CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – In recent weeks, it has been difficult for many Taylor Swift fans to obtain tickets to her national “Eras Tour” next year. One lucky fan reflects on seeing the pop star perform in Champaign over 15 years ago and her excitement for the new tour.
In 2007, Swift was just beginning her career. With only one album under her belt at the time, she opened for country star Brad Paisley on his “Bonfires and Amplifiers” tour, which included a stop in Champaign at the Assembly Hall, now known as State Farm Center.
Allison Mansmith was only eight years old when she attended the show with her father and sister.
“I was sitting far away and using binoculars to see her,” said Mansmith, an elementary school teacher in Naperville. “The screen displayed her name but there weren’t any background dancers or choreography. It was just her playing guitar with some backup singers.”
Swift played a six-song setlist at the Champaign show, including early hits like “Should’ve Said No” and “Tim McGraw.” Following the show, Mansmith said she missed her chance of meeting Swift.
“My dad told my sister and I that she was meeting fans after her performance that night,” said Mansmith. “He said the line was long and he didn’t want to wait, so he didn’t tell us while we were there. Looking back, it’s okay now, but we still give him a hard time for that.”
As Swift transformed into a more well-known artist over the years, Mansmith deepened her love for her and her music.
“I grew up with Taylor as she was growing up herself,” said Mansmith. “She is genuine, silly, intelligent, diligent, and intentional. This is something I will never take for granted about her. Feeling as though the artist you love also loves you back is so special and rare. She is irreplaceable and full of so much individuality.”
Mansmith said some of her favorite concert memories include seeing Swift on her “1989” and “Reputation” tours.
“The way she puts on a show is like no other,” said Mansmith. “Of course I love the music, the choreography, the lights, the costume changes, but it’s all about the way she connects with the audience. The speeches she gives at these tours are words that stick with fans because they are so genuine. We can feel that.”
Every so often, Mansmith reflects back on seeing Swift perform so young in Champaign. She said she is excited to see her once again on tour next year.
“I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten to see her when she was so young and continued to see her throughout her career,” said Mansmith. “It was incredibly difficult to get tickets for the new tour which wasn’t something I’ve experienced with any of her other tours. I can’t wait to experience this new tour.”