Taylor Swift is kicking off her headlining weekend at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough this Friday, and her fans are ready to be enchanted.
Swift will be performing three nights for her sold-out “The Eras Tour,” a career-spanning show covering all her albums. While tickets for the tour were notoriously hard to get, many lucky fans were able to have good karma and grab tickets and avoid exile from the Massachusetts stadium.
For many Swift fans who grew up with her, the tour feels like a culmination of their years of loving the pop star.
Marina Montalto, who lives on the South Shore, has seen Swift perform on almost all of her previous tours since she was 10 years old. She said seeing Swift again feels like a reunion with the artist she grew up with.
“Especially after COVID and not being able to see her for so long and having Lover Fest be canceled,” she said. “It does kind of feel like a reunion, a coming home, because Gillette was her first stadium show, and she sold it out, and was so special to her and to us. So it's really exciting to have her come back.”
Shannon McClaine, who will be seeing Swift for the first time on Friday, made more than 100 friendship bracelets to pass out to fellow fans at the Foxborough show. Sharing friendship bracelets has become a new tradition at the Eras tours, with fans taking inspiration from Swift’s lyrics in “You're on Your Own, Kid”: “So make the friendship bracelets, Take the moment and taste it.”
“I've seen plenty of clips online. I know what I'm in for and I know I'm in for a great time,” she said. “So I'm looking forward to the whole experience. It's not just a regular concert.”
A steady presence through fans' own eras
Sandra Rivadeneira, from Malden, remembers when she was just 5 years old and “You Belong With Me” came on the radio as her aunt was driving. Now Rivadeneira will drive that same car — which she inherited — to Gillette Stadium on Sunday.
“It's just a really full-circle moment for me, because she's revisiting all these eras that I grew up with at this new age of mine where I'm now growing into independence,” she said.
Jen Nelson, from Cape Cod, has been listening to Swift's music for many years. One song, "22," came out when she was pregnant.
“I don't know if it was hormones or the song, but I just started crying hysterically because this song is all about being carefree and happy and staying up having breakfast at midnight," she remembered. “And I was like, ‘I'm not going to do that again. I'm a mom now. Oh, my gosh.’ It was like everything hit me at once. So to see that song performed live with my daughter next to me is going to be amazing.”
Nelson was able to snag tickets for Swift’s Friday show just days before the concert. She surprised her 9-year-old daughter with the tickets by making a set of friendship bracelets, each adorned with beads spelling the names of one of Swift’s albums and the final spelling out “Eras Tour.”
“To actually be there and see her perform and hear her sing is going to be probably one of the best moments of my daughter's life. And so it'll also be one of the best of mine, too,” she said.
Melissa Ueckert has always felt an invisible string between her and Swift. The pop singer’s music has marked some of the most important moments of Ueckert’s life. The Gillette show will mark yet another milestone: her 30th birthday.
“I often joke that I feel like she has a strange ESP for my life with her songwriting, where she always knows exactly what I need to hear,” she said.
Swift’s song “Marjorie,” which is about the singer's grandmother, has special meaning to Ueckert — her grandmother was named Marjorie, as well.
“It's always been like a really, really special song to me,” she said. “And I never expected that she would include it in the tour setlist. So the fact that she did just completely blew my mind. And [I'm] super excited, but also a little scared to hear it in [real] life.”
Kaelagh Haley has been to every one of Swift’s tours that has stopped at Foxborough. She first took one niece along with her to that "Fearless" tour performance in 2010, hoping she would like the music as much as she did. The next year on the "Speak Now" tour, both nieces came along.
They’ve now grown up with Swift, attending her concerts together. And after fighting the great war to get tickets, Haley is bringing her nieces again.
“Fifteen years later, it's just so sentimental,” she said. “And I feel Taylor Swift would appreciate that, because she's very family-first and, like, all about savoring the moment.”
Crystal Chau, from Newton, has been a fan since she was about 8 years old. She says seeing Swift perform in concert has been one of her wildest dreams.
“I remember I had a debate with my brother when I was in elementary school. He was saying ‘No, Michael Jackson is more famous.’ And I was like, ‘No, I think Taylor Swift is going to be more famous one day,’” she remembers. “And it was just really funny because I never thought I would have the opportunity to go see her up close.”