Our theme for the month of June is “snapshots.” Writers were asked to submit a piece with a cover photo that they took or created.

If you’ve spent time on the internet recently, you have likely seen Taylor Swift’s Eras tour content. It’s her first tour in years, following several album releases and covering her entire body of work. In short, it is iconic.

When tickets originally went on sale, the Ticketmaster saga of the ages ruined any realistic chance of many going to the show. And though I’m a dedicated Swiftie, the resulting hike in prices seemed an absurd amount of money to spend on one night. However, when fans poured into Nashville the weekend she was scheduled to play, I was hit with a wave of regret for not fighting harder to get tickets.

Starting Friday evening, I obsessively stalked the ticket sites to see if prices would drop. On Saturday, I convinced my boyfriend to trek with me a mile from our dinner spot to the pedestrian bridge downtown, just to be within earshot of the show.

As soon as we reached the bridge, we could hear the concert. I heard the opening bars of ‘Tis the Damn Season and practically broke into a run. There were hundreds of people congregating on the bridge, and the energy was amazing. Everyone sang along and clapped after each song as if we were actually at the show. The camaraderie of that moment brought genuine tears to my eyes—her music had been bringing us together all throughout Covid, and we were finally able to gather and enjoy it together—‘tis the damn season indeed.

The next night, I couldn’t stand that I was missing the show again. Nevermind the lightning storm that had moved into Nashville right at showtime or the fact that I still did not have a ticket; the second I received word the crowd sheltering from the storm was directed back to their seats and crews were prepping the stage, I knew I had to get there.

I flew across town to pick up my friend, and after both of us donned raincoats and chacos (a look), we headed to the concert. Compared to the meticulously curated outfits of most concertgoers, we looked entirely unhinged.

Miraculously, we found a free parking space close to the bridge, hopped out of the car and started running to the stadium (this is a testament to our dedication, as we do not run), sloshing through massive puddles as we went. We took her lyric “drop everything now, meet me in the pouring rain” in the most literal sense.

We arrived right as the show was starting and there was a palpable buzz in the air. Per a pro tip from a fellow ticketless observer, we rounded the stadium, crossed through the lot housing all the semi trucks full of tour equipment, and climbed a hill to our viewing destination. From our post, we could see the full big screen and hear the entire concert. Were we standing in a tree and getting hit in the face with branches? Absolutely. Were our feet tilted at forty-five degree angles trying not to slip down the muddy hill? Once again, yes. Did we notice? Hardly. Rain-soaked and out of breath, we morphed into actual monsters on the hill (if you know, you know).

And that night was nothing short of epic. Lightning in the distance seemed dramatically timed to the songs, and singing along with 70,000+ people was a cathartic experience. All around the stadium, others were trying to get even a glimpse of the show. It was a true testament to what Taylor means to all of us—her music accompanying us through so many life stages and significant moments.

Fearless was blaring through my shower radio for the entirety of middle school, Red was released when I fell in love for the first time (and experienced my first breakup), 1989 arrived freshman year of college and inspired me to cut my hair above my shoulders and wear red lipstick. Lover brought levity to my first months in Nashville as I was fighting loneliness. Folklore and Evermore will forever be the few highlights of Covid times, and Red (Taylor’s Version) found me when I was falling in love again. Listening to these albums is my equivalent of time travel.

When the show was over (at 2:30 a.m.), we shuffled down the hill on unsteady legs and numb feet looking like we’d just gone camping…in a tornado. We joined the sea of Swifties heading back across the pedestrian bridge knowing that while getting there was unhinged, we would never regret making it to the hill that night.

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