Taylor Swift gave her mournful Midnights bonus track “Bigger Than the Whole Sky” its live debut Sunday (Nov. 19), seemingly paying tribute to a fan who died after attending an Eras Tour show two nights prior in Brazil.
The 33-year-old pop star started her acoustic set by playing Reputation‘s “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” on guitar before transitioning over to her piano, looking visibly emotional. As she sang the first few grief-stricken lines of the track, fans in the crowd at Rio de Janeiro’s Estádio Olímpico Nilton Santos erupted with knowing cheers.
“Did some bird flap its wings over in Asia?/ Did some force take you because I didn’t pray?” Swift sang, remaining stoic throughout the song. “Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye/ You were bigger than the whole sky.”
Sunday night marks the first time the 12-time Grammy winner has performed “Bigger Than the Whole Sky” as a surprise song or otherwise. It came two nights after 23-year-old Ana Clara Benevides Machado passed away after attending Swift’s Friday concert in Rio, where many fans reported feeling ill due to extreme heat in the stadium. According to organizer Time4Fun’s Instagram post, paramedics took Machado to a first-aid center, then to a hospital, where she died an hour later. Saturday’s show was postponed to Monday.
Swift didn’t address the incident during Sunday’s show, although she’d previously warned fans that she would be unable to speak about Machado’s death onstage as she felt “overwhelmed by grief when I even try to talk about it.” “I can’t even tell you how devastated I am by this,” she also wrote in a statement on Instagram Stories at the time. “There’s very little information I have other than the fact that she was so incredibly beautiful and far too young.”
“I want to say now I feel this loss deeply and my broken heart goes out to her family and friends,” she’d added. “This is the last thing I ever thought would happen when we decided to bring this tour to Brazil.”
Watch Swift’s emotional performance below:
— Taylor Swift Updates (@swifferupdates) November 20, 2023