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Taylorsville Journal

Taylorsville mother/daughter savor their sweet, sensational ‘Summer of Swift’

Sep 11, 2023 01:30PM ● By Carl Fauver

Friendship bracelets were all the rage at Taylor Swift concerts this summer – and they made their way into the foreground of this Levi’s Stadium selfie. (Courtesy Amy DeWidt)

Most of us weren’t around yet – or weren’t old enough to remember – when The Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan, Feb. 9, 1964. But for those who can’t quite recall the Fab 4 ushering in rock n’ roll’s “British Invasion,” the talking heads on television have been telling us all summer, the girl from West Reading and Wyomissing, Pennsylvania has brought back her own version of “Beatlemania.”

But this time, those thousands upon thousands of people doing the coast-to-coast screaming are called “Swifties.”

Not only did the national media cover nearly every stop Taylor Swift made on the first leg of her “The Eras Tour,” but – long before the music rang out – we also saw endless coverage of how her rabid fans were unable to purchase tickets, thanks to online sellers crashing under the unprecedented demand. 

Back here in Taylorsville, however, Amy DeWidt and her teenage daughter Charlotte overcame the odds. They fell into a pair of tickets almost accidentally. And on July 29, they found themselves at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, listening to the woman named after singer-songwriter James Taylor belting out her hits for more than three hours.

“I had been texting all summer with a relative in Santa Clara who already had her tickets for the show; Charlotte and I were so jealous,” Amy DeWidt said. “Then, just a couple of weeks before the concert, she reached out to say she knew someone who could sell us a pair of tickets at face value, $350 each. We had already been planning a family trip to California – and my husband said ‘Go for it – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’ So, we bought the tickets.”

“I was shocked when Mom said we were actually going,” Charlotte added. “Taylor is my number one favorite artist. I grew up listening to her. She has so many different (musical) styles. It just felt unreal to actually be going.”

A week ahead of the concert, the DeWidt family jumped in their car, bound for Southern California. After visiting family at that end of the state for several days, they made their way up to Santa Clara.

Swift’s 2-night, Northern California tour stop was her next-to-last on the first leg of The Eras Tour. It was followed by a 6-night stop at SoFi Stadium in Los Angles. The tour was originally scheduled to include 146 shows – all in massive stadiums – across five continents. It will gross well over $1billion. And there’s already talk of shows being added.

It sounds like calling this a return of Beatlemania is an outright insult to Swift Nation. This is something much, much bigger.

“The entire day of the show was fun for us, starting with dressing for the concert,” Amy DeWidt said. “It’s called ‘The Eras Tour’ because Taylor covers all her different musical eras. Most concert goers dress up in clothing from one of those eras. Charlotte dressed up in her ‘Lover’ era.”

After making use of their $45 parking pass (“they were $200, closer to showtime”), Amy and Charlotte DeWidt spent their first couple of hours at Levi’s Stadium communing with fellow Swifties, while standing in the merchandise line. 

“We bought a couple of hoodies,” Amy DeWidt said. “They came in handy later in the evening when it started to cool off.”

This, by the way, wasn’t Amy DeWidt’s first time at the Taylor Swift rodeo. But she says there was little comparison between the two concerts.

“I saw Taylor Swift during her ‘Red’ tour in Salt Lake City,” she added. “I called into a country radio station and actually won the tickets. My niece and I went. Charlotte was way too young back then. That was much more of a ‘normal’ concert – not at all like this show.”

Back in her pre-stadium days, Swift played what was then EnergySolutions Arena on June 1, 2013. Nowadays, a Utah stop for Swift would be akin to the Rolling Stones October 1994 Rice Stadium stop on the group’s Voodoo Lounge Tour. In other words, don’t hold your breath.

Before Swift launched into her three+ hour, 44-song mega set list, concert goers were treated to a pair of “warm-up” acts. Gracie Abrams – the daughter of famous Hollywood director J.J. Abrams – performed several songs, along with a trio of sisters who go by their last name, “Haim.”

“All together it was five hours of wall-to-wall music,” Amy DeWidt said. “Once Taylor started, no matter which song it was, everyone was singing along. It was just a big party.”

DeWidt says there were a couple of instrumental moments when her section would sit for a minute or two, resting their legs. But, for most of the show, their $350 “seat” was actually their “place to stand (and sing, possibly off-key, and dance).” 

By the way, if you heard the media coverage about Swift giving her tour truck drivers each $100,000 bonuses, the artist was doing that about the time the Dewidts were heading to the stadium. TMZ reported about 50 truck drivers received the unexpected bonuses on Saturday, July 29. According to the report, Swift also paid bonuses to band members, dancers and tour technicians. The amounts of those bonuses weren’t disclosed.

So, perhaps with an extra $100k in their pockets, those truck drivers may have been happier on that last Saturday night of July than Charlotte and Amy DeWidt – but who’s to know, for sure.

“It was the best concert I’ve ever attended – and so much fun to share with my daughter,” Amy DeWidt said. “I flew back to Utah two days later, while (my husband) Steve took Charlotte and the rest of the kids to visit Yosemite National Park. It was a terrific vacation.”

Since then, Charlotte has started ninth grade at Taylorsville High School. She said she was anxious to share her stories (and videos on her phone) of the concert with her Swiftie friends.

“A few of my girlfriends were jealous when I told them I was going to the concert,” Charlotte added. “Several of them asked me to send them my videos. I know I will never forget that night.”

Swift, by the way, will celebrate only her 34th birthday this December. John, Paul, George and Ringo had gone their separate ways before any of them turned 30. But it appears this new round of music mania could be here for many more years to come.

At least one Taylorsville mother and daughter hope so. λ

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