Taylor Swift made headlines and won plaudits over the weekend for playing an entire gig in Massachusetts in the pouring rain, emerging both jubilant and unscathed. However, it seems that the same can’t be said of her Eras tour piano, which didn’t react anywhere near as well to the downpour.
Taking to Instagram on Sunday after the second of her three shows in Massachusetts, Swift said: “Last night we all danced together in the rain for the entire 3.5-hour show in foxy Foxborough MA!! We’ve had rain shows at Gillette Stadium before but this was a full on deluge that never let up, I just want to thank that iconic crowd!! Love you so much you have no idea.”
The story didn’t end there, though. During the acoustic ‘surprise song’ section of the next night’s Eras show on Sunday 21 May, Swift was meant to follow-up her performance of I Think He Knows (on which she played the guitar) with a rendition of Red (Taylor’s Version) on her flower-powered upright piano. However, before she could even begin, the (presumably digital) instrument started playing notes by itself.
On hearing this happen, a startled Swift enquired of the crowd: “Do you hear that!? Is that happening for you, too!?”
She went on to explain that the previous night’s rain had “literally broken my keyboard,” adding that it had been “literally underwater”.
“I didn’t know how any of the instruments were working last night,” she continued, before deciding to abandon plans to play the clearly water-damaged keyboard and switch to guitar.
While heavy rain can put a dampener on an outdoor show, there are times when it actually adds to the legend of a performance. When it poured down while Prince was playing Purple Rain during his 2007 Super Bowl Halftime Show, it almost felt like the star was stage-managing the weather for his own dramatic ends. Indeed, when Prince was informed beforehand that he was going to be performing in the rain, rather than complain, he simply asked the organisers if they could “make it rain harder.”
Behind the scenes, though, the organisers weren’t quite so sanguine. “I was panicked,” recalls producer Don Mischer. “ Prince was using four separate live electric guitars."
Like Swift, though, Prince just powered on through, and lived to play another day. Sadly, it seems the same can’t be said of that piano.