I'm 44 years old...and I love me some Taylor Swift. Always have and always will. And sitting at her sold-out Verizon Center show on Saturday night, I was as excited and anxious for her to come out on that stage as the tweener next to me, dressed in red with "13" written all over her arms and face. The concert itself was everything I had expected - and more. I'll get to that in a bit. I had heard that a Taylor show is like a Broadway production. And that is totally an accurate description. The sets, the lights, the dancing, the costume changes...it was all so exhilarating! But two things really struck me: the young girls who spent hours on their outfits for the show, and the signs they brought with them - they were all incredibly ornate with twinkling christmas lights and sequins and feather boas...it was obvious that these were true labors of love for these gals who were seeing their idol that night; and also (and I'm not ashamed to admit that this brought me to tears), I was absolutely blown away by how Taylor connected with every one of the 14,000 fans in that venue. As she sat alone on stage with just her guitar and spoke to the crowd in between songs, I felt like I was listening to my best friend reveal her innermost feelings. It was so intimate and personal...and GENUINE. What was also genuine was meeting Taylor. I was lucky enough to get to go backstage for a meet & greet - Taylor hugged me, as she did every one there, and even told me my hair looked pretty (me! getting complimented by one of the most stunning women in the world!!!). And let me say that the Taylor I met over the weekend - a 22-year old who buys $17-million mansions and is one of biggest superstars on the planet - is the same Taylor I met when she was 16 and playing for the first time in DC - sweet, gracious, polite, humble, down-to-earth...fame has not changed her. She made an impression on me back then - because a few weeks after that show, she sent me a hand-written note to thank me for coming out to introduce her on stage. I've been in radio for 23 years and no other artist has EVER done that. And she made an impression on me Saturday night - both on stage and back stage.
Taylor gets alot of flack for her song's subject matter. She writes about her feelings. I ask, what the heck is wrong with that? She wants to find love. So did I, all my life. If I had the talent, and could have written a song to express how I was feeling inside during that search, I sure would have. And she's been getting grief for 'not being Country anymore', for crossing over to Pop. Again I ask...so what? A lot of Country artists get played on radio stations of other formats and no one gives them a hard time. I myself happen to listen to and like a lot of Pop music - does this make me not a true Country fan? Am I being disloyal to Country by not listening to it exclusively? I also like Alternative, Classical, New Age, Big Band, Jazz music...the list goes on. The point I'm trying to make is...my music tastes have evolved as I have gotten older...as has Taylor's musical style. And I just don't get what's so wrong with that and why so many people hate on her, especially on social media.
All I know is...I will never forget what I witnessed on Saturday night. The love the fans have for her and the love she has for us. And how for 2 solid hours, she let us into her heart and into her soul - and put on a show that she poured her heart, soul, sweat and tears into. Taylor Swift deserves every single "Entertainer Of The Year" Award she ever has won and ever will win.
*******And here's what Loyal Listener Judy wrote me in response...thanks, Judy!!!!
I read your message on the WMZQ website about your experience seeing Taylor Swift over the weekend and I just had to respond! As a 45-year old mother of two, I am a complete, avid fan of Taylor’s. I’ve seen her in concert twice (although not this year) in DC, and wholeheartedly agree with every statement you make. Taylor is so completely genuine and sincere every minute she is on stage and seems to follow through on talk shows, awards shows or wherever she is in the public eye. While I’ve not had the chance to go backstage and meet Taylor (I’m green with envy!), I feel like I already know her, and admittedly, sometimes forget that I’m old enough to be her mother when I’m screaming as loud as the 10-year old next to me at the Verizon Center!
I find myself singing her songs and becoming more of a fan as she grows into adulthood. Someday, I am planning to take my daughter to a concert since she’s a singer and Taylor is an outstanding role model for all girls, no matter their age. My wish for Taylor is that critics would get over themselves, leave her alone, and realize that everyone changes as they grow older and mature. I’m with you – who doesn’t enjoy a variety of music genres? Taylor is spreading her wings and showing that she loves all types as well, and I love her for that!
All the best and thanks so much again for taking the time to write that blog! You really struck a chord with me.
Thanks to William, Melanie and Carl for sending in these great shots...here's a link to more from Gina.