Tuesday, July 23, 2013


i don't stay up until 2am the way i used to.  i used to be able to wake up the next day almost as if nothing had happened.  now, it takes me about 4 days to recover. 

that's why i'm just getting around to writing now.

yes, friday night i was in philadelphia with Shannon to see taylor swift's "red" tour, and it was, in a word, swift-tacular

now, let's get one thing straight here: i am not a swiftie, at least not in the common vernacular.  if i was unsure about this before the concert, i am quite clear now.  there is definitely some celebrity worship going on when it comes to taylor swift: girls of nearly ever age dressing like her, professing their unabashed love, and screaming their faces off at every mention of her name.  there were even men, wearing taylor swift t-shirts, painting their faces, and generally losing their minds.  this is not me.  i can't tell you her shoe size or her hairdresser's name.  but i can tell you this: i like many of her songs.  i think some of the way she chooses to write about relationships, about pain in the midst of love, about longing and heartache and even joy in love.  she writes far beyond her 22 years, it seems to me, and there's a part of me that would have loved to see her sit down on a stool with an acoustic guitar and play for an hour and a half, just her and her sweet voice with her guitar.  it would have been a better way, i think, to tell the story of many of her songs. 

but, given who she is right now, that kind of concert isn't likely to happen.  she is, after all, an entertainer.  and boy did this show entertain.  complete with fireworks, multiple stages, rotating stages.  flying light-up drums and drummers, confetti, more screens than the tv section in a best buy, and enough costume changes to make your head spin.  it was like cirque du soleil went country-pop, and the crowd ate it up.  speaking of the crowd, there were some 50,000 of us there at lincoln financial field, on a hot sticky july night, with another 50,000 expected to fill the same seats the next night.  i'd say taylor is entertaining herself right to the bank. 

so, while i might have wished for more stripped-down music, i certainly wasn't disappointed with what I got: a spectacular visual experience.  she sang her heart out.  she demonstrated her musical talent, playing banjo, guitar, piano, and even moving to a stage at the back of the stadium ("i wondered if it was okay if i came back here and said hello to all you in the back, philadelphia....") to play a few acoustic songs, joined at one point by tourmate ed sheeran for "everything has changed" (one of my favorites).  there was quite a bit of dancing, and many - or most - of the songs had a story to tell, from the 60's diva feel of "you belong to me" to the "chicago-esque" old-timey newspaper feel of "lucky one," to the dance club/high school feel of "22."  it was all a spectacle, and one that required so much synchronization and choreography, it is a wonder to see all the moving parts come together in a way that looked and sounded great. 

i was happy that she did my favorite song: "all too well," in a slightly different way, at the piano, with over the top dramatics.  i loved it.  overall, we had a great time, despite the fact that shannon had a killer sinus infection that was threatening to ruin the whole experience (thankfully, the advil kicked in at just the right time, though we missed almost all of the opening acts).  we parked at a train station in a north philly suburb, took the train in to the city, then a subway to the linc.  on the way home we missed our train (5 minutes late), so we had to wait an hour for the next one, all the while convinced that our van was going to get towed from the train station, since we had parked directly in front of the station (i could have spin on the train from where i parked), and didn't pay a cent for it.  however, when the train pulled in around 1am, we stepped off the train and right into our van, so all was well.  side note: the kind people of philadelphia's public transportation system (SEPTA) were incredibly nice and helpful.  it hurts me to say this, since i have no great (brotherly) love for that city, but i must admit that our experience with there on friday night showed us a city with a great deal of kindness.  well done, philadelphia. 

so, in the end, we had a blast.  we are glad we got to see her in concert, and we will not soon forget the show she put on. someday, though, i hope to catch her in a smaller venue, maybe when she's older and wiser and some new "lucky one" is filling stadiums, and i can hear taylor sing some of her songs with the intimacy and focus they warrant. 

here is a video composed of 5 short videos shannon took from the show.  they aren't very good (an iphone doesn't do great in a stadium full of 50,000 people, intense noise levels, and bright strobing lights), however, they remind us of the show we enjoyed, so deal with it.

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