Last night, 50,000 Detroiters packed into Ford Field for the Taylor Swift concert. I was there with my red-dressed daughter and I, being the uber-cool parent of course, opted not to wear red in principle. How could I be such a follower, I reasoned, as I dressed before leaving the house. I’m just the parent facilitating my daughter’s experience.
We waded through the crowds of Swift-ly dressed girls and women, bought our T-shirts in the blazing late-day sun, and found our upper bowl seats. We paid $30 for parking, untold amounts for hot dogs and sweet snacks and bottled water with the cap removed, and settled in to wait through Brett Eldredge (adorable, great voice, I liked his music), Austin Mahone (pull your pants up, kid, and wow it’s amazing how all the teenage boy bands are the same, whether from the ’80s or today), Ed Sheeran (love him) for Taylor Swift to take the stage.
All in all, it was a great night – possibly the best concert I’ve ever attended – and I’ve gone to many. It surprised me. The showmanship, the incredible costumes (yes, I surfed the iPad this morning, looking for the white shirt she wore in her opening outfit) and the sets and choreography – seriously, a spectacular show.
I’ve heard, read and observed all the fodder about Taylor Swift. But after last night, ears still ringing at 10:30 on a mellow spring Sunday, I’m sold.
How many journalists have waxed on about Taylor Swift’s propensity to write about her relationship travails? And why, exactly, do they have a problem with it?
That’s what artists do – write about their feelings, and the more tumultuous, the better. I remember being in graduate school for poetry and the poems I churned out were aching and heartfelt and full of pondering. They were great poems.
As soon as I slipped into marital bliss, well, the powerful poems just disappeared. I had life to live. I had gone through all my emotional growth and come out on the other side. It’s not very interesting to hear a song about how wonderful my husband is, or how great my kids. We as a consuming public actually hunger for that passionate complaining.
I mean, how effective or exciting would the song be if it were called, “Ok, maybe we’ll get back together if you prove you’ve changed and we stop fighting?”
Remember, those who spend their lives as critics are usually the ones who can’t do whatever they’re reviewing themselves.
There were approximately three sanctioned outfits last night:
1. Spring dresses with cowboy boots and the option of a straw cowboy hat.
2. Anything red, especially Keds (concert sponsor). And red lipstick.
3. Short shorts and sneakers. And possibly cat-ear headbands.
Fifty-thousand fans and two-thirds emulated the 22-year-old performer. What an industry! Think about the impact of this woman – she puts on a shirt, and websites promising to help you dress like Taylor Swift will tell you where to buy it. What a country we live in. I’m not sure I like it, but it sure is powerful.
Taylor Swift is a mere 22 years old. She’s the American dream – tall, thin, beautiful and talented. She dared to perform and go after her talent and it worked – she is one of the most successful performers today.
Yet she’s still a kid, really. She talked on-stage, strumming her red glittery guitar, about a realization I had years ago, that even when you’re an adult, there will always be bullies. Not everyone grows up.
She’s bullied by the media for sharing her feelings. Plenty of people in my family have voiced concern over my writing about my relationships with them – but you know, artists have the right to artistically render their experiences in this world, whether they involve others or not. If you don’t want to appear in a song by Taylor Swift, don’t date her.
One of her songs was preceded by a black-and-white (except for the red lipstick) ’20s era movie clip of Taylor Swift talking about how lonely it is to be famous. You might scrunch your nose and spit the words, “Too bad. She’s making millions every day.”
But it is lonely at the top – whether you’re a CEO or a superstar. Everybody knows you, but no one knows you. You can’t be yourself with the people who adore your image. And that is most of the world.
I don’t have a problem with Taylor Swift. In fact, I have come to admire her. She’s talented, she’s either business-savvy or smart enough to surround herself with people who are. And she sure gives good show.
Leave her alone. The loudest critics are usually the ones who are the most jealous.