Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Taylor Swift Concert

**This should really be called The Taylor Swift Concert: With Several Mentions of Heffron Drive.  My niece has fallen in love with them  (particularly with Kendall Schmidt), and everything in the universe gets compared to them.**

I'm terribly overdue with this, I realize.  It's been a month since I surprised my niece by taking her to the Taylor Swift concert at MetLife Stadium, and I'm only just now getting around to discussing it here.  My niece and nephew were here for about 6 weeks visiting, and all of my time went to hanging out with them, as it should.  You, Friends, got put on hold.

First, I totally surprised her!  I did not tell her about it until the night before the concert.  For all of the elaborate plans I tried to come up with, I ended up just giving her a picture from a magazine and telling her it was a clue to her surprise.  Watch the reveal here!  (If you're wondering about the hugging comment, I had already taken her to see and meet Heffron Drive, and Kendall stole her heart.  There's a blog post.)

I had mentioned in a previous post that my friend was also coming to the concert with us.  We headed out to her house, as we had a car take us down to the concert. Honestly, that was probably the best possible way to get there.  I would, no doubt, have gotten lost trying to follow the GPS, and we didn't have to worry about parking.  We just got dropped off and picked up.  It also meant that I only had to do a short drive when we got home around 2:30 am, which was awesome.

The surprise twist to our concert adventure was that my friend was now on crutches.  She was such a freaking trooper through the whole thing!  The staff at the stadium could not have been nicer from the moment we arrived -- they got us a shuttle to the stadium from the drop off so she didn't have to walk, we got an elevator up to our floor in the stadium, they kept offering her a wheelchair -- they really tried to make it as easy on her as possible.

Remember how I was worried that we would be in the nose-bleed section and Lili (my niece) would be disappointed?  We so totally were, but she was too happy to care.  I actually think it was pretty cool.  Granted the stage looked tiny from where we were seated, but they have the big screens to watch.  However, we could pretty much see the entire stadium.  It really gave you the feeling of just how enormous the place is, and how many people were there.  Also, no obstructed views from that height.  We were literally 7 rows from the top of the stadium.

That's right, folks -- seven rows between us and the top!

Beautiful day with a nice view.

I will say this:  I don't know that anyone with a fear of heights would be remotely comfortable sitting up there.  You can kind of tell from the picture of the seats, but it has a pretty steep pitch.  I can see it freaking people out, thinking they would fall over the edge.  The stairs also made things interesting for my friend and her crutches.  She actually had to go back down to the floor before the concert ended as she was worried about negotiating the stairs in the dark with people crowding to get out when the concert ended.  I think that was a wise decision.  

And then the concert finally started!  

First up: 

I tried to get a picture of the stage, but we were way too far away for that to come out clearly.

Lili freaked out, and immediately started messaging her friends.  Apparently one of them loves Shawn Mendes a lot.  He was really good, and Lili was singing along with the songs she knew.  

Next up:

Vance Joy

Lili:  Aunt Tammy, is he going to play Riptide?
Me: I'm sure he will, Lil.  It's a big hit.


Lili:  Okay, when is he going to play it?  It's been like 2 songs now!
Me:  Calm yourself.  You should know this song, it's on the radio too.  I'm sure he'll play Riptide at some point.


Lili:  *practically spazzing at this point*  What if he doesn't play it?  I love that song!  When is he going to play it?!
Me:  I'm not psychic, Lil.  Just chill out.  He's probably saving it for the last song -- go out with a big finish.


Lili:  Riptide!!  YES!!!!!

At this point, I was kind of floored by the number of seats that were still empty.  

Those are a lot of empty seats, and they weren't cheap.  The whole floor area looked like that, even while Vance Joy was performing.  

Maybe all of those people were coming from work, stuck in traffic or something.  Maybe they were off getting food or souvenirs.  

I don't get it.  To me, if you are going to a concert, you go to the concert.  The whole thing.  It's fun! You get to hear the music, see all of the performances.  Why the hell would you spend the money and not be there to experience it?  These are pretty big name musicians who get played on the radio all of the time!  Why would you miss out on the opportunity to see them live?

Maybe they only wanted to see Taylor Swift and didn't care about the opening acts.  If that's the case, we obviously do not dwell in the same financial bracket.  My tickets were not cheap -- I can only imagine how much it cost to sit that close to the stage.  If you are willing to drop that much cash and then only show for one act?  I can't relate.  

Also, I think it is kind of rude to the musicians who are performing.  The stadium is huge, and even with all of the visibly empty seats, there were probably hundreds -- if not thousands -- of people there at that point.  (I think the news said later that it sold out to 60,000 people.)  I just think it must be a bit disheartening to go out on stage and see all of those empty chairs.  

Not that it is a remotely comparable situation, but I can remember playing a marching band competition in high school at Giants Stadium.  It was so exciting to know that I was on the same field that I saw on television during football games.  We were always in the last group to go, late at night, as we were one of the biggest (size-wise) bands.  I can remember looking at the stands thinking there was really no one there, and it was disappointing.  I found out later there were a few thousand people there, but it looked like nothing compared to the number of empty seats.  Yeah.  So, not at all the same thing, but it made me feel bad that there were so many empty seats during the first two performances.  I hope they didn't feel that way when they were on stage. It was probably a much different perspective from their point of view.

But I digress.  End of rant.

Next to take the stage:


I enjoyed their performance.  I had never heard any of their music before, but they were good.  That didn't seem to be the feeling shared by most of the people in my section.

Lili:  They said it was going to be a jam session.  What's a jam session?
Me:  It's when musicians get together and just rock out, just see where the music takes them.  It's not necessarily individual songs.  

After about 10 minutes....

I see Lili getting out her headphones.

Me:  What's up, Lil?  
Lili:  Yeah, I'm not feeling this.  I've got my headphones.  I'm just going to watch and listen to Heffron Drive until Taylor Swift comes out.
Me:  Okay, honey.  Do what you have to do.

There was a little girl with her mother and grandmother sitting in the row in front of us.  She was there as a surprise for her birthday.  (We'd been chatting earlier.)  The girl was sitting on her mother's lap with her hands over her ears.  Many other people were just sitting and talking, taking selfies -- not a lot of people were paying attention to the band.

They were good.  I don't mean to sound like I am bashing Haim at all.  I really enjoyed their performance.  I don't think they were successful with the younger part of the audience.  Their sound is very different from the previous artists.  

On to the main event:

First song of the evening

When we entered the stadium we were given these white bracelets.  We had no idea what they were for, and were joking about them tracking us so no one got lost, and generally wondering what purpose they served.  Turned out to be a really cool purpose.  As you can see in the video, at times the whole audience seems to flash white.  They bracelets were synced up to the concert, and would flash different colors during Taylor Swift's entire performance.  

That's Lili, rocking out with her bracelet all aglow.

Our view of the stage.

She brought out a surprise guest in the middle of her set!  I was excited, and Lili about lost her damn mind.

Yeah, that's right.  Awesome!

Taylor Swift was incredible!  She was on stage for at least 3 hours.  She brought out the Women's National Soccer team, fresh from their parade in NYC that morning!  She had some of her friends from her Bad Blood video on stage during the song -- in the costumes they wore in the video!  Part of the freaking stage spun around at one point.  

Pretty impressive view from our seats!

There was one point in the evening where I got worried for a moment.  When she started to sing Blank Space, people lost their damn minds!  They were jumping around and dancing so much that the entire freaking section we were sitting in was vibrating and shaking -- more so than at any previous point.  I remember thinking, "We are seven rows from the top of this fucking stadium.  This is not going to end well if the damn thing collapses."  I had to remind myself that many other events had taken place here, and everything was fine.  That the stadium was designed and built to handle this kind of thing.   And then my brain, being the slightly warped creature that it is, felt the need to point out that we were only seven rows from the top, and we would be a lot better off than the people below us who would be getting flattened like pancakes.  I'm just a ray of freaking sunshine sometimes.  Obviously, since I am here writing this and there were no reports on the news of a tragedy occurring at the concert, everything was fine.  If you had felt that thing shaking and vibrating like that?  You might have had a moment of doubt, too.

And then it was over.  It was a fantastic experience!  Taylor Swift puts on one hell of a show.  As we made our way back home I tried to get a picture of the NY skyline.  Our driver was so nice, he even pulled over so I could get a better shot.

The view was much better in person.

It was the perfect end to a great night!

We got home around 3am.  Everyone had a good time.  

Lili was thrilled.  She even made a playlist of all the songs from all of the performers at the concert.

I have to say though, as much as she loved it, Heffron Drive was still her favorite concert.  I had bought her an autographed cd at the concert, which she made us listen to any time we rode in the car. She also has it on her iPod.   My nephew, who is 8, now knows the words to all of their songs.  He even has opinions on them, although he is far too smart to say anything that will piss his sister off too badly.  It leads to moments like, "I like Passing Time.  Logan sings it better though, no offense."  Of course Lili got all offended, and I had to point out that Austin (my nephew) was entitled to his opinion too.

The tl;dr version:  Taylor Swift is a hell of a performer.  My niece had a good time.  Did it make me the coolest Aunt ever?  No.  I already managed to do that when I took her to see and meet Heffron Drive.

But I got to have two wonderful experiences with my niece, and that is priceless.

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