Taylor At The Tuning Fork (Nancy & Gabbie’s Version)
It’s a Saturday night. You’ve got two girls. One is dressed in the cutest Taylor Swift fit ever, tied together with none other than the iconic red scarf. The other is, uh, in the only red (and clean) top she owns and some random skirt, deeply disappointing her 11-year-old Swiftie self. Where are they heading? The “On Repeat: Taylor Swift / Red Relaunch party” held at the Tuning Fork of course. The hosts, Superficial Party, are an event planner, pop-party-thrower… we’re not sure exactly how to describe them other than they throw parties for the IT GIRLS, truly.
Essentially, they arrange parties based on pop music royalties, without the artist actually being there. The concept is super sick, since they give away freebies, plus the most expensive ticket costs like $20 so you can’t really complain. Fans come and dance the night away, because who wouldn’t wanna party with like-minded people, who happen to be in the inner depths of the fanverse? We’re gonna make it known that real Swifties know about the ‘blondie’. We also know the whole release theory of 1989 (Taylor’s Version)… So yeah, naturally we were one of those fans who had a fucking blast.
So, let’s get one thing straight, baes: hating on Taylor is SO over and done with, that I will literally tune you out. You can say that you do not like her music, but you cannot disregard the empire she (and her team) have built for herself. She is a moving force that writes, produces, and records her own music, and she’s built a timeless character around herself, considering she’s only been around for a decade. So, don’t you dare discount that… But going back to the actual party, It. Was. Sick.
To start off, we found the event on Facebook, as you do, and well, the last tickets on sale were only $20, so I figured if I’m reentering the clubbing scene—after the shock that is: Covid—I might as well pay homage to our Lord and Savior, Taylor Swift. They announced they were giving freebies to the first hundred who went through the door and Nancy and I lined up at the door at 7:15 p.m. Doors opened at 8 p.m., but like who doesn’t want Taylor-themed badges, 22 heart-glasses, or face masks? We got some goodies, so we were generally chuffed to start with. Secondly, Tuning Fork is the absolute best venue for an intimate show, as they also have a bar on the side, space for tables, couches, and a photobooth. The best part of a Taylor party was that the population was 95% girls, gays, and theys—straight men who made you feel uncomfortable were so out of the picture. It felt like one big slumber party with a bunch of cool babes, who love the same artist you love. The song line-up was clean, the DJ knew what songs to play and when the vibe to play them was there; the sad ones, the bops, and the iconic ones.
I’ll be honest though, even if the line-up just kept going up and up, as the hype did, my body clocked out at 11 p.m., because a) I’m 22, not built for this, and b) they played ‘Sparks Fly’ and ‘All Too Well (10 Minute-version) (Taylor’s Version)’ twice… and I’m only human. I’m sorry but Miss Blondie has a whole decade of songs that could’ve been played. They did not play ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ or even ‘I Know Places’; like besties, these are the shit. Though they did get Swifties who dressed up to go on-stage to sing… And, lastly, we could hate on Jake Gyllenhaal without any censors, so, overall, the experience was a 10/10.
I’ve been a Swiftie since Taylor’s howdy cowgirl boots days. I performed ‘You Belong With Me’ with a friend at the Year Five talent show, obviously going hundies on the (air) guitar solo. I spent weeks handcrafting a Taylor Swift magazine and wall display for a competition run by WhatNow, desperate to win tickets to her 2013 Red tour. Guttingly, I did not win and was robbed by this dream-destroying show who never bothered to send back my project. As you can imagine, a few weeks later when the NZ Herald published photos of Taylor rocking out with her glittery red guitar, my 11-year-old heart was utterly crushed, ripped apart, and destroyed by FOMO.
Fast forward a decade, the same girl was screaming her heart out to ‘All Too Well (10 minute version) (Taylor’s Version)’ in a room of Swifties, united in their love for Taylor’s artistry and burning hatred for Jake Gyllenhaal. For those of you who are curious as to what a listening party is like, here’s my best attempt to describe the vibes of the night. It’s kinda like going to a club with an impossibly fire playlist, but minus all the creepy men soaked in B.O. and Lynx Africa grinding up on everyone all night. Oh, and every person in the club is somehow ALL like those random girls you meet in the bathroom who hype you the fuck up before disappearing and are never seen ever again. If going to town was like this, I would be giving up my current senior citizen lifestyle and getting white girl wasted EVERY weekend.
It was also such a safe environment. I felt comfortable leaving my bag by the side of the stage unattended knowing that nothing would be nicked. The few men that were in the venue were awkwardly, but respectfully, swaying to the beat, and (this is 100% a heteronormative assumption) probably there to accompany their girlfriends. The women DJs up on the stage were super energetic too. They were fantastic at catering to the crowd, taking in as many song requests as possible—which were scribbled on the back of signs with Taylor Swift’s face. A system as genius as Taylor’s lyrics if you ask me.
Even more wholesome than the lovely friends we made was the crowd, who would continue singing in (relative) unison the song when the DJs were expecting a few technical issues with the audio. Given how emotionally intense Taylor’s lyrics are, to any outsider we probably sounded like an army performing a battle cry before going to war. And you know what, with everything happening around the world right now, this listening party was probably a much needed therapeutic moment for all of us.
Also, can we get a moment of appreciation for Gabbie’s show-stopping ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ music video outfit? She looked ADORABLE in her PJs and custom sunglasses with the lyrics “and he’s like I still luv u”. Would not expect any less from Craccum’s Visual Arts Editor!