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Taylor Swift Welcomes Hometown Hero Aaron Dessner In Cincinnati

Duo played the 'evermore' song 'Ivy' live for the first time ever
Taylor Swift and Aaron Dessner on April 14, 2023 in Tampa, Fl. (photo: Octavio Jones / TAS23 / Getty Images for for TAS Rights Management)

Bringing their unlikely hit-making partnership full circle, Taylor Swift welcomed the National’s Aaron Dessner as a surprise guest during her second Eras Tour show in his Cincinnati hometown. With a large contingent of family and friends looking on, Dessner joined Swift for the live debut of “Ivy,” with each artist strumming an acoustic guitar.

“I never thought I’d be standing up here with the greatest living songwriter playing songs that we wrote, but here I am,” Dessner said beforehand, as deafening roars filled the sold-out Paycor Stadium. “Ivy” was released on the 2020 album evermore, the second of Dessner and Swift’s chart-topping, Grammy-winning pandemic-era collaborations.

Dessner has already appeared unannounced during the “surprise songs” section of the Eras show on several occasions, but fans in the know had this date circled as the most likely of the bunch. The musician/producer/songwriter still has strong ties to Cincinnati, and the National is headlining its own Homecoming festival at the city’s Smale Park on Sept. 15-16.

Following “Ivy,” Swift brought up opening act Gracie Abrams for a collaborative cover of the latter’s “I Miss You, I’m Sorry.” The final surprise song was a Swift solo piano version of the Reputation track “Call It What You Want,” which hadn’t been played since 2018.

The Eras tour continues next weekend in Kansas City, Mo. Meanwhile, the National resumes its summer tour Aug. 1 in Philadelphia.