It has been years since a concert has caused such mass hysteria in Minnesota. Perhaps, even in the country. If it wasn’t clear by the excitement of fans online, the lack of bookable hotels in Downtown Minneapolis, Or by the MNDOT road signs spinning her lyrics into safety warnings: Taylor Swift is in town.
Everyone has an opinion on Taylor Swift. Say what you want about her music, her lyrics, or her lifestyle. Say what you want by her metric of popularity, her fans, or even her wardrobe. There’s no denying that she’s the biggest name in music right now. She’s had influence over the city, from the Mayor – who renamed Minneapolis ‘Swiftie-apolis’ for her June 23 and 24th shows, right down to Metro Transit, who, after much feedback from swifties online, changed their operating hours for both nights of the show to ensure fans get home safely. Name another musician that can control the hours of service for a city’s transit system.
Fans of other acts who have come to US Bank Stadium have balked at the precautions that Minneapolis have taken to prepare for the show in comparison to their experience with other bands. But the numbers don’t lie. A report from Fortune Magazine says that Taylor Swift’s tour could end up being responsible for 4.6 Billion in local economies, with fans spending an average of $1,300 for tickets, travel, hotels, and even new outfits to wear to her shows. A tweet sent out last week from a restaurant worker in Pittsburg stated “In the Pittsburg service industry, they’re debriefing us on the imminent Taylor Swift concert like we’re being prepped for war.” And it’s likely the restaurants surrounding US Bank Stadium are facing the same, imminent threat of people coming to the show. Even limo and cab companies are tweeting about the stressed timelines, and record number of quotes they’re sending concert attendees ahead of her show. Much to the chagrin of U2 and Garth Brooks Fans, Swift’s shows are set to be some of the largest attended concerts in Minnesota History.
It’s reminiscent of concerts of yesteryear, with crowds of unthinkable sizes, traffic backed up for miles, and dedicated fans lining up to enter the show days before – Just to be in the same vicinity of their favorite artist – sound quality be damned. Which is a good thing, because US Bank Stadium is not known for its sound quality. But for swifties, it will be known as the venue they saw their hero at. A life-changing experience on par with the same lore as seeing The Beatles at Yankee Stadium, or Beyonce at Coachella. If there was ever a show to splurge on framing your ticket stub (rare enough nowadays by itself) or a $79 poster, or the coveted “Blue Crew” – This is it.
The hysteria is warranted, and if anything, shows just how meaningful and important Swift’s return to Minneapolis is. As I stood in the audience, staring at the (quite literal) wall of people around me, I thought about how rare these types of concerts are, with enough people to push the event from just a “concert” to a full blown “cultural event.” And that’s exactly what this show was. Not only was Taylor Swift the hottest ticket of the summer, for many, it became the most memorable show of all time.
Perhaps Swift is the only musician out there that can use her own music as filler music in between sets. On the LED screen that stretched almost as wide as the southwest end of the stadium, her own music videos, songs, and behind the scenes footage played as fans eagerly took their seats or lined the merch stands. Swift included two opening acts for her shows, both of whom wandered her massive stage like the superstars they want to be. Gracie Abrams is a rising star in the indie-pop world, whose presence felt welcome to the crowd. Her intimate style of performance was a great contrast to Taylor’s larger-than-life persona. Girl in red followed, with each opening act performing just a handful of 4 or 5 songs. In either case, it’s still the largest stage they will have performed on – for now!
Swifites who did their research before the show kept their eyes out for the easter eggs that signaled the start of the show. The cleaning cart that was rumored to carry swift onstage appeared behind the stage, prompting the fans who had seats behind the stage to cheer wildly, and signaling to everyone else in the audience that the show was about to begin. They too, cheered loudly before the countdown was even at two minutes.
Needless to say, the energy in the room could power Minneapolis for a decade. Excitement was as high as ive ever seen, and the loudest cheer ive ever heard was when Taylor entered the stage during Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince.
Taylors show started just before 8PM, and lasted to almost 11:30, over three hours of the pop icon exploring her catalog with her fans. She performed 44 total songs, including two surprise songs that sent fans wild, “Paper Rings” and “If This Was A Movie” Throughout the night, the crowd swayed in unison, singing every lyric with fervor and passion. It was rare not to see a phone up, even from the boyfriends in the crowd. It was a collective experience that transcended anything that separates people, and put them in the heart of this music. From the tearful rendition of “All Too Well” to the pop anthem “Shake It Off,” each song carried a profoundness for someone in that sea of adoring fans. While her style of songwriting isnt anything new, Taylor’s ability to put her fans like putty in her hands has forged a bond between artist and listener that is unparalleled in the music industry.
It was remarkable to witness the sense of unity that her concerts create. Taylor’s concerts have become more than just a night of entertainment; they are transformative experience that leave an indelible mark on those lucky enough to be part of the journey. Her stage presence exudes both vulnerability and strength. Theres perfect hair and high fashion in her 1989 and reputation eras, to messy curls and torn, vintage dresses in evermore and folklore eras, inviting her fans to embrace their own vulnerabilities and find solace in the power of self-expression alongside her. Through her music, Taylor has created a safe space for fans to be authentic, to feel seen and understood in this massive world that often feels chaotic and disconnected.
As the final notes of “Karma”, her latest single, reverberated through the stadium, Taylor Swift proved that concerts are not merely events; they are life-altering milestones that will forever be etched into the hearts and minds of her fans. The electrifying atmosphere, the emotional connection, and the support shared within those ugly walls of US Bank Stadium made this an unforgettable chapter in the lives of those who chose to bear witness.How does she top this?
Prior to this show, I hadn’t used the word “hysteria” in any of my reviews. But my decision to use the word now was based on a singular event from the end of the show. As I was walking out, fans lined the railing that overlooked the floor seats, leaning over and begging fans to pick up and give them the confetti that rained over the crowd during the last song. If there’s one thing that shows the length the fans will go for their favorite act, it’s asking other fans to pick up confetti for them to keep.
But it shows how much the fans value and the experience of her concerts. Yes they have the phone videos, the photos, the potential hearing loss, the glowing writstbands and, if they were lucky, the Blue Crew. But even that wast enough. They were willing to go to great lengths to obtain a physical reminder of tonight, even if that’s felt by something as small as the dirty, crumpled, confetti.