After months of anticipation, ticket troubles, and outfit curating, Taylor Swift’s world-famous Eras Tour came to Chicago from June 2 to June 4, 2023.
Each of these shows on the tour went for more than three hours and included costume changes, impressive choreography, and music spanning the lengths of all ten of her albums. In the eyes of the world, the Chicago part of the tour was a huge success, and in the eyes of Oswego High School students, the experience was world-changing.
A big part of the Eras tour experience is the friendship bracelet exchange. Before attending, fans created Taylor Swift-themed bracelets, commonly using song lyrics or album titles as inspiration, and then traded them with each other at the venue.
“It was pretty cool cause you were able to just talk to anyone and give them bracelets and get some in return,” said junior Gavin Dolan.
The exchange became a memorable aspect of the concert and gave people something to remember the experience by. Many fans hope that other artists will translate these mementos into their shows, too. The bracelets brought together creativity and community in a way that forged lifetime bonds between concertgoers.
“[A]ll the fans were super nice, and trading bracelets was really fun,” said freshman Riley Balhan. “I feel like it’s just such a good environment.”
Aside from the fan-centered aspects of the tour, OHS students thought that the tour itself was groundbreaking. Taylor’s setlist spanned numerous hours with little to no breaks for herself or her dancers, something that has been done only a few times ever.
“I really liked that there were no breaks,” Balhan said, “which is obviously really hard but she’s such a good musical artist.”
Many lifelong fans saw this concert as a culmination of their dedication to Taylor Swift through the years. Some students at OHS were still in elementary school the last time she went on tour in 2018, so this was their first chance to see her in person. Songs played at the concert brought back memories for those who had been listening since childhood.
“When I was four years old, ‘You Belong With Me’ came on the radio, and then I was like, ‘Oh my god, this sounds like my life,” senior Sarah Bohne said.
Others saw it as a snapshot of different moments in their lives that they connected with the songs. The tour seamlessly blended countless emotions into one night, throwing her fans through a whirlwind of love, hope, and memories.
“I’ve been listening to her since I was three or four,” Balhan said. “[S]he helps me through hard times [[. . .]] I connect my emotions with her songs.”
As good as the concert was, a few things about the experience are up for debate on if they take away from its good reviews. Tickets, for example, were expensive and extremely hard to get.
“It was really annoying because my dad was on the computer for 16 hours trying to buy tickets, and it caused a lot of tension,” Bohne recalls.
Many people did not get to attend the concert due to the scarcity of tickets caused by the influx of fans on the presale date.
“My sister and my other sister were trying to get them, but they only got two,” said Gavin. “It was difficult getting [the tickets], but I think it was worth it.”
For most people, the extravagance and good experience of the concert were enough to outweigh the trials of getting there; Taylor Swift put on the show of a lifetime, and fans finally got to see their favorite artist perform. For them, it was a night they would never forget.
“I loved all the songs she played, the outfits, and the confetti and everything, and the fireworks… it was a perfect night,” Bohne said.