Thoughts on the Taylor Swift Eras Tour in Singapore from the viewpoint of a middle-aged metal enthusiast: Recounting my journey enduring the inaugural performance.

Thoughts on the Taylor Swift Eras Tour in Singapore from the viewpoint of a middle-aged metal enthusiast: Recounting my journey enduring the inaugural performance.

 

WAS it YOLO (you only live once) or FOMO (fear of missing out) that made me agree immediately to review Taylor Swift’s much talked-about Eras Tour concert at the National Stadium?

 

Thoughts on the Taylor Swift Eras Tour in Singapore from the viewpoint of a middle-aged metal enthusiast: Recounting my journey enduring the inaugural performance.
You see, I’m the wrong demographic to be a “Swiftie”: male, on the wrong side of 40 years old, and (this is the most crucial part) an unapologetic heavy metal aficionado. I know fellow metalheads who would shirk away in horror at the thought of being anywhere near the glittery sequin-clad fans of the pop megastar.

But I do like Swift. I admire her exceptional songwriting talent, her effortless charm, and most of all, how she fought for what she believed in. Her battles with Spotify and especially for the ownership of her recordings from Scooter Braun are already the stuff of pop music lore, and typify her willingness to stand up against authorities in order to be herself. This rebellious streak of hers actually feels pretty “metal” to me.

The thing is, I’ve only sampled Swift’s music in small doses – when one of her catchy songs come on my radio, or when I search online for her hits to hear what the fuss is about. Taken piecemeal, Swift’s songs are enjoyable nuggets of radiant pop music, but I don’t even own any of her 10 best-selling albums. What will happen if I have to brave her thousands of screaming fans and sit through more than 40 of her songs at one go?

It’s not YOLO, nor is it FOMO. It’s more out of curiosity, and a test of whether there’s a place for Swift amid my hard rock and heavy metal music sensibilities.

I had half a mind to attend the concert in my black Metallica T-shirt and black jeans, just to troll the Swifties and their bright-coloured attire. Thankfully I chickened out, and decided instead to wear a red polo shirt – paying homage to Swift’s “Red” album, see?

local and foreign – who were out in full force on the opening night on Saturday. They were clad in their best Swift costumes as they strolled around Kallang Wave Mall, daring anyone to comment that they couldn’t pull it off like their beloved idol. Some of them also had pink wigs, with their faces and nails painted for the occasion, and the mall resembled a surreal model runway for these superfans.

But the best thing about this fandom is the “friendship band” phenomenon – with fans exchanging these handmade bracelets with coloured and lettered beads spelling out Swift’s album titles. It’s a brilliant, organic fan movement that symbolises the deep connection between Swift and her fans. Now, if only metal fans can start a band T-shirt exchange movement… but I digress.

I got two friendship bands from my kind concert companion, and suddenly I felt like I’m a legit Swift fan as I entered the stadium to be among the 50,000-odd die-hards. Yes, I was ready to scream and sing blissfully along to all her hits. Or was I?

Swift stepped onto the gigantic stage on the dot at 7pm, and the stadium was immediately enveloped in high-pitched screams from her faithful Swifties. Mobile phones were whipped out and held up high, with the fans excitedly recording their idol’s every move as they lustily sang along to “Cruel Summer”.