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Taylor Swift at 70 (Me, Not Her): What I Learned at this Late Stage from The Eras Tour

By Rosanne Ullman May 27, 2023 Lifestyle

The email subject line included a heart emoji – “♥Calling Taylor Swift Fans” – and offered presale access to The Eras Tour, scheduled in nearby Tampa for shortly before my 70th birthday. “Maybe this could be an early present to myself,” I thought. And was it ever.

I learned a lot from beginning to end, and to mark my seven decades I noted seven lessons I picked up from participating.

Don’t Give Up Just Because Technology Is Typically a Fresh Hell of Frustration

As a Capital One customer, I was sent a link to the presale. I got kicked off the waiting screen twice, but on my third try, I got in! I paid face value for high-demand tickets and enjoyed five months of bragging rights for something that was due mostly to luck.

Facebook Remains Relevant After All

I joined the “Taylor Swift Eras Tour Tampa Shows” Facebook group, which gave me an insider’s view of Swiftie culture, listed neighborhood driveway alternatives to stadium parking, and clued me into where to find itty-bitty purses that complied with the stadium’s bag-size restrictions.

A question I posted about whether other older people were attending spawned 60 “you go, girl” comments and also caught the attention of a 75-year-old, non-ticket-holding superfan who eagerly snapped up my spare ticket since I was using only three of the four I’d purchased.

Dress Up Is Still Fun

I casually threw on a red top with jeans to honor the “Red” album, but most attendees thoughtfully put together outfits representing a favorite among the 10 Taylor Swift eras, a.k.a. albums.

The floor-length prairie dresses draping “Folklore” and “Evermore” fans contrasted with the middle eras’ glam of shorts and miniskirts beneath bustiers and midriff tops. The scene was Halloween on fringed, sequined, booted steroids – all colors and fabrics welcome, shine appreciated, tulle a plus.

The Best Concerts Are Singalongs

Live music is a group activity that fosters camaraderie as we experience it together. Two of my adult daughters joined me, making this an even more special pre-birthday occasion, but in a way the whole crowd felt like family. We sang in unison, and when the words failed me, I could take cues from Swifties facing each other to mirror animated pronunciation.

The Formula for Success – Talent+Drive – Hasn’t Changed

Taylor Swift arrived in Nashville as a 14-year-old singer-songwriter with a pile of songs already crafted. While it took a large team to bring a grand show like The Eras Tour to the concert stage, this was really the tour de force of one person.

Taylor provided all the vocals for the 44 self-penned songs, didn’t stop moving for three and a quarter hours, played piano, strummed guitar and worked the ever-changing choreography. In Tampa, she did this for three consecutive nights.

What Has Changed Is the Production

Architectural Digest devoted an entire article to The Eras Tour’s “intricate world-building” – the imaginative, mesmerizing staging that transformed seamlessly with each segment of the setlist. And we didn’t have to show appreciation by holding up a lighter as in the old days or flashing a cell phone as in the newer old days, because we were each handed a programmed bracelet that lit up periodically in multiple colors to create a bleachers sideshow.

Heed One of Taylor’s Biggest Hits: “You Need to Calm Down”

Anticipating the concert, I had a fair amount of anxiety, rooted partly in my TV news-fed doubts about whether a crowd of roughly 70,000 could be peaceful. And it felt like such an ordeal, from the chance-of-rain forecast to likely long concession lines to the late-night drive back to my home in Sarasota.

It would have been so much easier to just not go. But attendees couldn’t have been nicer or the weather better or the process more orderly or the stadium staff more polite. At 11pm, the women’s restrooms were stocked with thick toilet paper rolls. I was not expecting that.

My bottom line was that this experience was so worth the effort. I think the pandemic turned many of us into frightened homebodies, and maybe it’s time to shed our thin Covid skin. If you’re able to score tickets for The Eras Tour, perhaps coming to a city near you on one of the remaining dates, I suggest you pick yourself up, dig out your sparkly bodysuit and, as Taylor sings, “make the whole place shimmer.”

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you been to a concert recently? Whose concert was it? Did you feel anxiety before you went? What did you feel afterwards? Do you think it was worth it? What did you bring back home as lessons learned?

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Lee Anna

Glad you persevered! I went with my daughter and granddaughter sang and danced our hearts out, very cathartic post covid.

Rosanne Ullman

What a great triple-generation activity! This makes me smile!


I’m so glad you had a memorable experience and may I offer you a belated happy birthday! 🎂

While I can appreciate the songwriting of Taylor, Beyoncé, and Coldplay I’m not a rabid fan – nowhere enough to jump through hoops for their tickets and attend their liveconcerts. The Dave Matthews Band? Yes, I’ve gone many times over the years (including from age 60+), because their expert musicianship draws me in, and that sense of being in a sea of people who know every lyric and every note is mesmerizing (I’m an excellent DMB *air* guitarist, drummer and violinist). I’m also very drawn to smaller, more intimate concerts, things like the ‘sound bath’ series at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral * the musical series in the wine caves in Napa Valley * and the candlelight series in Seattle (where one evening is devoted to Taylor). Then again I vividly recall every Tina Turner and David Bowie concert I went to in my younger days (spectacular performers). Music, live music, shouldn’t be missed!

Rosanne Ullman

Really, I’m the same, Rucy – I tend not to see the huge stars in concert. Your DMB is my Counting Crows – I’ve seen them dozens of times over the past 30 years – and I go to the smaller venues, too, to see all sorts of music artists. If Capital One hadn’t sent me the presale offer to TS, I might not have made the effort. But Taylor’s “Folklore” album got me through the first pandemic summer. I’d listen while riding my bike, since there wasn’t much else going on! And I like a few of her earlier songs plus the newest, the “Midnights” album. So I figured even though I wasn’t part of the cult I was a pretty good fan, and my daughters like her. Keep going to live music – we’re not too old ;).


It’s nice you enjoyed your birthday with your family. I would never want to be part of a massive crowd where the performer looks like a tiny ant from the view of the spectator. I don’t relate to the music of today’s youth. I go to concerts frequently but in much smaller settings and I enjoy jazz and blues.

Rosanne Ullman

Different strokes / different folks. Jazz and blues are great!


Happy Birthday! So glad you went and enjoyed the concert with your girls. What a fab memory for each of you!!

Rosanne Ullman

Joyce, thank you, and you know how it is as you get older – you want to keep making those memories so there are always good times to reminisce about. We will remember this one!


YES!!!! I loved reading this. Gobbled up every word and couldn’t be more in sync with your thinking. I went to Tampa to spend an enchanted evening at the ERAs tour with my daughters & 14 yr old granddaughter. Truly grateful we spent the money we did to be there. It was a memory maker for sure. Well worth the ticket buying stress. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. You’re right on when you mention the camaraderie within the stadium. So much fun. Beginning in November with “we have tickets!!!” to the actual concert & now the lingering afterglow it’s still bringing many a smile to my heart.

Rosanne Ullman

Aw, Diane, what a nice comment! And wow – you did the 3-generation thing with the youngest at the perfect age and your age – also perfect! So you were at “Ray Jay”! I was at the first concert, on Thursday. It was such a beautiful night.

The Author

Rosanne Ullman has a long freelance writing career. She is the author of the children's picture book The Case of the Disappearing Kisses, an admin for the Facebook group "Grammar Matters," and the creator and instructor of the Write My Memoirs Grammar and Writing Course.

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