When I was seven years old, I won a cassette copy of Debbie Gibson’s Out of the Blue. I was, to put it mildly, obsessed with Debbie. I listened to Out of the Blue (and then Electric Youth) so much I literally wore out the tapes. I joined the Debbie Gibson International Fan Club. I took piano and voice lessons. I wrote my own songs. I dreamed of seeing her perform in person. Since this was before the internet, I found out she was touring because of an ad on the radio and I begged my mom to take me. The concert was at the Great Western Forum, then-home of the LA Lakers. I remember every. single. song. she played, and that during her encore (where she sang Electric Youth) she came out in a Lakers jersey. The year was 1989.
Annabel’s Debbie Gibson is Taylor Swift. She listens to her CDs on repeat, watches her music videos, and wants to learn all about her. When Taylor announced her tour, I made sure Santa Claus brought Annabel a ticket, because I remember how life-changing that first Debbie Gibson concert was for me.
Annabel counted down the days to the concert on her (Taylor Swift) calendar for eight long months. She woke up at the crack of dawn on concert day and picked out her outfit. She was vibrating with excitement – but honestly, I was, too.
We had tickets with Annabel’s best buddies Reilly and Isabella (and their moms!), so we all headed down to the concert together. There was a whole lot of happy in the back seat:
The concert was across the street from the Grammy museum, which currently has a large exhibit called “The Taylor Swift Experience.” We thought it would be fun to take the girls there first – a total Taylor bonanza. I forgot how awesome the Grammy Museum is – tons of hands-on stuff for adults and kids, like this cool band set-up:
The kids humored us for like five seconds before they started begging to go to the Swift exhibit, so we skipped the majority of the museum and went there. First they watched a video presentation about Taylor, including Grammy performance highlights:
Then we explored the Experience. There were lots of costumes and gowns worn by Taylor, plus some of her instruments and hand-written lyric sheets. The girls loved the interactive exhibits:
After the museum, we met up with our friend Nanette and her daughter for dinner, and then it was off to the concert!
Now personally, I would have loved to see Taylor’s two opening acts, Vance Joy and Haim, but I knew there was no way the girls would be able to sit through 90 minutes of non-Taylor music. We used that time to get snacks, buy t-shirts, and take pictures. We took our seats about ten minutes before Taylor came on and it was perfect – just enough time for everyone to put on the light-up bracelets taped to our seats (thanks, Taylor!) and smash ear plugs into the girls’ ears.
Right when the show started, we shifted seats so each girl could sit next to her mom. This proved to be a good move because while we were prepared for the girls to be overwhelmed by the volume/flashing lights/screaming, they were actually spooked by how high up our seats were. Once we promised them that they wouldn’t fall, they had a blast:
Our seats let us see the whole stage, plus the giant screens:
And of course, we could see the magical flaxen unicorn, Taylor Swift:
Taylor spoke a lot to the audience between songs, which Annabel appreciated. “Mom, I love how she talks to us, and waves to us. She knows we love her!”
This concert tour has been famous for Taylor bringing out special celebrity guests. At our show, Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black) sang a duet with Taylor, Matt LeBlanc and Chris Rock walked the “runway,” and Mary J. Blige sang two of her songs with Taylor, which just about made me leave my body. I had to laugh, though, because all the young kids around us (and there were a LOT) were like, “WHO?” every time one of the special guests came out. Ah, Youths.
As for the much-buzzed-about video interludes (where Taylor’s famous supermodel and actress pals talk about what a great friend Taylor is), I could write a thousand words about them…but when I asked Annabel what she thought about the videos, she said, “I liked them because Taylor and her friends said friendship is so important, and my friends are so important to me.” If that’s the message Swift is selling (and I think that’s her intention), these girls are buying it – and I’m okay with that.
Three days later and Annabel is still totally on a high from the concert. Taylor’s albums are on a constant rotation, and Annabel has started begging us for guitar lessons (she’s already written half a dozen songs since Saturday). With school starting tomorrow (!!!), I don’t know if this is a request that will withstand the shock of the elementary school routine, so we’ll see. But if it does, I’ll be happy to help foster an interest in music.
Oh, and the concert was held at the Staples Center, the now-home of the LA Lakers – and the name of the tour is “The 1989 Tour.” The Concert Gods work in mysterious ways.