It seems that no matter what direction Taylor Swift takes her music, it is always a good one. When she released the first single from her fifth album last August, she began the big leap from country to pop music. Many people worried that it wouldn’t be a good move while others believed she had already made that transition. “Shake It Off” immediately became a hit though, and only a few short months later, so did the rest of Swift’s 1989 album. With over 1.287 million copies sold in the first week, 1989 had the largest sales week for an album in more than twelve years.
I stayed up late one October night so I could listen to the album as soon as it was released. Instantly, I loved the 80’s pop feel and all of the risks Taylor took with new sounds. It was lyrically and musically wonderful in a way that was so different from her previous albums, but still so her. Nothing will ever beat the lyrical and emotional genius that was her 2012 Red album, but 1989 was still something incredible. This album showcased how sassy, fierce, and strong of a person Taylor has become and I loved every moment of it.
As per her usual style, once the album was announced, I knew a tour would come not long after. I had hoped that my friends would all be as excited to see her perform as I was, but that was not the case. Everyone had a desire to see her to some degree, but no one really wanted to pay for incredibly expensive tickets. I saw where they were coming from, but I hoped that someone would change her mind eventually because I really wanted to see this show. Unfortunately, no one did.
Yesterday morning, I was two seconds away from buying a ticket and going alone when I asked my sister if she wanted to come. I knew she was only home for a few days and had tried to make plans to see family and her own friends, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask anyway. Her face lit up when I did, and after some back-and-forth about whether she really wanted to spend that much on a ticket, she decided it was worth it. It was cheaper for us to buy our tickets separately, but we hoped that if we were in the same section, we could somehow find a way to sit together.
At the stadium, we met up with Nicole, the girl I had bought my ticket from, and walked around together, taking a look at the Taylor Nation set up and exploring some of the venue. It was quite warm, so Lauren and I split a Rita’s Italian ice and walked around a bit more before we found our seats. She sat next to me during two of the opening acts, but once people started filling in around us, she left to go up to her seat at the top of the section. Vance Joy was the third act perform, which was something pretty incredible to see because I first heard his song “Riptide” during my semester in Ireland. It meant quite a lot to me then and it still does now. When the opening acts finished, I was more than ready for Queen Tay to take the stage.
I was sandwiched between the parents of two teenagers and another adult, so I felt a bit out of place singing and dancing as much as I did. But that didn’t stop me for long. By the time Taylor had sung her first four songs–“Welcome to New York,” “New Romantics,” “Blank Space,” and “I Knew You Were Trouble”–my throat was raw from singing so much and screaming so loud. I was so, so, so happy. In between songs, she stopped to talk to the crowd and introduce herself with a “Hey, I’m Taylor,” as if all 60,000 people didn’t already know who she was. During her speeches, as I stood there by myself, I didn’t feel alone. I didn’t feel silly or self-conscious for standing by myself at a concert. It felt like Taylor Swift was speaking to me as we hung out on the couch in her living room, drinking tea and eating cookies and playing with her cats on a Saturday night. That’s one of the greatest things about her. That even in a crowd of that many people, in a stadium that large, and as far away from her as I actually was, I felt like we were old pals giving each other pep talks and dancing together.
The rest of the show was fabulous. It was full of costume changes, flashing lights, dancers, color-changing bracelets tuned to the beat of the music, fireworks, and even a few surprises. She performed “You Belong With Me,” off her sophomore album, Fearless, for the first time in two years because we had been such an incredible crowd. The previous night’s concert at MetLife featured the U.S. Women’s Soccer team (fresh off their World Cup win and NYC ticker tape parade), supermodels, and some of Taylor’s friends. Taylor herself warned us early on in the show that our crowd was on “a completely different level than anything [she’d] seen before,” and we could expect even more surprises. So I completely and absolutely lost it when she brought Nick Jonas on stage to sing with her.
Shortly after that, as I was catching my breath and trying to get my heartbeat back to a normal pace, I noticed that the family in the row in front of me was gone. I was so wrapped up in the concert that I didn’t see them leave, but it seemed like they had gone for good. When they hadn’t come back after a few more songs, Lauren came down so we could sit and enjoy the rest of the concert together.
Supermodels and friends of Taylor’s–Karlie Kloss, Gigi Hadid, Behati Prinsloo, Lily Aldridge, Candice Swanepoel, Martha Hunt–walked the runway during “Style,” along with Orange Is The New Black‘s Uzo Aduba. And the rest of the concert was just as fabulous. We danced and smiled and were unbelievably happy.
Taylor Swift outdoes herself with every new song and album, every tour, every generous act toward her fans, and everything else she brings to the table. I cannot clearly express how much joy those few hours of live music brought me. I cannot thank Taylor and her team enough for everything they did to make that show a possibility. I left the stadium last night with a very full and happy heart, my ears buzzing, my legs and throat sore, and with a night full of memories that there is no price for.
Once again, thank you for a magical night, Taylor.