On Friday night, a Swift fan passed away at a local hospital after falling ill at Nilton Santos Stadium, where temperatures rose to almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit. On Saturday, hours before Swift was scheduled to take the stage, the concert was postponed until Monday, with Swift writing on her Instagram Story that the decision had been made due to “the extreme temperatures in Rio…the safety and well being of my fans, fellow performers, and crew has to and always will come first.”
Throughout her tour, Swift has played two surprise “secret songs” toward the end of every show. On Sunday, one of those two songs was “Bigger Than the Whole Sky,” which she had never played live before, and which seemed to be a clear tribute to Ana Clara Benevides, the 23-year-old who died of cardiac arrest after collapsing at the Eras tour on Friday.
“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye / You were bigger than the whole sky/ You were more than just a short time,” Swift sang, even changing the lyrics in one verse from “every single thing to come has turned into ashes” to “every single thing I touch has turned to ashes.”
The Midnights ballad picked up a lot of traction last year for many fans who expressed that the song about grief and loss helped them cope with the heartbreaking experience of suffering a miscarriage. And in footage from the show, Swift was noticeably emotional, fighting through tears as she sang, “Did some force take you because I didn’t pray?”
Swift had warned fans that she would not be directly addressing Benevides’ death onstage. In a statement posted to her Instagram Story over the weekend, she wrote, “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. I want to say now I feel this loss deeply and my broken heart goes out to her family and friends.”
With “Bigger Than the Whole Sky,” it seems, she said everything she needed to say.
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