A person’s life is filled with many important memorable events : the day we turned our lives over to God; the day we got married to our spouse; the day our children came into the world; and many other significant events. This is a story about one of those events – the day Samantha and I met Taylor Swift’s mom, Andrea.
Some backstory to start…
Samantha is a HUGE Taylor Swift fan. She has been listening to her for years, knows all her songs, probably knows the lyrics to most of them, and even knows her cat’s names (which, strangely, I do as well). Two years ago she and I went to our first Taylor Swift concert. We had our choice of places to go, but decided on taking a road trip, and went to see the Red Tour at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. I have to admit…it was one heck of a show. You can think what you want about Taylor, but she absolutely knows how to entertain. We had a great time, and pledged to make it a regular thing whenever Taylor had a new tour.
So, the end of 2014 rolls around and Taylor releases a new album, 1989, which means it’s tour time! In January 2015 tickets become available and, after much discussion, Samantha and I decide to attend the concert in Denver! Yep, it’s a long drive, but it’s somewhere she’s never been before, so it sounded like a good idea at the time (and, aside from the long drive, it remained a good idea). We bought our tickets, only being able to afford seats in the very upper deck of the arena. But, it didn’t matter because we were going to see Taylor Swift!
As I’m sure it has for you, 2015 has flown by and all of a sudden it’s time for our trip to Denver! Fortunately it coincides with the Labor Day weekend, so I’m able to get a nice four day weekend for the event. We hit the road after school last Thursday, and by Friday we’re at our hotel, anxious for the concert on Saturday. We spend Friday night exploring downtown Denver, figuring out where our parking is and where the stadium is. On Saturday morning we spent time in Boulder, doing a very small hike and driving around a bit.
By 3:30ish, it was time to leave for the concert. Doors opened at 6, with the concert at 7:30. Samantha wanted to get in line early so we could be among the first in arena so she could check out the various booths. We got there, and the picture taking commenced!
It was a beautiful day, and we were in line by 5PM, when the line was relatively still short. They had a merchandise booth outside, with only a small line, so Samantha was able to get her shirt and stuff without much of a wait. At one point I went across the street to use the restroom, and when I got back, they had split the lines, so we were even closer to the entrance! Everything was lining up for a great evening.
We finally get inside, and we start making our rounds. First off was a picture at the Xfinity booth, which was fun. After that, we headed to the Taylor Nation booth, which was what Samantha really wanted to check out. At that booth you get to take a picture, but also have a chat with Taylor’s social media reps. They’re constantly scouting people to invite down to the floor, or to invite back stage. Since Samantha had made an awesome sign that she was proud of, she wanted to show it off. And the Taylor Nation booth was the perfect place for doing just that.
Let me pause and talk about the sign. From the start Samantha wanted to do a lighted sign. She wanted something that people could see from across the arena, and which showed her Taylor Swift spirit. So, we made a nice sized sign out of foam board, put 60 LED lights around the edge with two battery backs affixed to the back, and Samantha wrote out the lyrics to quite a number of Taylor’s songs. It was quite a sign, as you can see from the picture:
She worked very hard on it, including time on another 11×14 sign without lights in case this one wasn’t allowed in the arena (which the Pepsi Center customer support team told me it would NOT be, but they apparently decided against upsetting Taylor’s fans). Samantha got a lot of great comments from many people on her sign, and they were all well deserved.
And let me tell you…when we turned this sign on, our entire section in the arena was lit up. I’m pretty sure you could see us all the way across the stadium!
OK, so let me cut to the chase. Taylor’s mom, Andrea, attends each of her concerts. And she does this thing where she seeks out fans from the arena and invites some of them down to the B-Stage, which is on the floor and just feet away from where Taylor sings. Samantha, and every other Taylor Swift fan, knows this and they all secretly hope that they will get the call. Doing things like making signs, or dressing like Taylor did in certain videos, or other things that call you out as a super fan are all helpful in attracting the right kind of attention. Samantha did both these things – two awesome signs and dressing like Taylor from one of the videos. But, we were very high up in the arena, so it was a long shot to get Andrea’s attention.
The concert is now going on, and here’s the view from our seats:
As you can tell, we’re pretty far away from the action. But we’re still having a great time, on our feet, dancing to the music. This entire time, Samantha is dutifully carrying her sign, dancing with it, and lighting up the general area. In fact…she and I are one of the few people actually on our feet during the concert, which is kinda odd. You’d think for that much money, everybody would be up and getting their groove on!
So, we’re jamming along, and Samantha notices that Taylor’s mom (she knew what she looked like) is in our area talking to some girls to our left. They start walking away with her, and Andrea looks at Samantha and gives her the “come here” finger thing! Samantha is just ecstatic, and is pushing me to move over there. I’m watching the concert and not realizing what’s going on, but once I do, I get us from our seats to where Andrea is. Now it’s just three girls and their mom, me and Samantha. Andrea asks the girls if they’d like to go down to the B-Stage!
Well, the answer was a resounding YES from all of them! To give you some perspective, here’s a picture I took from our seats (you can see Samantha’s sign on the right). The area circled in white…that’s where we’re headed. Right at the end of the runway, and right in front of the sound booth.
We’re whisked down an elevator, and told no matter who we should see backstage, we need to stay with Andrea. We’re now backstage, and Andrea remarks about the catering food smelling good! As we’re walking, who do we happen to see, but Vance Joy…the opening act! I shake his hand as we walk, telling him he did a great job. A few moments later, we’re at the B-Stage, getting wristbands and being told there are soda’s and water in a cooler for us. This, now, is our new view of the concert.
We are literally about 20 feet from where Taylor did most of her show. The girls are beyond themselves with excitement, and, I must admit, so am I. This is the one thing that every person at the show hopes will happen to them, and here we are! Turns out Andrea was able to see Samantha’s sign all the way from the floor, and noticed she was dancing the whole time. Talk about a great reward for being a super fan!
We spend the rest of the show here, literally not believing our fortune. There are only about, I’d guess, a total of 30 people in the B-Stage area, and I’m the only dad there! We watched the show with the others, along with Andrea, and were just constantly amazed at this amazing blessing. I stopped many times to give thanks to God for this great gift.
Here’s how close it was with Taylor:
You could see everything. It was like she was singing to just us. Everything about this experience was amazing. At one point, I turned to my left, and Vance Joy was standing right next to me! Like a normal dude! And Taylor, of course, put on a show to remember for a long time.
For me, a special moment came right after Taylor, up on the raised platform you see above, started telling the audience what they “are and are not.” She was giving some great advice. After she was done, I turned to Taylor’s mom, and in what I can only call a moment between parents, told her how great I thought her daughter was. I literally called Taylor “your daughter,” and spoke to her as a parent and not as a person talking about a superstar. She said thank you, and gave me a big hug. I caught Andrea watching Taylor many times during the show, with what I can only describe as parental pride on her face. As a parent, knowing what that kind of pride feels like…I was very touched, and it put an entirely different spin on the concert for me.
Unfortunately, after two and a half hours, the show came to an end. It was an absolutely amazing show, and an experience that Samantha and I will remember and cherish forever. I have nothing but good things to say about Taylor, her mom Andrea, and the tour in general. Samantha and I can’t wait for the next tour, when her sign will probably light up the entire stadium! Until then, I’ll leave you with one last picture, of Samantha and Taylor Swift’s mom, Andrea.
What a night!