As an introvert, I’m not much of a concertgoer. The entire experience is quite frankly stressful, with the massive crowds complicating every task that’s normally fairly easy to complete (using the bathroom, getting food, riding a train).
I didn’t go to concerts when I was in high school and college thanks to being an introvert and not having a lot of money set aside for things like that.
I’m also a casual fan of Taylor Swift. I have been for well over a decade now. By casual, I mean I focus on her music rather than her, and I don’t particularly care about her beyond that. I’ve always liked her lyrics and songs, but I have to say her album Evermore really sold it for me that she is truly fantastic at writing songs.
I also have to admit I have a friend who is a casual fan like I am, and we went to Taylor Swift’s concert together about 8 years ago when she played at Tokyo Dome. I want to say it was her 1989 tour, but I couldn’t tell you for sure. It was a fun concert, and we both promised we’d go to a concert together again if we ever had time.
This same friend told me half a year ago that Taylor Swift was coming to Tokyo, and by then her Eras Tour had kicked off and was incredibly hard to get tickets for. Knowing this, we entered the ticket lottery system fully expecting we wouldn’t get anything. I also chose the cheapest tickets because I really didn’t see the point in spending what could have paid for a vacation somewhere on a single seat.
We got really lucky – we got tickets for her February 10th concert.
It was crowded at Tokyo Dome, of course, but my friend and I waited in line outside the dome to buy t-shirts since we’d gotten one at her last concert, too. Everything was selling out fast, but we managed to at least get shirts.
Seating proved to be a bit tricky. We were shoved to the right of the stage (stage left), but because signs everywhere said we were on the second floor, we thought we’d lucked out with our seats being pretty close to the stage. Confirming with security, however, sent us up to what is actually the fourth floor but what security was calling the second floor, and we soon understood we had indeed been banished to the “nosebleed” section.
Taylor Swift, when she appeared, was a spec of dust on the stage to us.
Still, being surrounded by diehard Taylor Swift fans actually helped make the concert more fun to watch. It felt like being at a highly controlled party, with teen fans a couple rows up from us waving their hands to the beat and acting like their minds might explode every time Taylor Swift announced the next song. We were all given wristbands that lit up in varying colors according to whatever the lighting programmer wanted at any given time, which I think helped the audience feel like we were all helping to make the concert amazing.
The best way I can summarize it was that it was fun.
My friend has been to other concerts, she said, where the performer was extremely late starting the show, but Taylor Swift was out and ready to go right at 6 p.m., and even though the entire world knew she had to fly back to America for the Super Bowl, she acted like we were all just hanging out at Tokyo Dome together with all the time in the world.
I know she’s a professional performer, but I still found it amusing that she kept asking the audience “Do you have time for one more song?” or “Do you have 10 minutes to spare?” Did anyone say no?
Going to that concert, I can understand why people shell out a ton of money to be crushed by other people and have their eardrums assaulted. It’s not just about that, it’s about finding other fans and singing and dancing along to the music together. The music was so loud, I could see the people around me singing because their mouths were moving, but all I could hear was Taylor Swift’s voice crashing against the ceiling.
I also quickly regretted we hadn’t spent even a little more on tickets so we could see better. It was nice the organizers put everything up on a massive screen, but I think it would’ve been amazing to have at least been able to see Taylor Swift’s face with my own eyes instead of on a screen.
Maybe next time.