“Lots of screaming, lots of excitement”: Calvin students attend, anticipate Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour


Photo by Elly Scheeres.

Taylor Swift performs “Wildest Dreams” in Swift City, AZ on March 18.

Stephanie Oosterhouse battled to procure Taylor Swift tickets last November.

“It was awful,” said Oosterhouse, a graduate student in Calvin’s master’s in geographic information science program. After being selected for presale access, Oosterhouse joined the ticket queue on SeatGeek right when it opened, at 10 a.m. her time. 

But the queue moved very slowly. “I literally had it open on my laptop while I worked and just let it sit for hours,” she said. After waiting in line for six hours –– “a conservative estimate,” she said –– Oosterhouse finally got the chance to buy tickets.

Even then, things did not go smoothly. “It was just a rush to get whatever ticket was open,” she said. Oosterhouse attempted to buy several different tickets, but they all disappeared before she could complete the purchase. 

In the end, she snagged a seat in the nosebleeds. Oosterhouse would see Taylor Swift in Glendale, AZ, on Saturday, March 18: the opening weekend of Swift’s Eras Tour, which includes 52 shows across the United States. The Eras Tour –– Swift’s first tour since 2018 –– was billed as a celebration of Swift’s entire musical career, which began in 2006.

Four months later, Oosterhouse was in Glendale, which temporarily renamed itself “Swift City” in honor of The Eras Tour. The crowd in State Farm Stadium numbered around 70,000, according to the Associated Press.

The atmosphere was one of exhilaration, Oosterhouse said. “It felt like such a battle to get tickets that I think everyone around me felt like they won. [There was] lots of screaming, lots of excitement.”

In a set that spanned over three hours, Swift –– supported by openers Paramore and GAYLE –– played 44 songs, complete with complex choreography, intricate staging and several costume changes.

Senior Elly Scheeres, who also attended the March 18 show, described the concert as “impressive.” “I felt like I was seeing a production, like a musical or something,” she said. “It was three hours of really impressive costume changes and sets and pyrotechnics.” Scheeres told Chimes there were even fireballs during Swift’s performance of “Bad Blood.”

In one memorable moment, Oosterhouse said, Swift appeared to dive into the stage itself. Then, massive screens showed her apparently swimming across the stage. “That was the most shocking moment,” Oosterhouse said. “Everyone was like, ‘What just happened?’”

There were also deeply emotional parts of the show. According to Scheeres, many audience members cried as Swift performed “All Too Well (10 Minute Version).”

It was a concert that everyone could enjoy: Oosterhouse had been a fan of Swift since middle school, while Scheeres had “never really listened to [Swift’s] music” before the show and knew only the major hits.

Although most Calvin students did not have the chance to attend the tour’s opening in Arizona, many have tickets to an upcoming show: Swift will bring The Eras Tour to cities across the country, including Detroit and Chicago this June.

Samantha Fraser, a senior who calls herself a “casual” Taylor Swift fan, has tickets to see Swift in Detroit. “[Swift has] so many hits,” Fraser said. “I can think of very few, if any, artists who have that many recognizable songs.”

Fraser is looking forward to the atmosphere of a stadium show. “When you’re in a stadium, it feels like there’s this entire community of people around you who are all focused on the same thing,” she said.

Fraser, who has been trying to avoid spoilers online and preserve some surprises, told Chimes she’s “excited” for the show. “I’ve never seen her before in concert, but from what I’ve heard, she puts on an amazing show.”

And Swift certainly does, according to Oosterhouse. “My mom is not necessarily a huge fan of Taylor Swift … and she was shocked by how well put together the show was. Even if you’re not a diehard fan of her music, [Swift] just puts on a really good show.”