I've already seen Taylor Swift's Eras Tour live and there was one thing I wasn't prepared for

Jess Molyneux pictured in front of the stage at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica for Taylor Swift's Eras Tour on May 24
-Credit: (Image: Jess Molyneux)

Taylor Swift is finally in the UK. It's been a long time coming for dedicated fans. Swifties will remember the stress of being in the ticket queues with their access codes last year, desperately trying to secure a gig after seeing glimpses of the tour all over social media.

But she opened her UK tour in Edinburgh on Friday night (read the review here) and is now heading to London, Liverpool and Cardiff. There are still some final tickets left on resale sites if you take a look here.

In many cases, Taylor Swift fans have found themselves travelling miles or heading abroad for the concerts instead - and they include me. When tickets were first released last summer, my friends and I eagerly registered to get codes for dates abroad to tie into our annual girls' trip.

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As a group of five, we weren't hopeful, as only a maximum of four tickets could be bought. But miraculously, two of us ended up with registration codes for Lisbon and after waiting in the virtual queue for nearly two hours, we managed to secure them for Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica for the first of Taylor's two Lisbon shows on May 24. It was also Taylor's first ever show in Portugal and like many dedicated Swifties, for us it was a military operation getting ready.

Our long-planned outfits came to life with the finishing touches of Taylor bracelets (you can get a free one this weekend) and sparkly gems to stick on our faces and hair. When we arrived it was scorching hot and we were met with a sea of sequins, cowboy boots, vibrant colours and incredible era-themed outfits. Everyone went all-out and embraced all things Taylor Swift when it came to attitude and outfits. The Eras Tour is a culmination of Swift's entire musical career, with different sections of the concert representing each album and we couldn't wait to see it finally with our own eyes.

The stage at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica before Taylor arrived
The stage at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica before Taylor arrived -Credit:Jess Molyneux

We decided to arrive early to secure a good spot to see the support act, the brilliant Paramore. As you could imagine, it was incredibly busy and we actually found ourselves standing in the wrong queue for a good half an hour.

When we found where we needed to be, it was quite stressful and took us over two hours queuing to get into the stadium. Luckily the concert was slightly delayed and gave fans more time to get inside.

In the queue, we got speaking to quite a few fans and we weren't the only ones who'd taken a flight to catch the show. I was surprised how many people had travelled from America and Australia for the Eras Tour in Europe. Paramore took to the stage and did not disappoint. Before Taylor made her appearance, a clock appeared on screen and the countdown was on. The thousands in the stadium got to their feet and there were incredibly loud cheers of excitement, with phones at the ready to capture the moment Taylor took to the stage.

Kicking off the night with her Lover era, Taylor opened the show with Miss Americana and The Heartbreak Prince, followed by fan favourite Cruel Summer. The production was truly impeccable and unlike any show I have ever seen.

The huge pink petals on stage for the first era looked even more vibrant as sunset was upon us and what followed was more stunning costumes and set changes. My outfit gave a nod to the Speak Now era, which has seen the most change for the European leg of the tour to make way for new songs from her latest album, The Tortured Poets Department.

As gutted as I was to say goodbye to Long Live and Sparks Fly, my favourite part of the show was the Reputation era. Taylor's show was impeccable and my personal favourite performances were Don't Blame Me from Reputation, Betty from Folklore and Vigilante Sh*t from Midnights. I've never heard a crowd so loud or join in as much as when You Belong With Me was performed during her Fearless set. Seeing videos on social media of dedicated fans screaming along to the lyrics didn't prepare me enough for hearing it in real life.

But that's what I love about Swifties: you feel at home with a crowd of strangers, all singing along as loud as you want and wearing whatever you want. I was surprised that fans had learned pretty much all the lyrics to songs from the new TTPD set and there was so much audience participation throughout, from chants to actions throughout various songs.

Concert-goers were also given wristbands which change colour throughout the performances, so the crowd is lit up and in sync throughout. Despite being around three-hours long, it felt like the concert flew and the energy levels never dropped.

You really do get your money's worth seeing Taylor's near 20-year career play out before you. It felt like watching a bunch of mini concerts as opposed to one long gig and it was special to be part of.

As Taylor and her incredible team of dancers and musicians concluded the show with Karma, fireworks lit up the sky and I didn't want it to end. Only as I left did I feel my body ache from hours of standing and despite losing my voice I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

On an Instagram post, Taylor later wrote: "It's official, I left my [heart] in Lisbon. My first time in Portugal and you all made me feel like I was right at home. I'll seriously never forget the way you treated us, the overwhelming love and passion and hands in the air and dancing and how you screamed every lyrics!!! Muit obrigada."

It's an experience and memories we'll keep with us and if you're going to any of The Eras tour dates, it truly is once in a lifetime and you're in for an incredible night.