Few artists can command the stage quite like Taylor Swift does. Not only does she embody everything a pop star is by filling massive arenas, rocking glamorous costumes, and touting dazzling stage set-ups, but she’s got the musical chops to back up her grandiose image. Swift plays four different instruments and Swifties never know which ones she might whip out at a concert. Oh, and she’s been playing live shows since she was 16 years old, so she knows a thing or two about putting on a magical performance. This list of Taylor Swift’s most epic performances will have you wanting to re-live each one.
Tay sure can pack an arena, but some of her most special events have been intimate ones. Never forget the time she held a listening party at her house for a few of her most dedicated fans ahead of the release of her Lover album in August 2019.
Swift is also the queen of surprising fans with easter eggs. Every now and again, she takes the mystery to the stage. In June 2019, she shocked fans with an unannounced show in Chicago where she played an intimate set for just 200 people. Most recently, she played one of her most important concerts yet. Tay rocked the stage at the One World: Together At Home benefit concert with Global Citizen in April 2020 in order to raise money for coronavirus relief efforts.
Swift has been performing on stages across the world since she was a teen, but she still brings new energy to the stage each and every time.
1. The 2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show
Swift isn’t a model, but she sure looked the part when she hit the runway in December 2014 alongside Karlie Kloss and a number of Victoria’s Secret’s angels. Swift strut down the catwalk as she performed "Style" off her hit 1989 album.
2. The Long Pond Sessions
Following the release of Swift’s July 2020 album Folklore, she delivered an even bigger dose of excitement when she dropped a surprise documentary to coincide. Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions hit Disney+ in November, and featured performances of every song from the new record. She even had Folklore collaborators like Jack Antonoff and Bon Iver join her.
3. The 2016 Grammy Awards
Swift kicked off the 2016 Grammy Awards on a high note. Performing "Out Of The Woods" from her 1989 album, she rocked the stage in a glittering jumpsuit. Swift also took home three Grammys that night, so it was definitely a big career moment for her.
4. The Grammy Museum 2015
Swift can sell out stadiums like it’s nobody’s business, but a true Swiftie will always appreciate her more intimate performances. In September 2015, Swift celebrated her exhibit at the Grammy museum with an intimate performance at the Clive Davis Theater.
5. The 2021 Grammy Awards
Swift performed a dreamy medley of three songs, "Cardigan," "August," and "Willow" at the 2021 Grammy Awards, and brought some friends with her. Alongside Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner, she enchanted the crowd with some of her biggest Folklore and Evermore hits.
6. The ‘Reputation’ Tour
Swift shook fans to the core when she kicked off her Reputation tour in May 2018. The album of the same name had some sinister vibes, and Swift brought the same energy to her stadium tour which, of course, included lots of snake imagery.
7. The 2014 MTV Video Music Awards
Swift shook off the haters with a performance of "Shake It Off" at the 2014 VMAs where she dazzled viewers with neon lights, trumpets, and flawless choreography. Basically, she made it impossible for fans at home not to dance along.
8. "Cornelia Street" Live From Paris
Swift brought a little extra glow to the city of light in September 2019 when she performed several fan-favorite tracks, including "Cornelia Street," in Paris. The one-hour live show eventually aired on ABC so fans around the world could witness the intimate show.
9. NPR’s Tiny Desk
Tiny Desk is NPR’s video series which spotlights both emerging and big-name artists. Swifties couldn’t have been more thrilled when Tay signed on for the segment in October 2019.
10. ‘Saturday Night Live’ 2019
It’s considered one of the highest honors for a musician to be invited on the legendary SNL stage, and Swift has been invited multiple times. Her latest appearance in October 2019 stunned. Swift performed her romantic ballad "Lover" off her album of the same name and it had fans dropping comments about how lucky boyfriend Joe Alwyn is to have Swift in his life.
11. ‘Good Morning America’ 2006
GMA is one of America’s biggest stages, and Swift has graced it several times throughout her career. The first time she performed on the morning show was in 2006, and, if she was nervous for her debut, it certainly didn’t show.
12. The 2008 World Series National Anthem
Tay took fans out to the ball game in 2008 when she belted out the national anthem ahead of game three of the World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies in October 2008. The performance was a major career milestone for baby-faced Swift, who was just 17 years old at the time.
13. The 2018 American Music Awards
Swift performed “I Did Something Bad” for the AMAs crowd in 2018 and her performance was definitely bad to the bone. The thing that really got fans talking? An appearance from Karyn, Swift’s giant inflatable snake from her Reputation tour.
14. Swift’s Super Saturday Night
Football took a back seat when Tay took the stage to perform at a pre-Super Bowl event for DIRECTV in February 2017. The Super Saturday Night concert wound up being a special one as Swift performed several songs, such as "Better Man," for the first time ever.
15. The ‘Red’ Tour
Swift’s Red tour broke the record for the highest-grossing U.S. tour to date, and with fan-favorite tracks like "All Too Well" and "22" on the album, it’s no surprise she brought her A-Game and sold out stadiums worldwide.
16. iHeart Radio’s 2019 Wango Tango Festival
Wango Tango consistently brings out the best in pop music, and Swift slayed the stage in June 2019 dressed in a rainbow-colored outfit to celebrated LGBTQ+ pride. She even surprised fans with a duet with Brendon Urie.
17. The ‘1989’ Secret Session with iHeartRadio
A few lucky Swifties were selected to witness a private rooftop performance from Tay in October 2014 as she celebrated the release of her 1989 album. The Manhattan show, which was put on by iHeartRadio, was kept under wraps in the days leading up to it, making for an extra magical night under the New York City skyline.
18. "Innocent" At The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards
Anytime Swift performs "Innocent" is a special moment seeing as it’s one of her most vulnerable songs. Presumed to be penned about her rift with Kanye West, specifically the moment he interrupted her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV VMAs, she reclaimed her power one year later by performing the song on that very stage.
19. The ‘One World: Together At Home’ Concert
Swift joined a number of musical artists including Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, Elton John, Lizzo, and more to perform from home and raise money for WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. She performed "Soon You’ll Get Better," written about her mother’s cancer diagnosis, making for an especially emotional (but beautiful) performance.
20. The 2019 Billboard Music Awards
Swift and Brendon Urie were one hell of a colorful duo when they hit the stage at the 2019 BBMAs to perform "ME!," and they dazzled with a full-blown marching band in tow. It just doesn’t get more epic than that.
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