As I mentioned last week, two weekends ago, I went to see Taylor Swift in concert in Chicago for her 1989 World Tour. This was the third time that I had seen Taylor live, and I knew that she was not going to disappoint.
The first time I saw Taylor Swift, she was opening for Rascal Flatts. Yes, that’s right – opening. This was back in September 2008. I mean, I liked Rascal Flatts, but the real reason I wanted to go to the concert was to see Taylor Swift. I loved and sang each one of her songs from her self-titled album. It’s crazy to think back to that because 1) Taylor was all about her country sound and 2) she didn’t have a big production. It was her singing an acoustic set with her guitar in a sparkly dress, and that was it. My how things have changed.
The second time I saw her live, it was for her Fearless tour. I went with two friends from college, and we had floor seats to see her at the CenturyTel (now CenturyLink) Center in Shreveport, which is the same place I saw her the first time. The concert was completely sold out. Taylor was still very country, and she wore tons of sparkly dresses. She opened with “You Belong With Me,” and her entire set was so incredible. She came out into the middle of the audience for a song, and it ended up being right next to us. She sang a few songs acoustically on a spinning stage just a few mere feet away from me. I left the concert feeling so happy, and I wasn’t sure there would ever be a concert that could top that one.
By the time I got to my seat for the 1989 concert, I was already on top of the world. We ended up having club seats where we had access to awesome food vendors, bathrooms and most importantly, air conditioning. Our shirts with our Bad Blood alter egos turned out so fun, and we were excited to see them glow. This was the last thing we were doing in Chicago before we all parted ways, and we knew that it was going to be epic, but I don’t think we were fully prepared.
There were three openers – Shawn Mendes, Vance Joy and Haim. I was only a little familiar with all three of them. I knew a couple songs by Shawn and Vance. I had also met Vance Joy when he was in Shreveport. The opening concert of the US leg of the 1989 tour started in Shreveport/Bossier, but I’m happy I waited to see Taylor & co in Chicago, because there’s such a huge difference in seeing a concert in a smaller city like Shreveport and at a football stadium in Chicago. It was awesome.
When Taylor came out, I was so pumped. She opened with “Welcome to New York,” and she looked flawless in her sparkly get-up. When I say I screamed every single word to every single song, I’m not exaggerating. I was surprised I even had a voice after the concert. For lack of a better term, I went ham. I was jumping up and down, screaming the words, dancing my butt off. There was a group of pre-teens to my left, and they were totally done with me. They kept switching seats so they wouldn’t have to stand next to me. I was going crazy, y’all, and I didn’t even care. At one point, I was jumping, and my left leg hit the seat in front of me. It hurt pretty bag, and I knew I was going to bruise, but I didn’t care. I still have the bruise, by the way. I wear it proudly.
The concert was almost like a therapy session for me. I’m not kidding. When the concert was through, I turned to my friends and told them that the word I was use to describe the concert was therapeutic. I’ve already written about my recent break-up and quarter-life crisis, and I’ve been in such a weird place lately. I think Taylor Swift legitimately makes people feel like she’s their friend, and I feel the same way.
Before her song “Clean,” she gave this incredible speech about how hard people are on themselves in 2015. She said we often beat ourselves up and focus on the negative things about our lives. We make mistakes, and we let them define us. We look in the mirror and hate what we see. We compare ourselves to other people, and we’re constantly battling with our self-esteem. We’re terrified of our futures. She said other people can be mean to us, but the voices inside of our heads are so much more cruel because we can’t turn them off. She told everyone to just give themselves a break and to tell the voices in your head to be nice to you. She said making mistakes doesn’t make you damaged; they make you clean.
Then of course, she went into the song, which was great, because I was already crying. Yes, crying. I know I wasn’t the only one. She really got me with the speech though because, even though she didn’t know what was going on in my life personally, she said pretty much everything that I needed to hear. Who knew that going to a Taylor Swift concert would provide so much clarity for me?
I cried during two other songs:
— This Love – I mean, I’m newly single, and this song just kind of made me think about things.
— Fifteen – She said this was the first time she sang the song on tour. She was up on the moving platform, and she sang it acoustically. The lyrics hit home a little for me for several reasons.
Anyway, as to be expected, all of Taylor’s outfit changes were incredible. I loved the light-up pink dress she wore for “How to Get the Girl.” I love the incredible versions she did of her older songs, especially “Trouble” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” I love the fact that each concert she puts on is different from the last. Yes, all of the main songs and choreography are the same, but she also adds in other songs, like she did with “Fifteen” for this particular show, and then of course, there’s the surprise guests.
I’m not going to lie, I went a little nuts when Andy Grammar came out. We all had theories of who it might be, the more exciting ones including Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga. We weren’t expecting Andy, and we all went crazy when he came out and sang “Honey, I’m Good.”
Throughout the entire show, I just felt this wave of happiness flowing through me, and that happiness resonated with me the entire three-mile (yea…three-mile) walk back to the hotel. I thought to myself that this is what true happiness feels like, and I won’t settle for anything in life that doesn’t bring me the happiness I felt at/after that concert. I know it may seem a little extreme, but I can’t explain to y’all the joy I felt there. So many feelings.
If you ever get the opportunity to see Taylor Swift in concert, whether you’re a huge fan or not, just go. It’s life-changing. I kid you not.
Have you ever seen Taylor Swift in concert? What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
All of the incredible concert photos were taken by GabboT.