On the 7th of February 2014 one of my biggest dreams came true. I personally met, hugged and talked to my idol Taylor Swift. In 2013 I went to 13 cities to play her songs in the streets hoping that this project could get me closer to my goal. In the end something completely different helped me reach my goal and I am writing about it today.
I arrived in Berlin two days before Taylor Swift’s concert because I wanted to find her hotel or find her in the streets of Berlin. We (me and Eva) got up at 8 am and went straight to the airport expecting to see Taylor getting off a plane from London. Once we got there we noticed dozens of paparazzi in front of the gate, George Clooney was supposed to be on board too. None of us were lucky that day.
Reading TS dancers’ tweets we concluded that the artists should get to Berlin late afternoon and we thought that they would want to see the Brandenburg gate in the evening. We were walking around the gate from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm trying to find familiar faces in the crowd. Oh how wrong we were… Guess who benefited most from our super long walk? Starbucks. Right before going back home we decided to go to 2 the biggest and the best hotels in Berlin – unfortunately, nothing happened.
We got to our couchsurfer’s place around 10:30 pm, we were so tired after that long day and not happy with our results. Still we had something to do before going to sleep – we needed to put on our concert outfits and send a picture to @taylornation13 because they asked for it on twitter. We thought this could help us get into Club Red. After a couple of minutes I got an email from Taylor Swift’s management company and they wanted me to tell them how many people I was going to the show with and also my seat locations. Still not sure why they asked me those questions, there were girls who got that message too but never made it to Club Red.
The day of the concert finally arrived. The plan was to leave our stuff at the hostel, fix our outfits, glue the glow sticks to our posters and hit the o2 Arena at least three hours before opening the main doors. You know what happens when you start planning? Around 11:00 am Taylor said on twitter that she was about to fly to Berlin. Without a hesitation we grabbed our suitcases and gifts and went to the airport. We got really excited when we saw even more paparazzi than the day before! Every couple of minutes a celebrity or an actor would show up (they were the guests of the Berlinale festival) but Taylor didn’t go through the glass door. She either arrived with her jet plane or got off on the other side of the airport.
We had to hurry up if we wanted to get to the o2 Arena before the support band performance. You need to stand out from the very beginning. We got a bit nervous and had to go back to our room about four times because of forgetting some parts of our outifts but we got there on time and even got to play some ukulele and sing with other fans waiting in line.
At that time our mission was to find Taylor’s mom because she was responsible for picking people to Club Red. We would go to every floor and block trying to spot a blond lady in black. Every couple of minutes the fans would stop us to take a picture with them (they loved our costumes and that gave us an encouragement). About 15 people came up to me and said they had seen my project from 13 cities and wished me luck with meeting Taylor – it made me so happy :))
Once we got back to our sector the dancers came out to say hi to the fans. Most of them recognized me right away, they said they had watched my project but couldn’t show it to Taylor because their contracts prohibit that.
We spoke with Mark Villaver the longest and he said that he loves performing to IKYWT the best. He also said he feels sorry for Taylor being sorrunded by people all the time and not having her privacy and then added she is a stronger person than you might think and she handles it very well.
It made me sad, it must be really hard for her actually. No wonder why she spends her days off watching TV with her cat. I need to point out that she’s never complained about it and she always says she’s content with her life, happy about the fact she is able to write and record her own songs and perform for millions.
We saw some confusion in the sector B, a lot of people gathered at one place so we knew that Taylor’s mom finally showed up. We grabbed our presents and letters and run up to her but it was almost impossible to get noticed because of the crowd. When the security said our time with Andrea was over and she needed to go backstage mama Swift saw a Grammy award that Eva made for Taylor. She absolutely loved it and asked for her seats. I got to tell her about my project too and she asked for my seats as well. After that Andrea picked some people from upper tiers and gave them the PIT or first row tickets.
I HONESTLY BARELY REMEMBER THE CONCERT. I experienced something strange, I was in some kind of trance. I was holding my poster for 3 hours and never put it down. Can you imagine my emotions?! I was jumping up and down, screaming, singing, crying… and can barely remember a thing. Thank God there is youtube.
I love to remember details, moves, facial expressions. There are only a few flashbacks in my head which is sad. But there is one thing I remember very well – when TS guitarist Paul Sidoti saw a bracelet with his name on it that was on my hand, smiled at me and gave me the guitar pick.
There were only a few songs left which meant there were less chances for getting Club Red. I was jumping higher, singing louder and trying to spot mama Swift in the crowd. During the song 22 I run up to Taylor and gave her a five as she was carried by two dancers to the B-stage.
When dancers dressed up like characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland showed up on stage I knew that the show was coming to an end. I never gave up though. I had the feeling they would pick us at the very last song. A minute before the show was over I saw Andrea walking by and watching the fans (including me and Eva). It was the time we had to give it our all. I performed the most fun and energetic dance choreography in my life. I was in the ecstasy. A few seconds later one of the staff members came up to us and asked:
S: Are you guys together?
S: Would you like to get an invitation to Club Red?
Then she handed us a slip of where we are suppose to meet after the show and said “Don’t lose it”.
We started jumping up and down, screaming and crying, we hugged each other and then hugged the lady that shared with us the good news and we thanked her. And then I saw a smiling face in the back – it was Mrs. Swift looking at our reaction. The last seconds of the show were ours.
Out of 15 000 people only 20 got into Club Red. I WAS THE LUCKY ONE, OH MY! Most of them were wearing fan-made shirts, lights and had colorful posters. We were given the Club Red rules by the TS staff – “you can take as many pictures as you want but once Taylor enters a room you need to put down your phones and cameras. You only get one group photo with one camera and one autograph each.” We were not allowed to give Taylor any presents. Then she led us to Club Red…
Berlin’s Club Red didn’t last as long as it normally does, as we later found out they had to ship all the equipment back to London the same night. Well I wasn’t going to complain. I WAS IN CLUB RED. When Taylor arrived we all screamed, we all were so excited to see her! When Taylor walked over all I could think of was how pretty she was. I loved the sound of her voice, her hair, her facial expressions. Everything about her was perfect. I was like “How could anyone possibly break up with this gorgeous girl?”. Then it was our turn! She said “hey” and gave us a hug. I told her about my 13 cities project, she said she hadn’t seen it yet so I showed it to her on my phone. She loved it, said what I did was amazing and promised to watch it again and ask her dancers for a link to my video. Then we told her about how we waited for her at the airport and didn’t get to meet her and she responded “I am happy I have a chance to meet you now”! Then I asked her why she never played Come back be here and The moment I knew live and she said “I thought that people didn’t like them that much” (come on Tay 🙂 !). I was like “maybe you could play these songs on your Asian tour” (which has not been confirmed yet) and she answered “Well, maybe I could play them on my last two European concerts in London?”. I would love it if she did. Then Eva told her her story. It lasted a few minutes and did go by fast. We got the picture, she signed my Red CD and gave as another hug. At the end I said “Thank you for being such an amazing person”. I wanted to ask her 100 000 questions but I felt the time pressure so I let her go.
In the meantime other Swifites came up with this idea to sing the chorus of the song “Long live” that Taylor wrote for her fans. It was a sweet surprise, she gave us a huge smile and then disappeared behind the red curtain. I will NEVER forget this. She made my dream come true.
May your dreams come true as well!
Photos: @DemStory & @VictoriaRodewald
My twitter: @annabandura