‘…Ready For It?’ NU Swifties prepare for the Eras Tour in Chicago


Illustration by Joanne Haner

Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour comes to Chicago June 2-4. Some NU students plan on attending her concert at Soldier Field.

Divya Bhardwaj, Senior Staffer

Taylor Swift fans’ “Wildest Dreams” are coming true as the Eras Tour makes its way across the country, and its upcoming stop in Chicago has Northwestern students preparing to be “Enchanted.” 

The singer-songwriter’s sixth tour spans 52 dates in 20 U.S. cities. She will perform at Soldier Field June 2-4, with girl in red and OWENN opening Friday and Saturday and MUNA and Gracie Abrams opening Sunday. 

Securing tickets was a “Sad Beautiful Tragic” experience for many Swifties. Ticketmaster, which has exclusive contracts with many of the stadiums in which Swift will perform, proved ill-equipped to deal with the high demand. Many fans waited for hours in a queue to select tickets and check out, and some had to restart the process — more than once, for a few — after the website crashed. The original price range for tickets was $49 to $499 — but Ticketmaster’s fees and dynamic pricing increased the costs. 

SESP sophomore Olivia Orren, who said she’s known as “the Taylor Swift friend,” applied for the Verified Fan presale and encouraged the rest of her family to do so as well. Orren’s dad was the only one selected for it, so Orren logged into his account the morning of the presale hoping to purchase tickets for one of the Chicago dates. 

Despite her “Mastermind” planning, she couldn’t secure them. 

“I waited all day, carried my laptop open in the rain and everything to get tickets,” Orren said. 

Later, a friend offered Orren a ticket, which her friend’s dad purchased through a presale for Chicago Bears season ticket holders. Ticketmaster canceled the regular sale after fans reported their struggles to get tickets during the presale. 

Communication sophomore Maya Jategaonkar said her location at NU may have helped secure her spot at the May 27 show in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Since the presale started at local time for the shows, she logged on to Ticketmaster an hour before people were purchasing tickets for Chicago dates. 

“Just by a stroke of luck, I was about No. 500 in the queue,” Jategaonkar said. “I’m not sure if it was luck that made the website function, or if it was that the servers weren’t as busy out here as they were in the New York metro area, but it ended up working out.” 

Jategaonkar will attend the concert with her two sisters and three of their friends. As the oldest sister, she said, she passed on her love for Swift’s music to her younger siblings. 

For nostalgic reasons, Jategaonkar said her favorite Swift albums are “Fearless” and “Speak Now.” 

“I remember getting the ‘Speak Now’ CD when it came out as a present, and it was playing constantly on our family CD player in our playroom growing up,” Jategaonkar said. “The original music is some of my favorite just because it reminds me of my childhood.”

As its name suggests, the Eras Tour encompasses songs from Swift’s entire 17-year career. Many fans have donned themed outfits inspired by one of her 10 albums. 

Weinberg sophomore Elah Unger-Levinson is attending the June 4 show at Soldier Field and said she drew inspiration from “Reputation” for her ensemble. Jategaonkar said her clothes and accessories will pay tribute to “Red,” and Orren said she plans to channel “Lover.”  

“It’s like ‘The Man,’ but like ‘The Man’ meets Elle Woods, so it’s full ‘Lover’-era energy,” Orren said. 

At each show, Swift performs two “surprise” tracks that are not part of her regular setlist. Except for those on her most recent album, “Midnights,” or ones where she makes a mistake (like singing the bridge wrong during “Death By a Thousand Cuts” in Arlington, Texas), Swift has said she will not repeat surprise songs. 

Orren said she joins a livestream, often on TikTok, every night Swift performs to see which tracks she chose. 

“I shed a tear every night because every night I lose an amazing song — because every song is amazing,” Orren said. 

This weekend, Jategaonkar said, she’d love to hear “The Story Of Us” or “The Way I Loved You,” and Unger-Levinson said she hopes to hear “Never Grow Up.” 

Orren said she’d prefer “Holy Ground” and “You’re On Your Own, Kid” be played at the show she will attend. 

“It would be a happy, amazing sob, and cry on my deathbed in the happiest way, if she played (those songs),” Orren said. 

Long story short, many NU Swifties are ready for a cathartic experience at the Eras Tour. 

“I feel like I just grew up on Taylor Swift, and she’s such an empowering person in the music world,” Unger-Levinson said. “I just am so excited to see all her songs live.”

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