Not till I was several feet away did I see the look of terror in the eyes of the red-shirted U.S. Bank Stadium employee waving his arms for me and my buddy Jay not to continue walking down the stairs toward him.
“You can’t be here!”
But, wait—I had an explanation, an excuse, a rationale. You see.…
“No, you can’t be here—this is where the pyrotechnics are.”
Certain that we wouldn’t be able to retrace our steps back up without some calamitous explosive mishap, the worried man directed us into the bowels of the stadium, where we would, he said, find an elevator. Undetonated and undeterred, Jay and I roamed through halls that were clearly meant to be unroamed by us, where we were repeatedly assured there was an elevator just a few hundred feet ahead. Maybe each staffer was referring to a different elevator. Maybe each staffer had a wildly different interpretations of what “a few hundred feet” or even “an elevator” was.
We found no elevator.
The problem was, we’d been invited to show up for a meet-and-greet with Ms. Taylor Swift herself, ahead of her Friday night concert, because, weirdly enough, part of the job of being one of the most famous people on earth is making small talk with a pair of sweaty doofuses who’d just biked up from south Minneapolis. But we entered through the wrong gate, so we were not only unable to access (or even locate) the backstage area, we weren’t given the special wristband required to reach our floor seats after we abandoned our hope of ever meeting Taylor.
Once more, stadium staffers offered conflicting theories as to where such a band might be acquired. It was like an old-school text-based RPG, where villagers mislead you on your quest. I asked a pair of teen girls with wristbands where they got them, and one sneered “I don’t know” with precisely as withering a tone as a 48-year-old male interloper who dared address one of Taylor’s appropriately aged and gendered fans deserved.
All in all, we spent an hour looking for our seats Friday night. But when the fireworks went off and the flames shot up in the air during “I Did Something Bad,” I’d like to think that Jay and I appreciated the display more than anyone else in the room. Because they did not kill us when they had the chance.