Military families, friends bond over Taylor Swift as Eras Tour comes to Tokyo
Stars and Stripes February 8, 2024
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — American pop icon Taylor Swift performed the first of four sold-out concerts this week at the Tokyo Dome, and the audience did not lack for fans from the U.S. military.
Swift, whose “Midnights” earned album-of-the-year honors at Sunday’s Grammy Awards, began the Asia leg of The Eras Tour at the 55,000-seat arena Wednesday night. Thousands of fans, known as Swifties, lined up long before the show’s 6 p.m. start time to buy concert merchandise.
The 3 ½-hour-long show did not disappoint, said Jacqueline Ochoa Luna, a support supply technician at Yokota Middle School. She is among a group of school employees with tickets to see Swift over several days.
“She is a performer; there was a lot of storytelling and there’s a connection that you feel, and I did cry during one of the songs,” Ochoa Luna said via Facebook Messenger the morning after the concert. “It was a great show, and I hope she comes back to Japan for her next tour.”
Swift began the highest-grossing concert tour ever, and first to hit $1 billion, March 13 in Glendale, Ariz. The tour moves on to Melbourne, Australia, after Tokyo.
Swifties speculate she may fly to Las Vegas in between those gigs to watch boyfriend Travis Kelce and his fellow Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.
Yokota Middle student Madeline Frost, 14, plans to reunite with sister Katherine, 20, at Swift’s third Tokyo Dome performance on Friday. Katherine is flying in from Provo, Utah, just for the show, Madeline said by phone Wednesday.
“I look forward to dancing and hanging out with my sister,” she said.
Rebecca Riggs, an Air Force spouse at Yokota, said her winning bid in an online auction scored her a $915 VIP ticket for Friday’s show, a long time coming for this Swiftie.
“I’ve been a fan of Taylor forever,” she said Tuesday via Facebook Messenger. “I am most looking forward to hearing all of the songs live, actually seeing her in person and hopefully experiencing the full Swiftie atmosphere I hear so much about.”
Swift is a pioneer in the music industry who breaks all stereotypes of a woman in that field, Air Force Col. Iris Ortiz Gonzalez, commander of the 374th Dental Squadron, said Wednesday at Yokota’s dental clinic.
Ortiz Gonzalez and her older daughter have tickets for Swift’s final Tokyo performance on Saturday.
Ortiz Gonzalez said she admires Swift’s commitment to her work and performance schedule, while also maintaining a balanced personal life and doing the best she can to support her family, friends and relationships.
“A lot of the Taylor Swift publicity and headlines have to do with who she’s dating and typical stereotypical things that people highlight about women,” she said.
“I feel like women have had enough of that; very rarely you see articles or news clips of Taylor Swift promoting her entrepreneurship, her creative mind, how she got where she is. And that’s the part about her that intrigued me.”
This won’t be Ortiz Gonzalez’s first Swift show; she caught The Eras Tour on May 13 in Philadelphia with her daughters, Kiara, 17, and Liana, 9.
They all vie for the title of biggest Swiftie while bonding over the singer’s music.
“If you go to my daughter’s room, there are posters of her everywhere,” she said. “We have all her vinyl, sweaters and T-shirts. “It provides an opportunity to bond, using the hairbrush as a microphone while singing songs. It is great. I love it.”