Taylor Swift will celebrate making Grammys history with a run of concerts in Tokyo starting on Feb 7, kicking off a month of sell-out shows in Asia that will include a quick run home to see her boyfriend contest the United States Super Bowl.
Hundreds of excited fans queued in the cold from morning to buy merchandise at the Tokyo Dome before the four shows, part of the megastar’s Eras Tour – the first billion-dollar tour ever.
“It’s us, hi! We are Swifties from Taiwan!” read a huge fabric banner featuring 10 pictures of Swift’s face, held up by a group of fans outside the 55,000-capacity arena.
Results of a hotly contested ticket lottery for Swift’s Japan dates were announced in July. Some fans travelled to Tokyo – even if the tour was coming to them.
“We came just for the concert as we couldn’t get tickets in Australia,” said 18-year-old Ebony Donohue with a laugh.
“I’m so excited to finally see her. All her music is so different. She’s so relatable, and strong and amazing.”
Others wearing Taylor Swift T-shirts and miniskirts snapped pictures, while those in a long line for branded goods said they had been waiting years for this moment.
“I’ve been listening to her songs since I was in middle school, about 10 years. This is the first time I’ll see her in concert, and I’ve been so excited since the moment we were able to get tickets,” 25-year-old Saya Matsuo told AFP.
“She is someone who can grab people’s hearts, make people sing and dance. I love her personality.”
Eighteen-year-old students Hikari Oka and Honoka Shimabara had been waiting since before 9am for the merchandise stall that opened at midday.
“When I listen to her songs, I feel energised, and it also gives me confidence,” Ms Oka said.
Thousands of Taylor Swift fans queueing to buy merchandise in front of the Tokyo Dome. PHOTO: AFP
Swift-mania has reached fever pitch worldwide after the 34-year-old on Feb 4 scooped her fourth Album of the Year prize at the Grammys.
That is the most held by any artiste and breaks the previous record of three jointly held by Swift and the likes of Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.
Super Bowl dash
Straight after her last Tokyo concert wraps up on Feb 10, Swift will make a pit stop at this weekend’s Super Bowl, where she is expected to cheer on her beau, Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs, from the VIP suites.
The pop icon will then play dates in Australia and Singapore before heading to Europe on the tour, which is predicted to make a staggering US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion).
An influx of fans to the concerts has been shown to create a so-called Swift effect on local economies.
Travel technology company Amadeus reported an “extraordinary increase in interest” in search traffic for travel to cities in the Asia-Pacific region visited on the Eras Tour.
Swift is not the only global superstar in Tokyo this week.
Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami are facing Vissel Kobe in a pre-season friendly at Tokyo’s National Stadium on Feb 7, but it was still uncertain whether the injured Argentina great would play.
With hundreds of millions of social media followers and a staunchly loyal fan base, politicos – and conspiracy theorists – have opined on Swift’s potential impact on the upcoming US presidential election.
Some right-wing critics have floated the theory that the pop icon’s burgeoning romance with Kelce is evidence of a “deep-state” plot to rig the Super Bowl and help get US President Joe Biden re-elected.
But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has dismissed such conspiracy theories as “nonsense”. AFP