“I love tonight, I love tonight, I love tonight,” Taylor Swift gushed from the center of Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Saturday night (May 13). As the second show of Swift’s three-date Philly weekend neared its conclusion, she confided in the crowd: there were some shows where she and her crew of musicians and dancers didn’t want to be eventually forced from the stage, and Saturday night was one of them. Swift wrapped up the sentiment simply: “You guys are… lit.”
They had good reason to be. As the Eras tour approaches the two-month mark of its launch in March, Taylor Swift’s stadium extravaganza keeps rolling on, and seemingly getting better. Compared to its opening date in Glendale, Ariz., the career-spanning performance has tightened, from the more pinpoint twirls on “Fearless” to the snarling vocal work on “Look What You Made Me Do,” from the changeover between eras to the steady rapport Swift has developed with her audience. Yes, the general beats remain the same, and the setlist, visuals and outfits have largely remained static from the tour launch — but the Eras tour contains a confident energy, a vehicle newly polished and now firing on all cylinders.
And within those refined details came memorable (and some unexpected) treats on Saturday night. Here are five standout moments from another incandescent stop on the Eras tour:
Lena Dunham’s birthday request.
Saturday night’s acoustic song was the sweeping Fearless deep cut “Forever & Always,” which Swift turned into a massive sing-along for the day-one fans. The selection was thanks to Lena Dunham, who was in attendance in Philly and celebrating her birthday at the show; the filmmaker and Swift’s longtime friend earned a pre-song shout-out and whoops from the appreciative crowd. Just as satisfying was the other surprise song, “This Love,” which elicited gasps when Swift began plinking out the 1989 for standout’s opening piano notes.
Plenty of hometown shout-outs.
Swift pointed out early on Saturday night that she was born in Reading, Penn., not very far from Philadelphia, and told that the crowd that, whether they realized it or not, “You’re at a hometown show!” What followed was a slew of nods to her PA heritage in accentuated lyrics, from “It always leads to you in my hometown” from “Tis the Damn Season” to “I was high in the sky / with Pennsylvania under me” in the spoken-word rendering of “Seven.” And in each instance, the Philly crowd roared.
Phoebe Bridgers adjusts to the stadium spotlight.
After Bridgers continued her opening-act duties, Swift once again brought out the indie singer-songwriter for “Nothing New,” their “From The Vault” duet on Red (Taylor’s Version). Before diving into the track, Bridgers gave Swift a hug, then looked around the sold-out stadium and told the superstar that she’s still having trouble “pretending that this is normal.” Swift let her in on a secret: after years of playing stadiums, the venues still don’t feel normal for her, either. The friends shared a laugh, then dove in to their collaboration on their respective guitars.
Taylor defended a fan, mid-song?
During a shortened version of “Bad Blood,” Swift noticeably lingered near the side of the stage and began shouting into the crowd, yelling lines like “She’s fine!” and “She wasn’t doing anything!” in between her lyrics. Based on social media responses to the exchange, Swift was reportedly defending a fan from an issue with a security guard (who have been strict and plentiful near the stage), although Swift moved on to play the rest of “Bad Blood” so quickly that the outcome was unclear.
All choked up at a never-ending ovation.
After introducing “Champagne Problems” by describing the Evermore track as a song that she had been longing to play during the pandemic. Once the piano tune concluded, the Lincoln Financial Field crowd applauded, cheered, and refused to let the noise die down. The ovation lasted several minutes, during which a visibly moved Swift teared up and removed from in-ear monitors to bathe in the positive feedback. “Well, I personally loved that!” she exclaimed as it finally ended. “Do you decide to do that because it’s the 13th or something?”
This story originally appeared on Billboard