Monday, July 18, 2011

Speak now

No, not one of my pictures - I only wish I was so close!
"15,000 of you chose to spend your Saturday night with me.. I like that story."

Last night - July 16th - I had the pleasure of seeing Taylor Swift live in Toronto for her Speak Now World Tour.  My good friend Amy had an extra ticket and invited me to the concert; while I would say that I am just a casual fan of Taylor Swift (I'm not a fifteen year old girl so I don't exactly relate sometimes), I didn't want to pass up the chance of attending the concert, and I'm glad I did.

I've only been to three concerts in my life.  I've seen Lady Gaga, Lady Gaga, and Lady Gaga.  It was definitely a different experience this time - same venue, still in the 300 level as I'm so used to, similarly oriented stage, sure - but coming off of only having seen such a theatrical show as I'm used to with Gaga, seeing Taylor Swift was a nice change.  Instead of Gaga's New York inspired buildings with signs like "What the fuck have you done?" and "Injured children," Taylor performed on a stage with a fairytale looking bridge with animated backgrounds; there were no elaborate dance routines or club banging songs - instead, the 21 year old ran around onstage with her guitar and banjo in cowboy boots and colourful dresses while belting out songs like Mean (it was awesome) and You Belong With Me (awesome) and Better Than Revenge (really awesome) and Dear John (the seven minute song that usually makes me want to slowly kill myself but yet, still, sang and performed very well).

With a second, smaller stage across the arena, Taylor jumped down into the crowd and - get this - stopped to hug everyone along the way.  I envy the two guys who hugged her, both obviously the type who would never admit to being at a Taylor Swift concert, but who were decked out in Taylor t-shirts all the same and who gave each other a massive high five after she left them.  A massive lit up tree came down from the ceiling onto the smaller stage; she sat on it with her guitar, and as it slowly revolved she sang her song Fearless while mashed-up with Jason Mraz's I'm Yours on her ukelele before "testing" us on our Canadian music by singing some Avril Lavigne, Nelly Furtado and urgh Justin Bieber.  It sent the girls into a frenzy, anyhow.  Back and forth she ran with high energy before ending the show with Fifteen while on an oversized couch and Love Story where she floated around the arena on a small balcony platform.

Did I stick out?  Absofuckinglutely.  Guys my age were sparce throughout our section, but as I listened hard enough, I could hear them singing along as loud as I was.  (provided I knew the words - at most I knew all of the choruses to her songs) As I've already mentioned, I'm not exactly Taylor Swift's target audience; the crowd was made up of teenage girls with homemade painted teachers and mothers with their daughters.  If anything, seeing her live has given me a new found respect for her: judging by her televised performances she isn't technically the greatest singer in the world, and I too can admit that because at times she's made me cringe.  I often argued that her songwriting abilities was her strong suit, and I can only attest to that more after the concert.  I speak the truth when I say that live, her voice astounded me.  I never expected her to be as great as she was; filled with energy, she was pitch perfect.  Her personality is absolutely infectious, too, and I couldn't help but smile every time she stopped mid sentence and looked out into the crowd with her eyes shining and genuine smile spreading across her face.  This girl is down to earth and is truly astounded by the amount of fame and fandom she has and damnit she's beautiful and I want to hug her and to marry her.

I know many people who hate Taylor Swift.  I realize that she's the kind of person who you either love or hate.  After seeing her live, I can honestly say to the people who close-mindedly hate her because "she sucks live" or "her songs are annoying" that she is actually talented.  Those same close-minded people are probably thinking to themselves "uh-huh" as they read that, and honestly, there's nothing much I can say to convince them otherwise.  I'm more of a believer after the live experience.  There's more talent and great music outside of the genres you deem to yourself to be good.  It's undeniable that Taylor Swift is a force to be reckoned with, and I doubt she's going anywhere.  As my dad always says, "it's only a matter of time before she whores out," but I can honestly say that when you see her almost break into tears every time she had to stop due to the audience being way too loud, you'll see how good her heart actually is.

All in all, I had a fantastic time and I'm glad I was able to witness such a radically different concert experience than what I was used to.  The energy of being in a crowd was still as powerful as ever, and being there made me miss the whole concert experience.  Damnit, Gaga, get your Born This Way Ball the fuck on the road and come back to Toronto!

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