Written for my free-lance gig...
I’m not ashamed to admit my first concert was New Kids on the Block at the Missouri State Fair. I can’t remember much about that night, but I have grown to love concerts. My two daughters, ages nine and seven, have watched me for years get ready for concerts, and have begged to go with me. When I first heard that Taylor Swift would be coming to Kansas City, I knew immediately: this would be their first concert. Tickets were purchased in February, and the girls flipped out when we gave them the tickets. All through the spring and summer, talk of the concert would creep into our conversations. ”I wonder what songs she is going to sing” or “I wonder what Taylor is going to wear” was frequently heard. Her latest CD, “Speak Now,” was purchased, and listened to repeatedly on our family road trip, and even my husband knew all the lyrics by the time we returned home.
Finally, Saturday, September 24 arrived. Weather was perfect for an outdoor concert at Arrowhead. Our group of seven girls and four moms met for some pictures and a quick dinner, then headed out. When got out of the car, the littlest ones began screaming in excitement, and didn’t stop for quite a while. I had not planned on buying shirts for my girls, but the other five purchased shirts, so I shelled out the $50 for two. We headed up the ramp—up and up and up the spiral, concrete ramp to the upper level of Arrowhead. When we walked through the concourse to the seats, the look on the girls’ face, to see all of Arrowhead in front of them, was enough to make ticket price worth it.
Through the opening acts, we took pictures, ate cotton candy, talked with friends, and waited anxiously for Taylor Swift to come out on stage. It was worth the wait when Swift came out in a gold dress, fringes spinning as she sang “Sparks Fly” At this point, my daughters were standing on their seats, screaming and singing as loud as they could.
Swift’s show was not just her and her guitar—she brought a whole crew of dancers and actors so there was always something to look at. The girls were mesmerized by the dancers hanging suspended in air, by the wedding dress of the bride in “Speak Now”, and by the giant bells that popped up from below the stage then slowly raised to the ceiling for “Haunted”. Their favorite part was the mime on stage, pushing a broom and making lights turn on before she performed “Mine.” My daughters noted every costume change; there were 10 during her 17 songs. All of the “side shows” did not detract from Swift’s performance but added a visual element to keep the audience entertained.
As this was Swift’s first stadium tour, she seemed to be in awe of the crowd. Several times throughout the night, Swift repeated “I can’t believe 50,000 people paid to see me sing,” and she also appeared to have tears in her eyes as she looked around the stadium. Call me naïve, but Swift appeared to be genuinely shell-shocked at her success in selling out a stadium. Most of the 50,000 fans were young girls and their mom’s (with a few dads, boyfriends, or little brothers scattered throughout) and they sang along with her on every song for two hours and fifteen minutes.
Swift ended the show with two favorites. “Fifteen” was performed in a large cream-colored ball gown from a velvet couch, and for the crowd-favorite “Love Story,” she was carried over the audience in a balcony. My girls did not take their eyes off her while she floated over the crowd. It was a stunning finale to a show full of story-telling songs.
Like Swift, my daughters seemed in awe by the stadium and the entire atmosphere of a big name concert. Just judging from this one experience, I would say they are hooked as well. In the middle of the concert, my seven-year-old suddenly gave me a huge hug and said, “Mom, thank you for the tickets and the t-shirt.” She also did not take her t-shirt off for three days.