At her Rio de Janeiro concert Sunday night, Taylor Swift performed a deep album cut about grief, “Bigger Than the Whole Sky,” just two days after the tragic death of fan Ana Clara Benevides Machado.
The 23-year-old Benevides Machado died Friday after falling ill during Swift’s concert at Rio’s Nilton Santos Stadium. Extreme high temperatures are thought to have contributed to the death. Swift postponed her Saturday night concert in Rio to tonight because of the weekend’s temperatures.
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“The safety and well-being of my fans, fellow performers, and crew has to and always will come first,” Swift wrote on Instagram Saturday.
While Swift did not specifically mention Benevides Machado at the show last night (“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,” she had written on social media), the surprise song immediately drew an emotional response from the audience. In an audience member’s cellphone video of the performance – see it below – the crowd can be heard singing along to the lyrics “goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.”
The song begins, “No words appear before me in the aftermath/Salt streams out my eyes and into my ears/
Every single thing I touch becomes sick with sadness/’Cause it’s all over now, all out to sea/ Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye/You were bigger than the whole sky/You were more than just a short time.”
During the Friday show, Swift repeatedly requested that security get water for fans, who were tightly smashed at the front of the stage. The temperatures in the city topped 100 degrees on Friday, and many had been standing in line since long before the show started and were reluctant to give up spots in front of the stage to get water.
Benevides Machado was identified as the casualty by event organizers Time for Fun. According to People magazine, Benevides Machado’s father Weiny Machado has told Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo that he wants clarification on whether fans were prohibited from bringing water into Friday’s show. “I want to know if it’s true that they are prohibited from bringing water and neglected to provide assistance,” he reportedly said. “I lost my only daughter, a happy and intelligent girl.”
— mari nation (@missamaricana) November 20, 2023
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