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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Millersville chapter.

If you are anything like me, you’ve spent most weekends from March until August staying up until 10:30 p.m. – 11:15 p.m. TST (Taylor Swift Time) watching a TikTok livestream of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour in hopes of catching surprise song o’clock. If you’re also anything like me, you’ve also spent most weekends from March until August staying up until 10:30 p.m. – 11:15 p.m. TST (Taylor Swift Time) watching a TikTok livestream of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour and being emotionally devastated over what combo of songs she picked for that night. 

For those of you who don’t know, Swift spends part of her show doing an acoustic set where she sings two songs that are not regularly on The Eras Tour setlist. She has some rules that she uses to choose the songs, such as the fact that she can repeat any song she messes up or any song from Midnights, but for the most part, the idea is that she sings two new songs every night. However, as she finished up the U.S. leg, she decided to throw all the rules away, and has now repeated several arguable fan favorites for no specific reason at all.

With that being said, I tried my best to narrow her surprise song combos to my top fifteen. Before we get too far, I want to say this. My top five surprise songs I wanted to hear on the tour were “Long Live” from Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), “exile” from folklore, “Cornelia Street” from Lover, “Mary’s Song (Oh My My My” from Taylor Swift, and “Maroon” from Midnights. If you have been following along, you would know that at this point, the only one left standing is “Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)”. Stay strong, “Mary’s Song”.

Here we go:

15.)-Philadelphia, Night 2: May 13, 2023

🎸: “Forever and Always”

🎹: “This Love”

This one makes the list because it was my show. Neither of these songs are my favorite songs on either of these albums, but they will hold a special place in my heart due to them being my surprise songs the first time I had ever seen Taylor live. I have my reactions saved on my phone to each of the beginnings of the songs, and whenever I need cheering up I go back and watch them to see how excited I was.

14.)-Nashville, Night 3: May 7th, 2023

🎸: “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” featuring Aaron Dessner

🎹: “Mine”

This was the most memorable rain show on The Eras Tour for all of two weeks before we hit the “rainiest rain show that ever rain showed” in Foxborough. This show was delayed for hours, and Taylor finally took the stage around the same time the show should have ended. So, in the early morning hours, Taylor seemed to grace her audience with one of my top thirteen Taylor songs ever with “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve”. “Mine” is the opening to my favorite Taylor album, so that is how this combo made it onto my list. 

13.)-Las Vegas, Night 2: March 25th, 2023

🎸: “cowboy like me” featuring Marcus Mumford

🎹: “White Horse”

With it only being Week 2 of this tour, we had quite the collection of songs left. “cowboy like me” is easily top 3 on evermore, and this performance was beautiful. People like to talk about how the yellow and pink surprise song dresses have taken a lot from us, but no one seems to remember that the green dress was the culprit this time. “White Horse” is a classic track five, and one of the songs I remember myself walking around singing when I was younger, so these two songs together were a hurtful combo.

12.)-Foxborough, Night 1: May 19th, 2023

🎸: “Should’ve Said No”

🎹: “Better Man”

OKAY SO this was the weekend in between my two shows, and this one hurt, let me tell you. I was sitting on the floor of my sister’s room watching this one. Everytime a show gets a Debut song it hurts a little, because that means that lucky audience did hear something from all ten eras. But “Should’ve Said No” is one of my favorites off of Debut, and to go from that into “Better Man” was a little uncalled for. People were theorizing this pair together as well, as the timing was certainly interesting. 

11.)-Glendale, Night 1: Opening Night of The Eras Tour, March 17th, 2023

🎸: “Mirrorball”

🎹: “Tim McGraw”

Oh, Eras Night 1. Back when we thought “Tim McGraw” was on the setlist for a full 24 hours before we realized it was not in fact. I was supposed to go to bed before the show even started as I had to be at work at 6:00 a.m. the next morning, but a shirt emergency kept me awake. I fought with myself about whether I wanted to go into the show blind when I saw the tour two months later, but I quickly failed at that idea and was stalking Twitter to see what song she would sing next. To wake up after Night 2 and find that “Tim McGraw” was just a surprise song and not a permanent addition to the set was a hard one to move past, because it is the perfect song for an eras tour as it was the song that started it all. Almost every song on folklore has been a favorite at some point or another (however, one has taken the cake as the overall favorite), and “mirrorball” is no exception to that list. This was a perfect pick for Night 1 of the tour, and gave us a glimpse at the chaos to come.

10.)-Los Angeles, Night 6: Closing Night of the U.S. Leg of The Eras Tour, August 9th, 2023

🎸: “New Romantics” (+ 1989 (Taylor’s Version) Announcement)

🎹: “New Year’s Day”

Taylor did a six night run at SoFi Stadium to end the U.S. leg of the tour, and she did it with a bang. There have been theories for months that she was going to announce the rerecording of 1989, because how could she not when the date was literally (the way it is typically written in the U.S. anyway) 8/9. So, I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m. three out of those 6 nights (and would have probably stayed up the others if I wasn’t in a hotel room with my family), and wasn’t disappointed by my choice. 

This night was chaotic from beginning to end, but got especially wild when she came out wearing a new blue dress for the Speak Now set. Things got wilder when she debuted a blue dress for folklore, and the crowd erupted when we finally saw the long-awaited blue outfit for 1989. When surprise song o’clock came, so did the 1989 (Taylor’s Version) announcement and the only song she had left to sing from 1989 (and arguably one of the best). Then, to close out the U.S. leg, she did “New Year’s Day”, which was also widely predicted. This was such a fun night to be experiencing through a livestream, and I miss the way I felt then. 

9.)-Cincinnati, Night 1: June 30th, 2023

🎸: “I’m Only Me When I’m With You”

🎹: “evermore”

I’m Only Me When I’m With You is another top 3 Debut song for me! This performance was so fun, when she tried to get the audience to jump. I would have loved to be there. And then “evermore” was just gorgeous, and I actually need a recording of it in my life, please and thank you. Cincy Night 2 was a close contender, because not only did we get “ivy” featuring Aaron Dessner and “Call It What You Want”, but we also got “I Miss You, I’m Sorry” with Gracie Abrams! Cincinnati WON. 

8.)-Tampa Night 2: April 14th, 2023

🎸: “The Great War” featuring Aaron Dessner

🎹: “You’re On Your Own, Kid” (first performance)

This was a hard one to take. “The Great War” is one of the best songs on the 3 a.m. edition of Midnights, and “You’re On Your Own, Kid” is one of Taylor’s best songs, period. You know it is going to hurt when Aaron Dessner is there, but this one and “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” were my biggest two Dessner losses. This combo made us all long for “You’re On Your Own, Kid” to be a permanent addition to the setlist, but Taylor apparently loves to sing it as a surprise song, since we’ve lost it an additional two times since. 

7.)-Kansas City, Night 2: July 8th, 2023

🎸: “Last Kiss”

🎹: “Dorothea”

“Last Kiss” is my third favorite Taylor song of all time, so obviously it was going to make the list. She had a time with this one, starting not once, not twice, but three separate times. The song itself is so sad, but I can’t help but love it. I have a vivid memory of falling asleep listening to this song when I was younger, which is just a little fun fact. It didn’t matter what song was paired with this, it would have been on the list anyway. But “dorothea” is such a good song, so this combo definitely deserves to be this high on my list.

6.)- Detroit, Night 1: June 9th, 2023

🎸: “Haunted”

🎹: “I Almost Do”

HELLO TAYLOR WHY! This one HURT. If I remember correctly, we had been thinking “Haunted” was coming for a few weeks, we were just waiting for the moment. Anyone who knows me IRL knows that I am a Speak Now stan, so any Speak Now song is a loss. “I Almost Do” is another top thirteen Taylor song for me, so this was definitely a double loss. I remember sitting there on my bed in disbelief watching her sing “Haunted”, and then falling further into disbelief when we got to “I Almost Do”. Thanks for that hurtful combo, Taylor.

5.)- Nashville Night 1: May 5th, 2023

🎸: “Sparks Fly” (+ Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) Announcement)

🎹: “Teardrops On My Guitar”

Okay, so, I spent this show on Twitter, watching it all go down. If anyone remembers the chaos that this show was even before the Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) announcement, I am sorry we had to all go through that together. This was also opening night for Phoebe Bridgers on this tour, so there was a lot going on. But, this surprise song o’clock should arguably be at number one on this list. “Sparks Fly” is the perfect Speak Now announcement surprise song, “Teardrops On My Guitar” meant that Nashville got Debut representation (though it is hilarious to me that she sang a song called “Teardrops On My Guitar” on the piano), and the Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) announcement lead to me screaming after my parents already went to bed, shaking, texting everyone I knew, and dropping my phone on the ground in disbelief (even though we guessed the announcement could be coming). Overall, this was one of the most eventful nights of The Eras Tour thus far. 

4.)-Minneapolis, Night 2: June 24th, 2023

🎸: “Dear John”

🎹: “Daylight”

Another surprise song o’clock spent on my sister’s floor, another surprise song o’clock with major losses. She was going to go to sleep, so I started watching the livestream on my bed, but only seconds into her speech to introduce “Dear John” I was running into my sister’s room. I was truly not expecting to hear her play this one live in the year 2023, so it was a shock to say the least to my Speak Now stan self. To go from “Dear John” into “Daylight” was wild, and the performance of “Daylight” was gorgeous.

3.)-East Rutherford, Night 1: May 26th, 2023

🎸: Getaway Car featuring Jack Antonoff 

🎹: Maroon (first performance)

If you had asked me 6 weeks ago what my favorite surprise song combo of the tour was, my answer easily would have been MetLife Night 1. This was my second show (I was so fortunate to be able to go to two), and we got quite the performance. From 3 news outfits (Lover bodysuit, evermore dress, and the Speak Now gown), a new edition of Midnights being sold on CD at the shows including a new vault song (shout out to “You’re Losing Me” for being heartbreaking), the world premiere of the “Karma (feat. Ice Spice)” video, and Ice Spice joining Taylor onstage for “Karma”, we certainly had a fun evening. But, once the music video premiere ended (which arguably happened during surprise song o’clock), and she started talking about Jack, we knew we were in for something good. In the small conversation they had before they started playing, it was very apparent that “Getaway Car” was coming. Not only did we get some reputation representation, but we got one of the long-awaited surprise songs of tour. Once she hit the piano, we were all expecting “Welcome to New York” since we didn’t get it on guitar. Nope. Miss Swift sat down at the piano and started talking about Midnights and suddenly the word “Maroon” was coming out of her mouth. If you remember from the beginning of this article, “Maroon” made it onto mt short list of songs I really wanted to hear. The only reason I remember any of this is because I have it on video; I have no actual recollection of this whatsoever.

2.)-Mexico City, Night 3: August 26th, 2023

🎸: “Cornelia Street”

🎹: “You’re On Your Own, Kid” (third performance)

I should have known this was going to be a hard one to handle when I woke up the morning after Mexico Night 3 to a text from one of my close friends asking if I was okay. The next text I saw was from another friend asking me if it was true she sang “Cornelia Street”. I knew I was done for after that. I slowly opened TikTok and X, and found evidence that she did in fact play “Cornelia Street”. That song is my second favorite Taylor song of all time, second only to “Long Live”. This one hurt. Following it up with the third performance of “You’re On Your Own, Kid” was not helping matters. Mexico deserved this combo, but I felt the loss of these songs was pretty hard.

1.)-Los Angeles, Night 4: August 7th, 2023

🎸: “Dress”

🎹: “exile”

“EXILE” MY LOVE! “exile” was my favorite song from folklore from my first listen, and it now sits as my fourth favorite Taylor Swift song of all time. This performance was beautiful, and would have been on this list whether it was one of my favorites or not. The way the audience echoed back at her was so incredible, and I wish I was there. This would have been at the top of the list no matter the other song, but getting Dress along with Exile made the combo even stronger. We rarely got a reputation surprise song leading up to the final weeks of U.S. dates, and “Dress” is so iconic. I am so sad that this was one of the three L.A. shows I was at the hotel for, because I would have loved to be watching it live. I did see this combo at about four in the morning when I woke up and my first thought was to check the surprise songs before promptly falling back asleep. This one was epic, and I am very interested to see if anything can top it during the rest of the tour dates.

So, there we have it! My top fifteen surprise song combos. I hope you all aren’t suffering the loss of any song too hard. I’ll see you all on the livestreams!

Katherine McLaughlin

Millersville '23

Katie is currently completing her last semester at Millersville University, with a major in Digital Communication and Cultural Studies and a minor in Creative Writing and Publishing. Katie loves listening to music, traveling, riding rollercoasters, reading, hanging out with friends, family, and her dog, and writing for fun!