Leadership / 08.23.23
Swifties Share Their Fond Memories at the End of the Eras Tour
Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” could gross $2.2 billion in North American ticket sales alone, according to recent survey data from research firm QuestionPro provided to CNN. That unprecedented tally represents primary ticket sales for the U.S. shows that the mega-popular singer recently concluded in Los Angeles, plus a second North American leg coming in 2024.
With history still in the making, INTIX decided to reach out not to the ticketing and live event professionals who have facilitated this live music experience for so many … but to the fans who endured some early ticketing challenges to travel far and near to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.
One such fan — or Swiftie rather — is Kat Fox from Raleigh, North Carolina. She traveled to Philadelphia with her boyfriend, Danny, to see her favorite singer at Lincoln Financial Field. She says, “I chose Philadelphia because Taylor didn’t come too close to North Carolina, and I had a feeling that a lot of people from around this area would be opting for Nashville or Atlanta. I was kind of hoping my chances of getting tickets would be slightly higher if I went with Philly. Also, about a day or so before I signed up for the presale, she had added a third Philadelphia date. I thought that, since it was a new date, maybe less people had tried to register for that specific date’s presale. Essentially, selecting that city was more of a strategic choice rather than picking a city because I wanted to visit it.”
Kat Fox and boyfriend Danny pose from the floor seats of "The Eras Tour."
Also, from Raleigh making the trek far from home was this journalist’s teenage daughter, Maddie Durgin, and her mom, Bonnie. We were not nearly as strategic as Fox when it came to that historic day of presale. We were Atlanta or bust! Or as 18-year-old Maddie says, “There wasn’t going to be a Taylor concert in Raleigh or in Charlotte. And I really, really, really wanted to go see her! My parents said the closest one we could get to was Atlanta, so that’s what we focused on.”
Maddie Durgin and her mom, Bonnie, pose outside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium ahead of the Atlanta show of "The Eras Tour."
Another mother-daughter combo who ventured out of their local area and traveled far was Toni Smith of Severn, Maryland, and her daughter Brooke. Smith says, “We attended night one at Denver Empower Field at Mile High Stadium. I chose that venue because we were busy planning a family vacation for the summer. And since my husband, Jeff, owed me a visit to the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado — inspiration for the movie ‘The Shining’ — I thought it would be a great addition to an already beautiful vacation. I surprised Brooke with tickets for her 14th birthday.”
Toni Smith's daughter, Brooke, poses from her seat at Denver's "The Eras Tour."
Shannon Moore, Director of Field Marketing at Allied Global Marketing's Washington, D.C., office, left the nation’s capital to see Taylor in Nashville with some adult friends. Unfortunately, that turned out to be one of the most notable weather events of the entire Eras Tour: “Our show was the third of three nights, and we had a three-plus hour rain delay/shelter in place inside the stadium. The show finally started at 10:15 p.m. They skipped the opener, and Taylor played in the rain until nearly 2 a.m.!”
But Moore and her crew endured. Because they are Swifties, and dedicated ones at that. But then there are those super-fans who are more dedicated than others. Way more! My colleague Morgan Manghera, INTIX Access content manager, is one such Swiftie. On Taylor Swift’s U.S. tour, she managed to see the singer four times in three different cities — twice in Chicago, once in Las Vegas, and again in Kansas City!
Morgan Manghera and friends pose as all 10 of Taylor Swift's eras outside of Soldier Field on Chicago Night 1.
Manghera says, “Despite being essentially the same setlist, each experience was unique and special. My Vegas show was only the fourth of the tour. I’d avoided spoilers on social media so I could be surprised and experience it live before ‘experiencing’ it on TikTok. Before I even knew that ‘surprise songs’ [an acoustic set of two songs that Taylor changes up each night] were a thing, she invited Marcus Mumford on stage for Vegas Night 2 to duet ‘cowboy like me.’ How cool to get the first surprise guest of the tour at my show!”
She continues, “My Kansas City show coincided with the release of her third re-recorded album, ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).’ To celebrate, she debuted the tour’s first performance of ‘Long Live (Taylor’s Version)’ [along with] a gorgeous new purple dress and the renaissance of her koi fish guitar during the Speak Now set. ‘Long Live’ is a song that she wrote in honor of her band and her fans, and there was not a dry eye in the house! Later that night, she premiered a music video for a ‘vault’ song, ‘I Can See You (Taylor’s Version),’ and she invited the video’s actors Joey King, Taylor Lautner and Presley Cash on stage to celebrate. I’ll never forget seeing Lautner backflip on Swift’s stage!”
Arrowhead Stadium is lit up purple during the debut performance of "Long Live (Taylor's Version)."
Fox’s Philadelphia show in May coincided with a very special holiday. “Since it was Mother’s Day, one of the two ‘surprise songs’ she played was a song she wrote for her mom early in her career,” she says. “This one is kind of special because, as long as I can remember, if she’s played a concert on Mother’s Day, she has made sure to include that song somewhere in the show.”
Taylor didn’t disappoint her youngest fans at the other shows either. The “surprise song” at Toni Smith’s concert in Colorado was her daughter Brooke’s favorite, “Picture to Burn.” And as for my Maddie’s? “‘coney island’ is one of my absolute favorite songs of Taylor’s, and it was our surprise song that night! So that was really cool.”
Bonnie Marie Williams, a voice artist in Los Angeles, was fortunate in that she and her friend, Megan, got to stay put in their home market and witness one of the six LA Eras concerts at SoFi Stadium. As it turns out, Aug. 9 was the final show this year of Swift’s tour across America. She will not be back until late 2024 for some recently added shows in Indianapolis, Miami, New Orleans and Toronto.
Bonnie Marie Williams and friend Megan enjoy The Eras Tour at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Williams says, “She had the sister-band HAIM as one of her openers. And not only are they best friends, but they’re also LA locals. So, they got to open her show and perform onstage with her for one of my favorite numbers.”
To be sure, several of our interviewees reported the initial ticket-buying experience to be almost as memorable in the long run as the concert itself. On Nov. 15, 2022, on the day of the first U.S. presale, Ticketmaster's website crashed following a historically unprecedented demand. Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, said they prepared for 1.5 million verified fans. Approximately 14 million turned up! Public criticism and even political scrutiny followed. But for most who got tickets, the experience is a distant memory that they even chuckle about.
Still, others went to the secondary market. Among them was Smith: “I was one of the many who got stuck all day and got no tickets out of it. I ended up booking through StubHub. All in all, it worked out well, although part of StubHub’s process is ‘You may not receive your actual ticket until the day of the concert.’ Luckily, that did not happen, and it was transferred to my Ticketmaster account around two months before.”
Meanwhile, all concerned had praise for the various venues that Taylor Swift’s team selected to stage her numerous shows. Manghera, of course, spoke with the most experience: “I have so much praise for each city’s venue. My mom and I visit Las Vegas almost twice a year, but this was our first time at Allegiant Stadium. The staff was so friendly and excited to welcome Taylor’s fans to their new venue. Plus, I was able to walk to and from the venue from my favorite hotel. A true win!”
Morgan Manghera and her mom, Erin, pose from their seats at Allegiant Stadium for Las Vegas's "The Eras Tour."
She adds, “I’m from Chicago, and I was so proud of how my city welcomed Taylor. Every Soldier Field staff member had arms full of friendship bracelets. As someone who made hundreds of bracelets over the course of my Eras Tour summer, it was so fun that the staff got in on the tradition. It was also super easy to enter and leave the stadium parking lot via car. I was impressed! And before visiting, I’d heard that Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium is an iconic venue. Again, everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Across all three cities, I love that the live events staff was just as enthusiastic about the shows as we were!”
Taylor Swift performing "Lover" during the Lover set at Chicago Night 3.
While it may be the end of an “era” for this leg of The Eras Tour, Swift is prepping for runs in Mexico, South America, Asia, Australia, and Europe before returning to North America in 2024. And surely those shows will bring more ticketing stories, surprise songs and memories to last a lifetime.
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Tags: Music , Ticketing , Taylor Swift