By Kate McBride || News Editor

To avoid us getting off on the wrong foot, please allow me to articulate the reasoning behind my adoption of the non-Swiftie epithet. Not unlike many in their twenties, Taylor Swift has held a consistent presence in pop culture through my formative years — both as a multi-dimensional musician and a woman trapped under the ubiquitous magnifying glass of the media. As for the former, Taylor Swift’s sound just hasn’t hit me in the way that it has her hardcore fanbase — and that’s not a knock on her at all. Listen, I don’t think anyone can deny her ability to eloquently illustrate the uniquely soul-stirring and (at times) utterly tumultuous experience of coming of age. Simply put, her lyrics have held a tighter grasp on my interest than her sound. 

When I look at Taylor as a person — separate from her position as a mover and shaker in the music industry — I see a woman of unwavering resilience and worthy of immense respect. There aren’t many figures who have endured the levels of media scrutiny that Taylor has — really, she’s been through the wringer. From consistently being told that she is unworthy of her well-earned accolades (talking to you, Kanye) to frequently facing hyper-invasive questions about her dating life, Taylor has had her fair share of unwarranted and sometimes downright cruel treatment. In spite of it all, she has risen above and continues to dominate the music industry. 

All of this is to say that there is a vast difference to be drawn between a non-Swiftie and an anti-Swfitie — and I align with the former. 

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself how the hell I ended up at the Eras Tour in the first place. To put it simply, one of my best friends (an avid Swiftie, of course) invited me to accompany her to Taylor’s night two performance in Pittsburgh, Pa. Now, anyone who knows me knows that it is highly unlikely that I would turn down any concert-going venture. Plus, it’s freaking Taylor Swift — tell me you’d turn down that chance. You wouldn’t. 

The following is my attempt at articulating the plethora of thoughts circling my mind as I left Acrisure Stadium. Seriously, my head was spinning.

The Swifties Themselves

To any Swifties reading this: the dedication is real. Everywhere I looked, there stood seas of exhilarated concert-goers dressed from head to toe in glitter, cowboy boots, and fedoras. One thing I know about Taylor Swift is that every detail has a purpose. One thing I now know about Taylor’s fans is that every detail is picked up on — at least by someone. Seriously, the hyper-niche references were incredible. I mean, I saw a band of five or so strangers group-hug over their shared choice to don New York University graduation gowns in reference to her speech given to NYU’s 2022 graduating class.

Speaking of strangers group-hugging, the collective effervescence was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The bond between those who share a common love of Taylor Swift and her music is really on its own level. People who had never met exchanged friendship bracelets — hell, even I got one. In ordinary circumstances, the baseline is an attitude of indifference (and for some, even annoyance) towards strangers. At the Eras Tour, the baseline is love, friendship. 

The Show Itself

Going in, this was the one element I knew for sure wouldn’t disappoint. At first, I was skeptical of the two-minute countdown that preceded Taylor’s initial entrance onto the stage. Turns out, the Eras Tour performance is absolutely deserving of such a dramatic lead-up. To start, I’ve seen few artists with as much stamina as Taylor. To be on stage for three and a half hours — only exiting for brief outfit changes — is a feat of legendary status. The choreography was akin to live performances of full-blown music videos: between the perfection of the backup dancers’ performances, the immersiveness of the set design, and Taylor’s sheer emotion poured into each song, to call this just a concert is a bit of an understatement. As we left the stadium, I recall beginning my friend and I’s debrief in a simple statement: “This was like 80 percent concert and 20 percent theatre.” As the audience, we were welcomed into Taylor’s imagined worlds that characterized each of the show’s 44 songs.

As someone who never rated herself as a Swiftie, I have to say that I knew way more of her music than I had initially given myself credit for — which goes to show the sheer command she has on our music consumption. She proved herself to be worthy of badass status, in my eyes. 

Taylor Herself

What I’m about to say is the greatest takeaway I had from this show — something that only those who attend Taylor’s concerts can see for themselves: the pure connection she builds between herself and the audience is on a level unique to any other star at a comparable level. In a stadium of almost 70,000 people, Taylor somehow managed to make the show feel personal, cozy, intimate. Whilst her fingertips frolicked across the keys of her piano, Taylor spoke of the “Tony award-winning” dance moves in the crowd. At the conclusion of her renowned song “22,” Taylor chose a lucky member of the crowd to receive her signature black fedora. Throughout the show, Taylor exchanged friendship bracelets with those she could reach from the stage. She made those in her presence feel seen

Additionally, every single member of the crowd received a light-up bracelet: as the concert progressed, the bracelets lit up in a way that corresponded with the music. Every single person was physically connected to the show, every single person contributed to the beauty that lit up the stadium, and every single person has a piece that is uniquely attributed to the Eras Tour.

And of course, lest we forget the surprise songs. Each night on the tour, Taylor plays two songs that no other audience on the tour has experienced. They’re uniquely chosen for each specific night. Through the surprise songs, Taylor fosters a relationship with the audience that is unique to every other performance on her tour; no Eras Tour attendant has heard “seven” and “The Story of Us” — except those in attendance of Pittsburgh’s night two performance. 

In sum, the Eras Tour was a special experience — even for a self-proclaimed non-Swiftie. The dedication and sheer bliss shown by those in attendance, the extravagance of the show, and Taylor’s ability to deeply connect with the audience are all worthy of applause. 

You’re definitely onto something, Swifties. 

Senior Kate McBride is the News Editor. Her email is