Brow Beat

Saturday Night Live: Watch Taylor Swift Perform Stripped-Down Versions of “Lover” and “False God”

Taylor Swift plays a green piano on a green stage.
It’s her set; she makes the rules. NBC

Taylor Swift was the musical guest on this week’s Saturday Night Live, and met the challenges of performing in Studio 8H by stripping her arrangements and choreography to the bone. Her first performance of the night was an intimate, piano-only version of “Lover,” the most recent single from her new album. The set was as sparse as the arrangement: a green piano against a green backdrop, played by Taylor Swift in a green outfit, with the only visual contrast coming from pages of sheet music suspended in mid-air behind her. It’s simpler than her MTV Video Music Awards performance—it didn’t follow an elaborately choreographed performance of “You Need To Calm Down,” for starters—and all the lovelier for it:

For “False God,” Swift got a little more elaborate, but not much. She was joined by backup singers, a drummer, a keyboardist, and SNL’s own Lenny Pickett for a performance that saw her weaving and pacing through helix-filament light bulbs. This has got to be the smoothest saxophone sound an SNL musical guest has had in years:

Next summer, Swift will tour Europe before headlining her own U.S. festivals: Lover Fest West in Los Angeles and Lover Fest East in Foxborough, Mass.