Taylor Swift. She is one of the most famous people in America now, and she isn’t even 30. Here are some remarkable facts about her: (a) Rolling Stone, a magazine that used to write about music, called Taylor one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time in 2015; (b) she has received 10 Grammys, six Guinness World Records, one Emmy, 23 Billboard Music Awards, 12 Country Music Association Awards, and one partridge in a pear tree; (c) Swift has sold a ton of music - 40 million albums and 130 million single downloads; and (d) Taylor was one of Time's 100 most influential people in the world (2010 and 2015), Forbes' top-earning women in music (2011–2015), Forbes' 100 most powerful women (2015), and Forbes Celebrity 100 (2016). Wowza. And this data all appears to stop around 2016 – I’m sure she has added to this since then.
I actually like Taylor Swift. I’m not sure I like her enough to go out and pay big bucks to see her perform in an 80,000 seat stadium, but I like her enough to go see her in an 80,000 seat stadium when some freebie tickets came my way. I’m partial to the early part of her career, and songs like Our Song, Love Story and You Belong With Me. Her later pop blends in with the other massive amount of pop washing up on the shores of commercial radio, and half the time I’m not even aware that it’s a Taylor Swift song that is playing. But in America, I’m in the minority in that lack of knowledge, and when in a crowd of women, I’m the only one that doesn’t realize that Taylor Swift wrote and performed that song.
I will give TS this: she is remarkably talented, and she has come a long way in a short time. Her earliest songs were plaintive country songs told from the heart of a teenager. Since I haven’t developed emotionally since I was 17, those songs worked for me. But Taylor developed as a writer and performer, and was soon churning out huge pop hits, like I Knew You Were in Trouble, We Are Never Getting Back Together and Shake It Off. Danceable with a big beat, many of her latest tunes are a continent away from her early country songs. In fact, it’s hard to call her a country performer anymore.
That was certainly evident at MetLife. This was the prototypical big stadium pop performance, with lots of stage lights, fireworks and combustibles, huge props, multiple stages (albeit with a different way of being transported from stage to stage than other acts I’ve seen), and the ubiquitous lighted wristbands for every fan. Taylor wore a lot of leotard outfits showing off long legs and boots, and she pranced around with backup dancers/singers and a very tight band. It was far from a country show.
You have to like a performance that starts with Joan Jett’s burner Bad Reputation being pumped into the stadium. I always liked that tune. Maybe it’s true that Taylor doesn’t care about her reputation (although the media frenzy that surrounds her every move says otherwise), but I like someone who at least makes the case that they don’t give a damn. Following that, it was all TS and her repertoire.
Oh, and did I mention that it was pouring rain the entire show long? Lovely, right? But the rain didn’t stop Swift from going all out and playing her entire staged show for the adoring fans who sang, danced, jumped, bounced and stayed during the entire performance. It was impressive both on Taylor’s part and on the fans’ part. And Swift made the comment that she loved playing in the rain and that those attending were the best of fans. You do have to admire people willing to stand in the rain for hours, but then again, TS isn’t modest about what she charges those fans to see her live performances. If you had laid down the bucks necessary, you would come rain or shine, too.
The crowd was adoring. They knew every word, sang, danced and cheered like crazy. It was fun to be in a crowd that enthusiastic. For me, the best moments were a medley of three early hits, and Shake It Off. Those also seemed to be the highlights for the crowd, particularly the medley. It’s been a while since I felt a stadium shake (RFK Stadium back in the day used to ROCK), but when TS asked the crowd to jump and bounce, well, the stadium did it, too. That was cool.
Taylor had an interesting transport mechanism for getting from the main stage to the smaller alternate stage in the other end zone. It moved like one of those stadium cameras that is above the playing field, but instead had a cherry-picker kind of bucket where Taylor stood. It also lighted up. I have a couple of pictures, but they aren’t that great.
I brought the GoPro and caught two songs. I posted them on the BRP YouTube channel and was going to provide the links so that you could enjoy. But in about 12 hours, those videos were gone. TS doesn’t mess around with this kind of stuff, I guess. It’s a bummer because I don’t have any advertisements on the BRP website, so there isn’t any money being made here. I don’t know what YouTube does with the BRP channel but I guess they put advertising with everything. Regardless, it’s a formidable policing of social media that pulls down videos in less than 24 hours. Rather than putting up the BRP videos, I’ll put up a couple of official TS videos so that we can all be sure that she collects every penny to which she is entitled.
The other pictures that I took show a giant inflatable snake. There was one at each stage. They were interesting stage props. That’s all I’ll say about them.
Enough of Taylor Swift. There has been an ocean of ink spilled on the little girl from Reading, PA who grew up to have one of the biggest musical careers ever. She is so talented and seems like a nice person to boot (the video takedown, however, is out there revealing another part of her personality). Who knows how she truly is, but she’s a human, just like us, and has a lot to digest and deal with that none of us can fully appreciate. And fame hit her when she was just a teenager. I think she’s done pretty well handling all of it. A tip of the cap, and we move on.
What’s next? Well, another short thing on a Main Line venue, and then who knows? I’ve got some shows coming up in September that should be fun, one nostalgic and one very new and cutting edge. And maybe a third if I get around to finally buying the darn tickets. I’ve also got about 4 rock books to get through, one on Tom Petty, one on Clarence Clemons, and a few others that should be fun. I hope you are living your life and making the most of it. OK, now put your hands in the middle, and on 3, we all yell “BRP.” Ready? 1 -2 – 3….
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.