When Taylor Swift announced the Eras Tour last fall, I was determined to attend opening night in Glendale, Arizona, despite living on the East Coast. I was enticed by the thrill of the mysterious setlist, the jaw-dropping outfits, and the will-bring-tears-to-your-eyes speeches. Luckily, my friend scored tickets to night one in Glendale Swift City after four hours deep in the queue while I was still waiting with 2000+ people ahead of me on three different devices. Not a small feat.
I’d been obsessing over my outfit for weeks, pulling inspiration from TikTok—and eventually landed on an identical Retrofête wrap dress that Taylor wore in a 2019 interview with Robin Roberts to kick off the Lover era. For days, I’d poured over speculated setlists while pretending to work because Taylor consumes entirely too much of my brain space. Will she open with “Lavender Haze” or “Ready For It?” were more pressing questions than reviewing contracts. I mean, do you blame me?
I hopped on a flight feeling “Gorgeous,” if you will, and fully prepared to have the best weekend of my life. I was meeting my BFF from college in “Era-Zona” and was beyond excited to accompany her to her first-ever Taylor Swift concert. With tickets to night one and a scheme to cop tickets to night two as well (without getting, you know, scammed), nothing could bring us down—or so we thought.
The afternoon before the concert consisted of brunch and bloodys, making TikToks while getting ready, and questionable nachos from a bar near the stadium. By concert time, I was 2 Red Bull vodkas deep and ready to sing my heart out, fully expecting her to play “Cruel Summer” (because if it wasn’t on the setlist, she would’ve done us a disservice). Even Kelsea Ballerini asked her fans during her concert if the song was on the setlist.
I entered the stadium with stars in my eyes and what I thought were butterflies in my tummy. Iit felt like I was the one about to perform on stage, although nobody would want to hear my high note in “Don’t Blame Me.” After settling in my floor seat (!) and watching Gayle slay Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know,” I was jittering with excitement for Paramore. Even my 40-year-old male coworkers were jealous I was seeing them live. But it wasn’t long until I felt a wave of nausea, chalking it up to the Red Bull vodkas and the, uh, questionable nachos I had just consumed.
And that’s exactly when things took a turn.
While I was waiting in line for the bathroom—desperately hoping a stall would open up, STAT—I saw a girl in a seafoam green beanie, and she looked suspiciously like the one and only Cara Delevigne. I tapped her on the shoulder and said “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Cara Delevigne?”
She snorted and turned around and I immediately realized it was in fact her. I would have asked for a picture because holy SHIT—she’s literally on the cover of April Vogue sitting on my bedside table as I speak—but I mistook her for a random teenager who also just happens to love Taylor Swift. But I had more important things to attend to, such as the questionable nachos making their way up my throat. Cara, if you read this, you’re an icon.
I rushed past Cara (!!), and proceeded to get sick in the bathroom. I made it back to my seat in time for Paramore’s “Misery Business”, and not gonna lie, at this point, I was feeling pretty miserable. I refused to let it get the best of me, though, because I dreamed of hearing this song live for so long. And you know… also because of my idol, who I flew over 2,000 miles to see, my Americana queen who loves English men as much as I do, the first woman I revolve my life (and PTO days around), was about to take the stage for the first time in five years. My immune system would just have to tough it out.
As the concert kicked off, I screamed my way through “Cruel Summer” and bopped along to “The Man” (because what female doesn’t relate to that song?!) but quickly lost my stamina and had to sit down for a few songs. This is when I realized something was up and I wasn’t drunk but in fact, deeply unwell.
Context: I am a “concert junkie” as no destination is too far to see my favs. I’ve met MGK. I’ve been to NYC twice for Harry Styles and have even been “baptized” by him aka he threw water on me during “Kiwi”. I’ve traveled to Nashville for Taylor and have never missed one of her tours since her debut. Scott Swift—Taylor’s Dad—even once upgraded me from the back row in the auditorium to the front row in the pit during the Red tour. I am hardcore. Never in my life have I sat down at a concert because I believe it is blasphemous unless you are physically unable, or if James Taylor is performing.
I made it through the Lover era and half of Fearless before the nausea became unbearable and I quickly made a break for the bathroom. Alas, I didn’t make it far before grabbing a medic and telling him I’m going to pass out while simultaneously yakking into a soda cup. I failed to alert my friend to my relocation because I didn’t want her to miss her first Taylor Swift show as “You Belong With Me” was playing and everyone deserves to scream the bridge with Taylor at least once in their life, right?
The medic dragged me backstage to the dungeon of drunks where cops were attempting to obtain identification for a seventeen-year-old girl who blew a .21 BAC and had no phone or wallet on her. They first assumed I’m drunk, which I certainly would rather be, but after I detailed the questionable nachos from Fat Tuesdays before the concert, they called me an idiot for eating such shit food and assumed that was the cause for my sickness and that if I’d been better off with Taco Bell. My new bestie, Medic-Ron, gave me some anti-nausea medication, gum, and fries, and sent me back to the concert to enjoy my evening.
Or so we both thought.
Optimistically, I assumed I could dance, sing, and “play it cool with the best of them.” I did, albeit from my seat without dancing or singing because I lacked the energy, through Evermore, Reputation, Speak Now, and half of Folklore before my friend forced me back to the medics because I was visibly unwell and possibly concussed due to the girls behind me who elbowed my head at least five times while I was seated. Please. my “guys, gals, and nonbinary pals”—have the time of your life but refrain from physically abusing me or I will yak on you. I beg.
As I waltzed backstage once again into the medical room, bestie Medic-Ron looked at me like, “WTF, you again?” But he had three other girls with some obvious “Champagne Problems” to attend to more urgently, so I was placed in a wheelchair (the girls who had one too many vodka sodas were taking up the beds) and given a blanket. They wouldn’t let my friend come back with me so I was… “On My Own, Kid” (get it?) at this point, and truthfully, I didn’t want her to miss the show. By then, I had even volunteered for an IV, despite the fact that I’m deathly afraid of needles and they routinely cause me to pass out.
Immediately after bestie Medic-Ron shoved the IV in my arm, I got sick again. Let me paint a picture for you here: I was sitting there amongst an already-existent plethora of puke and sequins from my fellow friends in the drunk tank medical room, as well as three b**ches who wouldn’t shut up about the limo picking them up. At this point, my friend joined me, and along with nausea, I was flooded with waves of guilt and regret that she was missing the show to “sit in the trenches” with me.
As my IV dripped, I could still hear Taylor’s melodic voice delivering flawless performances of 1989 and Midnights to finish out the show. As soon as I heard “Draw the cat eyes sharp enough to kill a man,” I forced my friend out of the room and back out to experience exactly what we came for—Taylor Swift slaughtering men through music.
Unfortunately, I was “on my own, kid” once again to defend Taylor against Medic-Brian who decided to take a shot at her “like it’s Patrón” men-slaughtering music which I immediately berated him for. I mean, really, get a new punch line.
Despite Medic-Brian’s idiocy, bestie Medic-Ron (who appreciates Taylor) kept me company and I could tell he adored me as I was likely the most coherent patient he would ever tend to in State Farm Stadium. I told Medic-Ron all about each of Taylor’s tours, the new Midnights album, and the significance of each era. The show ended ironically with “Karma”, as I wondered what the hell I did to deserve getting sick during what I anticipated to be the best night of my life. “Karma is a cat, Karma is a god,” and “Karma” is getting the flu literally during the opening night of the long-awaited Eras Tour.
Sadly, there is no redemption to my story. I didn’t meet Taylor Swift. I didn’t magically recover and attend night two of the Eras Tour. I suffered through a red-eye flight home after drowning myself in Pedialyte for 48 hours. And I now have the Reputation of the girl who survived night one of the Eras Tour with the flu. So I guess there’s that, right?
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.