The bad news: My ears are still ringing from screaming tweens adorned with Christmas lights and glittery signs touting their leader, who goes by the name Taylor Swift. The good news: There was no beer line at Tuesday night’s nearly sold-out Yum! Center concert.
I was sandwiched between diehard Swifters, who knew every word to every song and informed me she would not be singing my favorite — “All Too Well” — off her last album Red. Some of them had unearthed a playlist off the interwebs from a previous concert, and some had seen the show last weekend in Detroit.
Louisville was Swift’s fourth stop on her U.S. tour to promote her latest album, 1989, named for the year she was born. Ironically, in 1989, I was 13, which was probably the average age of the crowd, save for the vodka-guzzling moms who cluttered my beer line.
T-Swift and her flock of flexible backup dancers put on a high-energy, two-hour show that featured videos, dancing, strutting, a handful of outfit changes and a set that lifted the cowgirl-turned-pop-princess to all levels of the Yum! Center. For the record, Swift pronounced “Louisville” correctly and didn’t even make a joke about it — making her possibly the first touring act ever to do so. Bravo!
Also pretty cool was the fact that each audience member received a glow bracelet that was synchronized to her music — it would flash different colors throughout each song seemingly along with the beat. We’ve come a long way from the glow sticks Barry Manilow passed out to his audience (before he publicly came out, by the way) at the Louisville Palace a few years back!
Swift told the tweens she was excited to play here because her Nashville family and friends made the trek, and even her mother was spotted a few times in the crowd. During her set and wardrobe changes, a video featuring her friends — like “Girls” creator and star Lena Dunham — played on the big screens. They talked about how normal their lives really are and how nothing comes between Swift and her cats — not even British boy bands.
R.I.Ph. Phoenix Hill Tavern
The news came Monday morning like a swift kick in the pants — Phoenix Hill Tavern and Jim Porter’s had closed abruptly, signifying the end of an era for many nightclubbing Louisvillians. Some coworkers lamented the loss of Phoenix Hill’s annual chili cook-off, while others recalled seeing bands who played there before making it big — like Sonic Youth, Wilco, A Flock of Seagulls, The Smithereens and OK Go.
That night, I shed a tear in my beer and tried to recall all the debauchery-filled memories I had at PHT. There’s the time I entered and won the whitest legs contest, and the time my friends and I tried to make it to 5 a.m. on Derby Eve just to say we did it. A strange lady from the South End threw ice cubes at my friend Greg and followed us around for a few hours. I think he ended up dating her.
My bra found its way to that absurdly large ceiling fan one time during a Velcro Pgymies show, and the band was kind enough to return it at the end. I suffered many bumps and bruises from dancing in the cages — and developed a newfound respect for strippers.
I wonder what will become of all the knickknacks in both clubs. Will there be an auction? A garage sale? A free-for-all? Sadly, my quest to sit in the swing at Jim Porter’s has come to an end, freeing up a space on my Bucket List for more attainable tasks like meeting Julia Roberts or reinstating Pluto as a planet.
R.I.P. Phoenix Hill Tavern and Jim Porter’s. It’s time you join the Toy Tiger in that great big bar complex in the sky.
Rum, sun and sea slugs in Destin
I recently took a holiday to the beach — and it just so happened that the closest beach we could drive to was Destin, Fla., a city overrun with Louisville tourists. Usually when I travel out of the state, I stop at off-the-beaten-path liquor stores in hopes of finding that one bottle of Pappy or even a Weller 12-Year, but alas, I didn’t even try — you people have probably already scoured every store from here to there.
Anyway, it was definitely a much-needed conscious coupling of me and rum and the ocean. I sucked down piña coladas. I battled with seaweed and angry waves, and then mellowed out on a raft in a pool. Kids throwing balls and spilling tears and snot didn’t even faze me — I found my zen underneath the pool’s waterfall.
While searching for shells with my friend one morning on the beach, we came across a gaggle of children huddled around a pool of water in the sand. I peeked to see what all the commotion was about, and one of the little people explained they had caught a real life sea slug. I looked at the slimy wriggling creature and realized I never knew it had existed before this day.
I examined the bruises the ocean had given me the prior day and made a note to never step into its embrace again. I thought sharks were bad enough, but now there are sea slugs?
I ended my trip with more pool time and rum. Lots more rum.