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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's surprising how close you can get to America's biggest selling music artist when you're hiding behind a bunch of twelve-year-old girls...

We blended in seamlessly last night. I think it helped that Lisa has a brace. She couldn't look more like a teenager if she tried.

But if you think I got close to a celebrity in that video, you should have seen me with Louis Theroux a couple of hours earlier. We were practically holding hands.

Anyhoo, our trip to Wembley to see Taylor Swift yesterday was a complete success. It started well when I managed to beat Lisa at her favourite Nintendo DS game on the train to Victoria, but things got even better when we arrived in London and I gave her 30p for the toilet. She immediately got it stuck in the machine (obviously), but whilst banging it in frustration, she found a pound coin in the change chute. I spent it on some paracetamol to treat the eye strain I'd got from playing the DS.

From there we headed straight to Euston to meet this young lady...

I've shaved since Sunday.
I'm obviously a lot happier to be in that photo than she is. That's our friend 'C'. She lives in Plaistow, but as if that wasn't bad enough, she works for Camden Council. So we persuaded her to finish early and walk down the road to the Prezzo restaurant near Euston station. And I'm glad we did, because you'll never guess who we met crossing Euston Road on a green light...

Louis Theroux! No, really. I pointed him out to both Lisa and 'C', but Lisa failed to spot him. Mainly because she was looking for Louis Walsh. She's easily confused like that. I was going to ask Louis to pose for a photo, but we were standing in the middle of a busy road at the time, and I decided he wasn't worth dying for. It's probably just as well - Lisa would have embarrassed me by asking him about X Factor.

Hello Wembley!Having stuffed ourselves with Italian food, and discussed the merits of speed-dating, we bid farewell to 'C' and jumped on the tube to Wembley Arena. The last time we were there, Lisa was four months pregnant and I had to buy her an ice cream just to persuade her to walk from the tube station. A lot's changed since then. They're no longer selling ice creams. Which was ironic, as it soon became apparent that most of Taylor Swift's fans are children. I knew something was up when I realised I was the only member of the audience who needed glasses to see the stage.

Our seats were pretty central, which meant we missed out on the chance to take part in a Mexican wave before the show started...

... but let's face it, I have trouble persuading Lisa to stand up at the best of times. The wave would have hit the rocks the moment it got to our section.

The support act for the evening was Justin Bieber. Yes, Justin Bieber. No, I've never heard of him either. But the teenage girls sitting in the row in front of us knew the words to all his songs, so it's clearly some kind of generational thing. According to Wikipedia, he's a 15-year-old Canadian who was discovered on YouTube, and immediately signed to Usher's record label. Which makes me glad I posted my Snuggle Puppy video. I should be cutting my first album by the end of the week.

Bieber was a definite grower, and by the end of his set, I genuinely liked the boy. Although at his age, I could probably be arrested for saying that. I'd wish him luck, but he already broke a leg last night.

The lady we'd really come to see, however, was that little tinker, Taylor...

Tinker Taylor soldiers on.
Bearing in mind how far we were from the stage, I'm quite pleased with that photo. That's the advantage of being amongst a crowd of teenage girls. No one's over five feet tall, and most of them are anorexic, so I got a good view of the show.

Swift ChangeAnd what a show it was. I have to say, I was very impressed. Taylor Swift lived up to her name by performing more quick costume changes than Lisa in the Next fitting rooms. The stage went through just as many transformations, turning from a library to a garden to a medieval castle, complete with band dressed as Elizabethans.

But the best bit was when Taylor disappeared for a few minutes (don't quote me on that bit), only to reappear amongst the crowd at the back of the arena. Which is the kind of thing you can do when your audience are no more dangerous than a fourteen-year-old girl with PMT. She then made her way into a small enclosure in the centre of the hall, and played three songs on a rotating platform, which just happened to be next to where we were sitting. I tried to convince Lisa that I'd deliberately chosen those seats for that reason, but I'm not sure she believed me. She was too busy feeling self conscious about the fact that the small boy sitting next to her had exactly the same brace as she did. The only thing separating them was a glow stick and a pair of flashing bunny ears.

I shot two videos of Taylor playing right in front of us, but the second one's a bit shaky. You have no idea how tiring it is to hold a camera above your head for more than ten minutes. On the plus side, I'm sure Taylor Swift looked directly into my eyes on several occasions. She seemed to be thinking "Aren't you a bit old to be at this concert?".

Taylor's band were great too, although they came dangerously close to line-dancing at one point...

I think the drummer's got swine flu. The rest of the band wouldn't go near him.

The other highlight for me was the finale, which featured Taylor singing an encore under a torrent of falling water. It probably says a lot about me that I was less interested in the sight of a 19-year-old blonde doing a shower scene, and more transfixed by the rain machine which was capable of spelling out words in the flow of water...

Unfortunately, by the time I turned on the camera, the machine had started to malfunction slightly, and the shapes were getting a bit crooked. But I thought that was brilliantly clever. By stopping the flow of water for a split second at certain points in the shower head, you can actually speak under water. It's what you might call 'write as rain'. Taylor's obviously been paying attention in science class.

In the end, she played for the best part of two hours, so Taylor wasn't as swift as her name suggests, but the girl was good value for every one of those 120 minutes. Admittedly we didn't get home until 1:30am, and I now have permanent hearing damage from the sound of ten thousand adolescents screaming in my ears, but I'd do it all again in heartbeat. And when Amelie turns twelve, I'll probably have to.


Anonymous said...

What words..

Ehram Kingsley said...

Wow, wild horses couldn't drag me to see Swift and were I confronted with Justin beiber as an opening act I would have been arrested for murder - I would, obviously, contest my actions were for the greater good of society. In any case I would have called it a night after louis theroux and Prezzo.