Fandoms get a bad rap, they’re the ones that camp out in treacherous conditions, flood shopping centers, and write infamous fanfiction. They also are the ones that pack out three nights at Metlife Stadium with palpable excitement in the air, dressed in every possible Taylor era. So far this year I’ve attended 73 shows (I have a color-coded spreadsheet to keep track, its pretty sick) and none of them could have ready me for the experience that is the Reputation tour.
Walking into Metlife Stadium I passed a tailgate party in the midst of a Fearless karaoke block, a Comic-Con level of intricate costumes, and countless Brownies and Girl Scouts. While I was searching for the box office I crossed paths with a troupe of Brownies singing Shake It Off, breaking the chorus to ask about my camera rig. I let the gang hold the lens I bought just for this occasion and told them that I was going to take pictures of Taylor tonight, one of the yelped “guys she knows Taylor!”, the moms laughed it off and headed the girls into the stadium. I got pretty teary eyed after that pure moment. Experiencing live music at a young age is incredibly formative, I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to attend so many shows from a young age. I am so ecstatic that all these young girls get to have Taylor Swift be their heroine.
Entering the stadium I felt especially small, looking up into the stands from the field seeing over 80,000 people is just a little overwhelming. Thousands of homemade signs were decked out with snakes, countless remakes of the notorious Junior Jewels shirt, and an endless supply of genuine excitement. During the lead-up video before Swift took the stage, two white tutus wearing Shake It Off era Taylors were recreating the Look What You Made Me Do music video in their seats as if they were alone in the bedroom. No one is too cool to dance at a Taylor Swift concert.
There isn’t a lot of crossover of Swifters and the D.I.Y community, the only reply a friend could muster when I was sharing how excited I was for the show was “I want to say that's cool but I just can’t”. Sorry that you just can’t but don’t box me in, my punk card isn’t revoked because I like something that isn’t produced in a basement or bedroom. And don’t even try to give me the “she only writes songs about her exs” or “it’s just mindless pop”. Every emo band ever has written problematic songs about an ex and can barely remember the cords let alone do 90 minutes of intense choreography WITH FIREWORKS!
I danced in the aisles, I climbed on top of folding chairs, I screamed with strangers, and couldn’t hide the fact that I had a blast. Out of the entire experience, my favorite thing was the dedication from the fans. Fandom culture is often written off, they’re mostly young girls and their opinions are seen as malleable. When it comes down to it, the joy some old head seeing the Misfits 27th reunion is the same feeling that 80,000 people are having in Metlife Stadium. Their excitement, their happiness, and their experience are just as valid as yours.