It’s Halloween. I’m not expecting to be out front of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa (home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) with a bunch of screaming fans — they’re called “Swifties” — about to attend the hottest concert of the year, Taylor Swift’s “1989 Tour.” Not only are these “Swifties” ecstatic about seeing the modern-day queen of pop, but it’s also Halloween, so they are decked out in costumes ranging from foxes to different outfits Ms. Swift has worn in her music videos.
Doors promptly open at 5pm. The sold-out crowd of 57,000 fans starts filling the seats of this MASSIVE stadium. As I am taking in all of my surroundings, I am coming to terms that tonight I’m not just going to be attending a Taylor Swift concert. I’ve loved Taylor for as long as I can remember. I was that person who would send instagram direct messages online to celebrities, in the hopes of getting a reply. There’s still hope. So, finally seeing Taylor live was more than a dream come true.
I am about to experience the thrill of a lifetime. Swift’s album, 1989, just had its 1 year birthday about a week ago and hasn’t left the Billboard charts since its release, something only a handful of musical artists can say they have done. I’m getting anxious! I am so ready for this show to start!
Around 7pm, the show starts with new-comer Shawn Mendes, a young, good-looking kid with just an acoustic guitar … on this MASSIVE stage. He’s fresh off a great summer, not only touring with Swift but also coming off the release of his song “Stitches,” one of those songs that have been played on pop radio stations all summer long. My most favorite part of his set was when he went from rapping Eminem to his rendition of Ed Sheeran’s smash hit “Thinking Out Loud.” It definitely had Ms. Swift’s fanbase chomping at the bit for her to take the stage and probably gained Mendes some new Tampa fans as well.
Next up was Vance Joy, coming all the way from Melbourne, Australia. He took full advantage of Halloween night, his band dressing as random things such as a banana and a jail mate. Vance Joy himself was a pirate, fitting since he was at the Buccaneers stadium and Tampa, home of Gasparilla! I myself had never really listened to Joy’s stuff until this concert and was pleasantly surprised, I really enjoyed his blend of indie, pop-rock. He was a great addition to this already huge tour and the crowd was definitely showing him love.
Okay, so now that we got those openers out of the way, the real MVP of the night was about to take the stage. As a photographer, I got to spend the first two songs in her section next to the stage filled with anxious VIP fans, who paid very good money for this section. I tried to stay out of their way, but I will say “Swifties” are some of the nicest fans I’ve met. I shot my first two songs, hurried to the media room, packed my belongings, and made my out to my seat to finish watching this incredible production. I was bummed to find out that I missed two of my favorite T-Swift songs while in the hustle and bustle, but honestly, she played for 2 hours, so I really can’t complain. As I walked into the gate with my ticket, I was handed a rubber wristband and this thing was magical! I’m not really sure how or what programmed it but all 57,000 in attendance were sporting the bracelet and it was amazing! Taylor said herself, “I use them because I want to look out at the crowd and see every one of you, and with these bracelets, I can do that.”
As the night continues, my mind keeps getting blown. Taylor always likes to do things big and this tour is …well HUGE. About halfway through her set, she brings out Alessia Cara, a new up-and-coming pop artist set to release her Album on November 13th. Taylor and Alessia absolutely killed her hit single “Here,” and the crowd was freaking pumped. Taylor slowed it down for a good bit and played her song “Fifteen” completely acoustic and stripped down. I’ll be honest with you and say I got the chills; her voice was perfect … after performing already for almost an hour and 15 minutes and playing 80 shows. I saw no fatigue in her or her amazing voice and I love every minute of this.
Everybody who is a fan and knows of Taylor knows she brings huge guests out with her on stage for each stop of the 1989 tour, and we all thought it was the previously mentioned, Alessia Cara. Taylor comes out in true Halloween fashion dressed as OLAF from the Disney movie, Frozen. Her back-up dancers are dressed as reindeer, flying down her huge catwalk as she’s performing my absolute favorite song “Style.” The song ends and she lets the crowd know that she has another surprise for her amazing fans. Out comes Idina Menzel! WHAT!?! People are going insane!! They start singing the crazy viral song, “Let It Go,” while Menzel and Swift strut their stuff across the stage.
As this amazing show is coming to a close, she performs “Shake It Off.” Fireworks are going off, these magic bands are going crazy, and here I am getting a little emotional (no I am not sobbing or anything like that, and hell it would be ok if I was). I’m just speechless from this absolutely amazing production that is known as Taylor Swift’s “1989 Tour.”
I don’t think I will ever be able to have a Halloween that will top off this one.
If you went to the show, I am glad we got to experience this together! If you didn’t, well then you missed out on the hottest tour of the year … actually you now what … our generation. BOOM, I said it!
Thanks Taylor, you killed it!
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Taylor Swift Live Review & Concert Photos by Jeff Roach, edited by Matthew Weller.
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