How I Ended Up at a Taylor Swift Concert in Person

The Countdown

The countdown clock was clicking off the minutes and seconds . . . 2:18 . . . 2:17 . . . 2:16 . . . .

When it hit 0:03 . . . 0:02 . . . 0:01 . . . 0:00, the crowd in Paycor Stadium roared.

My eyes, along with 60,000 other sets of eyes, were glued to the stage.

How did I end up here? At a Taylor Swift concert in the summer of 2023?

Countdown clock Taylor Swift concert

One Thing Leads to . . .

It began innocently enough.

In conversation with my niece Jessica at a family meal a few weeks earlier, Jessica expressed her quest to get Taylor Swift tickets. I cheered her on.

Although I wasn’t familiar with much of Taylor’s music, I loved what I knew. And I was keenly aware of the massive tidal wave of her popular Eras tour and the significance of it in our time.

So later, when Jessica asked if I’d be interested in going to Cincinnati together if she found tickets, I said definitely!

It’s such a human thing.

My Human Preferences

As unique individuals, we each have our quirks and fancies. In this year with Human as my One Word, I know specific things about my own preferences for being human.

  • I prefer efficiency over waste.
  • I’ll take cheaper over expensive.
  • Planned feels safer than spontaneous.
  • I’m partial to easier versus harder.

Going to a Taylor Swift concert would meet none of these qualifications.

Yet when Jessica texted on Thursday night that she’d successfully secured two tickets less than 24 hours before concert time on Friday, I was thrilled.

Because being alive also means saying yes to unexpected adventures. It shifts us from rigidity to expansion, i.e. growth.

Jessica even bought me a perfect concert shirt to wear . . . all of Taylor’s album names on books!

Taylor Swift t-shirt

But the Cost?

Such experiences are not without their costs, however.

Taylor Swift tickets aren’t cheap. And Jessica spent a lot of hours getting ours.

It also would cost us time for travel, money for a hotel (only slightly more than what weโ€™d pay for stadium parking), and a drive through torrential rain.

It would have been easier and cheaper to have stayed home and watched YouTube clips of Taylor in concert. 

But sometimes we have to show up in all our flesh to awaken all our senses.

Becoming Wholly Alive

So after a day-long car ride from Alabama to Ohio, I found myself on this Friday evening among the most excited and costumed fans I’d ever seen.

By the time Taylor hit the stage, the crowd was completely alive in every way. Each person was there to see and hear Taylor in person, not just listen to her through a phone or watch her through a screen.

They wanted a full-body experience, hers and theirs. And they got it.

Being whollyโ€”and holyโ€”human requires us to live from all parts of our bodies.

  • To experience sounds . . . of three tween girls in front of us screaming every word of every song with Taylor for 3 hours (along with most everyone else in the stadium).
  • To experience sights . . . of the man beside Jessica removing his shirt to add another layer of deodorant then putting his shirt back on.
  • To experience smells . . . of sweaty flesh and other aromas associated with crowds of people.
  • To experience touches . . . of other bodies bumping alongside each other in the stadium and to the rhythm of the melody.
  • To experience tastes . . . of salty pretzels and the satisfaction of plain water in the late day’s heat.

Was placing my body in Cincinnati worth it? Beyond a doubt, yes! The crowd was electric. The music was phenomenal. Taylor’s performance was beyond expectation.

I’ll not forget this communal experience.

Taylor Swift Eras Tour Cincinnati

Many, But Also One

Yet neither will I forget the quieter one-on-one experience with Jessica before and after the concert, the delight of spending twelve hours in a car with another living being, discussing all manner of things, big and small, with few distractions.

This is also priceless, another total-human experience. In connecting with others, we connect with ourselves.

As individuals, we each desire and deserve to see and be seen. To enter and engage inside a theology of place. 

Put your body in the presence of other bodies.

And watch your humanity come to life.


Did you see Taylor Swift in concert, too? Have a favorite song? Share your thoughts in the comments.

31 thoughts on “How I Ended Up at a Taylor Swift Concert in Person

  1. Michele Morin

    One of my daughters in law is a hard core Swiftie, and I have softened my perspective on the concert scene because I have listened to her. The next generation is going to improve usโ€”whether we like it or not!?

  2. Donna Reidland

    I don’t even do Christian concerts not because I’m against them but because I just don’t enjoy the noise level. So, I see you as brave. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I definitely would have enjoyed 12 hours in the car with one of my nieces or grandchildren. That would be a rare opportunity.

    1. Lynn D. Morrissey

      Just pack a high-quality set of ear plugs. They go with me wherever I go and I have a pair in every purse. Well worth the investment. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, it really wouldn’t have mattered to me where we were going; I loved the rare opportunity for so much one-on-one time with Jessica.

      I’m not a fan of the noise level of concerts either, but thankfully Jessica had brought us each a pair of earplugs and they made all the difference! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s rare that I release my sense of adventure, but I’m really glad I did this time. ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes, even more thankful that she wanted me to go with her. A gift of time that we don’t always get!

  3. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Just pack a high-quality set of ear plugs. They go with me wherever I go and I have a pair in every purse. Well worth the investment. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, ear plugs saved the day! I’m now a big fan of those too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Jessica and I used them at the concert and it really helped dampen the noise, yet didn’t prevent us from hearing the music at all. I put them in my backpack when Jeff and I went to an outdoor festival last weekend. On the last day we sat up front the music was SO loud in front of the speaker. So I pulled out my little ear plugs and was totally satisfied once again.

  4. Lynn D. Morrissey

    I love this, Lisa. Adventure indeed with one appreciative niece. Sometimes (and often) being human (a good human being) is being there when it is not your preference. It is putting another human over yourself! It’s being a good human neighbor and a great aunt!!!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thankfully this choice was a no-brainer because I knew I wanted to go on every level. ๐Ÿ™‚

      But to your point, it applies to us internally too. I’m reading a book (shocking I know! lol) about our future self…sometimes we have to put our future self above our present sent too to be a good human being. My future self is almost always thankful when my present self chooses her best interests above her own. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Hope that makes sense!)

  5. Jennifer Smith

    So glad you had that experience…and really enjoyed it! That would have been a nightmare for me. So.many.people. But I am sure that your niece will not soon forget that trip and event! Nor will you:)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I get what you’re saying about so many people, Jennifer. I’m not always a fan of huge crowds either but I can take them for small periods of time. And just one evening with 60,000 people was the perfect amount of time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Lois Flowers

    Aw, Lisa … what a great experience on so many levels, for both you and your niece. I can relate to your preferences for being human, and also the value of setting those aside to do something really memorable. We’re going to see our daughter in Spain over Thanksgiving, and this trip will be a great opportunity for us to practice all sorts of ways of being human that will be out of the ordinary for us. I am looking forward to it!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      How exciting that you’ll be going to Spain, Lois! You’re being brave in so many ways to let your daughter live there without you for the semester, and then for y’all to go visit. It’s not anything I could have imagined as a student back in the day (nor imagine my parents to come visit there!). ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. a spirit of simplicity

    I have not seen her in concert…not really my kind of thing. However, I do have a song story. My niece played the song, Soon you’ll get better, to me and my sister. My sister is a cancer “surviving.” She has been struggling with cancer since 2009 with one 7 year relapse. Since then she has had more chemo, more radiation, and other fixes. They have all worked for a time (she is still her and we rejoice in that) but the effects of the radiation have been life altering. She has “drop foot” and cannot walk without a brace and a walker or cane. She can no longer work. She is in pain all the time.
    I think Swift’s lyrics speak to people in a very touching way and that must be what draws so many to her.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You had your own intimate concert with your niece–so beautiful! Thank you for sharing this story. It’s a moment you and your sister can treasure. I’m sorry for all the pain you all (and particularly your sister!) have been through since 2009 with her cancer. ๐Ÿ™ That’s a hard journey to walk. I’m glad she has you to walk it with her.

  8. Paula

    I used to listen to Taylor Swift songs when I was into Country music. I always listen to K-Love Radio in the car, but if I’m driving somewhere that it cuts out Country is my go to. You know, I believe we can find life applications in the everyday. Sometimes I think to myself is there a lesson here or is “whatever” postable.
    visiting today from G&T

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve never listened much to country music, so I missed out on knowing Taylor Swift in her early years. She definitely has a wide range of talent to be able to go between genres like this.

      I’ve spent a lot of years listening to K-Love too. Nowadays I too quickly tune into a podcast or audiobook when I’m in the car and haven’t listened to music as much. But I do love music; I need to find a better balance with my listening time. And you’re so right that we can find lessons anywhere and everywhere! Thanks for sharing here, Paula.

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