Taylor Swift is touring again, and it’s hard to overemphasize how big a deal this is for her fan base.
Swift hasn’t toured since 2018, and in the five years since she has released four new albums and re-recorded several of her older albums with new songs added.
Six of the first dozen or so shows of Swift’s Eras Tour will be in Texas – three this weekend at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and three in late April at NRG Stadium in Houston – and fans are beyond ready for the pop star to come back to the Lone Star State.
Swifties are very loyal, and part of their dedication comes from how long they have been listening. Cara Gustafson, a 31-year-old Austinite who has tickets for Houston, says she’s been listening to Swift for almost half her life and knows every song.
“I just feel like she’s just been such a part of my life,” she said. “For every phase of my life and every album I can think of where I was when it came out and where I was at that time in my life.”
For longtime fans like her, the Eras Tour is extra special: Swift is playing music from across all 10 of her albums – taking concertgoers through all the eras of her career.
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Swift, like any public figure, has plenty of naysayers – people who think her music is cheesy or basic, or feel like she’s overrated. Some conservative listeners were upset when she threw her support behind Democratic candidates in 2018, while others on the left complain that her activism feels insufficient.
The fans I talked to were well aware of all this but say their love for Swift goes much deeper than the back-and-forth over her politics or which awards she’s won. Indeed, it goes deeper than simply thinking her music is fun to listen to. They described how Swift has been the backdrop for moments big and small in their lives – moments when they felt understood or empowered – as well as really big changes and hard times.