On Thursday, we drove down to New Jersey, met my sister and three out of four members of her family for dinner, and then my sister and her 12-year-old daughter and Cute W, M, J, and I all went to see Taylor Swift in Newark. We had an excellent time, even though the only way we’d managed to get tickets was by splitting up into three pairs and dispersing ourselves around the upper reaches of the the rear of the stadium. Ed Sheeran (latest songs are “The A Team” and “Lego House”) opened for our Tay-Tay, and apparently before Ed there was Florida Georgia Line, a couple of twangy country guys whom we missed because we were too busy choosing t-shirts. Then there was also a mid-concert guest appearance by Tyler Glenn from Neon Trees who sang “Everybody Talks” for us.
We had an excellent time. Two of my sisters and our niece had already seen Taylor in concert (in fact, my other sister wrote a guest post about the concert last time–she was brutally disappointed to be detained on business this year, and Cute W inherited her ticket), and our niece was completely pumped. She had last time’s concert t-shirt, she’d painted her nails (guess what color) and labeled them “RED” in honor of the latest album and tour, and as we approached the stadium, she pulled out some Taylor perfume so that anyone who wished could smell like Taylor. Our girls had never been to a “real” concert, so they were excited, but not out-of-their-minds giddy like their cousin T. Once we arrived, though, they were pumped. M and Cute W sat together, and after M got over her fear that they would plummet down the steep, steep steps to their doom, they had a great time. I learned something about J over the course of the evening: she’s a serious concert- shrieker. Ear piercing, and lots of shouts of “Taylor!” just in case Taylor happened to notice her and decide that she was so cute that she had to invite J on stage. I mean, I totally would have, but she was not the only shrieking girl in that place.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to a concert, and the ones I’ve attended have been full of mellow, cooler-than-thou college kids and young adults (Airborne Toxic Event, Mike Doughty, and Guster) or mostly-college-to-middle-aged-women (Indigo Girls, yo). Should you happen to venture into the realm of super-popular artists for the tween and teen set, you’ll probably want to do a bit more advanced prep than we did. There were girls in full-on costume (red tutus, homemade t-shirts, red sparkles, red hair pieces) carrying signage worthy of a parade (gone are those lighter days–there were a ton of portably-powered Christmas-light sculptures spelling out “Taylor” or “I Love Ed,” or, for the multi-taskers, “R-E-D,” which allowed spectators to drop the “R” to cheer for the opening act). I just schlepped into the place with a pair of jeans and a shirt that wasn’t even the special color of love/passion/anger, etc.
Taylor sang better than I expected in person and she made a jillion costume changes, looking adorable every. single. time. She doesn’t dance too much, but when you have incredibly long legs and arms, you can wave them around a little and it’s strangely captivating. She did plenty of charming stage patter, and when Cute W, in the van after the concert, needled us by suggesting that it’s possible, just possible, that she doesn’t, in fact, believe that the audience in Jersey is the very best audience ever, we shushed him. We are special. We are very, very special to Taylor. It was a love fest all around.
Our favorite part was when she relocated the entire concert to the other end of the stadium, closer to our crappy seats. She did some acoustic songs while the smallish round stage rotated and raised itself to get closer to those of us who were far away and extraordinarily high. Her rotating proximity caused J to burst into paroxysms of joy that would subside as the full-frontal exposure slowly, inevitably turned toward a slender shoulder. I wish that I had a decent photo of her sitting and strumming the guitar, but every photo that J and I took appears as a flash of light, either because of all the concert stage hoopla or perhaps because that sweet wispy little thing is a specter who can’t be captured on film.
Afterwards M, J, and T were thrilled and energized as we headed out and stopped by to examine some cases with a few special Taylor costumes. The grown-ups were surprised by how great the city of Newark was looking. Clearly Cory Booker isn’t spending all of his time Tweeting and saving ladies from fires. Our young songstress still has no plans to tour in the Capital District. Ah, well. For our family, she was worth the trip.