My daughter is a fan of Taylor Swift. She loves her music and knows all of her songs. She wasn’t a super Swiftie, but when she heard last fall that Taylor was going on tour she wanted to get a ticket. She looked into the pre-sale tickets and found them for $150 each. The cost of concert tickets in general have gone up significantly in the past few years and we also couldn’t think ahead nine months to when the concert would be. So we made a fatal error and told her to wait. Little did we know that the prices for tickets to this show would rise so quickly or that there would be a major fiasco with scalpers buying tickets to jack up the prices so much.
We put it aside and didn’t think about it for a few months and then Taylor began her Eras Tour. Along with her friends, my daughter started getting excited about the idea of going to her concert. We had a budget for what we would allow her to spend on a ticket and there wasn’t a single ticket that fit in that budget. These tickets became one of the most expensive concert tickets in history. I couldn’t quite make sense of it. Why did it cost so much? Why was the fandom for her so big? I’m not a huge fan of hers. I appreciate her talent, her dedication and her endurance (she sang over 40 songs for over three hours) but her songs just don’t resonate with me the same way that they move so many others.
A week before the concert was coming to LA, I took a road trip with my daughter and her friend. On the way they began playing Taylor Swift and as song after song played, I listened intently to the lyrics and the music. I knew many more of the songs than I thought, I even knew enough words to sing along with the girls. I just didn’t feel swept away the same way some music can do that for people. I am in the minority there though as so many people are smitten by her, so many! Even as someone not super into Taylor, it was impossible not to feel her influence over the city as she started her tour. Every post on Facebook and Instagram had photos of people at the show. Every comment under the photos was about how there weren’t enough words to describe the experience of going to this show. Parents who took their kids said they were in awe as they watched torn between keeping their eyes on Taylor or on their kids faces as they watched Taylor. Friends that weren’t into Taylor went along with their kids and came out a fan. It was hard not to wonder if I was missing something.
I watched all week as my daughter tried desperately to find available tickets, but there were a lot of people also looking for tickets and a lot of scalpers taking advantage of that. The prices just kept going up, while the possibility of her getting a ticket went down. My husband drove her down on the last night of the concert. Trying to keep her expectations in check we told her the chance of getting a ticket was a pretty big long shot. We did say though that there was a good chance that if they got close to the stadium then maybe they could still hear some of it from the outside. That wasn’t what she wanted to hear, but I knew that she knew the window of opportunity for seeing this concert was practically closed. She got all dressed up, put on sparkly make up, and left with her one friendship bracelet that she made. They got down to the stadium and gave it their best shot to get in. There were definitely some tears at the realization that the mind boggling, life changing experience that all of her friends were all still glowing from wasn’t going to be experienced by her. She then literally turned herself around and joined the thousands of people who parked themselves as close to the stadium on blankets and folding chairs to experience the concert from the outside. Was it everything she hoped to see? No – but was it magical, yes! People from all walks of life, all around LA joined together to listen to the music, and absorb the energy that vibrated from the stadium. Together, they sang, danced and came together joyfully. The concert tour has brought in over five billion dollars, only a privileged few can afford to get that ticket, and despite not loving Taylor Swift, she is bringing people together in a way that we all so badly need. I have seen photos of Beatlemania, I have lived through the storms of desperation in the eighties for a Cabbage Patch Kid and have seen people on the brink of their sanity for the second coming of Christ. This Taylor Swift phenomenon is up there with those. Despite the craziness that comes with fandom, she is bringing a lot of sweetness that has been missing for a while now. Even on the outside of the concert my daughter was asked to trade friendship bracelets, just a sweet trend that comes with a Taylor concert. I know that the production of this concert was something spectacular to see, but so was what was happening just outside its doors. We just didn’t have to take out a second mortgage on the house to experience it.