This is Taylor’s world and we’re just living in it

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When we look back on The Beatles’ visit to Australia in 1964, we reflect on an iconic moment in the cultural development of our country.

Tens of thousands of screaming fans, sold out shows at the old Sydney Stadium, and huge crowds greeting the ‘fab four’ wherever they went.

In the background, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Tens of thousands of parents were screaming for a different reason while the naysayers just didn’t get this whole rock and roll ‘fad’.

History, though, only sees it as the cultural phenomenon that it was.

The other thing about history? It has a habit of repeating itself.

And so as Taylor Swift prepares to play four sold out shows in Sydney next weekend, it’s hard not to draw comparisons to Beatlemania.

Yes, I know some baby boomers have probably spat out their Weetbix at that comment, but it’s true – Swift is to music today what The Beatles were in the ’60s, and what Elvis was a decade earlier.

It’s been intriguing to watch some of the commentary around Swift’s shows in Australia, dating back to the ticketing rush / debacle last year, through to her pending arrival on our shores.

It seems plenty are keen on robbing the joy of others, purely because they can’t understand or appreciate it.

But history – there’s that word again – will tell the real story.

The shows in Melbourne and Sydney will be remembered for generations to come, and for all the right reasons.

Not just because hundreds of thousands of people got to see the biggest star on the planet here in our own backyard, on the same hallowed turf that Penrith won two of their three recent Premierships (come on, I just had to throw that in).

But we’ll look back at photos and videos and see countless people wearing friendship bracelets at a difficult time in our world, where uncertainty and conflict dominate the news headlines.

We’ll see a sea of smiling faces. There will be tears of joy, expressions of passion and plenty of singing along.

Taylor Swift. Photo: Shutterstock.

If nothing else, Taylor Swift proves the old saying that music does bring people together.

And Swift, well she brings people together across both genres and generations.

From her country music days where she turned the Nashville scene on its head and paved the way for a new batch of contemporary country artists in a particular part of the industry often desperate to hang on to its past, to her transition to the biggest pop star in the world, Swift has maintained and grown a fan base that is second to none.

Plenty in the crowd next weekend would have been there when she played the CMC Rocks festival in Australia back in 2009 as a rising country star. What a joy to be able to watch that career trajectory.

In many cases, she’s as popular with mum and dad as she is with the Gen Y and Gen Z demographics that have driven her broader success.

As for the whingers who question her talent, say she’s over-exposed and think there’s too much Taylor on their NFL coverage, it’s time to build a bridge and get over it.

“You’ve ruined football,” one fan recently screamed at Swift as she made her way out of a Kansas City Chiefs game.

Flashback: Taylor Swift.

This fan watches grown men pass a ball and tackle each other for four hours, all while wearing the same jersey as the players and becoming a walking billboard for their sponsors, but Swift is apparently the problem.

There’s something else about these shows next weekend that may be a part of history too.

I’m not sure if there will ever be another music star on Taylor Swift’s level, who sells out stadiums four times over and who has the same pull.

I’m not suggesting Swift is the be all and end all, or even that she’s the greatest there ever was or will be. Those arguments across generations will never be settled, and nor should they be. Music is subjective, and you’ll always find a statistic or number to back up your argument.

But Swift’s music rise happened in an era where CDs, radio and traditional music listening experiences were still entrenched in the audience.

As we have seen with TV and movies, the next generation will have their music served to them more broadly; and there’s a chance the big pop star era is over.

There will still be ‘celebrities’, of course, but never before have we experienced such a shift in the way people consume their media, and such a gap in the way different generations consider, consume and relate to ‘celebrity’.

Like many celebrity visits of the past, and major sporting events featuring iconic moments, the 320,000 that see Swift in Sydney next weekend will balloon out to double that by the time stories are embellished and facts forgotten.

The naysayers will change their tune eventually when they realise they were part of an historic moment, even if they did try to be a thief of joy at some stage in the process.

And yes, I’ll be there too. OG era for me, though the cowboy hat may just stay at home.

No, it likely won’t be my favourite ever moment at Accor Stadium. Not as a Panthers fan and sports enthusiast.

But part of history? It certainly is that; and it’ll be a weekend not to forget.

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