There comes a point in every parent’s life when our love for our children is tested. And I don’t mean when they misbehave and we say, “But we’ll always love you.” I mean when they come asking for a horse, or a new car, or something really expensive. Like Taylor Swift tickets.
Let me stop you before you label me a victim of pop culture’s influence. Don’t write off Taylor Swift as just another pop star. I’m a music snob who avoids Top 40 radio. When my kids ask to hear Ariana Grande or Justin Bieber, I roll my eyes. I’m predisposed to dislike an artist like Taylor Swift: so young, singing about her famous ex-boyfriends. But something happened over years of driving my daughter to her many activities, listening to Taylor Swift.
I realized Taylor is good.
And, unlike many of her commercial radio contemporaries, she writes her own songs. Her own very clever, undeniably pleasing songs. She’s a phenomenon who belongs not in the same sentence with Britney Spears and Katy Perry (true entertainers, sure), but with prolific legends such as Carole King, Paul Simon, the Stones, and yes, I’m gonna say it, the Beatles. Calm down. We can argue that the Beatles were better, but I’m saying there’s an argument to be had. Just as the music of the Fab Four was touching someone’s soul while their parents called it “noise” 60 years ago, Taylor reaches billions while Kanye grumbles.
When Taylor announced her new stadium tour, I accepted that I’d pay dearly for nosebleed seats at Raymond James to watch Taytay “Shake It Off” on the jumbotron over the din of 80,000 screaming Swifties. But nothing warms a dad’s heart like a child’s joy. And I’d secretly, nay, openly, enjoy it, thankful this isn’t the “New Kids on the Block” era.
You might know what happened next. Demand was unprecedented, Ticketmaster’s new surge-pricing system jacked prices up to $30,000 per seat, the website crashed, children cried, sea levels rose a foot, and Vladimir Putin laughed. Tickets were gone, but my laptop said I was still in the “waiting room” to enter the queue. This is the online equivalent of camping out for Springsteen tickets and getting stuck in your sleeping bag while the show sells out.
An eternal optimist, I checked reseller pages. Pairs of tickets in the upper deck, top row, corner, behind the stage, cost $400 per ticket (before fees). And I won’t (and can’t) pay that kind of money to watch from 10,000 feet. Mediocre seats start at $1,000–$2,000 per ticket. I once paid about $100 for upper deck seats to U2 and thought it a bit extravagant. But if I had $2,000 to throw around, I’d do it. It’s our daughter’s version of a Super Bowl ticket.
With no tickets left to sell, however, there was no advertising for these shows. I thought we’d skate by without our daughter knowing until a radio contest spoiled the news.
“What did they just say?” she screamed from the back seat. “Taylor Swift concert?”
We explained that there was simply no way we could justify spending her college savings on a two-hour concert. We’re a family who values experiences over things (see: our Liquidation Center couch), but this was one experience we’d have to skip. As a consolation we got four decent seats to Hamilton – that cost less than Ticketmaster’s fees for Taylor Swift.