Taylor Swift Debuts Grief-Themed ‘Bigger Than the Whole Sky’ in First Concert After Rio Fan’s Death
20.11.2023 - 18:57
Chris Willman Senior Music Writer and Chief Music Critic Taylor Swift did not offer an introduction to “Bigger Than the Whole Sky” when she performed it as a surprise song at her concert Sunday night in Rio de Janeiro. But she didn’t have to — fans implicitly understood her live premiere of the number, arguably the most wrenchingly emotional song in her catalog, as a tribute to Ana Clara Benevides Machado, who died after attending Swift’s previous show at the stadium.Full video of Taylor performing Biggen Than The Whole Sky (right in front of my face like wow) #RioTSTheErasTour pic.twitter.com/q5rNYixG1z Swift had previously expressed her sorrow over the fan’s death in a social media post, and had written that “I’m not going to be able to speak about this from stage because I feel overwhelmed by grief when I even try to talk about it.” But, clearly, she wanted to sing about that which she could not talk about.
On video captured of the “secret songs” segment of Sunday’s show at Estádio Olímpico Nilton Santos , Swift is seen appearing to compose herself and take deep breaths before she launches into the ballad, which was a bonus track on the “3am” deluxe edition of her “Midnights” album last year. When the damp-haired singer finally begins to play it, much of the audience immediately recognizes the deep track from the first note, and the crowd sings along loudly with the chorus: “Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye / You were bigger than the whole sky… / I’ve got a lot to live without / I’m never gonna meet / What could’ve been, would’ve been / What should’ve been you.” The cause of death for Benevides has not been announced, but it’s widely assumed that it was related to the heat wave afflicting the region.
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