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The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The Eras Tour (West’s version)

Three students at West High talk about their experiences going to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and watching the livestreams.
A+silhouette+of+Taylor+Swift+forms+a+heart+with+her+hands+in+front+of+The+Eras+Tour+colors.
Vera Tanas
A silhouette of Taylor Swift forms a heart with her hands in front of The Eras Tour colors.

For some, it’s been a “Cruel Summer” this year, but for those who went to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, it’s been a “Gold Rush.” Swifties, the name of Swift’s many fans, flocked in droves to various stops on the United States leg of the likely multi-billion dollar concert tour, and some of these superfans came from West High itself.

Elizabeth Young ’25 went to night one of the Eras Tour in Minneapolis, and she got tickets at face value. Young purchased through the ticket-selling magnate, Ticketmaster, using a verified fan presale code when they were first released. Seated in the upper bowl, Young estimated that her tickets were in the $100 range.

“Everyone had sort of been in class like, ‘Oh, we got tickets, we got tickets,’ and my mom kept on texting me ‘We’re not going to get tickets, we’re not going to get tickets,” Young said. However, it worked out for her in the end.

“We had not moved in the queue all day, and then as soon as I got home and we were still talking about it, she still had her Chromebook up [trying to get tickets],” Young said.  “[The queue] started moving like as soon as I got there, and then, within about 30 seconds, we were buying them.”

The stage effects I could see really well, but Taylor Swift [herself,] I don’t think I would’ve been able to see as well if I didn’t have my dad’s binoculars.

— Ellie Chen

Young was not the only one to see Swift in person. Katie Nims ’25 went to not one but two Eras Tour concerts, with the first taking place at Chicago’s Soldier Field on night three of the city’s stop. Nims paid about $100 to sit in the upper bowl for this show, receiving her tickets from the original Ticketmaster sale. The second show she went to was night one in Kansas City, and she paid around $250 to sit lower in the stadium.

Ellie Chen ’26 got her tickets from a third-party source off of X, formerly known as Twitter, and sat in the upper bowl at night two of the concert’s stop in Chicago.

“The stage effects I could see really well, but Taylor Swift [herself,] I don’t think I would’ve been able to see as well if I didn’t have my dad’s binoculars,” Chen said.

Swifties have often been wearing intricate outfits made to coordinate with one of Swift’s albums or songs, and Nims was no exception. She channeled “Reputation” for the Chicago concert in a black sequined top paired with black leather pants and wore a purple sequined top with a silver skirt to Kansas City. Nims matched her outfit with a special event on the day of that concert, “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” release day, with the album being the third that Swift has rerecorded, following “Red (Taylor’s Version)” and “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).”

Young dressed up for the concert as well, wearing an outfit mainly inspired by Swift’s “Lover” era. It included a crop top paired with a pair of jean shorts that Young embroidered herself.

“I didn’t get them finished but I got them looking good enough, and I [embroidered] them with different flowers from Taylor Swift songs.” Young said.

However, not everyone had to go all out on their outfit to have a great time at the concert. Chen wore a shirt and pants accessorized with a pink cowboy hat and many friendship bracelets, participating in the trend of making friendship bracelets themed after different songs, eras or pieces of Swiftie culture.

We had a few little girls in our section, and little girls who are like nine don’t have any social media, so they don’t have any way to know about [the friendship bracelets]. So what I ended up doing is if I saw any kid, I would give them about five bracelets.

— Elizabeth Young

“I made [bracelets] but I didn’t trade any because I’m scared of people,” Chen said.

Young made many friendship bracelets as well but didn’t trade them frequently as only a few fans in her seating area had bracelets. Nonetheless, this led to some memorable interactions with younger fans.

“We had a few little girls in our section, and little girls who are like nine don’t have any social media, so they don’t have any way to know about [the friendship bracelets]. So what I ended up doing is if I saw any kid, I would give them about five bracelets,” Young said.

Nims took the friendship bracelet trend to the extreme, creating around 180 total bracelets for both concerts. Like Young, she traded and interacted with the younger fans around her and fellow Swifties waiting in the merchandise line.

“There was one I got in Chicago that said ‘Lucky One’ on it, like the song from “Red.” It had a tiny little metal four-leaf clover charm on it, and it was really cool,” Nims said.

Many Swifties watched live streams of the concert, Chen being one of them. She avidly watched the streams, mainly viewing them through TikTok.

“I only intently watched the ‘surprise song o’clock,’ but I stopped watching them once they got later and later and [Swift] went to Pacific time,” Chen said, describing how she would generally tune in when Swift played her two surprise songs of the night, each usually being unique to that night of the concert, and not coming from the usual setlist.

The livestreams Chen viewed occasionally lagged, but this wasn’t a big issue for her. Nims also noticed glitching on the livestreams she saw and often found the streams challenging to find among all of the Swift-centered social media content on the internet.

I think it’s great that we have come to a place where lots and lots of people can be like, ‘Okay yeah, we’re gonna go do this, and we’re gonna go yell about being mad, and we’ll walk away three hours later.’ I think that’s a nice community to build.

— Elizabeth Young

When it came to the overall atmosphere of the concert, Young thought it was relatively positive. “Nobody was yelling at each other, it was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, Taylor Swift is here.’”

“I think it’s great that we have come to a place where lots and lots of people can be like, ‘Okay yeah, we’re gonna go do this, and we’re gonna go yell about being mad, and we’ll walk away three hours later.’ I think that’s a nice community to build.” Young said.

Nims had a similar outlook: “It was really fun getting to see everyone’s outfits, and you could compliment them when you were trading bracelets, and some people were really creative with the outfits they were wearing.”

A memory Young is taking away from the concert is the realization of how many people worked on this concert.

“There’s so many extra effects you never get to see, and I think that’s cool. It’s not just Taylor; that’s too much for one person to do, and it’s not just one person who can do the graphic design and come up with all these ideas and choreography. There’s a giant team of people, and everyone who plans it puts so much time and effort.” Young said.

Nims takes away a special moment she got to experience at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. She was present at the unveiling of the music video of a particular vault track from “Speak Now,” a song that Swift had written while working on the original album but didn’t make the final cut.

“During the surprise songs, she premiered the music video for “I Can See You,” and then she brought out the whole cast, so that was really cool,” Nims said.

Outlooks were nuanced when it came to Swift herself as a person, including the various controversies she’s been through and being able to go to such a huge concert.

“I feel like everyone has their flaws. I feel like [Swift] tries at times to be a good person, but when you’re that famous and when you have that much money, sometimes it’s hard to always do the right thing.” Chen said.

Young summed it up seeing her at the concert well, saying,

“I think it was a bit surreal, but she’s just a person.”

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About the Contributors
Vera Tanas, Copy Editor
(she/her) Vera Tanas is a junior, and this is her second year on staff. She is the copy editor and art editor for the West Side Story website. Outside of journalism, Vera enjoys playing soccer, listening to music, working on art projects and spending time outdoors.
Neema Ash, FOJ Intern
Neema is super excited to be an intern this year on staff. She is a junior this year.
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