Taylor nation

Photos By Matt Weir / The Collegian

She proved it in front of deafening screams, undeniable excitement. The Save Mart Center was transformed Saturday night when more than 16,000 fans for could, for one evening, delight in their admiration of the music superstar that is Taylor Swift.

Or, as Swift humbly put it, she was just hanging out in a sold-out arena with some of her closest friends.

The fan craze caused the show to be sold out in a matter of minutes. That enthusiasm transcended to the city of Fresno when Swift revealed that Mayor Ashley Swearengin declared April 10 “Taylor Swift Day.” The giddy Swift proclaimed it would be the one day where everyone had to wear something glittery and believe in love stories.

Streaming lines of fans were visible hours before the doors of the concert was set to begin at 7 p.m. Devoted Swift fans proudly displayed handmade T-shirts and posters adorned that read “I love T-Swizzle” and “Today is a fairytale because we’re here.” Those without shirts quickly purchased one from vendors selling Swift memorabilia and put them on as they proudly strutted another piece of what would be a night many had anticipated for months.

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As show time approached, concertgoers of all ages flocked to the Save Mart Center. The crowd ranged from teenage girls to a sizeable group of men.

The common reply to the puzzling question behind the Swift mania was wrapped up in two simple responses: her songs resonated feelings and experiences most can relate to and she was a role model that never disappointed.

As the music rumbled behind the curtain backdrop the audience became chaotic. Fans rose to their feet as if standing would somehow get them closer to the stage. A group of lucky concert attendees surrounded the stage in the “pit” area where they were within arm’s length of the stage.

The curtain lifted to reveal a band of guitarists, a drummer, a bass player and a violinist scattered around the stage. Dancers in yellow cheerleading outfits emerged from either sides of the stage as Swift rose to the top of the stage set singing her No. 1 hit, “You Belong With Me.”

Her band was decked out in matching yellow marching band attire and Swift wore a white band leader uniform and hat. Shortly after making her way down the stage she tore off the outfit to reveal a sparkling gray sequined dress accessorized with flat black boots, red lipstick, the number 13 painted on her hand and her trademark blonde, ringlet curls.

Swift jumped around stage with the elation of a school girl performing for the first time in front of family and friends. Her vigor and, most importantly, her smile never gave way to exhaustion or mishaps, like when her lavish princess gown got stuck on one of the stairs preventing her from moving about. Swift continued singing and gave a playful grin as she forcefully yanked the dress free and made her way down the steps.

The most astonishing part of the night was not the gorgeous costumes, spectacle of dancers or extravagant set designs; It was something that left concert goers in complete awe. It’s something they will continue to talk about for days, weeks and years after the last set is finished and packed away. It was Swift’s display of gratitude to the fans who came out to see and support her.

Half way through the concert Swift surprised fans and appeared in the audience with her guitar and microphone in hand at one of the top sections of the arena. Toward the end of the song Swift handed off her guitar to a security member and made her way down the steps, hugging and shaking hands with as many fans as she could reach.

Young girls hyperventilated as the slender musician embraced them in her arms while some broke down and cried in what was probably a meeting with their idol they played over and over in their heads, but never imagined coming true.

On several occasions throughout the night, as the last strum of the guitar faded to the last row of the arena, Swift stood on stage dumbfounded by the insurmountable chants and screams ascending from the crowd while mouthing “I love you.” Her reaction was more similar to a first-time performer than a multi-platinum and Grammy winning artist.

The timely process in no way resembled a gimmick Swift utilized to bolster her fan following or reviews, but seemed truly genuine. She even had a small stage set in the back of the arena to play to the audience who didn’t have prime floor seats. After a few songs Swift made her way back to the main stage through the audience once more while conducting meet and greets along the way.

As the evening came to an end, Swift graciously thanked her fans by concluding she would always remember her concert and fans in Fresno. From the jubilant reviews from fans leaving the arena, they would agree.

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