An 8-Year-Old's Review of Taylor Swift's L.A. Concert

Taylor Swift Concert - Publicity - H 2018
Lenka Ulrichova

The second-grade daughter of a THR editor heads to the Rose Bowl for the L.A. leg of Taylor Swift's Reputation Tour. "If Taylor wanted to have giant snakes at her concert, I wasn’t going to complain."

Chloe Svetkey, the 8-year-old daughter of The Hollywood Reporter editor Benjamin Svetkey, is the self-declared "biggest Taylor Swift fan in Franklin Elementary School’s entire second grade." Below is her take on Swift's Reputation Tour in Los Angeles, from the snakes and confetti to the adults playing "dress up." 

Except for daddy hurting his back when he tried to lift me up and put me on his shoulders and the loud music causing mommy to hear buzzing in her ears the whole ride home, the Taylor Swift concert at the Pasadena Rose Bowl on May 19 was probably the best thing I’ve seen in my entire life.

I should tell you before I write another word of this review that I am the biggest Taylor Swift fan in Franklin Elementary School’s entire second grade. Not only do I know the lyrics to almost every one of her songs, I can tell you how many cats she has (two), her father’s first name (Scott), where she lives (Nashville) and whole bunch of other facts about her. What I like about Taylor is that her songs all have a story, even if those stories mostly tend to be about her breaking up with a boy or a boy breaking up with her or how she can’t be boyfriends with a boy she likes. She’s also really funny, especially in her videos, like when she makes those goofy faces in the mirror in “Delicate.” But what I like most about her is her music! — how cool and fun and danceable it all is — and that’s what made my first-ever rock concert such an amazing night.

Daddy got us really great seats and mommy, who is a photographer, got a special media pass to take pictures. Even so, it wasn’t always easy to actually see Taylor — most of her other fans, it turns out, are a lot taller than me. Fortunately, there were giant TV screens above the stage so I could watch her sing and dance on those. And then, at one point in the concert, Taylor got into this golden basket-like thing that got lifted on a wire so that she floated right over our heads, so close I could see the laces on her thigh-high boots. She landed on a little side-stage very near to us and started to sing “Shake it Off,” which is daddy’s favorite but I think is kind of overplayed. Still, it was maybe the high point of the night, especially at the end of the song, when a ton of confetti exploded all over our heads and stayed in the air for what seemed like forever. 

A big theme of the concert was snakes. There were two gigantic inflatable Cobras in the middle of the stadium, as tall as apartment buildings, with glowing white eyes and slimy red tongues. Mommy was a little worried I’d be scared of them, but they were actually pretty cool. Besides, Taylor took a break from singing to explain how somebody once called her a “snake” on social media and it hurt her feelings until she realized she shouldn’t care what people who don’t really know her say about her, which seemed like a pretty good lesson to me. So, if Taylor wanted to have giant snakes at her concert, I wasn’t going to complain.

I spotted a couple of other kids around my age, and even younger, but most of the people at the Rose Bowl were grown-ups. Even so, quite a few of them came to play dress up. There were lots of blonde women wearing short skirts and big boots and other of Taylor’s outfits from her music videos. I know some parents are worried that Taylor isn’t a great role model for young girls but I couldn’t disagree more. When she isn’t singing about boys, a lot of her songs — like “Welcome to New York” and “22” and “Mean” — are all about following your heart, taking control of your life and not letting other people ruin stuff for you, which are pretty good lessons, too, if you ask me. It’s true, she does sing one naughty word in “I Did Something Bad,” but I promised daddy I wouldn’t listen to it, even though it was the same word daddy used when he hurt his back picking me up. 

All in all, I have to say that seeing Taylor Swift perform live was even better than I hoped. As soon as daddy’s back is better and the buzzing has stopped in mommy’s ears, I’m going to ask them to take me to another concert. I’m not sure who yet — Taylor will be tough to beat — but it definitely won’t be Katy Perry!