Skip To Content
    Updated on May 4, 2020. Posted on May 2, 2020

    Taylor Swift Is One Of The Best Artists Of All Time — Here Are Her 100 Best Performances

    Spanning from 2006 to 2020.

    Jason Kempin / Getty Images

    If there's a genre, she's crossed it, and if there's a record, she's broken it.

    Taylor Swift has solidified herself as one of the most prolific singer-songwriters in history. And one aspect of her songwriting that makes her diaristic songs bite even harder is the way they're translated into performance.

    Her fans, her critics, and her skeptics have all watched her grow from an upcoming vocalist — sometimes appearing shy, timid, and unsure of her talent — to a powerful, stage-conquering force in the music world.

    Her performances do more than just draw you in, they captivate you and keep you spellbound until the story's over — her story, which becomes yours.

    Whether you're on the edge of your seat, wiping tears from your face, or thinking about that time in your life, you have no choice but to be enraptured by Taylor Swift.

    I gave myself the daunting task of ranking her top performances. Here they are:

    100. "Photograph" with Def Leppard (CMT Crossroads, 2008)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    99. "Ain't Nothin' About You" (ACM Awards, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    98. "Daylight" (SiriusXM Hits1, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    97. "Love Story" (iHeart Radio Music Festival rehearsal, 2014)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    96. "White Blank Page" (BBC, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    95. "The Archer" (Lover's Lounge, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    94. "You're Not Sorry" (Red Tour, Orlando, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    93. "Shake It Off" (VMAs, 2014)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    92. "Delicate" (Reputation Tour, 2018)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    91. "King of My Heart" (Acoustic, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    90. "Hey Stephen" (Fearless Tour, 2010)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    89. "Treacherous" (Red Tour, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    88. "Bette Davis Eyes" (Speak Now Tour, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    87. "Fifteen" (Grammy Awards, 2009)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    86. "New Romantics" (1989 Tour, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    85. "Shake It Off" (1989 Tour, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    84. "Ronan" (Stand Up To Cancer, 2012)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    83. "Clean" (Reputation Tour, MetLife Night Two, 2018)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    82. "Cold As You" (Red Tour B Stage, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    81. "Summer of '69" (Speak Now Tour B Stage, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    80. "Nashville" (Speak Now Tour, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    79. "The Man" (Live From Paris, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    78. "Everything Has Changed" (X Factor, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    77. "Acoustic Red Set" (2012)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    76. "Bad Blood/Should've Said No" (Reputation Tour, 2018)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    75. "Sparks Fly" (Speak Now Tour, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    74. "How You Get The Girl" (1989 Tour, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    73. "I Knew You Were Trouble" (1989 Tour, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    72. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (Red Tour, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    71. "Haunted" (Speak Now Tour, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    70. "Soon You'll Get Better" (One World Together At Home, 2020)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    69. "Love Story" (BBC Live Lounge, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    68. "Blank Space" (AMAs, 2014)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    67. "You Are In Love" (1989 Tour, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    66. "Shake It Off" (Chatty Man, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    65. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (1989 Tour Version)" (1989 Tour, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    64. "Lover" (BBC Live Lounge, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    63. "Look What You Made Me Do" (Reputation Tour, 2018)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    62. "London Boy" (BBC Live Lounge, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    61. "Change" (Sound Relief, 2009)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    60. "Animal" (Speak Now Tour, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    59. "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" (Chicago, 2016)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    58. "The Story Of Us" (Speak Now Tour, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    57. "State of Grace" (Red Tour, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    56. "Tim McGraw" (CMAs 2007)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    55. "Sad Beautiful Tragic" (Red Tour, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    54. "What Hurts The Most" (Speak Now Tour, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    53. "The Best Day" (Los Angeles Benefit Concert, 2010)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    52. "Riptide" (BBC Live Lounge, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    51. "Getaway Car" (Reputation Tour, 2018)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    50. "Doubt (with Mary J. Blige)" (1989 Tour, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    49. "I Knew You Were Trouble" (AMAs, 2012)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    48. "Babe" (Reputation Tour, 2018)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    47. "Don't Blame Me (Acapella)" (Reputation Tour, 2018)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    46. "Can't Stop Loving You" (BBC Live Lounge, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    45. "Lover" (SNL, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    44. "Blank Space" (Grammy Museum, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    43. "Dear John" (Speak Now Tour, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    42. "ME! (featuring Brendon Urie)" (Billboard Music Awards, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    41. "All Too Well" (Red Tour, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    40. "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" (Reputation Tour, 2018)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    39. "You Belong With Me" (Fearless Tour, 2009)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    38. "Teardrops On My Guitar" (Red Tour B Stage, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    37. "Drops Of Jupiter" (Speak Now Tour, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    36. "Fifteen" (Speak Now Tour, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    35. "Holy Ground" (Red Tour, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    34. "Run" (ACM Awards, 2009)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    33. "New Years Day" (Fallon, 2017)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    32. "Don't Blame Me" (Reputation Tour, 2018)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    31. "Enchanted" (Speak Now Tour, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    30. "Holy Ground" (BBC Live Lounge, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    29. "False God" (SNL, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    28. "Red" (CMA Awards, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    27. "I Knew You Were Trouble (Acoustic)" (2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    26. "Forever & Always" (CMA Awards, 2009)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    25. "Out Of The Woods" (Grammy Awards, 2016)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    24. "You Need To Calm Down / Lover" (VMAs, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    23. "Change" (ACM Awards, 2010)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    22. "Red (Acoustic)" (Paris, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    21. "Ready For It?" (Reputation Tour, 2018)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    20. "Should've Said No" (CMAs, 2008)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    19. "Better Man" (Bluebird Cafe, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    18. "Wildest Dreams" (Grammy Museum, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    17. "Eyes Open" (VH1 Storytellers, 2012)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    16. "Last Kiss" (Speak Now Tour, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    15. "I Knew You Were Trouble" (Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    14. "Blank Space" (1989 Tour, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    13. "The Story Of Us" (Red Tour, B Stage, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    12. "All Too Well" (Grammy Awards, 2014)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    11. "Out Of The Woods" (Grammy Museum, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    10. "Medley of Hits" (AMAs, 2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    It's hard to sum up Taylor's career in a single performance, but this one comes pretty close to capturing it. She begins singing in a white shirt that has each of her album titles etched on it, surrounded by young girls. The climax is just Taylor and her piano, with each of album names carved into the instrumental. More than the slew of earworm hits that she belts, the performance is symbolic of who she's become in the music industry, besides a record-breaking songwriter. She's a defender of art, a staunch opponent of men in offices controlling artists, and a role model for young people.

    9. "Clean" (1989 Tour, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    The song "Clean" is enough to make anyone cry, but Taylor's performance and execution of the track on the 1989 Tour sends listeners' emotions into overdrive. Before beginning the synth-pop album closer, Taylor gives the audience a speech — as she's suspended above tens of thousands of people — about the times life feels like a thunderstorm. After making it through, she assures us, we're not damaged — we're clean. 

    8. "Mean" (Grammy Awards, 2012)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    The context of this performance is important. After Taylor was criticized for her vocals at the Grammys in 2010, one critic said she "shortened" her career in one night. Taylor didn't let the criticism break her — it fueled her. She wrote "Mean," won two Grammy Awards for it, and performed a pitch-perfect rendition of the song for an in-your-face but bitterless moment of sweet redemption. The icing on the cake: The moment she sang "Drunk and grumbling on 'bout how I can't sing." The cherry: Taylor changing the lyrics to "Someday, I'll be singin' this at the Grammys" with a smile brighter than the two plaques she earned that night.

    7. "I Knew You Were Trouble" (Red Tour / Grammy nominations, 2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    The average Taylor fan would tell you the AMAs performance of this song in 2012 is the template for "IKYWT." In actuality, her best performance was when a crew followed her on the Red Tour and filmed her singing it to a stadium of fans. The costume change, the confidence, and the climax's multiple belts make this performance and rendition a turning point for Taylor. If Taylor's Red album was a transitional album, this way of performing "Trouble" was key to her rebranded confidence as a performer.

    6. "Safe and Sound (with The Civil Wars)" (Ryman Auditorium, 2012)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    The country-turned-pop star walked out to an auditorium of The Civil Wars fans and performed "Safe and Sound" and played it anything but safe. She hit every high note and showcased the breathy capability of her voice, while nearly emulating the studio version. Show this to a Taylor critic and even they won't have a bad word to say about it.

    5. "Long Live/New Year's Day" (Reputation Tour, 2018)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    "This is a song that's always gonna be about you," Taylor tells the stadium 70,000 screaming fans at the Arlington AT&T Stadium. By intertwining "Long Live," a song dedicated to touring and fans with "New Year's Day," a song about falling a love, the mashup immortalizes the feeling of being a Taylor Swift fan — and a human. There's a feeling that no matter which Taylor is dead and which is alive, the Taylor who loves her fans and makes great loves songs is constant.

    4. "Long Live" (Speak Now Tour, Gillete Stadium, Rain Show, 2011)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    The rain show is iconic. Not only does it capture quintessential Taylor Swift, who loves dancing in the rain and singing about memoralizing moments in time, it shows her dedication as a performer. Taylor could've canceled, postponed, or waited out the rain — like a lot of celebrities would have — but instead, she stands in it, arms-open, inviting it all, loving it all, and remembering. 

    3. "Out Of The Woods" (1989 Tour, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Taylor performs "Out of the Woods" as if she's sung it for two decades — when in reality, it was her first tour performing it. She struts down the catwalk like a seasoned supermodel, but the true magic of the performance comes during the bridge. The song already contains one of her best bridges ever — but when she performs it live, you feel every word of the story. "Oh, I remember!" she screams, before belting each ad-libbed line of the chrous. The breakdown that follows is even more impressive, as it's got Taylor's signature foot-stomps, hair-flips, and air-punches — all while nailing every high note she attempts. The live version tacks on two more minutes of slayage, and I'm grateful for every second.

    2. "I Did Something Bad" (AMAS, 2018)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    In this performance, you see Taylor Swift as the badass she knows she's become. With every biting line she croons, from "I never trust a narcissist, but they love me," to "For every lie I tell them, they tell me three," you can just feel she's had enough of powerful men's bullshit. The performance standout, though, is watching Taylor proclaim, "If a man talk shit, then I owe him nothing." The rules of TV censored her, but everyone in America knew exactly what she was saying — and felt every syllable.

    1. "Wildest Dreams/Enchanted" (1989 Tour, 2015)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    There was a feeling of magic every time Taylor performed this mashup. It's a dreamy, spacey, mystifying union of two of her best love songs — "Wildest Dreams" and "Enchanted." She starts out on a piano, and then with two minutes left, she gets up to sing an ad-libbed version of "Wildest Dreams." Between the kaleidoscope of astral graphics that act as her backdrop and the sea of lit-up fans as her foreground, this performance is art. It blends together like only two Taylor Swift songs about nostalgia and love could, and creates the perfect performance that makes you wonder how this wasn't just a singular song to begin with.