When it comes to the surprise-songs portion of each night’s show on the Eras Tour, Taylor Swift fans probably should have seen one of Friday night’s two picks coming. Of course she was going to honor the opening day of release for her friend Lana Del Rey’s new album by performing the song that the two of them wrote together for Swift’s most recent album.
But before she did that, Swift gave Del Rey’s Friday release, “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd,” all the “promo” that a fellow artist could ask for, calling it “brilliant” and urging the approximately 60,000 fans gathered at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium to stream or buy the new album.
In her preface to a preface to a solo performance of “Snow on the Beach,” the song she co-wrote with Del Rey for the “Midnights” album, Swift was careful to warn the audience that the artist she was about to refer to was not “not here, OK?… You’re stuck with me.” That didn’t mute the crowd too much from exploding at the mention of Del Rey’s name.
“I do want to talk about something,” Swift said, after taking her place at the piano at the end of a long ramp, “because Lana Del Rey put out a new album, and it’s called ‘Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.’ And, guys, it’s so good. You probably already know that. But it’s just extraordinary. I just think she’s the best that we have. And so I think we need to make it a priority as a group to stream, buy, support this album and this artist.
“And she knows I’m obsessed with her,” Swift continued, “and she was kind enough to make a song with me on ‘Midnights’ called ‘Snow on the Beach,’ because she’s a generous king. And she did that for me, and I’ll never forget how nice she’s been to me. It’s so cool when you have favorite artists and they turn out to be so nice to you. So anyway, I wanted to just do some promo for her, and also, in honor of this brilliant album that she just put out, I wanted to play ‘Snow on the Beach.’”
(Variety‘s take on Del Rey’s new album was largely in line with Swift’s; read our review here.)
That was her second surprise number in a row in the segment where Swift will be doing a pair of solo numbers that otherwise are not planned to be performed again on the tour. Directly preceding it was a song from her self-titled 2006 debut album, “Our Song,” a pick that also had its inspiration in another artist, albeit one that was in the building, if not on stage at the time.
“You know, I was thinking that for this tour it might be fun to have a section where I would just play different songs each night and it would be just me and you and a guitar, and we could just go by honestly what I feel like playing that night,” she said. “And I’m gonna decide what I hope you might want to hear. But I do get ideas from places.
“Like, I actually saw an interview that Beabadoobee did, who is our amazing, brilliant opening act tonight, and they were saying, ‘Oh, you’re going on the Eras Tour. What song might you want to hear?’ And she was like, ‘Well, I grew up listening to songs like, on her first album…’ And she named a specific song. So I figured, you know what? For her first show with us, I’ll play the specific song that she said she wanted to hear. So this is a song that I actually wrote it for my ninth-grade talent show, called ‘Our Song.’”
The Friday night show in Las Vegas was her third on a tour that began with two concerts last weekend in Glendale, Arizona. On the first night a week prior, of course, every song was a surprise, but the two songs that were slotted into that wild-card segment were “Mirrorball” from “Folklore” and “Tim McGraw” from the debut album. The following night, she performed “This Is Me Trying” from “Folklore” on guitar and “State of Grace” from “Red” on piano.
On the opening night, Swift only seemed to be promising one surprise a night, in introducing “Mirrorball,” before it turned out in subsequent nights that “Tim McGraw” was apparently a one-time-only pick, too, and that there would indeed be two unexpected songs a night. If what Swift said in reference to “Mirrorball” that first night proves true for both of the surprise songs she’s putting in the set each night, then none of them are designed to be repeated. If she means that for both slots and holds true to it, it would mean there could be as many as 104 surprise numbers played across the course of a 52-show North American tour.
Needless to say, many fans are already expressing a wish for a boxed-set-type release after the tour of all the surprise songs that will be played across those 52 shows, as unlikely an addition to the Swift canon as such a project might be.
At Swift’s show Friday night, she proudly crowed that she was the first female artist to headline Allegiant Stadium, “but not the last.” She performs a second sold-out show at the venue Saturday night. Next weekend represents her first three-night stand on the Eras Tour, as she’ll be doing three nights in a row at Texas’ AT&T Stadium.
See some of our photography from Swift’s first night at Allegiant Stadium:
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