SINGAPORE, March 2 — Decked in their best dresses and bejewelled outfits, fans of pop sensation Taylor Swift gathered at the National Stadium as early as 8am today, eagerly anticipating the start of their idol’s six-show concert in Singapore.

The atmosphere around the arena was electric when TODAY arrived at noon.

Swift fans — collectively known as Swifties — were seen admiring each others’ outfits, such as the “Junior Jewels” T-shirt from Swift’s You Belong With Me music video, and purple dresses inspired by her Speak Now album cover.

Groups of fans danced and sang along to Swift’s hit songs blasting from a speaker outside the stadium as they waited for the concert gates to open at 4pm, while others took in the excitement in the air.

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Hundreds also braved the rain and sun to queue up to buy her merchandise, which included t-shirts and hoodies, and cost up to S$105 (RM371). Some of them told TODAY they had been in line for three hours.

Others were heard discussing what Swift’s surprise songs would be that night, as the singer is known for playing two songs from her discography which are not part of her set list.

As TODAY was speaking to 17 fans that had shown up between noon and 2.30pm, other fans would come by to trade friendship bracelets — a commom practice among Swifties — or offer gifts such as posters and temporary tattoos to this reporter.

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Francis Arvy, 39, shows his t-shirt during a Taylor Swift fans, or Swifties, sing-a-long event ahead of Swift’s Eras Tour concert, at Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore March 1, 2024. — Reuters pic
Francis Arvy, 39, shows his t-shirt during a Taylor Swift fans, or Swifties, sing-a-long event ahead of Swift’s Eras Tour concert, at Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore March 1, 2024. — Reuters pic

Just glad to be here

The Singapore leg of Swift’s Eras Tour has made headlines around Asia this week for being the American songstress’ only stop in Southeast Asia.

Also on the lineup is fellow American singer-songwriter Sabrina Capenter, who will open the show at 6pm. Swift is expected to take the stage at 7pm.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin alleged last month that Singapore had brokered a deal to pay Swift up to US$3 million(RM14.2 million) for each of her six concerts here.

CNA reported yesterday that Singapore had given Swift a grant “closer to US$2 million to US$3 million” for exclusivity in the region.

Despite the bad news that Swift was only performing in Singapore, international fans told TODAY they were still excited to be able to see their idol — or as some dub “mother” and “queen” — perform.

Dancing to the music in a sparkling silver dress, Chinese national Scarlette Zhu, 25, a business development manager, joked that she would need an ambulance after the concert.

“I’m so excited to see Taylor Swift, she means so much to me and I love everything about her! I might have a heart attack later during the concert,” she quipped.

For Filipina Shane Pastoral, 30, a consultant, this concert is special because it has been 13 years since she has seen Swift perform. Swift is known to regard 13 as her lucky number.

“I’ve loved her for almost 15 years, everything about her. Her music, her outfits and how she empowers women to be strong too,” said Ms Pastoral.

“Since this is the first-night, I have no idea what to expect for the surprise songs so I’m extremely excited... maybe she’ll do something special.”

Similarly, Singaporean Jovine Liang, 21, was jumping in excitement as she took photos with a poster of Swift near the stadium.

The Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) student had been disappointed she could not get tickets for her favourite artist’s concert, only to be surprised last month by her boyfriend with two tickets.

The couple, dressed in pastels in homage to Swift’s Lover album, told TODAY they decided to go to the stadium at 2pm to exchange friendship bracelets with other fans.

“She always sings Love Story during Karaoke, she’s definitely the bigger Swiftie,” said Mr Bryan Lim, 24, a fellow SIM student and Ms Liang’s boyfriend.

“But I hope she sings New Romantics as the surprise song as its my favourite.”

Ms Liang, on the other hand, struggled to decide on a song she wanted to hear for there were too many she wanted.

With the glaring sun and sudden showers making the area feel humid, fans sought shelter at the Kallang Wave Mall, sitting on the floor to take in the air-conditioning.

Some hid under sheltered parts of the stadium, striking up conversations with fellow fans.

Filipino Kate Ui, 26, and Singaporean Derek Chan, 31, were two such fans, who met for the first time but were excitedly chatting to each other.

They had bonded over their outfits — which were inspired by Swift’s black and red snake-patterned outfit, which she wears to perform songs from her album Reputation.

“We just met but we couldn’t help but chat because of how we are twinning,” said Ms Ui, a freelancer.

When asked what their plans were after the concert, Ms Ui said: “Just cry in my bedroom. I think I’ll have so many emotions from seeing Taylor Swift in person.” — TODAY