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Ryan Johnson, Published September 05 2013

Fargodome gears up for young crowd at Taylor Swift concert

FARGO – Hot weather or lots of snow can close schools around here, giving kids an unexpected day off from time to time.

But Kim Robbins said schools might want to consider canceling classes for another reason – tonight’s Taylor Swift concert at the Fargodome.

“It’s going to be hard to control the kids in their classrooms,” she said. “Teachers of third-grade or fourth-grade girls, beware.”

The LaMoure, N.D., mother is taking her two young daughters to their first concert.

Fargodome General Manager Rob Sobolik said the facility is gearing up for a young audience full of first-time concertgoers when pop and country star Swift brings her “Red” tour to town with opening act Ed Sheeran.

“We’re very happy to be able to be a type of facility that can afford that opportunity to those who are attending their first concert, and we hope it’s a great experience for them,” he said. “But we’re asking for patience, because there’s going to be 20,000-plus people here.”

The Fargodome is gearing up for a sold-out concert with thousands on hand to see the 23-year-old megastar perform for the first time in Fargo.

West Fargo resident Kaylee Neumiller, 8, said she doesn’t quite know what to expect of her first concert, but she thinks it will be “really, really loud.”

Neumiller has had a long time to prepare. She received the tickets from her mother, Lisa Neumiller, on Valentine’s Day in exchange for promising to be a good patient for her orthodontist.

“She’s pretty, and I like her songs and I like her clothes,” Kaylee Neumiller said of Swift.

Lisa Neumiller said she’s looking forward to being with her daughter for her first concert. She still looks back on her first show – a Boyz II Men performance in 1995 – with fond memories.

“I like her music, so we’re going to have fun,” she said. “As of this point in her career she’s still a good role model, too.”

Heather McDermott said not all of Swift’s lyrics are appropriate for young girls – “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” might not quite right for her 6-year-old daughter, Elisabeth.

Still, she said Swift has a positive media presence, and said it should be a tamer experience than her own first concert 14 years ago when Prince performed at the Fargodome.

“It was our first concert for my friend and I,” she said, laughing. “We went alone, and my mom never listened to the lyrics.”

McDermott’s mom also will be at the Fargodome tonight to help Elisabeth – who plans to try out for “The Voice” when she’s 15 by singing Swift’s “22” – enjoy the concert.

Too young?

Alisha Hauge said she and her husband are still undecided about how they’ll use the two tickets they bought when Swift’s concert went on sale last year.

Their daughter, Bridget, loves Swift’s songs when they come on the radio, and Hauge said it would make a great early present for her fifth birthday next week.

Still, she said she can’t help but think it might be “insane” to take a 4-year-old to a concert where there will be alcohol, loud music and an energetic crowd.

“My little girl is very precocious with her words and it’s like she is trying to grow up too fast,” Hauge said. “I want her to stay younger, and so by doing this, am I only pushing that along?”

Hauge said if she doesn’t take Bridget, she will go with her husband.

West Fargo resident Jennifer Lindemann said she has no reservations about taking her seventh-grade daughter Laura Bolgrean to her first concert.

“I just thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce her to that, and I knew that she really liked Taylor,” Lindemann said.

Bolgrean said she’s excited, but not sure what to expect from her first concert.

“I don’t really know, exactly,” she said.

She got the ticket for Christmas last year, and said it’s been hard to wait this long.

Ally Holmer had to wait an excruciating amount of time to find out she would be able to see her favorite artist.

Her mom said the “sweetest, most innocent unbratty little kid” has been obsessed with Swift for years, even having her third-grade teacher call her T-Swift last year.

But her parents told her they couldn’t afford tickets, and she resigned herself to waiting for another chance.

“She wanted to at least go to Fargo and go out to eat that day so she could say she was in the same town as Taylor Swift,” JoLynn Holmer said.

Ally’s parents planned the wait all along, giving her tickets on July 7 to celebrate her ninth birthday.

“She was sobbing,” her mother said.

Ally Holmer said it was a perfect birthday present.

“They’re the best parents in the whole world,” she said.

Family fun

Bismarck resident Tara Seiler is bringing her youngest daughter, 9-year-old Dylan, to Fargo this afternoon as a surprise, and said she’s excited to be there for Dylan’s first concert.

“It will be something that we both will remember forever,” she said.

Melissa and Scot Long also are driving from Bismarck today to take their two kids to their first-ever concert.

Melissa Long said 5-year-old daughter Kambree will wear a personalized shirt to the concert to boost her chances of being selected for Swift’s “T-Party,” a backstage meet-and-greet the musician holds after each concert.

A team of people led by Swift’s mother personally pick the most enthusiastic fans at each show, so Long said Kambree hopes to stand out with her red shirt adorned by a glitter “13” on the back – Swift’s favorite number, of course.

She said her son, fifth-grader Kieffer, will wear a shirt with Swift lyrics “I’m happy, free and confused, but not lonely” on it in reference to being surrounded by his sister and her female friends at the concert.

“He’s trying to act like he’s not all excited, but I think he really is,” Long said.

Scot Long said he’s giving up a chance to see his favorite artist, classic country singer Don Williams, perform in Deadwood, S.D., so he can be with the family as his kids take in their first concert. He expects it to be a different experience from the concerts he and his wife attend on their own.

“I’ll have to act a little more mature, I suppose,” he said. “That’s going to be the biggest thing.”

Stephanie Schlauderaff said she remembers her first concert – Foreigner in the mid-1990s – as an “insane” show.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said.

She hopes Swift’s performance tonight will be less “wild” than that when she takes her 8-year-old daughter, Autumn.

“I hope so, at least,” she said, laughing.

Angie Waletzko said she’s not worried about the tone of the concert, and said Swift’s music is fine for young kids.

“It’s something I can play and I don’t have to worry about bad words,” she said.

The Lisbon, N.D., resident said her household has been on a constant Swift loop for years. Her oldest daughter, 9-year-old Sheyenne, sings along to Swift’s music whenever they’re in a car, and 6-year-old Kara loves fashion and is drawn to the musician.

She said even the littlest members of the Waletzko household, 3-year-old identical twins Emily and Kristen, can’t resist the infectious repetition of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

“They’d all sing that one over and over and over again, at the top of their lungs, of course,” she said.

Sobolik said a first concert can be an important memory. Still, he said it really depends on what the parents and kids make of it.

“The challenge always is not to have it built up so much that whatever happens becomes a disappointment,” he said.

If you go

What: Taylor Swift concert with special guest Ed Sheeran

When: 7 tonight; doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Fargodome, 1800 N. University Drive

Info: The concert is expected to sell out, but last-minute tickets might be available at the Fargodome box office today between 10 a.m. and the start of the show

[hr]Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan Johnson at (701) 241-5587