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Taylor Swift's dazzling, starry-eyed finale in Tampa

Taylor Swift bewitches the crowd early in her concert Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. Story, Page 3.
Taylor Swift bewitches the crowd early in her concert Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. Story, Page 3.
Published Nov. 1, 2015

TAMPA — Flashing those inimitable doe eyes at a packed and sparkling Raymond James Stadium, Taylor Swift promised Tampa fans a night they'd never forget.

"This has been not only the most exciting time of my career," she said, "it's been the most exciting time of my life."

And what better way to end it than a Halloween party the likes of which Tampa has never seen?

Costumes, a dazzling galaxy of flashing wristbands that lit up the entire stadium, surprise guests including young pop singer Alessia Cara — sure enough, anyone who chose Taylor over trick-or-treating made the right choice.

Up and down Dale Mabry danced tribes of teenage Swifties in blinking tutus and music-video cosplay, screaming and shaking in delirious glee. They came from all over, from as far away as New Zealand, yielding, in the estimation of Visit Tampa Bay, more than 9,000 hotel room stays and an overall economic impact of $10 million.

In the early going, Swift stuck to hits from her five-times-platinum album 1989Blank Space, Welcome to New York, How You Get the Girl, on which she spun and danced in an illuminated sundress.

Her other surprise guests would come later — Twitter buzzed with rumors all day, from Adele to Idina Menzel to Swift's boyfriend, Calvin Harris — but the show felt special nonetheless; Swift herself acknowledged as much.

"Feelings EVERYWHERE," she tweeted before the show.

It was, after all, her final U.S. concert in support of 1989. And, of course, there's the whole Halloween thing.

Swift's crew dressed in costume, as did her mother and father — Cruella de Vil and Superman, respectively.

Even Swift's opener, Australian folkster Vance Joy, paid homage to Tampa's love of buccaneer culture, donning a pirate costume and giving the Bucs a shoutout.

"I don't usually dress like this," he told the masses. "I think this is the only time in my life this will happen, so I'm just going to enjoy it. Soak it in."

He's not alone. For those inside RayJay, Swift delivered a Halloween treat they'll never forget.