Here’s another guest post, this from my Big Sister B! I was completely surprised and grateful when she sent it to me. Our mutual niece is the one who inspired my daughters’ devotion to Taylor Swift, and I’ve mentioned that I’m a fan, too. You can tell that my sister works in the apparel industry because she casually uses the word paillettes. And if you’re wondering, Taylor’s not touring anywhere near us for now, but I’ll let you know if she plans a trip to the Capital District.
In case you didn’t know (I didn’t), Taylor Swift is doing a big U.S. tour this summer called “Speak NOW.” I only know this because my sister and her daughter, my ten-year old niece, invited me to come with them to her Pittsburgh concert. It would mean a fourteen hour round trip drive for them and another hour either way for me. An overnight stay. On my birthday, which would leave my empty nest husband alone on Father’s Day. I said yes, yes, yes without hesitation. Not that I am a great big Taylor fan. But you have to practically be living in a cave not to be aware of who she is, even if, like me, you have no little girls or teens in your immediate universe. She’s pretty and sparkly, she plays a number of instruments and writes her own songs, she seems very respectful of her fans and her Mom and unlike so many pop star girls lately, she hasn’t been caught in any embarrassing situations, sued her parents, gotten pregnant, been arrested or shown us her tender bits getting out of an SUV. And my niece was SO EXCITED! I was honored to be asked to come along.
It was GREAT! There were 52,000 screaming but well-behaved fans at Heinz Stadium. The ratio of female to men was at least 20 to one – the outnumbered men for the most part either the coolest dads ever or sheepish boyfriends. Many of the girls and their moms, and even the toddlers, were dressed in their version of Taylor Swiftness – red lips, cut off denim shorts or flouncy sundresses with short cowboy boots and straw cowboy hats. Some times this worked for them. Sometimes not so much but we tried not to judge. We did not dress up like Taylor but we did enjoy eating greasy pizza for dinner and watching the costumed fans swirl around us as they queued for souvenirs or overpriced junk food. Two of our favorite fans were little girls – maybe seven and eight, both in matching dresses totally covered in spangly paillettes – one in silver and one in gold, with black calf length boots and curly long blonde hair and red lips – JUST like Taylor – if Taylor shopped at Target.
Well, Taylor did not disappoint! Even though we were up in the nose bleed seats and Taylor looked like an itty bitty sparkly nymph skipping around way far below us if we weren’t watching the big screens they thoughtfully mount on either side of the stage –we were engulfed and carried away by the world of Taylor. She sang her heart out and there were aerialists and ballet dancers and tap dancers and beautiful costumes and fireworks and love love love all around. Taylor gave it her all without a trace of irony or a hint of cynicism. Twice, she took long walks through the pitt of the stadium, wading through the ecstatic crowd. As a grown up old enough to be her mom, I worried for her safety. And her guilelessness and openness was paid back by her fans. Even the most blasé looking clusters of teenage girls, who effected studied sullenness or boredom during the three (THREE!) warm up acts sang along soulfully and sincerely to Taylor’s songs. The eight year old standing swaying in the row below us reached over at one point to hug her mom sitting next to her – she was overcome with the joy of Taylor. So were we.
My niece was totally transfixed. My sister and I were so happy to be there with her. We all had a fantastic time and a great adventure. Overnight in Pittsburgh for Taylor Swift has to be one of my favorite birthdays ever. Who’d have thunk it?
If you have a chance to go see Taylor, you should definitely go. Here are a few hints:
- Bring a great deal of money – you will have to buy a number of souvenirs and they aren’t cheap. We thought the commemorative book for $30, which was printed on really nice paper, came with a poster, had 3D photos and glasses, gave you the play list and some coupons to get MORE STUFF LATER – was really a good deal. My niece spent all the money she had saved since Christmas (I was impressed with that!) and more that she borrowed from her mom.
- Buy your stuff early. By the end of the show, most everything was sold out.
- Don’t forget your binoculars. Wherever you sit won’t be close enough.
- Bring your cell phone so you can text Taylor (yes, you can!) and also all your friends moment by moment action along with photos of you THERE!
And if you go and decide to wear a dress with metallic paillettes, pink cowboy boots and a sequined cowboy hat and top it off with really RED LIPS (even if you are six) don’t worry, you won’t be overdressed or alone.