From Nosebleed to Pit Seats

An up-close look at the Taylor Swift concert

Allison Heithoff, Sports Editor, Copy Editor

308 days.

That was the starting number for the mental countdown I began from when I bought tickets for the Taylor Swift 1989 World Tour on December 5, 2014, to the actual show here in Omaha on October 10, 2015. So, I guess you could say I was more than a little excited when that day finally came around, but nothing could’ve prepared me for what happened that night.

Being the Taylor Swift fan that I am, I had kept up to date with news of her tour as it coursed throughout the United States. I had heard about numerous fans catching the attention of Taylor Swift’s mom, who attends the shows and circulates about the arena looking for enthusiastic and energetic fans of her daughter. She is known to reward those fans with things ranging from free meet and greet passes following the show, to upgraded seats closer to the stage.

FullSizeRender (6)Because of this, the wild idea popped into my head that I should try to get noticed. I decided the night before the concert to run to Michaels and pick up some foam poster boards and string lights to make posters for the show. I sourced my inspiration from her song “Welcome to New York” followed with the lyric, “it’s been waiting for you.” To make it unique and personalized, I switched it up a bit to say “welcome to Omaha” on one poster that pictured a cityscape and the words “we’ve been waiting for you” on another poster inside a signature white Polaroid frame, just like her album cover. I stepped back and admired my efforts, but that didn’t last for long.

FullSizeRender (5)The next day, Jane Mattern and I arrived to the CenturyLink Center ten minutes before the doors opened, and already there was a massive sea of people lined up to get in. As we filed past to get our spot at the end of the line, I took notice of the never-ending stream of bigger, better, and brighter posters along with cleverly designed t-shirts and costumes. Looking back down at my posters, I felt dejected and chided myself for wasting time on now a surely fruitless effort. I quickly shook that feeling aside, however, because I was still beyond excited to see the one and only Taylor Swift live for the second time in my life.

As the two of us made it to our over-$100 nosebleed seats, Jane and I were pleasantly surprised to see white light-up wristbands taped to the back of each seat in the arena, which later went on to light up in unison to the beat of the music. We sat holding our posters anxiously waiting while the Australian singer Vance Joy, known for his song “Riptide,” took the stage and charmed the crowd with his unruly hair and talented guitar playing.

At last, our 308 day wait came to an end. As the lights went dark, the crowd rustled with anticipation, when all of a sudden a black and white cityscape lit up the background of the stage and Taylor streamed onstage followed by her posse of male backup dancers kicking off the night with “Welcome to New York.” Jane and I stood there dancing and screaming the lyrics even though, to my utter surprise, everyone surrounding us was either sitting or standing still.

At the end of the second song, out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman dressed in all-black followed by a tall man dressed also in black streaming up the aisle. I looked over and my heart stopped. My eyes widened. It was Andrea Swift. The one and only mother of the legendary Taylor Swift was looking our way and walking directly toward us. As she motioned for us to leave our seats and come over to her, I couldn’t restrain myself from giving her a hug before she told us to follow her out of the arena. She took us, along with about seven other people she had grabbed with her into an elevator. She explained that she was taking us to the “B-stage,” which she informed us were the best seats in the arena because it was the spot where Taylor was during the majority of the concert. And boy was she right.

As the elevator dinged and we stepped out, we followed her on a path lined with security guards to a gated off area right smack dab in front of the stage at the end of the catwalk. Taylor was less than ten feet in front of us. We were so close I could even see her facial features. Before Jane and I got too caught up in the awe and disbelief of what was happening, we took a picture with Andrea and thanked her profusely before she took off to make the nights of a few more fans until the approximately twenty-person “B-stage” reached its full capacity. Ironically enough, two more of those lucky people to turn up were juniors Hayley Descoteaux and Emma Pfeifer. “The concert was amazing already, but when her mom told us that we were going to get front row tickets, I felt like the luckiest person in the world,” said Descoteaux. I am not the only one still in awe that the four of us were selected out of the 14,000 person sold out crowd. Jane Mattern comments, “I was so shocked that I for sure thought I was dreaming. It was definitely one of the best nights of my life.”

IMG_0537_picmonkeyed (1)

IMG_1459_picmonkeyed (2)

As the show went on, Taylor went through several costume changes, all of which displayed an array of sequins. She danced among her backup dancers and sang to the crowd, which sang just as loudly in return. She strutted down the catwalk and rose into the air with the stage as it lifted and spun around the arena. She brought back songs from old albums and redid them with a fresh and modern spin. The crowd lit up with pulses of color and cheered louder yet at not one, but two occasions throughout the night when confetti spilled out from the ceiling above.

Not many nights in my life could top the perfection of that night. I had never been closer to the stage at a concert in my life, and knowing that I had made it happen not by spending my life-savings on a front row ticket, but by making posters and just enjoying the concert that I had waited so long for, has still not fully sunk in. Even though the night came to a close far too quickly, it left me with a smile that to this day I have a hard time wiping from my face. Emma Pfeifer concludes, “It was the most magical weekend of my life. Taylor has been my role model for years and getting to meet her mom and also her dancers later on that night was a dream come true.” I’m not sure how or why we came to be chosen out of everyone there that night, but there is no doubt in my mind that the memory of it will be forever ingrained in our minds.