This morning I woke up to TAYLOR SWIFT DAY! I took this occasion to wear my Taylor Swift t-shirt to school that I got on my birthday. So many kids, like Olivia, wore TSwift shirts to school and were excited about it all day long.
Mr. Hodgin and I debuted as news casters on our school's daily announcements. I think we might have to switch careers since so many people thought we did so well. A shout out to our favorite classes (aka our prep periods, announcing students of the week and a brief TSwift sing along).
I went to meet Haleigh, her mom and sisters right after school to drive downtown. After months of planning and anticipation the concert night had finally arrived. We drove to the Banker's Life Field House where we got our "Ultimate Experience" bracelets and headed down to the pre-show dinner.
We got to take photos on the Red Carpet and I ran into Allison, one of my CILTs from last summer. She and her friend came down from Chicago for the show and had made the coolest shirts we saw all night.
There was a huge dinner buffet, an ice-cream sundae bar and a whole table of candy to crazy on.
I had heard that Taylor Swift's mom would come to the event so I was on the look-out. We noticed the crowd before we found her in the middle of it. Haleigh and I ran over and patiently waited for our turn to talk to Andrea. She hugged every guest and took a picture with them. Most people said thank you and walked away but I came prepared.
I told her that I was a counselor at Camp Tecumseh, where friendship bracelets are a big deal, and that I'd made one for her and for Taylor. She asked a little more about Tecumseh and told me that it was so good that I was spending time working with kids. She never got to go to camp growing up but she's always had "summer camp envy." I told her that she's welcome to visit any time.
I brought this sign to take a picture with her holding it. She made me promise I wouldn't photo shop it to say anything bad and I promised that I was a really honest person. Then she took the whole envelope to give to Taylor--the two bracelets, a letter and the "Hi Camp Tecumseh" sign with a request for her take a picture holding it and I told her how to contact me. So, so cool to get to meet the Mom that raised TSwizzy herself.
*Now that Taylor Swift has a friendship bracelet from me in her possession the dream is that she wears it. I need all of you to be on the lookout for a red friendship bracelet on her wrist in any pictures, videos that you see and then let me know. Surely someone will be able to spot it right?
There was also a photo booth where we could take pictures (with props if we wanted) and get them printed out.
On our way to our seats we ran into Lesem. She and her friend had tickets in the pit and had already gotten spots right by the stairs that led to the catwalk where Taylor walked over and over during the show.
We found Rachel Otto, Rachel and Natalie next...
and then Olivia Odle spotted us as we walked down the stairs.
Brett Eldredge performed first. His most well known song is Don't Ya and though we didn't know any of the words he was still a really fun opener.
Julia Dewolf was in the section right beside us so we ran up the stairs to visit her, her mom and little sister. So many of my 8th grade girls were at the concert and I loved getting to experience it with them from afar and with test messages about how we were all FREAKING OUT. We passed Anna Fagin, another Camp T girl, on the way through the stands too.
Kaelyn and Sophia, two girls from my school, won pit tickets and were right on the catwalk too. They ended up getting to touch her ankle. (AHHHHHHHHH)
Next up was the one and only Ed Sheeran. We love his British accent, red hair and how he recorded and layered a song right on stage with us.
Who knew he loved the HSJH Panthers too? #jokes But really, we couldn't figure out the point of the Panther Paw.
We loved when he got everyone in the stadium to turn on their phones together. It looked like a sky full of stars in there. I was excited to hear Give Me Love and Lego House after listening to them the last couple weeks.
As the stage started to transform for the Red part of the night, we darted out for a bathroom break.
On the way we ran into the Fisk twins and then Samantha and Olivia from our school
Haleigh's parents got us incredible seats for the show. We were just a couple rows from the front left edge of the stage. It was so much closer than we had anticipated and we were so excited for the show to start we almost couldn't handle it. When the lights came down the crowd started screaming and didn't stop for the next two hours.
When the music started the silhouette of Taylor appeared behind the curtain and we freaked out. Haleigh and I were jumping up and down screaming. This was my first Taylor Swift concert and a dream come true.
The whole show is such a production of set changes, dancers, costume changes, stories, video, crowd interaction and dialogue. I loved every single second.
We were sooooooooo close. I thought I was going to pass out about every five minutes.
She gave a whole explanation of the Red Album before breaking into the song "Red."
Most of the songs were from her newest album but she still did several of her classics. We flipped when she started singing "You Belong With Me" in this 30's style (I think that's the right decade?) remix.
There was a huge production and story line for "Lucky One" that we were obsessed with.
When they pulled out the banjo and trunk I knew it was "Mean" time. Taylor shared a bit about how when she was younger she often didn't have Friday night plans, especially plans like having 15,000 people wanting to hang out with her for two hours at a sold out show. She thought that one day she'd grow up and finally be done with people that were mean and talked about her behind her back and spread rumors. But she's learned that there will always be people like that no matter how old you are, what you do or where you're from. Instead of sinking to their level you've got to decide that they won't bring you down and their words won't define you.
They showed a montage of home videos on the big screens of Taylor growing up-- talking in her high chair, singing in their living room, performing at a county fair, recording a demo, playing in each of her previous tours and then it flashed to 22 and Taylor reappeared for one of my favorite songs on the new album.
Haleigh and I went crazy singing and dancing in our aisle during all of "22." About half way through she jumped off the stage to body surf and Haleigh and I ran up to touch her and were about an arms length away. Dancers caught her and then took her around the whole floor as she continued to singing. They ended up on a circular stage in the back where she sang the next couple songs.
She sang Mine, another older song, and we belted out every single word.
Ed Sheeran came back out to sing "Everything Has Changed" with Taylor.
Taylor's stage rose up into the air above the crowd. When she came back down she stepped into this platform thing and got hooked in...
It rose up in the air and then flew over the whole crowd as she continued singing.
The next costume change brought this awesome white dress and dubstep for "I Knew You Were Trouble."
The dress came off mid-song for this black outfit and she continued dancing through the dubstep right in-front of us. We were so close to her we were seriously having a dance party with Taylor Swift.
A red piano rose up for the next song. Before she started in, Taylor talked about how when she sits down at the piano or picks up the guitar the goal is for her to write a song that will tell exactly how she's feeling in that exact moment. If she tells the story perfectly she might have a chance to move on. Sometimes it's hard though when you're feeling a mix of emotions and you don't know how to feel about it. Instead, sometimes you've got to tell the whole story like in "All Too Well." This was easily the most angsty part of the concert, she's great at the dramatics.
This white dress was next for your favorite and mine, "Love Story." I started screaming as soon as I recognized the first few notes. This is the song we sing weekly in the Party Room, kids sing it all over camp and its one of the most played on my iPod. After hundreds of times singing this song I WAS SINGING IT ONLY A FEW FEET FROM TAYLOR SWIFT. Dreams come true.
She sang "State of Grace" and "Treacherous" as she walked on the balance beam that rose from the stage.
The stage transformed into a circus, with Taylor as the Circus Master, for the grand finale.
She sang "Never Getting Back Together," and we went crazy. We knew this would be the last song and Haleigh and I took our singing and dancing to the next level.
The part of the stage that had risen up started to rotate out over the audience. Confetti exploded and we kept freaking out as Taylor went over us.
This night was one of the most awesome and surreal experiences I've ever had. I've loved TSwift for years and it was incredible to get to see her live and so insanely close like this. I'm so thankful that I got to do this with Haleigh and I'll never forget it.