Tuesday, November 10, 2015


(music: Taylor Swift)

Before the 1989 concert withdrawal syndrome really starts to kick in for me, let me try and fill you in on my greatest concert experience of all time.

Prior to the actual concert, I went on a mini-adventure with my best friends to look for Polaroid film for my Polaroid camera that I'd recently inadvertently uncovered from my childhood times. I loved finding the Polaroid because the 1989 physical album includes Polaroids of Taylor, and in one of the best tracks off 1989 (Out of the Woods), she also sings a line about Polaroids.

I'm so happy to have found it! Han and I shall take Polaroids to immortalise our trip to USA at the end of the year! I shall also use them with Sha in Vietnam before that! WHOO YAY POLAROID.

In any case, most of you would have known that 2015 has not been the kindest of years to me, in terms of relationships and romantic situations. In fact, it has just been the legit worst in the form of deception and manipulation by a certain man, and I'm probably gonna have lingering trust issues for a while.

I wrote to Taylor, an essay about how her music helped to get me Out of the Woods, Shake it Off, get me Clean, and believe that I can be in love again. I also wrote a bit of my life story, and related to her about when my mum had and beat cancer, so I hope her family finds strength to fight through it together for her mum, Andrea too.

I made Taylor a mix of 26 things: songs I thought she'd find interesting, as well as cute cat videos because she loves cats. I really, really dreamed of thanking her because I'm sure my time in 2015 would have been so much tougher had I not had her songs to accompany me and to relate to and to pull myself through.

It was tough to win meet & greet passes although most everyone I knew was trying their best to help me with it, and I will honestly appreciate them forever for it. I thought it would be good enough if she just received my gifts, but even then, I was kinda at my wits' end as to how it would happen. I mean, if I couldn't get to her, how could my gifts make my way to her?

This was when an instance of happenstance.... happened. I was randomly browsing Instagram and I chanced across a Nic Shield's account (I don't recall how). It reeled me in because the three last photos he'd uploaded were of my workplace, as follows:

There was I am..., & why... and then one outside of Sultan Mosque or something. This was intriguing, so I decided to read his Tweets.

I found out he was a deejay with 987fm, although I'd never heard of him before. I say this with quite a bit of surprise because the ones who have read this blog/known me for longer, would know that I'm kinda sorta one of MediaCorp Radio's loyalest listeners.

I used to listen in to 987fm nearly a decade ago and won CDs, a couple of Motorola phones from the Muttons on the way to my polytechnic classes, etc. Then a couple of years back I was working in an office environment in which we listened to the radio, and I would have dibs on which channel to listen to.

There was the time I won tickets to Jason Mraz's concert at Gardens by the Bay, the time I won the trip to a YTL resort for my parents, the time I won a voucher to Broadcast HQ, all three from Lush 99.5. Then there were also the time I dined at Indochine and also ME@OUE, courtesy of Class 95. I've actually won more stuff from the radio stations but those were the top 5 examples when I searched through my blogpost cache.

I'm highlighting this because even with all my affinity for radio all through the years, I had never had a clue that a Nic Shields existed, until that day. And THAT very day when my interest was piqued, he took to Twitter to say....

He was meeting Taylor Swift for work. That was when I decided the universe (and God) was working for me. I knew, somehow, that Nic Shields was going to be my ticket in passing my gift to Taylor, although I wasn't quite sure how.

I badgered him (in the nicest ways I could think of) on Instagram, then on Twitter, then on Snapchat.

Finally, when he was thinking of cat-related items to get for Taylor, I told him I'd already purchased a cat-print scarf and a cat silhouette pendant for Taylor so he wouldn't need to hassle himself, and then he agreed to take all the stuff (together with my mixtape and letter) before meeting Taylor HEHEHEHE.

Sometimes, patience and persistence and perseverance really pay off. So after I passed them to him, I followed his activity closely on Twitter/Snapchat.

He met Taylor backstage then went for the first night's concert.

So yeah, he was just as starstruck as I would have been. Okay that is a lie. If I'd met her, everybody who knows me is dead sure I would start crying. To be honest, I admit I probably would bawl, my tear ducts are insanely efficient.

At night, I asked whether he'd included my mixtape and stuff to pass to her, and he actually said she loved it, and some really nice words but unfortunately I'm a noob at Snapchat and I didn't screenshot the first thing Nic had told me, so when I exited the chat it disappeared, argh!!!! I remember when I read it I was so happy I shrieked and jumped around in a mall, though.

So yes, even though I didn't get to personally meet her, she knows of the impact she's had on my life, and I hope in my tiny little way, the mixtape I put together cheers her up when she needs it, or just really adds to her birthday this year. I also included the full Shake it Off video that I filmed at the start of this year, so she knows how I look, AHAHAHA. :P

I don't know if Nic knows how much it would have meant to me, that he agreed to pass my things across (I mean I did kinda post on every platform that Taylor had made the world of difference to my 2015), but in any instance, thank you Nic Shields. I will always remember the part you played in my Taylor Swift 1989 experience. :)

Now, to the actual 1989 concert experience:

I was somehow inspired by Irene, because she'd told me that every time she heard Wildest Dreams, she thought of me. Something clicked in my head, and of course that meant I would dress up as Taylor from Wildest Dreams for the concert.

So many people were dressed like her from the various 1989 videos, though, so I wasn't very special, but we were all special in that we are all Taylor Swift fans!!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!

Before I proceed with relating our personal experience (I went with three of my best friends in the entire world: Han, Huda and my sister Lyssa) at the concert, I would like to say: if you're elsewhere in the world and there's still a chance for you to catch her live, do it. There will be no regrets.

If you're not able to catch this tour live, please watch the embedded videos in HD although even then, it won't do justice to the live atmosphere. Last, if you already know you will be going to watch her live, do not even read or go through this and risk spoiling the element of surprise. It's more fun if you see it for the first time in real life!

She started off with the high-energy Welcome to New York, with elaborate stage props of bench and lampposts, and a befitting background video to match it all.

She removed her jacket and proceeded with New Romantics as per the tour setlist.

It so happened that when I took this photo, the sign someone had made saying "BAE" was captured along with it.

Taylor is truly Bae. She's such a sweetheart.

Blank Space was a massive hit during the concert just as it was on the album/as a music video. Lyssa was practically hyperventilating while screaming "oh my God! OH MY GOD!" when Taylor used the golf club or the sexiest walking stick ever or whatever it was and did the "Singapore!" (did she use a loop pedal? what was it? IDK) before the bridge.

This is possibly my favourite rendition of Blank Space and that says a fucklot because I've heard so many covers, I love Blank Space, what with the satirical/ironic lyrics and the epitome of Taylor giving the media a big fuck-what-you-think.

By the way, if possible, please listen to her GrammyPro interviews, she is so involved in every single step of production, with all her collaborations and everything, I just. Ergh her passion. /lies down

She followed Blank Space with the sexiest performance of the night, I Knew You Were Trouble. GONE IS THE INNOCENT TEARDROPS ON MY GUITAR TAYLOR, GTFO NOW, HYPERSEXUALISED ANGRY MISTREATED SWIFT INCOMING.

The two Malay girls in front of us were hilarious, when her backup dancers reappeared on stage half-naked and all glistening, at 0:57 of the video they yelled "panas! panas sekali!" (hot! damn hot!). I Knew You Were Trouble reminds me of G because of reasons, but I ain't got no time to think of any guy, GUYS ARE ALL TROUBLE AND A WASTE OF TIME.

She went back to demure and pretty for That's How You Get the Girl. All the way through, our light wristbands had been synced to light up in coordinated colours to the rhythms of the songs being performed and then she took it a step further (because: Taylor) and this time: our wristbands matched her dress LA SIAL.

Her dress changed colours in sync with our bands, I cannot even begin to comprehend how much work went into that!!!!!!

By the way, her ankle was hurt and the audience who were seated a long way away mostly did not notice it in a grip. She was still dancing and moving like it ain't no thang, although she was wearing heels/boots with her injured ankle. Even Han and Huda didn't see her ankle in the black grip, and we were standing literally right in front of the runway stage.

To be fair, Han and Huda are cute tiny little things, whereas Lyssa and I were towering over the girls in front of us, so everything was plainly in sight for us. Hehehe. Let me just tell you nothing is more beneficial than being a tall person at a concert.

I want a synchronised light-up rainbow dress too...... Such a princess, she is.

The next song was when the waterworks started for me. Lyssa Snapchatted me gleefully and Han and Huda were just giggling and all 3 of them were smug because I'd tried to convince them I wouldn't cry during the concert.

They'd all initially thought I'd probably cry at the Clean speech, because when I watched the Youtube video of the speech made in Manchester, it really always makes me feel touched and motivated, and the song itself is what kept healing me after that sonuvabitch incident.

It turned out I suddenly started sobbing at You Are in Love because to be completely honest, although it's not a "concerty" song, I love the song You Are in Love because I'm a hopeless romantic and sometimes I think I may always be hopeless in love and what if the song never applies to me??? And no guy ever pauses and says to me that I'm his best friend??? So I started crying. *slaps forehead*

You Are in Love was followed by Clean. The speech was as expected really touching and motivational (to me, at least). This again reminds me of G because I asked him to watch it when he was depressed and I told him that it was what I watched when I was depressed, and he said he thinks somebody else wrote the speech for her, and I want to punch G's face!!!!!

In any case, if you want to see the definition of ugly sobbing, watch 03:45 of the Clean video above. I am an absolute wreck when I cry. Taylor Swift and Imogen Heap and boomwhackers and mbiras and the lyrics of catharsis. Clean is a perfect song.

During the first 25 seconds of the Love Story video, I don't know what it's focused on because you can still hear me bawling and verbally asking myself "what the fuck?", to stop and get it under control. I loved the fact that everybody knew the lyrics and everybody was singing together and the our lights were blinking PINK to the song. Come on guys, where is my Romeo???

(says the girl who just said guys are all trouble and a waste of time, I'm sorry I'm a mess)

I also love that in the video/on the projected version of her, she's in black and white until the resolving chorus where Romeo appears and then she bursts back into colour. THANK YOU, PRODUCTION CREW/TAYLOR/whoever conceptualised that.

She performed Bad Blood and a rock version of We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. Both were really fun, with all of us fistpumping and punching the air while our light wristbands glowed red furiously in unison.

I was too busy having fun and chanting to Bad Blood etc etc to take a video, this was really fun.

Here: have a photo (by Huda) of Taylor looking sexy in 70% of a catsuit.

The final video I took was of the very interesting mash-up of Enchanted and Wildest Dreams. I don't know who decided to mash them up or how Taylor got to that decision but I think it works really well, although the meanings are kinda.... contrary? It's like one of those things.... um what, that thing when you juxtapose two opposite things WHAT IS THAT CALLED oxymoron yes.

She performed Out of the Woods which was really nice, I'm running out of adjectives. I really love Out of the Woods, I think everybody does, it was just enjoyable to belt it out together so no video. The backup guys were being cheeky with the gigantic paper airplanes they were flying.

I wanted to take out my Polaroid to snap one of Taylor in her golden glittery suit because Out of the Woods is the song about Polaroids, but we were right beside the runway stage, with a security personnel right in front of my face, and I was scared he would confiscate my Polaroid, so I didn't. :(

She wrapped it up with Shake it Off, which is of course the ultimate fun song, we all jumped and grooved and cruised along to the sick beat while confetti was being released on us. I missed a few songs in my relating, like Style and IDK what else.

The gist of it is that Taylor Swift is dedicated and passionate and adorkable, she performed to her usual standards despite having a hurt ankle, and she was on that platform that extended everywhere within the arena, so it was a very interactive show such that I'm sure even the audience on the outer corners of the stadium never felt left out.

Taylor Swift is a true class act. Thank you, Taylor! I never know if she'd read this, I did include all my links in my letter to her, HEHEHEHEHE. I love you, we all love you, and we care for you and you are amazing and enchanting and all the nice things. :)

The following are more photos stolen from Huda:

Myself with three of my favourite people in the whole entire world, watching another of my favourite people in the whole entire world. What a perfect night. I think it was my favourite night of 2015. I mean, I'm sure of it. :)

We were waiting for a cab and somehow Huda took this photo that looks like an inadvertent album cover?? Lol.

I've been fortunate enough to watch concerts by my favourite artistes among the likes of Jason Mraz, Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles and the most recent being Muse, but I must say, nobody puts on a show like Taylor Swift did. She takes the cake, most enjoyable concert I've been to.

Thank you to everyone who was certain I would meet Taylor just based on the intensity of my desire, and for being just as adamant to help me in my journey, you know who you are and I know who you are. I hope that when it comes to your turn at trying to attain your wildest dreams, the universe and I will also conspire to help you, and that you are also contented regardless of the outcome.

So Much Love from Sarah Mei Lyana! ♥

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