Thank You, Taylor Swift

By Mark Nagi

Loyal readers of my columns/articles… please know that I’m not becoming an entertainment writer. Yes, a few weeks ago I told you all about my journey to Oxford with my oldest daughter for the Morgan Wallen concert that never happened.

Well, I’m back today with the story of how I took my youngest daughter to Nashville for the Taylor Swift concert. And much like the Wallen debacle, this trip brought with it more trials and tribulations.

About seven months ago, I was struggling when it came to Christmas present ideas for my youngest daughter, Emily. She’s 13, and by law, in this great country of ours, she is obligated to be a Taylor Swift fan.

Swift was going on tour in 2023, and I was fortunate enough to secure two tickets for the Sunday, May 7 show in Nashville.

On Christmas Day I surprised Emily with the news, and she was a “Vols fan after Tennessee beat Alabama” kind of happy.  Since that announcement, Emily has talked about this trip almost every day. I understood because I remembered when my dad told me we were going to Yankee Stadium for the first time. I was 8 years old and couldn’t sleep for months.  There’s something special about big events when you are a kid, isn’t there?

The Taylor Swift Eras Tour got underway back in March, and videos have been ever-present on social media. That heightened Emily’s level of excitement to the extreme. We prepared for the show for weeks, including the outfits we would wear. (My “Dads are Swifties Too” t-shirt was a big hit.)

Taylor Swift had three sold-out shows at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The final night was our night.

Now… construction will begin soon on a $2.1 billion-dollar domed stadium to replace the home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. But until then we were all at the mercy of Mother Nature.

And she made her presence felt.

I had been keeping an eye on the weather forecast for a few days, and things looked dicey, then clear, then dicey… they were all over the place.

We got to Nashville under cloudy skies and following a late lunch at Rippy’s (my go-to spot before all Preds hockey games), we made the walk to Nissan Stadium. I was randomly offered a Jell-O shot from a very nice woman on the Broadway sidewalk but fearing that I would wake up in a bathtub filled with ice without one of my kidneys, I politely declined.

The wind and rain started picking up as we walked over a pedestrian bridge, at which time we saw former Tennessee assistant coach Ed Orgeron jogging past us. I’m not kidding. That happened. He also told me not to go to class tomorrow. (That part… I’m kidding.)

My deepest fear was that our tickets wouldn’t scan properly, but there were no issues at the gate. We found our seats, ducked inside during a couple of rain showers, and then waited for the show.

And waited.

And waited.

Right before the first opening act, lightning and monsoon-type rains were all over downtown Nashville, forcing concertgoers to find shelter. There were cringy singalongs but otherwise, the vibe was very positive, even when delays stretched into the third hour.

My daughter Emily was a champ throughout, and a realist. She asked me what they would do if the concert was canceled.  I told her that it would be rescheduled, possibly to Monday, and really that was me simply trying to be positive.  I kept a sharp eye on the radar, and storms just were not stopping.

Taylor would play in the rain, but not if there was lightning in the area.

After the Morgan Wallen debacle, I got a lot of social media comments telling me that they didn’t want to buy tickets to a show I was also going to, and I couldn’t argue that point.  The odds of being at two concerts that were canceled only three weeks apart were too much for me to comprehend, much less that not just one but both of my daughters that would be disappointed.

Dad of the Year.

But finally, the announcement came that the lighting advisory was lifted, and the show would go on, and the reaction was the equivalent to V-E or V-J Day in 1945.

Taylor Swift took the stage at approximately 10:10 p.m. and for nearly 3½ hours had over 70,000 fans mesmerized. She sang, danced, and played guitar and piano, with some of that performance in a rainstorm.

I don’t think I have ever seen my daughter that happy.  Pure, unadulterated bliss is so rare in this world, and Emily had an experience that she will never forget.

Getting a hotel room in Lebanon ended up being a great call on my part. The concert got done at approximately 1:35 a.m. local time, and we wouldn’t have gotten home until around 5:30 a.m.  We fell asleep pretty quickly upon arrival.

I’ll also be a Taylor Swift fan. She easily could have canceled the show but didn’t let her fans down.

Next week I’ll write about sports.

I promise.