I’ve always said that, given the chance, I would never return to high school.
Well tonight at the sold out Taylor Swift concert in Calgary, I was reminded, very specifically, why. All the drama, the tears, the tests and pimples. It was all too much. But now I can safely say that after spending two musical hours in the head of the teen country superstar, that I need to book a therapist for both me and Swift. But regardless of the awful high school memories her songs dug up, I have to say that despite my best efforts, the concert was able have me on my feet singing and dancing.
And yes, I understand that by saying that I thought Swift’s concert was impressive, I am essentially putting into question my credibility as a entertainment writer. But maybe we should all put our Polaris-loving music libraries aside every once and a while and enjoy some really great pop-music. Would that be the worst thing in the world? After all, I’m pretty sure even Patrick Watson has had “Love Story” stuck in his head at least once.

Recently, the pop-music label has become just as dangerous as eating food at the Calgary Stampede, but like all Calgarians say, just because it isn’t good for you, doesn’t mean you can’t secretly love it.
And for just under two hours, I secretly loved Taylor Swift. During her show, she sang pretty much her entire music catalogue and even added Justin Timberlake’s “What Goes Around” to the set list. For anyone that has ever seen a Taylor Swift video or performance at an awards show, there was nothing really new. She played the band geek for “You Belong With Me”, dressed up as Juliet for the aforementioned “Love Story” and even had the rain come pouring down on her for the “Should Have No Finale”. But the thousands tween fans, moms and approximately five males in attendance couldn’t have cared less. They loved every second of i
t. At one point, after singing her first hit “Tim McGraw“, the audience gave her a three minute standing ovation. She stood practically stunned and in awe of the reception. And then when the crowd finally quieted down she said: “I will never in my life forget that moment.”

A Taylor Swift concert isn’t just about her belting out tunes and the audience applauding how great she is. The show reminded her fans, even the most cynical ones, that she is just as humble as she has always seemed. She is as nice as her songs imply and even when she tries to play mean, it’s still laughably tolerant. Twice during the show she took time to get up close and personal with the screaming fans all around the stadium. She’d stop for photos or hugs, even giving them jewelry right off of her costumes, (I’m expecting an announcement of a jewelry line any day now.)
The concert for me was a reminder. A reminder that I don’t always have to talk like I listen to CBC Radio 3 all the time. Or pretend that I own more than two albums off of the Polaris short list. Sometimes it’s okay to love really good pop music, it’s okay to admit that you know most of the words to even the cheesiest love songs. And sometimes it’s even okay to say that you really enjoyed the Taylor Swift concert. Even if you really (secretly) thought it was one of the best concerts you’ve ever seen.
All the pictures were taken by me! Feel free to send a better camera!

Mike Morrison


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