The Eras Tour Through the Eyes of An Old Guy

Old Guy at a Taylor Swift show


Welcome to The Eras Tour Through the Eyes of an old guy:


“At least I got to see all of the cool bands.” That is what a lot of guys my age say when the topic of music comes up with a younger person. I know that I have said it more than once in my lifetime. And at 45 years old, I have seen some very cool bands in my lifetime. Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Kiss, and Page & Plant are just a few that come to mind. And for a long time, I dismissed newer current artists. But this old guy is very blessed to have 3 nieces that have encouraged him to think again when it comes to his thoughts on music. The names that I shared above don’t go very far in conversations with them. Instead, names like Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, and others are must-knows in order to be a part of the conversation. At first, I would scoff and make fun of their music taste. But then I realized they just may be on to something. So in the privacy of the car, I would call up these current artists, just to see what all the fuss was all about. And you know what, they were not too bad. In fact, a lot of it was pretty good. Then, slowly but surely, I started introducing artists like Billie Eilish into my own record collection. It’s been a gradual progression, but my mindset is in the right place.

Taylor Swift, while in no way a new artist, is one of those names that has recently caught my attention. I would never claim to be a Swiftie in any way up to this point, but there were 2 things that I knew about Taylor Swift that I had a great deal of respect for. The first was when she was very honest and open about transitioning from the world of country music into the world of pop. The second is how she reclaimed the rights to her own music by re-recording her previous records. Say what you want, but that is pretty badass if you ask me. But when The Eras Tour was announced, my interest and curiosity in the world of Taylor Swift began to peak.


Taylor Swift Playing Blue Acoustic Guitar
Photo courtesy of TAS Rights Management


The Eras Tour Hype


When Taylor Swift announced The Eras Tour, I knew it was a big deal. But when she sold-out not 1, but 2 dates at Paycorp Staudim in my hometown of Cincinnati, OH, I started to see this was more than just your average concert tour. I began to see the posts on social media before the tickets went on sale about the anticipation, desperation, and disappointment regarding getting tickets for this tour. I don’t know if I had ever seen anything quite like it for a tour that was not even on sale yet. I think we all know what happened with the ticket situation, and it makes me sad to this day how many people will likely miss out on this show due to the greed of a company and people who have no desire to see the show themselves. But that is a post for another day.

Another trend I was made hip to thanks to my nieces was TikTok. I had only been on the platform for a short time before I got an inside look at The Eras Tour thanks to the millions of Swifties around the country. I started to see videos of fans making outfits and friendship bracelets for the shows. I had never seen such work going into preparing for a concert before. The closest thing I had seen was guys spending a couple of hours painting their faces before a Kiss show. But these Taylor Swift fans, they took it to a whole new level. As a music fan myself, it was exciting to watch their enthusiasm and passion come to life. While I had never had the same experiences as them, I believe I shared the feeling that was behind it all.


The Eras Tour Poster


After months of anticipation and preparation for Swifties, the tour kicked off in Glendale, Arizona. Reports started coming in from the shows that Taylor was playing more than 3 hours each night on the tour, with a setlist that surpassed 40 songs. There were outfits, stage sets, secret songs, and so much more. Videos of Taylor playing in the pouring down rain in Nashville, TN at 1:30 am only added to my respect for the mega-superstar. Most other artists would have canceled the show after a 4-hour rain delay.

And then there were the Swifties. The videos and accounts of them waiting in merch lines for hours to ensure they got their treasures from the show was something I had never seen in my 30  + years of going to shows. Then you had the fans who could not get a ticket showing up and gathering outside the venue just to be a part of the night as closely as they could. I know Dead Heads may not appreciate this, but it very much felt like the vibe at a Grateful Dead show. The Eras Tour was just as much about what went on outside of the show, as what happened during the concert itself. But instead of other things being passed around, it was friendship bracelets this time around. This was no longer a concert. This was an experience. This was a community. This was…something I HAD TO EXPERIENCE FOR MYSELF.


My Eras Tour Experience 


I was set to be out of town when The Eras Tour played here in Cincinnati, so I found the next closest show to me, which was in Detroit, MI. One of my best friends in the world lives up there, so it is a drive that I am very well familiar with. I made the request to cover the show for The Music Room, and to complete delight and amazement, we were offered review tickets for night 2 in Detroit. As I said earlier, I know how many people wanted to go to these shows who would not be able to, so along with these tickets I felt like I also took a responsibility to be worthy to be in that building where so many others wanted to be. No, I would not just take up space, I would be a part of the experience.

That meant getting myself familiar with more of the music. Luckily, Swifties had me covered there with plenty of great playlists with songs that made up The Eras Tour. It also meant making friendship bracelets. My goal was to make at least 1 bracelet and then make one successful trade with a Swiftie at the show. So after watching some TicTok training videos and a trip to Michaels with Candy, we made 4 bracelets to take to the show.


Taylor Swift Friendship Bracelets


The day of the show arrived, so after a quick Starbucks run, my buddy, Jim, and I made the 3 and 1/2 hour drive up north to Detroit Rock City, or should I say Detroit Rock Swiftie? I have to admit that I was curious about how we would be received at the show. It is not a stretch to say that we are not your typical Swifties. We look more like the dads who take their kids to the show. Except, we have no kids. We’re just two old dudes who appreciate all types of music. Would people think we were creepy?

My other fear was the parking situation. Detroit is always hopping with lots of activity, but on this day it was going to be extra jam-packed. There was an afternoon Tigers game scheduled, a Pride parade, at least 2 other concerts, and of course, Taylor Swift was in town. So our plan was to get up to the city early, find a parking spot, and then take in the baseball game before it was time to head over to Ford Field. We were given a good tip where we could park for free with about a 15-minute walk to Comerica Park. Our tip was right, and my parking worries were alleviated. As we made our way towards the game we passed parking lots charging $80 for spots to park about 10 minutes from the stadium. As we made our way into the game, we could see that Swifties had already arrived and were lined up for merch and to get into the building. I have to admit it was hard to concentrate on the game, knowing what was going on across the street.


The Eras Tour Detroit Night 2 Merch Line
The view from Comerica Park 4 hours before the concert.


Show Time!


After the game and a quick bite to eat, we made our way toward Ford Field. To say that there was a buzz in the air would be an understatement. We could see Swifties taking selfies and trading bracelets before we even made it to the front gates. We went to will call, picked up our tickets, and then prepared to immerse ourselves into The Eras Tour experience. We decided to hang out a little longer outside before heading in just to take in some more of the fun environment. We watched fans give friendship bracelets to security guards, who were more than happy to fill their wrists with the colorful tokens. We ran into a kind Swiftie who was passing out free bracelets, so my friend and I both received one. Not quite a trade, but very cool.

We finally decided that it was time to head in and down to our seats. That’s right, we were on the floor! We walked in with no line and were handed our light-up bracelets. After some logistical issues of getting the required wristband to get to the floor, we made it to our seats just in time to see the energetic set from Owenn. The talented singer definitely got things started on a good note. After Owenn, Girl in Red hit the stage for a fantastic set. Watching her on stage was like a mix of seeing an incarnation of Janis Joplin meets Eddie Vedder. Her set definitely made me take notice and had me checking out her music the next day.


Swiftie Friendship Bracelets


In between the two opening artists, selfies and bracelet trading were in full effect. I decided that I could not just wait for someone to come up to me in hopes of a bracelet trade, so I approached a group of traders and asked if they would help me accomplish my goal of trading a bracelet. There were so welcoming and complementary of my bracelets. And before Taylor took the stage I had completed multiple trades and was even gifted some extra bracelets! Mission accomplished. As much fun as we were all having, it all stopped when a clock and countdown appeared on the large LED screens. We now only had 2 minutes until Taylor Swift hit the stage. We were now ready for the main event.


Taylor Swift Live


Taylor Swift Live Detroit Night 2
Photo courtesy of TAS Rights Management 2023


As the 2-minute countdown got closer and closer to 0:00, I was right there with all the other Swifties in complete anticipation of finally seeing Taylor Swift live and in person. After an elaborate opening, there she was. The moment had finally arrived, now I could answer the question of whether all of this would be worth it in the end. After all, the performance was what it was all about. It did not take me very long to answer that question. This was not a typical concert where the musician performs for the audience. This was an interactive give-and-take between a musician and her fans. The way Swift interacted with her fans, you forgot that she was this huge global superstar. She could have very easily been one of the rest of us caught up in a moment that we would never forget. The smile that would come to her lips as the crowd responded to her songs was genuine and real. The little looks she would give a member of the audience who had a sign or was dressed in a certain outfit let you know the singer was present and not just going through the motions. If you ask me, Taylor Swift was just as excited to see the people in that stadium as they were to see her.

The show itself was a spectacle. Every Era saw a new set design and outfit for Swift. But it all happened effortlessly and without delay. In the 3-hour and 20-minute set, there was never an intermission or break of more than just a couple of minutes for the Era changes. And for those of you who are thinking that Swift performs vocal tracks, I can tell you that is a myth. There were a couple of instances where the microphone cut out, as well as a time or two when the singer coughed into the microphone due to a cold she was nursing. So I’m sorry to tell the haters (okay, not really sorry) Taylor Swift is the real deal when it comes to performing for her fans. I could go on for paragraphs about the show, but I think I am just going to leave it at this. The show was awesome. Somewhere around 8:01 pm on the floor of Ford Field in Detroit, MI, this 45-year-old man became a real-life Swiftie.


Taylor Swift Live Yellow Dress
Photo courtesy of TAS Rights Management



So now when I say that I saw all the cool concerts, Taylor Swift will certainly be a part of that list. The experience was everything they said it would be and more. I learned that Swifties are some of the best music fans out there, past or present. They made this old guy feel welcome and a part of the community, without ever seeming to be creeped out by my presence. I learned Taylor Swift is deserving of all of the accolades and praise she has received over the years. And I am sure there will be much more coming her way. And finally, I learned that no matter our age, we should never close the door to new music, artists, and experiences. There is room for everyone. We don’t need to put a period on the list of good concerts that we saw. Instead, leave a comma for the next one. And maybe when you are at the Taylor Swift show, a young fan may ask you about the band you are wearing on your t-shirt and you can open the door to a new Era of music for them. Thank you Taylor, and thank you Swifies.







1 Comment on The Eras Tour Through the Eyes of An Old Guy

  1. Great article. It sums up my experience with my daughters. We were at Ford Field on Friday. I grew up seeing bands from the late 70’s and on – saw some great acts. It was so exciting seeing it all through their eyes and having the experience with them. This was my 4th TS concert because my girls have loved her since my oldest discovered her Fearless album at the beginning. She loved her because she was a female songwriter performing her own music. This was the best one I’ve seen. The energy and excitement downtown, all the outfits, trading, etc. was amazing. I could feel it before as we planned but once I was there I knew I was experiencing a concert of a lifetime. Thanks for writing about it from our generations’ perspective.

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