September 5, 2009, a 19-year-old country pop singer played her first headlining show at what was then called Time Warner Cable Arena in uptown Charlotte. That 19-year-old was Taylor Swift who made a stop on the first leg of her Fearless Tour in Charlotte on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend 14 years ago. Even 14 years ago she was playing to a sold-out crowd, one that sold out within minutes of the tickets going on sale.

The opening acts for that tour? Country band Gloriana (Wild At Heart) and North Carolina’s own Kellie Pickler. Her hit songs Love Story and You Belong With Me made her a household name. Later that fall she would go on to win the VMA where Kanye West famously interrupted her on stage. But more importantly, she would also go on to win 4 CMA’s and Grammys that year as well as several American Music Awards. All this to say, the fall of 2009 was a fun time to be a Taylor Swift fan.

But the Fearless Tour in Charlotte, it was my favorite concert I’ve ever been to. And I’ve seen Taylor 17 times since that day, including the Eras Tour multiple times. Nothing, nothing will ever compare to that September night for me. And I’ll never pay those ticket prices again either. Those first tickets? Some were as cheap as $25 a ticket. The fees on my Eras Tour tickets were 3 times that. I paid $70 per ticket resale- again cheaper than the fees on my Eras Tour tickets.

The production value of that arena show was what you come to expect from a Taylor Swift show- numerous costume changes, intricate sets themed to each song, and a b-stage acoustic set. The setlist included some of my favorite songs that I rarely get to hear anymore. There were two portions of the show where she actually walked through the crowd and hugged fans. Something I was lucky enough to experience later in the tour in Raleigh in May of 2010.

Since then she has gone on to become the biggest artist on the planet. The three-time Grammy Album of the Year winner can’t satisfy demand when it comes to tickets. She debuted album after album at 1 million sales and is currently re-recording her first six albums. If you told that 19-year-old Taylor or 19-year-old me the things that would come I don’t think either of us would have believed you. It’s been the adventure of a lifetime and one I’ll never take for granted.  Take a look at the setlist from that Taylor Swift Fearless Tour stop in Charlotte. Can we go back to this time? I knew we were lucky, but what I wouldn’t give to see her in this small of a venue for that price again.

  • You Belong With Me

    Taylor opened the show in a marching band uniform rising up on a platform and singing You Belong With Me. The perfect intro, complete with an iconic Taylor Swift costume change.

  • Our Song

    Taylor’s first number-one was the next song on the setlist. Does this sparkly guitar look familiar? This is where the inspiration from the one on the Eras Tour came from, though it’s not the same guitar.

  • Tell Me Why

    An underrated favorite on Fearless was next. I will always love this track, “you may think I’m bullet proof but I’m not” .

  • Teardrops On My Guitar

    Taylor took us back to highschool, complete with a desk wth Teardrops On My Guitar. This was the song that first got her noticed by pop radio, and the first song I ever heard from her.

  • Fearless

    Fearless on the Fearless Tour. I don’t know how it gets better than this.

  • Forever & Always

    If guys don’t want me to write bad songs about you, they shouldn’t do bad things. The intro video of this song is iconic, and the throwing of the chairs full of dramatics.

  • Hey Stephen

    Taylor popped up in the aisle of one of the lower-level sections, surprising fans for an up close and personal performance of Hey Stephen. This happy go lucky song will always bring a smile to my face, perhaps since I was right there during a later show.

  • Fifteen

    One of the songs that first showcased Taylor’s ability to relate to her audience was Fifteen. This acoustic stripped-down version of the emotional track was a highlight of the tour.

  • Tim McGraw

    Somehow this was the only tour that Tim McGraw had a permanent spot on the setlist for. As my all-time favorite Taylor Swift song, it pains me. But at least we have a video of this song. I’ll never get over this not being on the Eras Tour Setlist.

  • White Horse

    It’s too late, to catch me now. Taylor headed back to the main stage for one last acoustic performance, this time of White Horse.

  • Love Story

    A dramatic performance of a dramatic song. Ball gowns, a castle, and dancers helped tell this Love Story.

  • The Way I Loved You

    I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain. Taylor gave us another costume change for this song which she performed with guitar player Grant Mickelson.

  • You're Not Sorry

    Taylor performed a mashup of You’re Not Sorry and What Goes Around by Justin Timberlake. While she often showcases her guitar playing, this was the sole piano moment on the Fearless Tour.

  • Picture To Burn

    Picture to Burn was feisty country Taylor at her best. This song was made to perform live.

  • Change

    Change was originally on the Fearless Tour setlist. And honestly, even if you were at this show you may not know that she hadn’t been performing it at the shows around Charlotte. But she did this night when I needed it more than I ever knew. The speech that she gave during this song are words that still resonate with me today. I’m forever thankful for this moment and actually got to tell her that and the reason why 4 years later. And, in one of the nicest things any person has ever done for me, she played it again that night for me. Which is why she will always be my favorite artist on the planet.

  • I'm Only Me When I'm With You

    The first song of the encore of the Fearless Tour was a song off the deluxe version of Taylor’s self-titled debut album. Kellie Pickler and Gloriana joined Taylor, who in Charlotte was glad in a Charlotte Bobcats (yes Bobcats at the time) jersey.

  • Should've Said No

    For a memorable encore, Taylor recreated her iconic ACM Awards show performance in the rain. Yes, she brought the rain to arenas. Rain that spelled out NO. It truly was a way to end the show that made everyone go “WOW”.

  • The Fearless Tour

    So much has changed since Taylor headlined in Charlotte for the first time. She would play 3 more shows at Time Warner Cable Arena, now Spectrum Center The Speak Now Tour (November of 2011), RED Tour (March of 2013), and 1989 World Tour (June of 2015). It’s been 8 years since she has been the Carolinas opting not to play Bank of America Stadium on her last two tours which only played NFL Stadium Tours. I’m so thankful I’ve had the chance to see Taylor all these years, and hope that one day in the future she returns to the Queen City.

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