Tag Archives: featured

Taylor Swift At Lincoln Financial Field

By Lisa Marie Latino

Edit note: The following outlets have picked up this story: Cosmopolitan,  People Magazine, and Billboard (so far!)

Still high from my special Bruce Springsteen experience only a few days ago, my sights turned south…as in South Jersey and into Philadelphia, for Taylor Swift’s next stop on her Reputation Tour.

Reputation, her multi-platinum album that introduced Taylor as a pop star badass, was easily my favorite in 2017 (and in a year that also saw Kelly Clarkson release an album, that says something). So when my cousin, Melissa, put a group together to go see her on July 14th at Lincoln Financial Field, I was an immediate “yes.” Little did I know that this particular concert would be the most unique stop on her 36 city itinerary.

The weather for the concert was a summer’s dream, so much so that we extended our tailgate through the two opening acts, Camila Cabello and Charli XCX. As it neared Taylor’s scheduled start of 8:45 PM, we cleaned up and headed inside (where this New York Giants fan tried her best to ignore all of the looming Super Bowl LII Champion Eagles signs). We received our synchronized light-up bracelets, and took our seats just in time for Taylor’s first song of the night, “…Ready for It?”

— Hip New Jersey (@HipNewJersey) July 16, 2018

One thing that was evident throughout the night was Taylor’s gratitude for the beautiful life and opportunity that she has been blessed with. She recalled how she would dream of performing to packed audiences as an 8-year-old girl growing up in Reading, Pennsylvania, and how tonight was “more beautiful than I ever imagined it.” She also spoke nostalgically about her summers growing up at the Jersey Shore, specifically in Stone Harbor. Despite some of the hate she has attracted for this “earnestness” from pop star peers and press alike, I would like to think that every time she thanked her crew members, or law enforcement officials, or gaggles of fans, it was genuine.

Taylor continued to breeze through her setlist like the pro that she is, dazzling the sold-out crowd with “I Did Something Bad”, a mashup of her hits “Style,” “Love Story,” and “You Belong With Me” and the delicious revenge anthem, “Look What You Made Me Do.” However, the song that made the biggest splash was “Delicate”, and not because it’s one of my favorite songs ever, by any artist…

Halfway through the song, while suspended in mid air, Taylor commented that she was…stuck. The big, beautiful ball of light that was meant to tranport her to the other side of the stadium couldn’t move. While the crew got her down safely, she was left to improvise for the anxious crowd as producers backstage scrambled to figure out the next move.

Like the showwoman she is, she put to doubts any lip syncing suspicions and launched into acapella versions of “Our Song” and “Wildest Dreams”.

Once the crew figured out that a mechanical snake could get her to at least one side of the stadium, the show went on as scheduled with, appropriately, “Shake It Off.”

Yes, production problems are a nightmare (this EP’s heart and stomach went out to everyone backstage!) but it made an already-memorable show even more special. Fans got two bonus songs, and Taylor handled the situation like the pro that she is.

Tickets are still available for Taylor’s shows at MetLife Stadium on July 20th, 21st, and 22nd. Grab your girlfriends or your kids and treat yourself. I can’t promise that these shows will be as wild as mine, but it will still be wildly entertaining.

How to explore New Jersey in 24 hours

How to Explore New Jersey in 24 Hours

We are all so busy living our lives that sometimes we forget to try unfamiliar places to eat, drink and visit in our beloved #HipNJ. There is no better way to attain a fresh look at our home city than by seeing it through the eyes of a tourist. Imagine that you had just 24 hours to spend in New Jersey – how would you spend it? Why not check out our handy go-to guide to exploring the Garden State in just one day and night?

Brunch time!
First agenda of the day is brunch! You can’t beat a great brunch either people watching by yourself or with friends. We love Amanda’s in Hoboken where you can enjoy an efficient and polite service in a stylish setting. Diners can enjoy a classic French toast or a delicious Eggs Benedict. For the more adventurous amongst us, you could swap your espresso for Amanda’s Bellini.

Get Arty
If you are into your culture, why not channel your inner tourist and visit a local gallery featuring art from local artists? A trip to The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is a must-do and you can experience great exhibitions such as ‘Oh, What a World! What a World’, which has been listed as a presentation of work that “addresses issues such as climate change, immigration, politics, gender identity, race relations, feminism, and the state of our democracy.”

Making elefriends!
For a quirky twist to your day out, take a wander over to Margate which is just six miles from Atlantic City. Here you can find the Lucy the Elephant – a 65-foot-high building in the shape of the elephant. This is not only a fun way to while away an hour or two, but it is a protected National History Landmark, too.

Dinner by the Ocean
It’s time for dinner! There are so many incredible restaurants to visit throughout the state but one of our favourites is by the ocean. 2nd Jetty in Sea Bright ticks all the right boxes when it comes to a cool restaurant that truly represents the fun side of Jersey.

From the Sea to a Showboat
Who doesn’t love a night out playing the slots and other games at the casino? Showboat is one of the coolest casinos in the state and as well as playing poker, you can also enjoy events like the ‘House of Blues Party Pit’ on the gaming floor on Friday and Saturday nights. One of their most popular games for people to play is Texas Hold’em and one of the reasons for this is because it’s one of the simplest.

Whether you favour Hold’em, Omaha Hi or Lo or even Badugi, it is important to undertake your research to make sure you know what hand to play. The player with the highest-ranked poker hand is the winner, so it is crucial to understand the correct hand rankings.

Seeing the Stars

One of the best ways to fall in love with New Jersey time and time again is to view it from a relaxing vista or from a fabulous rooftop bar up above. The SkyLab in Newark is one of the coolest places to vibe out and see the city and beyond. In fact, you can even see the New York city skyline whilst enjoying a sublime cocktail at the same time.

We are sure that exploring our wonderful State and seeing it through the eye of a tourist will help you fall in love with New Jersey all over again. Whilst there is something very comforting and familiar about revisiting your favourite places to eat and drink, sometimes we all need a little bit of extra encouragement to try somewhere different. Where will your New Jersey journey take you next?

Springsteen on Broadway

Springsteen on Broadway: A Jersey Girl Review

By: Lisa Marie Latino

My loved ones know that my taste in music bends towards the sweet side (I mean, it’s 2018 and *NSYNC was just playing on my iTunes), so I raised more than a few eyebrows when I told them I was seeing Bruce Springsteen‘s wildly successful Springsteen on Broadway. As I explained to their shocked faces, I was merely going to support my fiancé Joe in his Bruce fandom, and far be it for me to skip out on a fabulous New York City summer night that would also include dinner at Capital Grille.

After winning the coveted ticket lottery for the show, Joe made sure to give me a crash course on E Street Band lore so I wouldn’t be like the clueless bandwagon fans I despise during New York Yankees playoff runs. On our way to our favorite weekend getaway spot, we listened to Bruce recite the words to his best-selling autobiography, Born to Run. While some of his music may not have been in my wheelhouse, the man’s writing CERTAINLY was. I appreciated the way he poetically strung together his words so that every sentence would appeal to the five senses. Hearing him tell his tale made the prose all the more powerful.

Upon the book’s conclusion, I started diving into The Boss‘ catalogue. Of course I knew his too-many-to-name mainstream hits like “Hungry Heart”, “Human Touch”, “Glory Days”, “Streets of Philadelphia” and “Secret Garden” (what Jersey Girl doesn’t?) But I discovered other “obscure” ones—songs like “The Ghost of Tom Joad”, “Dream Baby Dream”, “One Step Up”, “Downbound Train”, “The River”, “Atlantic City” and “Trapped”. As I filled my iPod with these tunes, I admitted to Joe that he more than proved his point on why Bruce was the rock ‘n roll G.O.A.T.

The buzz in the air was palpable as we took our seats in the cozy confines of the Walter Kerr Theatre. We were surrounded by all walks of life from around the country, if not the world. People that were seeing Bruce for the 10th time, 30th time…and probably no one else there for the first (oh well). But it didn’t matter; once the house lights dimmed and he sauntered from stage right with his guitar, we were all one in our awe.

From our proximity, it literally felt like this living legend was hanging out with us in our living room, especially whenever he stepped away from the microphone to just be out in the open. Once the music started (first song: “Growing Up”) it gave you that pushed-off-an-airplane-without-a-parachute exhilarating feeling. For over two straight hours, he effortlessly went from storytelling, to cracking jokes, to making you cry, to singing along with his piano, to jamming out with his array of guitars, to strumming his harmonica, and back around again. Every song was reworked to fit the show’s acoustic nature, including the two he performed with his wife, Patti Scialfa“Tougher Than the Rest” and “Brilliant Disguise”and my personal favorites, “Dancing in the Dark” and “Born in the USA”.

What was evident beyond Bruce’s difficult relationship with his late father, and his great affection for his mother, is his complicated love story with New Jersey. In one breath, recalling the lyrics to Born to Run, he talked about how he viewed his hometown of Freehold as a “death trap” and a “suicide rap” but in the next, mentioned how he currently lives 10 minutes down the road. “I was born to stay home!” He joked. He peppered other Garden State references throughout the show, like how he cut his chops playing for obscure, Jersey Shore-area places like Marlboro Mental Hospital. These “growing up” Jersey (and Italian-American!) anecdotes added another layer of intimacy to an otherwise already-vulnerable performance that included a moving tribute to Clarence Clemons and a reciting of the Our Father.

Springsteen on Broadway

After the show, I made a beeline for the stage door in the hopes to meet him. As luck would have it, I got a prime spot behind the metal barrier, and he chose my side to bless with his presence.

As I stuck the Playbill out for his signature, I told him how Springsteen on Broadway was the first time seeing him live. Bruce actually stopped signing for a second to react.

“Really?” He quipped, part amused and part shocked.

“I know, and I’m from Jersey too. But I LOVED the show, you were great!”

“Well, I’m glad you enjoyed it,” he smiled, and continued down the line. That was the cherry on top of a perfect evening.

Of course, I gave the signed Playbill to Joe.