Sam’s Trip to Watch Taylor Swift “Shake it Off” at the Era’s Tour


Samantha Elkins, Print-Co-Editor-in-Chief

From April 13-15, Taylor Swift performed in Tampa, FL. on the fourth stop of her tour. Following the Ticketmaster fiasco fans encountered while buying their tickets, many felt high anticipation leading up to the show.

As a victim of Ticketmaster’s initial onsale, I luckily got an email from Ticketmaster to request up to two tickets, implement my price range and have them select seats for me. I received confirmation that I acquired the seats during my AP Macroeconomics test corrections and all I can say is, I had never felt happier while thinking about inflation and recessions. 

Swift played for three consecutive nights in Tampa, which resulted in fans driving up from Miami,  down from the Carolinas and northern Florida. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor named Swift the Honorary Mayor and gave her keys to the city, a similar publicity effort other stadiums have expressed when Swift stopped in their city.

I attended the Friday show at the Raymond James Stadium with my best friend and fellow Swiftie Jordan McKean, who I have attended various concerts with before. Leading up to the concert, we sent constant texts, TikToks and outfit inspiration back and forth. Once we realized that the stadium had a maximum capacity of 75,000 and that it was a sold-out show, we knew we needed to plan extremely well. Although we are both 18, driving halfway up the state alone forced us to plan out every single minute: the drive, a rest stop, the hotel, concert parking, merchandise and making it back home the next day.

We left bright and early Friday morning around 8:30 a.m. as we began our drive. To no surprise, we played Swift’s songs in the car and guessed which two surprise songs she would perform that night, as she had done at the past three shows. I watched as Miami’s downtown buildings faded into long grassy plains that stretched for hours and buzzed with excitement.  

 About three hours into the drive, we pulled over to McDonalds to eat lunch and use the restroom. To my surprise, every customer there was on their way to the Era’s Tour; evidently seen by their sparkly outfits, red lipstick and cardigan sweaters. We switched drivers after our break and drove straight to Tampa, blasting music and chatting about our expectations. 

We booked our hotel two months before the show and the closest one we could find that allowed 18-year-olds to sign in was 30 minutes away. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Swift’s show in Tampa grossed $730,000 for taxpayers and increased hotel revenue in the area. Hotels gave out Swift-themed cookies, drinks and prepared the city for the influx of people coming.

Once we got to the hotel, we signed in and immediately got ready for the concert as we only had three hours until the show began. Jordan and I each dressed in different eras, mine being Reputation and Jordan’s as Lover. We adorned our faces with glitter, brought our 4.5-inch by 6.5-inch bags and headed to the stadium. 

We had bought parking passes and had a secure spot, but as we drove, we saw people walking to the stadium from as far as 25 minutes away. People with local businesses, schools and homes held parking signs outside their driveways for fans to park. The sidewalks sparkled as people walked to the stadium, all dressed head to toe in cowboy hats, sequined dresses or anything remotely related to Swift’s career. 

Raymond James Stadium upheld its bag size policy strictly and many fans got stopped on their way inside. Thankfully, our slightly oversized bags posed no issues and we got inside smoothly and received light-up wristbands. Inside, we waited in line for about an hour to get merchandise and ate our dinner while doing so. Many fans reported horror stories about purchasing merch, but we found that the merch truck outside the stadium appeared more packed because fans who did not acquire tickets joined the lines to buy merch as well. 

In the stadium, we listened to openers Gracie Abrams and Beabadoobe. As a fan, I greatly enjoyed their sets and it made me all the more excited for Swift’s show to begin. At 8:30 p.m., right on time, a two-minute countdown projected on the screen. Snippets of songs from all of Swift’s 10 albums echoed throughout the stadium as a beautiful orange and pink sunset painted the sky. Dancers began piling out onto the stage holding large and magnificent feathers whose colors mimicked the sunset. They walked out as Swift’s voice played beneath the stage, raising my anticipation as the dancers formed a circle and  a dome with their feathers in the center of the stage. Suddenly, Swift appeared onstage in time with the beat drop saying “It’s been a long time coming.” 

The show was separated into different eras, each one entailing a new set, outfit and songs. Swift began her show with songs from her album “Lover,” including a detailed set of an office space for her song “The Man” and fans’ wristbands lighting up rainbow colors during the song “You Need to Calm Down,” dedicated to her LGBTQ+ fans. 

Swift disappeared from the stage as gold sparks appeared on the big screen. She emerged about two minutes later in a gold dress singing her album and song “Fearless.” Fans screamed famous hits like “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” as Swift strummed on her guitar. Fans have been proposed to during “Love Story,”so I looked around as the chorus began but did not see anything, only to learn the next day several proposals did happen. 

Following the Fearless era, the stage began to shift as new sets appeared from the “Evermore” album. Trees emerged from the stage, a mist set in and a moss-covered grand piano came out of a large oak tree. Swift emerged in a flowy green dress which follows the themes of the album “Evermore” as comfortable, soft, naturesque and dreamy. Dancers wore cloaks and danced with glowing orbs of light as Swift performed songs like “Champagne Problems” and “Willow.” During the song “Tolerate It” a dining room table was placed on stage with a male dancer acting out the meaning of the song alongside Swift. This era brought tears to many fans in the audience, yet they did not last long before Swift disappeared from the stage into her next era. 

Suddenly, heavy beats pounded through the arena as the screen began flashing black-and-white images of snakes. Fan bracelets illuminated snakes crawling through the crowd as the “Reputation” era began. Swift emerged in a black bodysuit with red sequined snakes alongside dancers marching on the stage. The “Reputation” album consists of Swift’s most powerful sounding songs, which surround themes of gossip, vulnerability and responses to wrongdoings others have done to her. The sudden shift from “Evermore” to “Reputation” truly caught me off guard but raised my previous emotional spirits to excitement and bliss. At one point, dancers dressed as different versions and eras of Swift trapped in life-size boxes, mimicking her music video from “Look What You Made Me Do.” Fans screamed lyrics and had the time of their lives before Swift disappeared from the stage again for her next era. 

Wristbands began illuminating a purple color as Swift emerged from the stage in a lavender sparkling ball gown looking like a princess. She began singing “Enchanted” from her album “Speak Now,” which many fans knew from the album and a recent trending song from TikTok. Many fans, including myself, expressed their disappointment as only one song was performed from “Speak Now.” Many speculate Swift is currently in the process of re-recording the album and is not performing many songs for royalty purposes. Nonetheless, her dress and performance was spectacular and a beautiful scene to witness.

Following the brief yet magical song, Swift disappeared offstage. A dancer came onstage with a music box and opened and closed it, each opening playing snippets from Swift’s album “Red.” Soon enough, Swift ran out from behind the stage in a red sparkling outfit and began singing fan favorites like “22,” “We are Never Getting Back Together” and “All Too Well (10 minute version).” This era was one of my favorites because many of the songs are perfect for live performances and brought about the best energy from the crowd. Swift ended the “Red” era with “All Too Well,” whose slow yet inspiring melody served as a segway into her next era. 

Up next was the “Folklore” era, written about fictional characters with soft and gentle melodies. This album shifted from the upbeat pop of “Red” into a slow and emotional album with similar melodies to “Evermore.” Overall, it remains a large artistic statement from Swift as it is her first album that tells stories of others’ lives and not her own. Onstage, a cottage with a grass roof emerged with Swift inside it playing the guitar. Swift sang beautifully to songs like “Betty” “August” and “Illicit Affairs.” She moved around the stage in a white flowy dress, reaching out to fans and even dropping to her knees at one point during an emotional performance of “My Tears Ricochet.” The backdrops, dress and grass cottage onstage contributed to a beautiful performance and accompanied by a euphonious era. 

Following “Folklore” Swift disappeared and reappeared in a sparkling pink two-piece set to perform her album “1989.” I found this album to be my personal favorite because of how iconic and catchy its songs are. The man sitting next to us — who was not a fan but came as a plus one — even knew every song from this album. Swift sang “Style,” “Shake it Off” and “Bad Blood” which got every fan off their feet and singing along. 

While I danced along to this era, I began thinking in anticipation of the two surprise acoustic songs that were up next. Many fans knew they would not be surprise songs she had already sung at previous shows and that they would each come from different albums. To our surprise, Swift switched it up and sang “The Great War” and “You’re On Your Own Kid” from her most recent album “Midnights.” While I personally wished to hear another “Speak Now” song, I still loved listening to these songs live and seeing Swift perform them with a surprise guest and producer from her albums, Aaron Desner. 

Rather than walking off stage and re-emerging as normal, Swift ended her surprise songs in a new way. As a water drop noise played, Swift dove into a hole in the stage and a video played on the floor of “swimming” back upstage. Dancers emerged holding clouds and before I knew it, the last era began  — “Midnights.” In a dazzling bejeweled bodysuit, Swift emerged on an elevated platform to perform her newest album that surrounds an upbeat melody and high energy. I could not keep my eyes off the dancers during this era as their costume changes and energy brought so much life to the songs. 

As much as I did not want it to end, three hours and 44 songs later, Swift was singing her last song of the night: “Karma.” The crowd roared as confetti flew and fireworks went off overhead. I felt like I had just seen a Broadway show with the production level and costume aspect of the show. I  felt so grateful to see my favorite singer perform with my best friend when I thought we would not get to go and we got this amazing memory while senior year is winding down. 

As we walked back to our cars, I looked behind me and it was like people were fleeing from a tsunami. Jordan and I picked up the pace but it was no use; we sat stuck in the field we parked in for 40 minutes anyways. After getting honked at and nearly getting rear-ended, we made it back to the hotel for the night. 

All in all, the Era’s tour exceeded my expectations and has been cemented into my memory forever. I am extremely grateful I was able to attend the show and hear some of my favorite songs live.