I’m having yet another late night blogging session as I’m on my way home from another incredible concert. I’m on a high after hearing some of the songs I’ve grown up listening to, the wristbands we received on the way into the stadium are still flashing all kinds of colours and I’m feeling really happy after what has been a bit of a difficult week.
It’s been just over a decade since I started listening to Taylor Swift’s music. She’s the artist I’ve listened to for the longest amount of time and I’ve loved growing up listening to her songs. I feel like I can associate some of the songs with different points in my life, from summer memories with my friends to the times when some of the songs helped me through some difficult points in my life.
I’ve wanted to see Taylor in concert for years but I never got around to it, I guess the idea of concerts didn’t appeal to me as much as they do now. But when she announced her tour dates shortly after releasing her latest album, Reputation, last year and when I found out that she’d be playing at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to finally see her live.
I love writing these kinds of blog posts as they’re perfect to look back on in the future, it’s as if I’m writing a diary of my experiences but I’m able to share it with other people who might also like the artist I went to see, or some people who are interested in hearing about my experience of a concert as a visually impaired person.
The tickets for the tour went on sale back in December last year, I knew how the process of purchasing disabled access tickets all worked because I had bought tickets to see Ed Sheeran a few months before. I talked about the process of buying tickets as a disabled person in the post I wrote about Ed’s concert which I published a couple of weeks ago if you’re interested in hearing more about it.
I called the stadium access line on the morning the tickets went on sale and I bought two tickets because with every disabled access ticket purchase, it is possible to receive a free personal assistant ticket so it would be a shame to let that go to waste. I decided to drag my brother along with me as he said he wouldn’t mind and he said he quite liked some of Taylor’s songs, especially from her new album, although admitting that might damage his reputation slightly (excuse the pun).
The team at the Etihad stadium were really helpful during the process of buying tickets. I think the man who I spoke to sensed that I was quite shocked with the price of the tickets but I could tell that he tried to make light of the situation by telling me that the seats I was booking were really comfy.
My pre-concert excitement was on another level, especially since I essentially decided I was going to the Reputation tour after listening to about 4 beats of ‘Getaway Car’ when I heard it for the first time. Since I have been a fan of Taylor for so long, it was quite a surreal feeling when my brother and I finally made our way into the stadium.
Our parents very kindly drove us to Manchester since there weren’t any trains coming home after about 9 o’clock. We were both really grateful to them for taking the time to drive us there so thank you mum and dad.
Since we had disabled access tickets, we were allowed to go into the stadium via the disabled entrance meaning we didn’t have to queue which was great. Going through security was quite a simple process and we managed to get through rather quickly.
We made it to our seats which were on level 2 and my brother had a good view of the stage. The seats were also really comfortable as promised which I was quite happy about considering the amount the tickets cost!
Taylor had two support acts, the first on stage was Charlie XCX. We missed a few of her performances but we could still hear them from outside the stadium. I must admit, I’m not a regular listener of Charlie’s music but I knew of some of the songs she sang. I did really enjoy her set and I’ll definitely be listening to more of her music after hearing her live. She was so energetic and really got the crowd going ready for when Camila Cabello later came on stage.
As I said, Camila Cabello was the second support act, she also gave really good performances. I didn’t know as many of her songs apart from the obvious but I still enjoyed her set.
It was about 20:45 when T-Swift herself came on stage. My brother told me that there was smoke, fireworks, flashing lights and all sorts happening on and around the stage, something I obviously couldn’t appreciate much as a visually impaired person but it was still amazing to be in that atmosphere and share that moment with all the other fans.
I had been waiting so long to see Taylor live, it was as if my heart skipped a beat when she emerged onto the stage and when I heard her say ‘Are you ready for it?’. It all felt so real from that point.
I’ve been trying to find the words to describe the concert but nothing I think of can make it justice. Even though it all felt so real, it was still hard to believe that I was listening to one of my all time favourite artists live. As I say in all of my concert related posts, I was in awe of every single performance and I loved how she included some of her older songs in the setlist aswell. I felt like my 9 year-old self again when she started singing ‘Love Story.’
She said little speeches in between some of the performances, she mentioned in one that she started releasing albums when she was 16 and that she went through a spell of not wanting to be in the spotlight for a while before releasing Reputation. She said how amazing it was that her supporters were there for her when she left and were still there when she came back following that little break, it was so lovely to see how grateful she was for the support of everyone in that stadium and all of her other fans worldwide.
During her performance of Delicate, my brother told me that Taylor started to fly over the crowd and she landed on the small stage which was in front of the audience on the other side of the stadium. She gave two of my favourite performances of the whole entire show when she was there. She gave a little speech about how strong Manchester has been as a community over the past year since the tragic events at the Ariana Grande concert and she said how much of an honour it was to play for us tonight which I thought was a really lovely and touching moment. She went on to sing an acoustic version of ‘Dancing with our hands tied’ which is one of my favourite songs from the album and I thought it was very appropriate for that moment. It was incredible to hear a stripped back version of that song, I think Taylor is at her best when it’s just her and her guitar, it fills the song with so much more emotion which I love.
She then came and performed on the stage which was in front of our stand and gave even more perfect performances before making her way back to the main stage. She closed the show with a mashup of ‘We are never ever getting back together’ and ‘This is why we can’t have nice things’, casually singing in the middle of the amazing firework display which brought the concert to a close.
The stadium was full of dedicated (and very loud) fans, an amazing atmosphere to be a part of. Even though I couldn’t see the stage or Taylor herself, I still had the most incredible night. Hearing her sing live after all those years singing along to her albums brought me a feeling which I can’t begin to describe. Not being able to see what was going on around me didn’t matter to me at that point because I was listening to Taylor’s incredible voice and I was amongst such a loud, enthusiastic and dedicated crowd which I think is what makes a concert so amazing.
This was Taylor’s first ever stadium tour in the UK so it was amazing to be a part of it, this was also the first show of her UK tour this year and I loved experiencing it with my brother. The price of the ticket and the 7 month wait was definitely worth it. The night was filled with so many indescribable emotions which I can’t help but want to relive again.
I always say that a concert is the perfect place to forget about the outside world for a few hours, a place to share a passion with thousands of other people who have the same thing in common. I definitely made the most of the experience, I don’t think I stopped singing at any point, it was such an incredible night to be a part of.
If you’re a fan of Taylor Swift or even if you like just one of her songs, I really would recommend going to see her live. She has so much passion for her music and is so grateful to everyone who shares the experience with her which is so lovely to see.
I’ve listened to the recordings I have of the concert dozens of times already and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. It has definitely been an unforgettable night.
Are you a fan of Taylor Swift’s music? If so, what’s your favourite song and have you ever been to see her live? Or, have you been to see anyone else in concert recently? I’d love to hear about your experience.