1989 – Not Just My Mom’s Graduation Year!

Never in my wildest dreams, no pun intended, would I have known that I would get Taylor Swift concert tickets because the Houston Astros are projected to make the MLB 2015 Playoffs.

I only became a Swiftie recently – as much as it pains me to say it, I used to be a Taylor-basher, spitting on a lot of her music and shaming her for having “lots of boyfriends”. But, eventually I learned the error of my ways, and soon after that I would find myself enjoying more and more of her songs.

When 1989 came around, opinions were extremely mixed – it always seemed to be a hit-or-miss, even among the fans that had been with her the longest. I can say with utmost confidence that the album won me over completely.

Unfortunately, the album worked its magic a few months after it came out in the first place. Since Taylor Swift sells out faster than you can let out a scream of angst, I was absolutely positive that I would not be able to see her on this tour.

Fast forward to Monday, September 8th… Astros headed to playoffs …… And that meant a lot of people rushing to sell their ticket’s last minute because they couldn’t make it to the September 9th show. The sudden change of schedule meant a student in my neighborhood had to give up her tickets. She had, not one, but two school papers due the day after the concert, so she simply couldn’t fit everything into her schedule.

Perks of virtual school – we don’t really have to deal with that often.

Her mom sold them to mine, and I was shocked that the concert was the very next day. I was happy about the tickets, yeah, but the absolute feeling of shock and pure excitement never got a chance to set in.

The day of the concert, I was shoved towards Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston by the several hordes of fans – never have I seen something more terrifying than thousands of people aged four to thirty completely decked-out in glitter and merch. Being inside the ballpark wasn’t much different – except the thousands of people were crammed through a much thinner space and you felt like the air was escaping from your lungs and any moment you might be crushed by hoards of tiny tutu Swifties….

As my mom and I got closer to our seats, we were able to see more and more of Shawn Mendes’s performance – did I mention we showed up later? We aren’t much of “opening band kinds of people”. In all honesty, he was average. He’s a pretty face, but he doesn’t sound much different than your Average Joe singing covers on a bar stool at the county fair when you listen to him live. His stage energy was nearly nonexistent, not that I can blame him. Being limited to his stool due to his bulky guitar, with the addition of a (almost) comically unresponsive crowd, what reason would you have to be radiating that concert vibe?

I didn’t enjoy Vance Joy at all. I was tuned out almost the entirety of his performance, and I, like a great portion of the audience, was simply there for Taylor.

I screamed of excitement and relief when Taylor finally entered the stage. It felt like the whole park changed as she came out – she radiated confidence and allure. You could see her love of performing on her face, and in the way she moved.

As Welcome To New York played, small, flickering lights began to illuminate the audience – at first it was just a few, and they were easily mistaken for the lights many people had sewn into their costumes, or taped onto their signs. As the lights spread across the audience, you could hear more squeals and shrieks of glee. Rubber wristbands that had been taped to the back of our seats were glowing to the beat of the music. Naturally, I put it on as fast as I could, so I could enjoy waving my hands around erratically like the people around me. That, plus the heavy strobe lights coming from the stage, added to The Concert Effect that was infecting us all.

I knew that Taylor would play some songs from her previous albums – what I would have never guessed before I entered was that she would sing their new “1989 Versions”. This meant Taylor singing older songs, such as Trouble, with renewed vigor and a fresh attitude that made me love 1989 in the first place.

Getting our tickets so unexpectedly and spontaneously, I had no idea that surprise guests were a thing at Taylor Swift concerts; but when she talked about someone coming to sing with her, I had thought as to who it might be. This being a Houston show, I thought it would be Beyonce.

(It wasn’t Beyonce.)

Someone I never would have guessed to take stage halfway through her concert was Wiz Khalifa. As shocked as I was, I was snapped out of my daze as Taylor began to sing Charlie Puth’s part in See You Again. The crowd fell into a lull, and I even heard a few people begin to cry. Interestingly enough, this was my second time seeing Wiz in less than two months – did I mention he played with Fallout Boy?

Through the next half of the show, she gave a stellar performance, the constant singing and dancing only being periodically interrupted by an emotional speech.

As we got closer to the end of the show, she performed Mean – I truly didn’t know what to expect; I hadn’t actually listened to the song in months, and I didn’t know how she would make it truly special. It wasn’t an overly eccentric number, and it lacked the stage effects that she had used for many other songs, but the audience was so engaged and enjoyed that she didn’t need them. Near the close of the song, before she said her last two verses, she gave the screaming fans a smirk, with her cherry red lips quirking at the ends, and a proud gleam in her eye. In that moment, I couldn’t help but truly gape in awe at her –she lived in a big ole city, and she was big enough that no one could hit her; she had accomplished what she said in the song.

She closed the show with Shake It Off, and though I wish she had closed it with something a bit more powerful, the entire venue – all forty-five thousand people – left with that fuzzy feeling in their tummy that, I’m guessing, only Taylor Swift could give. That unforgettable night, that everyone, including me, will carry forever. Especially if you’re one of the many people that paid eighty dollars for parking, yet still got their cars broken into.

That, however, is an entirely different story.image3 (1)