listen to more Paramore”. Lead singer Hayley Williams had a frenetic and charged energy that barrelled and rolled off the stage. Her voice was extraordinary, blasting into the heavens and she beamed and charmed the audience like an old friend. Only artists like Taylor Swift could comfortably ask Paramore to open a concert, as the crowd were so much on the support acts side, that a lesser artist may have struggled to follow.

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Paramore | nw

It’s been a long time coming ...

In what felt like forever, and no time at all, the count down clock appeared, and I was almost paralysed with excitement. My pal grasped my arm with a gasp as electric energy surged through Murrayfield. That shaking, tingling joy of a child on Christmas Eve bedtime, everyone, young and old held their breath as the stage door opened, and out came the dancers, holding large, Lover style banners, flowing in the wind.

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Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Kid echoed around us, and, just like that, she appeared. This is going to sound really silly, and I can’t quite believe I’m writing this down, but it was weird to see her human sized. Her presence looms so large, her stardom so astronomical, her talent so dominating - and her fandom so all consumed - that I’d never considered that she was actually a human being. But there she was. Right in front of me. I tried to take a video of the moment, but the video ends with shaking and screaming as it hit me all at once. I was at the Eras Tour.

Era by Era - iconic moment by iconic moment

We were off, and I was cherishing every second. Singing along, my tone deaf voice drowned out by the 73,000 or so people I was singing along with. Despite the size of the concert, Taylor had the ability to make it feel intimate, like we were just a small group of friends at a basement pub gig. She was so genuine, chatty and delighted by the crowd. She sang every song, hit every mark and didn’t drop a single note. My voice was scratchy by the time we reached 1989, yet she continued, loud and clear and stunning.

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The dancers were joyous, and the happiness which shone off the stage covered the stadium, felt like it was sending a beam up into the sky, like a beacon of hope.

After every Era me and my pal turned to each other and confidently said “that was my favourite one I think.” The Tortured Poets Department, with the theatre and the drama, with the feral scream into the sky, was a phenomenon. Folklore, with it’s gentle heartache and hope was soothing and mystical, and Red, with its lively, bouncing pop songs, followed by the 10 minute version of All Too Well, which the whole stadium knew word for word, was electric. Every song, every moment, was extraordinary.

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Taylor Swift | NW

Why do we love Taylor so much?

I’ve tried to answer this question a million times, to myself, and to others who haven’t listened to Folklore yet, and so perhaps don’t understand, but there’s not just one answer. It’s her talent of course. Her music is just good, there’s no way around it. Every album has a distinct voice and sound, with sensational and moving lyrics, and storytelling. But woven through all of it is a sense of hope and joy, even in the heartbreak songs. By the time we reach Tortured Poets, we’re screaming into the sky, laughing and furious.

She has created something rare in our world, where the female experience is centred, loud and clear. The validation, the long held released breath, as we realise we’re not alone. Someone understands, someone who can vocalise it in exactly the right way for us to say “yes - that’s what it’s like”.

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Chatting with my pal over tapas before the concert, she said that the first time she heard the Smallest Man Who Ever Lived, she almost punched the air saying that’s exactly what that guy is like. And that guy is different for all of us, but that feeling is so familiar.

Whether you feel that deep abiding connection to her music, or are just delighted by the spectacle of the show - we were all in the presence of a record breaking, history making, super star talent, and yet felt like we all shared something intimate and magical, and that’s what makes the Eras Tour so powerful.

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