Jack Nevins at The Paris Review:
Things get especially interesting every weekend night about two and a half hours into the show, when Swift diverges from her otherwise precisely orchestrated set to perform two “surprise songs” from her catalog acoustically, never to be repeated at a later show, or so she says. The number of viewers in the live streams increase threefold, and fans on TikTok broadcast their feral reactions to Swift’s choices, which become ripe for close reading. “If I hear ‘friends break up’ I’m gonna kill myself,” one user watching the Cincinnati show declares, referencing the first line of the song “right where you left me.” Swift plays the opening chords of “Call It What You Want” instead. “Shut the fuck up,” our Swiftie replies, vaulting herself off the couch like an eel out of water. “Not ‘Call It What You Want’!”
Before the Philadelphia show, fans had been speculating that Swift might play “gold rush,” a song that mentions an Eagles T-shirt, or “seven,” which invokes her Pennsylvania childhood. Meanwhile, I’d just won $629 on FanDuel placing a four-leg parlay on a New York Knicks game, and the idea of siphoning my winnings away from rent or clothes or utilities and into an Eras Tour fund seemed both fiscally and sentimentally appealing, an exchange between two of my principal enthusiasms: sports and Taylor Swift.