Taylor Swift Makes It Matter

24 Oct

Last night I got to fulfill one of my Big Bucket List Items (TM) and see Taylor Swift do her awesome music thing live in person from a few rows back at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.

It was amazing.

From the opening bassy rumbles that shot through the crowd of 80,000 people like an earthquake, to Taylor rising up from center stage, to every song being a complete joy because I’d think, “YES I LOVE THIS SONG!” It’s not often that I get to really embrace my pop music self outside of my 4 walls and sing and dance and get lost in a spectacle, but all of that was supplied by Taylor on Saturday night.

I went with Concert Buddy Extraordinaire, Melinda Ann. She knows how to roll, and we both share a need to be close to the action which is always good. If you go to a show with someone who isn’t cool with being crushed by a horde of people, you definitely won’t be near the action. We got all up in there.

Looks like we made it!! @_plma_ @cota_official @taylorswift #attachestaysway

I’ll save the day long F1 Track experience for the vlog, but we wormed our way up to PRETTY dang close to the stage. Like..none of my photos did our view justice. We could see everything really clearly without looking at the screens, from facial expressions to Taylor’s really cool shoes (get it, girl).

Taylor had a cold, and in the Most Realest Thing I have ever seen an international pop star do on stage…she had her background vocalists bring her tissues from time to time and she’d just blow her nose right there. Sometimes you just gotta get the snot out so you can sing. I’d also like to note that I feel like my luck is also that if I had one gig all year long (this was her only 2016 show), I’d probably get a cold too. Not insurmountable, but a bit of Murphy’s Law at work.


None of that cold business stopped her from doing solo acoustic songs on guitar (Fifteen) and piano (This Is What You Came For – hell yes – and Sparks Fly!)

Taylor Swift in Austin

There are 3 Taylors (at least) in this photo.


One of my favorite things was that Melinda Ann and I were squished up right behind a group of about 5 teenage girls (and their parental chaperones – good job, parents!). It was really fun to watch those girls have the time of their lives as we were having ours. When Taylor played “Fifteen” (admittedly, a song that came way before my Swift fandom time) with lyrics like:

‘Cause when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You’re gonna believe them
And when you’re fifteen feeling like there’s nothing to figure out but
count to ten, take it in
This is life before you know who you’re gonna be

…these girls were just sobbing and singing along, grabbing each other for their favorite lines, and I am POSITIVE feeling like no one in the world understands them like Taylor Swift understands them right now.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons…say what some people will about T-Swift and pop music and 18-year-olds writing songs (STEP UP HATERS I CAN HANDLE YOU), but Taylor really just hits the nail on the head of a true emotion. Theoretically it’s a true emotion that she had herself (though songwriting is not always that way…other people’s emotions are fair game in songwriter land)…but however she did it, it came out as a piece of writing that is able to connect to a massive swath of people, and KEEP connecting to subsequent generations. That is why pop music is short for “popular music.” That song is 10 years old, so 25-year-olds are reminiscing about it, and these 15-year-olds are living it right now. That’s timeless, and that’s important.

In fact, I saw a great quote on the wall at the Taylor Swift Experience at the State Fair (it was a very Swift week, what can I say?):

“Swift is one of pop’s finest songwriters, country’s foremost pragmatist and more in touch with her inner life than most adults.”- The New York Times

I TOTALLY get this when I listen to Taylor, and as a 30-something (I’m about 4 years into my Swift fandom so I started my 30’s with her), I can give you a laundry list of favorite lyrics of hers that hit me somewhere meaningful. She transcends her age with her writing, and while it’s poetic, it’s more the thoughtful dissection of a visceral feeling that I appreciate when I’m listening to a Swift song.

Those girls were appreciating it, too, among 80,000 of us on a race track on the outskirts of Austin last night. It hit them in the gut, and I have no doubt those moments will continue to happen for them with Taylor’s music as they seem to keep happening for me. This is why pop music is important. These teenage fans might be the ones that support your favorite band in 10 years, because Taylor taught them how to really connect with a song. Just don’t be surprised if they’re still singing along to “Fifteen,” too…that formative song bond is a hard one to break. Mary Chapin Carpenter taught me how to let a song crawl into my insides and make its home when I was 15 years old…and I’m glad she opened that space so all these new songs including Taylor’s get to come in, too.

And then we all danced everything bad out of our system and kept all the good…we’ll all be buzzing on this show for a good while to come, I imagine.


1 Response to Taylor Swift Makes It Matter


Sunday Selections: October 30, 2016 – Country Universe

October 30th, 2016 at 6:05 pm

[…] and how they transform the way a person responds to music over the course of their lifetime in a review of a recent Taylor Swift concert. She focuses on Swift’s hit “Fifteen” and draws a parallel to how she responded […]

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