Top 10 Live Performances From Taylor Swift

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Taylor Swift celebrates her 33rd birthday today (Dec. 13), marking the end of her most lauded year yet. From Grammy nominations to Oscar nods, Swift’s career has reached unprecedented heights in 2022 with even more milestones primed for the upcoming months.

To celebrate the “All Too Well” singer’s birthday, we’re going through some of her best moments on stage—a list that will no doubt grow longer as she embarks on her Eras Tour next year. From the acoustic Long Pond Sessions to her amped-up Artist of the Decade medley at the AMAs, here are 10 of Swift’s best live performances.

10.  “Should’ve Said No” at the AMA Awards

Despite being a burgeoning artist in 2008, Swift was already picking up nods from major awards shows—like the American Music Awards. For her performance at that year’s AMAs, Swift played “Should’ve Said No,” a cut from her debut album. With an outfit change and some fake rain, this early performance proved Swift was well on her way to superstardom.

9. “Out Of The Woods” at the Grammys

Swift kicked off the 2016 Grammys with her 1989 track, “Out Of The Woods.” The high-energy performance set the tone for the rest of the evening. Swift also went on to take home three Grammys during the ceremony—not a bad night for Swift.

8. “Mean” at the Grammys

Fully leaning into the bluegrass feel of “Mean,” Swift’s performance of this Speak Now cut has gone down as a fan-favorite performance. Swift penned the track after an earlier Grammy performance alongside Stevie Nicks was skewered by the public. Negative reviews began to roll in, including one that begged the question, “Did Taylor Swift kill her career overnight? I’ll argue she did.”

After returning to the coveted awards show in 2011, Swift performed “Mean,” and earned a standing ovation after she added the tongue-in-cheek lyrics Someday I’ll be singing this at Grammys, proving the above assertion wrong.

7. “Cornelia Street” Live From Paris

Speaking of fan favorites, Paris got a few more twinkling lights when Swift played “Cornelia Street” there in 2020. Sitting down at the front of the stage with nothing but an acoustic guitar backing her up, Swift delicately sang the lyrics And I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends while the crowd swayed their flashlights back and forth.

6. “I Did Something Bad” During Reputation Stadium Tour

Given that the world was at peak anti-Taylor Swift levels after Kanye West resurfaced his beef with the singer in 2016, many missed out on the opulent Reputation Tour. The stadium trek saw Swift up the ante on her already stellar stage presence, complete with dazzling stage effects and a heavy bout of attitude. “I Did Something Bad” is arguably the song most evocative of this era, which is why we’ve chosen it to represent the Reputation pack.

5. Rock Version of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

Swift gave “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” a rock edge during her 1989 Tour. Coming out onto the stage with an electric guitar in tow, it was a treat to see Swift venturing outside the pop world.

4. The Long Pond Sessions

Following the surprise release of folklore in 2020, Swift shared a coinciding documentary that detailed the making of the record. Alongside chats with collaborators Jack Antonoff and Bon Iver, Swift sits down for a series of intimate performances. The acoustic renditions saw the singer in a deeply vulnerable state and showcased just how poignant the lyrics of folklore are.

3. “All Too Well” on SNL

Fans had been waiting a long time for Swift to release the 10-minute version of “All Too Well.” When it finally came on the re-recording of her album Red, they got all they expected and then some.

Being the musical guest on SNL is an honor many musicians covet and through Swift has been tapped for the show multiple times, it’s her extended performance of “All Too Well” that takes the cake. It’s rife with emotion and is stunning in its simplicity.

2. folklore/evermore Medley at the Grammys

To celebrate her nominations for the Folklore/Evermore combo, Swift performed a medley of album cuts—”Cardigan,” “August” and “Willow”—at the 2021 Grammys alongside producers Antonoff and Aaron Dessner. The performance is just as magical as those two records are, with Swift in a flowy gown on top of a woodland house that is fit for a fairytale.

1. Artist of the Decade Performance at the 2019 AMAs

Swift’s medley performance at the 2019 AMAs proved she was more than worthy of her Artist of the Decade status. From “Love Story” to “The Man,” the medley touched the high points of Swift’s career, shining a light on the hits she’s amassed across the decade. The performance also serves as a sneak peek at what her Eras Tour might look like.

Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

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