We’ve been watching the grainy livestreams for months and have come up with the definitive, absolutely correct, and not at all subjective rankings of the 53 acoustic song sets from the Eras Tour. How did your night fare?

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Since Taylor Swift’s record-breaking Eras Tour began making its way across the country this spring, 10:30 p.m. Swift Local Time has marked the unofficial start of Surprise Song O’Clock. Maybe you’ve been lucky enough to be in the audience one of those nights and have crossed your fingers and toes in hopes that she’ll play a personal favorite deep cut or bring out a special guest. Maybe you’ve followed along every night on TikTok livestreams dutifully uploaded by on-site Swifties, making sure fans far and wide can find out which two songs not part of the Eras main set list Swift has chosen for her mini acoustic set that night.

During the early shows of the tour, Swift laid out her self-imposed rules: one song on guitar, one on piano, and she would allow herself to repeat only songs from her 2022 album, Midnights, or any other song where she’d messed up the words. (She’s largely followed her own rules, repeating only one song, “Clean,” before heading into the final stretch of shows in Los Angeles, where she has since repeated two tracks from Midnights and fan favorites “Death by a Thousand Cuts,” which she messed up the first time, and “Our Song”—which might have been performed a second time because of whatever documentary was obviously being filmed in L.A.) This isn’t the first time Swift has included surprise songs in live shows—there was one per night on the Reputation Stadium Tour, and the 1989 World Tour included surprise duets with different guests—but this has been a savvy move for a tour meant to highlight her entire discography and a way for Swift to keep every show fresh, even when some concertgoers will have seen the whole thing online months before attending in person.

Plus, it’s a showcase for one of Swift’s superpowers: the ability to make each person in a crowd of tens of thousands feel like she’s talking or singing right to them. Each surprise song set has been a special moment in its own right, but, of course, some songs were more highly anticipated than others, and now that she’s wrapped up the first U.S. leg of the Eras Tour (in epic fashion, we must add), we’ve decided to rank all 53 (!!) of them here:

1. August 9 in Los Angeles, California: “New Romantics” and “New Year’s Day”
The anticipation for this surprise song set grew with every new—and blue—outfit Swift wore throughout the closing night of her record-setting six-run stop at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. As she ended the first U.S. leg of the Eras Tour on the ninth day of the eighth month, after more than a year of teases about 1989 (Taylor’s Version), you just knew something epic was coming. And after crossing off “I Know Places” the night before, she picked the last 1989 track remaining on the surprise song big board: her musical Cinderella story, “New Romantics.” It started as a Target deluxe edition track, and now she’s closing tours and announcing albums with a note-perfect (yes, down to the sign) sing-along of it on the guitar, and everyone was too busy dancing to get knocked off our feet. Swift could have followed “New Romantics” with “Monologue Song” and this night would still have a case for the top spot (though maybe that’s a bad example—“Monologue Song” slaps), but she had more than that in store. At the piano, she surprised the star-studded crowd—hi, Karlie!—with “New Year’s Day,” which, even in August, was the perfect way to close this portion of the tour. Hold on to the memories, because every night felt just like a dream. —Nora Princiotti

2. May 26 in East Rutherford, New Jersey: “Getaway Car” With Jack Antonoff and “Maroon”
“I know you guys want to hear this one,” Swift said before introducing “Getaway Car” during the first of three shows at MetLife Stadium. She was right! “Getaway Car” as your surprise song is a Tier 1 I-was-there-when Swiftie experience. Jack Antonoff gives me low-grade social anxiety, but the fact that the performance was a nod to this footage of the two of them in an original writing session made this choice both an in-joke and a massive crowd-pleaser. We also can’t underrate the phenomenal version of “Maroon,” performed live for the first time at the piano. An all-time classic plus the chance to hear an excellent deep(ish) cut performed in a new way? I don’t know how it gets better than that. The cherry on top is that the whole crowd was expecting “Welcome to New York.” —Princiotti

3. August 5 in Los Angeles, California: “Death by a Thousand Cuts” and “You’re on Your Own, Kid”
L.A. stayed winning. With Swift apparently filming some kind of tour movie during her dates at SoFi Stadium, those shows had a little extra sizzle and great surprise song choices. Fans of the Lover: Live From Paris show know that a live acoustic set is where “Death by a Thousand Cuts” thrives. To pair it with “You’re on Your Own, Kid,” in some ways a manifesto for The Eras Tour itself, was truly special. —Princiotti

4. May 19 in Foxborough, Massachusetts: “Should’ve Said No” and “Better Man”
This is exactly what a dream surprise song set should be. “Should’ve Said No” is one of Taylor’s oldest tracks, off her debut album, which was notably absent from The Eras Tour, and it’s previously been part of an iconic live performance (the “Bad Blood” mash-up from the 2018 Reputation Tour). And I’ll argue that “Better Man” is her best vault track (apologies to fast-rising “I Can See You”). She gave “Better Man” to Little Big Town and has rarely performed it live, but that Friday night in Foxborough, she finally gave it the stadium treatment it deserved. —Lindsay Jones

5. April 1 in Arlington, Texas: “Death by a Thousand Cuts” and “Clean”
“Death by a Thousand Cuts” is basically an automatic top five. A pairing with “Clean,” which has often been a particularly emotional live song, as Swift positions it as a chance for her audience to collectively move beyond whatever challenges they’ve faced, made the surprise set at this DFW show a tour highlight. Swift did bungle a few lyrics in “Clean,” but that just meant she got to do it again further down the line. —Princiotti

6. June 24 in Minneapolis, Minnesota: “Dear John” and “Daylight”
My daughter and I were sitting in the left field bleachers at Coors Field, watching a historically awful loss by our hometown Colorado Rockies, during this particularly epic Surprise Song O’Clock. I cranked the volume on my iPhone to the max as we listened to Taylor give a long introduction to her first acoustic song, imploring fans not to “defend me on the internet against someone you think I might have written a song about.” What followed was her first performance of “Dear John” in 11 years—and sorry, Tay, we all know that song’s about John Mayer, despite your best attempts to play coy all these years later. And she paired it with “Daylight,” a song that is infinitely better when performed live on just a guitar than it was on the studio album Lover. That’s an elite surprise song set. —Jones

7. August 3 in Los Angeles, California: “I Can See You” and “Maroon”
Taylor kicked off her six-show run in L.A. with a hell of a pairing—the live debut of “I Can See You,” the best vault track from Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), and a repeat performance of “Maroon.” With the latter, she let us all know not only that she was indeed going to repeat songs in the final stretch of the (first) American leg of The Eras Tour, but also that she was going to hit the deeper-cut fan favorites once again. —Jones


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8. August 4 in Los Angeles, California: “Our Song” and “You Are in Love”

I am on record as stating that I can’t hear “You Are in Love” without thinking about Jack Antonoff and Lena Dunham making out, but that’s my problem. And there is probably no singular experience better than singing “Our Song” at the tippy top of your lungs with tens of thousands of fellow Swifties. —Princiotti

9. May 7 in Nashville, Tennessee: “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” With Aaron Dessner and “Mine”
I know Taylor said not to, but I would have egged J-hn M-yer’s house if I’d been in Nashville for “WCS.” —Princiotti

10. July 28 in Santa Clara, California: “Right Where You Left Me” and “Castles Crumbling”
It’s the much-anticipated live debut of “Right Where You Left Me” for me. This was also the night that Haim did “No Body, No Crime” in the “Bejeweled” music video dresses. Man, I want to be in Haim. —Princiotti

11. July 1 in Cincinnati, Ohio: “Ivy” With Aaron Dessner, “I Miss You, I’m Sorry” With Gracie Abrams, and “Call It What You Want”
Her only three-song acoustic set (because of severe weather in Cincinnati that caused Gracie Abrams’s opening set to be canceled), the highlight of this night was “Ivy,” my favorite deep cut from Evermore. “Call It What You Want” was lovely on piano, but I can’t help but compare her rather emotionless delivery to the way we saw her sing it to her ex Joe Alwyn in the 2020 Miss Americana documentary. —Jones

12. May 6 in Nashville, Tennessee: “Out of the Woods” and “Fifteen”
*Seventy thousand scream the “Out of the Woods” bridge in unison* —Princiotti

13. May 5 in Nashville, Tennessee: “Sparks Fly” and “Teardrops on My Guitar”
Two elite early sing-alongs worth dropping everything now for. There are plenty of OG Swifties in Nashville, and they must have been levitating. —Princiotti

14. August 8 in Los Angeles, California: “I Know Places” and “King of My Heart”
The penultimate night at SoFi Stadium was delivering VOCALS. First it was “I Know Places,” the most underrated song on 1989, where each chorus came in stronger than the last. Then, at the piano, Swift played the excellent “King of My Heart” from Reputation, and all at once it was so much more than enough. —Princiotti

15. July 22 in Seattle, Washington: “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” and “Everything Has Changed”
One of the most fun songs on Reputation alongside a Red song made for acoustic sing-alongs already makes for a strong pairing, but what made this surprise set extra memorable was the elongated cackle Swift let out in the spoken-word section of “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” when she faux forgives her adversaries. She can’t even say it with a straight face! Unhinged. Excellent. —Princiotti

16. July 15 in Denver, Colorado: “Starlight” and “Back to December”
We all knew “Back to December” was coming sometime after the release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), and this rendition was worth waiting for. The way the Denver crowd went wild when their light-up bracelets turned from blue to purple and they realized what was coming was electric. —Jones

17. April 14 in Tampa, Florida: “The Great War” With Aaron Dessner and “You’re on Your Own, Kid”
I still can’t believe she left “You’re on Your Own, Kid” off the main set list—how loud would the line “so make the friendship bracelets” be every night? —Jones

18. June 30 in Cincinnati, Ohio: “I’m Only Me When I’m With You” and “Evermore”
I remember initially being disappointed that she chose to perform “Evermore” without Justin Vernon. Boy, was I wrong. Nearly six weeks later, I’m still seeking out her solo piano performance from Cincinnati because her vocals on both Vernon’s verse and the bridge are perfection. —Jones

19. April 15 in Tampa, Florida: “Mad Woman” With Aaron Dessner and “Mean”
And a liar! And pathetic!!!! —Princiotti

20. August 7 in Los Angeles, California: “Dress” and “Exile”
Even though this solo live version of “Exile” was unique and what Swift did with the bridge was very cool, I’ll admit I missed Justin Vernon here. —Jones

21. March 24 in Las Vegas, Nevada: “Our Song” and “Snow on the Beach”
What a weird but fucking beautiful pairing. —Jones

22. July 8 in Kansas City, Missouri: “Last Kiss” and “Dorothea”
“Dorothea” is so overlooked and such a wonderful, sweet song. Even though it’s wistful, it feels like a warm hug, which is good because this live version of “Last Kiss” was DEVASTATING—even the two vocal trip-ups, which somehow made it more special. —Princiotti

23. June 17 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: “Seven” With Aaron Dessner and “The Story of Us”
She absolutely wasn’t going to miss the chance to sing the lyric “with Pennsylvania under me” while in her home state. And that’s a nice line, but “love you to the moon and to Saturn” is the one I might get tattooed on my arm when this tour is over. —Jones

24. June 4 in Chicago, Illinois: “Hits Different” and “The Moment I Knew”
I don’t know why Swift was surprised the Soldier Field crowd knew every word to “Hits Different.” She should have known that even though she hid that track away on a CD-only version of Midnights sold at Target, we’d been streaming bootleg versions for months. —Jones

25. March 17 in Glendale, Arizona: “Mirrorball” and “Tim McGraw”
Back on the opening night of the tour, Taylor debuted the first surprise song set with “Mirrorball,” telling the crowd the song was her more eloquent way of saying, “I love you and want your attention all the time.” Well, she got it. —Jones

26. April 29 in Atlanta, Georgia: “High Infidelity” and “Gorgeous”
Do you really want to know where I was April 29? Watching TikTok feeds with extreme jealousy toward those who saw this surprise set live. This one was tasteful. —Princiotti

27. May 21 in Foxborough, Massachusetts: “I Think He Knows” and “Red”
Two great songs, and extra memorable for the fact that Swift wound up playing “Red” on the guitar because her piano was so waterlogged from the torrential downpour that soaked it the night before that it started playing itself. —Princiotti

28. May 27 in East Rutherford, New Jersey: “Holy Ground” and “False God”
“Holy Ground” has always been a perfect stadium filler and was a cool pairing with “False God,” one of Swift’s most idiosyncratic songs. I got to see this one live, and the funniest part was that she didn’t introduce “False God” at all. Really, though, what was she going to say? Tonight I thought I’d play one of my horniest songs. Please enjoy! —Princiotti

29. July 14 in Denver, Colorado: “Picture to Burn” and “Timeless”
From my years of covering the Broncos, I’ve felt Denver’s football stadium shake on dozens of occasions, but I’ve never felt it bounce quite like it did during “Picture to Burn.” And the live debut of “Timeless,” a vault track from Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), was delightful—and truly a surprise song because so many of us with Denver Night 1 tickets clowned ourselves into believing that Hayley Williams would show up to do “Castles Crumbling” the night after Paramore played in Denver. —Jones

30. April 30 in Atlanta, Georgia: “I Bet You Think About Me” and “How You Get the Girl”
I’m just thankful we got to hear her sing the line “Oh my God, she’s insane” live. —Jones

31. May 12 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “Gold Rush” and “Come Back … Be Here”
The verbal precision of “Gold Rush” was a cool contrast with the belting she did on “Come Back … Be Here.” —Princiotti

32. March 25 in Las Vegas, Nevada: “Cowboy Like Me” With Marcus Mumford and “White Horse”
The first surprise guest of the tour and a very horsey set. Ken approved. —Princiotti

33. June 2 in Chicago, Illinois: “I Wish You Would” and “The Lakes”
I loved this set, even though I doubt it was at the top of many wish lists. “We’re a crooked love in a straight line down” is such an evocative line in “I Wish You Would.” And real ones know the bonus tracks on Folklore and Evermore are exceptional. —Princiotti

34. March 18 in Glendale, Arizona: “State of Grace” and “This Is Me Trying”
The Glendale sets are from such a simpler time, back before we analyzed what songs were left and what she might repeat, back when we could just enjoy an epic lyric like “They told me all of my cages were mental / So I got wasted like all my potential.” —Jones

35. April 2 in Arlington, Texas: “Jump Then Fall” and “The Lucky One”
“This is about how horrible being famous is,” Swift, arguably the most famous singer in the world right now, said with a smirk as she introduced “The Lucky One” on piano. —Jones

36. April 13 in Tampa, Florida: “Speak Now” and “Treacherous”
In hindsight, it seems odd that she chose to perform the titular track for Speak Now a month before she announced the impending release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version). —Jones

37. May 13 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “Forever & Always” and “This Love”
When Lena Dunham requests “Forever & Always” for her birthday, you absolutely have to play it. Those are the rules. —Jones

38. May 28 in East Rutherford, New Jersey: “Welcome to New York” and “Clean”
Genuinely good bit on Taylor’s part to wait until the last show in East Rutherford to pull out “Welcome to New York.” —Princiotti

39. May 14 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “Hey Stephen” and “The Best Day”
This show was on Mother’s Day, so of course she was going to perform “The Best Day,” which is in essence a love letter to her mother, Andrea. It’s a sweet song, perfect for an acoustic performance, and it surely hit all the millennial moms in the audience right in the feels. —Jones

40. June 9 in Detroit, Michigan: “Haunted” and “I Almost Do”
“Haunted” is such a huge instrumental song on the studio album(s), and yet it’s somehow more, well, haunting when it’s just Swift and a guitar. —Jones

41. June 10 in Detroit, Michigan: “All You Had to Do Was Stay” and “Breathe”
The high “stays” acoustic were very cool. —Princiotti

42. June 16 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: “Mr. Perfectly Fine” and “The Last Time”
To quote Sophie Turner, “MPF” is not not a bop. —Princiotti

43. June 23 in Minneapolis, Minnesota: “Paper Rings” and “If This Was a Movie”
“Paper Rings” deserved a better partner. —Jones

44. June 3 in Chicago, Illinois: “You All Over Me” With Maren Morris and “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”
Remember that whole Matty Healy thing? It all fizzled out right around the time of her Chicago dates, which might help explain why she picked a song with the lyric “What if I dodged a bullet or just lost the love of my life?” —Jones

45. May 20 in Foxborough, Massachusetts: “Question …?” and “Invisible”
I remember two things about this set: (1) the epic downpour in Foxborough and (2) the way Swift introduced the acoustic set, telling the crowd, “I’ve just never been this happy in my life, in all aspects of my life, and thank you for being a part of that. And it’s not just the tour, so I feel like my life finally feels like it makes sense. So I thought I’d play this song that brings me a lot of happy memories.” This was, of course, post-Joe and possibly mid-Matty, whatever that means. —Jones

46. July 7 in Kansas City, Missouri: “Never Grow Up” and “When Emma Falls in Love”
I cannot listen to “Never Grow Up” without crying, so I was honestly relieved when this one came off the big board a week before I saw The Eras Tour live. Thoughts and prayers to all the moms who were at Arrowhead that night with their children; I would not have survived it. —Jones

47. July 29 in Santa Clara, California: “Stay Stay Stay” and “All of the Girls You Loved Before”
Did you hear they named it Swiftie Clara? —Princiotti

48. April 28 in Atlanta, Georgia: “The Other Side of the Door” and “Coney Island”
Even without her cowriters from the National, “Coney Island” was surely a thrill for the Sad Dad corner of the Taylor Swift fandom. —Jones

49. March 31 in Arlington, Texas: “Sad Beautiful Tragic” and “Ours”
If you have to ask, “I’m not sure if you guys love this one or not, or if you just like it or if you’re obsessed with it,” before playing a song, as she did with “Sad Beautiful Tragic,” maybe that’s a sign that it’s not a dream surprise song. —Jones

50. July 23 in Seattle, Washington: “Message in a Bottle” and “Tied Together With a Smile”
Sure, “Message in a Bottle” is a bop, but anyone who says they had either of these picks on their surprise song big board in late July is lying. —Jones

51. April 22 in Houston, Texas: “A Place in This World” and “Today Was a Fairytale”
I can’t make a case that this acoustic set was elite, but I just want to say that I ride for “Today Was a Fairytale.” —Princiotti

52. April 23 in Houston, Texas: “Begin Again” and “Cold As You”
I mean, it’s fine. —Jones

53. April 21 in Houston, Texas: “Wonderland” and “You’re Not Sorry”
Taylor, did Houston do something? It’s not that these surprise sets weren’t enjoyable—they all were—I just don’t know how many fans had “Wonderland,” a 1989 bonus track, paired with this hurting early cut from Fearless on their wish lists. —Princiotti