Nathaniel Rosenberg, Contributing Photographer
Sparks flew at the holy ground of Toad’s Place Sunday night, as Swifties from all over Connecticut gathered to experience an enchanted evening of Taylor Swift music.
The concert, entitled “Look what you made me do – Taylor Swift Dance Party,” featured a DJ trio collectively known as “If you know it, sing it!” The group hosts Taylor Swift dance parties all over the East Coast, performing in venues from New York City to Richmond, VA. On Sunday, they played for over three hours, coming onstage at 7:30 p.m. and going until just after 10:40 p.m.
“We love the energy and the vibe,” said Jackie, one of the DJs who performed. “We’re excited to come back and hopefully do it again on a weekend.”
Doors for the concert opened at 6 p.m., and the venue saw a steady stream of excited concertgoers. About half of the 19 people interviewed were college students from around New Haven, but many others were locals of the area.
The desire to listen to Swift’s work alongside other superfans, to have a good time and to relieve stress from work drove most concertgoers.
“It’s just like having a good time with friends,” Patrik Haverinen ’25 said when asked what he was hoping to get out of the evening. “I have a lot of work to do before finals so I was just like, I really need a break.”
Once inside, attendees were treated to an emotional experience that moved between wistful and euphoric, as the DJs navigated Swift’s massive discography with deftness and skill. There was plenty of jumping and dancing, especially on upbeat tracks like “You Belong With Me” and “Better than Revenge.” The concert also had its quieter moments with both “Betty” and “Gold Rush” prompting tearful singing.
“Her music speaks to people,” Josh Nguyen ’23 wrote to the News after the show. “She has a song for every emotion, situation, and experience people have as they grow up.”
The length of the concert, with 190 minutes of music, spoke to both the breadth and depth of Swift’s output and the devotion of the fans in attendance. Less heralded songs like “King of My Heart” and “Message In A Bottle” — a song recently released in her re-record of Swift’s album “Red” — received equally as passionate renditions as pop ballads like “22” and “Love Story.”
To Jackie, the fandom on display was what made the dance parties so appealing.
“There’s something very special about being in a room and singing your heart out with a ton of other people to songs that you cried about by yourself or you played on repeat in the shower,” she mused.
Unsurprisingly, the emotional apex of the night was the performance of Swift’s most recent No. 1 hit, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version).”
The song, primarily concerning Swift’s previous relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal, was much anticipated throughout the night. Andrew, one of the other DJs performing, wore a shirt with Gyllenhaal’s face marked out by a red X, and multiple profanity-filled chants directed at Gyllenhaal could be heard throughout the show.
When “If you know it, sing it!” played “All Too Well,” just before the three-hour mark of the show, the sound inside the venue was deafening. Lights flashed overhead and red balloons floated through the air as a sea of concertgoers with sweaty faces and pained expressions lamented how “I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age” and begged to know “did the love affair maim you, too?”
Reflecting on that moment after the show, Haverinen laughed loudly. “Everyone was so insane. Yeah. It was crazy,” he said with a grin.
Unfortunately for New Haven’s Swifties, Toads is not currently planning any additional Taylor-themed dance parties.
“We definitely want to do this again on a weekend and do more events, too,” Jackie told the News. So we will hopefully be back at Toad’s.”
Taylor Swift is the 10th best selling musician of all time.