'Swiftian' takes on a whole new meaning as Taylor Swift fans descend on Chicago

My wife and I joined legions of Taylor Swift fans heading downtown Friday afternoon, wearing white cowboy boots, a little fringed dress, and a pink sequined cowboy hat.

The fans, that is. My wife and I wore casual clothes appropriate for a 60 year old couple visiting the Art Institute (hiss, Okay. Me: black jeans, sky blue button-up shirt, and blue boots; my wife: beautiful in a scarlet floral skirt, black blouse and sandals).

Our trip had nothing to do with the big concert at Soldier Field. But the timing must be lucky. The gathering for the first of Swift's three shows this weekend set a festive mood.

Most of the people waiting on the platform in Northbrook for Metra at 1:35 p.m. were Swift fans, though not all of them were dressed for the event. To our left, a couple in their 30s in standard edition suburban disability, man carrying a backpack. Headed, he said, to check into the hotel before the concert.

“Intelligent!” I replied, that is “How many hundred dollars more on top of the few thousand you prepared for tickets,” not voiced.

Not to judge. You put your money where your passion is, if you are lucky enough to have both money and passion. My wife and I are blowing… ah… greenery worth a Taylor Swift ticket to plant this spring. Those bushes and flowers will surely become dry husks buried in the ground while the memories of the concert still glisten brightly.

To our right, five young women in two groups. The aforementioned pair of boots and white fringe. The second group of three teenagers, a father hanging around them. As he left, he turned to us—like an actor breaking the fourth wall—and observed that sending them downtown was the easy part. The challenge is driving to Soldier Field at midnight to retrieve it.

“Full-service dad,” I said, approving. Because part of what media does is validate, I have to take this opportunity to give a big tip and official Sun-Times thanks to every parent who does the heavy lifting of logistics and emptying wallets to get their kids to the show and back. I'm sure your kids will thank you too, if they can.

Taylor Swift definitely gives me such an empowering hug — from a distance, sadly — that even I know who she is, and have heard and enjoyed several of her songs (“Shake it Off,” “Anti-Hero”).

Usually, grand acts that send seismic shockwaves through society go completely blank when they reach me. For example, take recently New Yorkers articles on top music acts featuring private performances at weddings and parties. The Rolling Stones will appear and play for half an hour at your 50th birthday party if you pay enough.

The narrative is built around rapper Flo Rida's performance – for an unspecified six-figure fee – at a Chicago area bar mitzvah party. This is literally the first time I've ever read a musician's name, and I can't imagine shelling out $200,000, or any amount, to wow a 13-year-old and his friends. The father blushes as his own name is printed, and we find ourselves in a strange cultural moment as wealthy benefactors tear themselves away from the potlatch display they have just costly arranged.

I would almost suggest the Taylor Swift concert was a civic unifying event. It was later reflected that he seemed to have an overwhelming white audience in, for starters, the FOP image of the ideal city.

Still, this past weekend showed that people will be pulling downtown, shelling out big bucks, with pretty strong incentives. I am no expert on the Swiftian canon, although I have read “Gulliver's Travels” and sometimes use the word “brobdingnagian” correctly.

But I can state with almost certainty that Taylor Swift makes her fans feel loved, needed, and validated, internally, and part of something bigger than themselves. (Oh come on, stop it, “Swiftien,” Jonathan Swift, that's a good joke). Now Mayor Brandon Johnson has to figure out how to do that around the clock for everyone.

Taylor Swift went to Detroit for two nights. Chicago seems to have gone through one summer weekend with a body count of only… whoops… 40 people shot, eight fatal. That's quite a lot. Concerts can distract us from that, and maybe even should. God knows the problems are all still here waiting for us Monday morning.