I stood outside shivering, dazed and helpless at one a.m. on a Sunday in Arlington, Texas. The cause of this unfortunate circumstance? It all began with a Taylor Swift concert several hours before.
One my friends had tickets to the 1989 World Tour concert at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Being the kind soul that she is, she graciously invited me to tag along. Now not only do I love me some T-Swizzle, but I’d never been to a concert before. Obviously, she did not have to ask me twice. I planned for weeks in advance what I would record, photograph and wear. However, all the planning in the world could not have prepared me for what actually happened.
The evening started when my friend and I decided to use Uber as a ride to the concert. Neither of us wanted to deal with parking our own cars, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. The ride there was not a problem aside from traffic by the AT&T Stadium. Ideally, Uber is a pretty great concept. But in reality, I would say it only works 50 percent of the time. Of course this was my first and only use of Uber, so I suppose my limited exposure doesn’t count for much.
I was clueless as to what the atmosphere would be like when we arrived. I had previously been to a few scattered Christian music “concerts,” but those were mostly short performances on something that only resembled a stage. Therefore, I don’t count those as “real” concerts.
When we arrived at the stadium, I was thoroughly impressed by the outfits worn by the fans. I pride myself in a rather extensive memory of Taylor’s lyrics, but the detailed signs and outfits I saw put any fan pride I have to shame. I’m not sure where people find the time and money to invest into such elaborate expressions of admiration, but I hold major respect for their commitment.
After wandering around for a while, my friend and I finally settled into our seats among the 60,000 used that night. From the moment that I entered the stadium, to the end of the concert, there is but one word to describe how I felt:
I started listening to Swift when I was in eighth grade, and I haven’t stopped since. It seems like a lot of girls are listening to Swift in eighth grade still, because a majority of her fan base at the concert was less than five feet tall. I was smack dab in the middle of two majority age groups of people at the concert: adolescent girls ranging from four to sixteen, and the parents escorting them.
I’m not sure which was more entertaining, watching Taylor Swift perform, or the facial expressions of pure boredom on the dads.
I suppose my fan-girl level was fairly average during the concert.
Did I scream and clap when Tay Bæ came on stage? You bet I did.
Did I sing/shout every lyric to every song she sang? Absolutely.
Did I cheer with the rest of the crowd as they roared every time Swift did anything? Yup.
Did I cry, wear a crazy outfit or buy anything at the stadium to commemorate that night? No. My appreciation for someone who can entertain well only goes so far.
Taylor is a great entertainer and I very much enjoyed myself during the performance. She sang all but one of the songs from her new album, and five songs from past albums. There was even a guest appearance by Ellie Goulding! It was a marvelous first concert.
After the concert ended around 11 p.m., my friend and I walked to a restaurant to get distance from the stadium before we contacted Uber. We grabbed some food and waited out the initial onslaught of 60,000 fans leaving. At 11:40 p.m., we attempted to set up a ride. By this point, both of us noticed that our phone batteries were running perilously low. All of the videos and pictures I had planned pre-concert? Not an option anymore. We were able to set up a ride, but right before we were supposed to be picked up, Uber cancelled our ride. With three percent of battery on my friend’s phone, and 10 percent on mine, we did not possess enough phone life to set up another Uber. Instead, we frantically began calling friends in an attempt to find a ride. By 12:15 a.m., we found someone 40 minutes away to come pick us up. Forty-five minutes later our friend went to the wrong address, and the restaurant had closed.
So there I was, stranded outside in Arlington in the wee hours of the morning. Not exactly the concert experience I had imagined for myself.
After about 10 minutes of waiting outside in the cold, our friend showed up and we were finally homeward bound.
Looking back, I can laugh about it. Well, I mean I laughed during it because the entire situation seemed straight out of a coming-of-age film. Typically things like this are supposed to happen to sixteen-year-olds attending concerts, not to people in their twenties who are supposed to have their lives somewhat together.
Oh well, I suppose my very first concert experience wouldn’t have been complete without some sort of adventure.