Taylor Swift performed a live version of her 2010 song “Dear John” for the first time in 11 years.
The song is widely believed to be about the singer-songwriter’s relationship with musician John Mayer.
Swift and Mayer reportedly dated between December 2009 and February 2010, when he was 31 years old and she was 19.
At Saturday night’s (24 June) concert at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Swift played the song, and spoke about its forthcoming re-release on Speak Now (Taylor’s Version). Swift is currently in the midst of re-recording much of her back catalogue, amid a rights dispute with music producer Scooter Braun.
In video of her introducing the song, Swift can be heard telling fans: “I’m 33 years old. I don’t care about anything that happened to me when I was 19… I’m not putting this album out so you can go on the internet and defend me against someone you think I wrote a song about 14 million years ago.”
“I’m putting this album out because I want to own my music and I believe any artist who has a desire to own their music should be able to,” she told the crowd, as quoted in USA Today.
Swift last performed “Dear John” live in 2012, at a gig in Auckland, New Zealand.
While she has never confirmed that the song is about her relationship with Mayer, fans have widely interpreted it that way, and Mayer has suggested in interviews that he believes it is about him.
In “Dear John”, Swift sings: “Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with? The girl in the dress, cried the whole way home, I should’ve known.”
“And you’ll add my name to your long list of traitors who don’t understand, and I’ll look back and regret how I ignored when they said: ‘Run as fast as you can.’”
Mayer’s 2013 song “Paper Doll” is widely believed to be a response to “Dear John”.
In 2012, Mayer told Rolling Stone that he had been “really humiliated” by Swift’s song, claiming that he “never did anything to deserve that”.
He also claimed that he had been given no heads up before the song’s release, stating: “I never got an email. I never got a phone call. I was really caught off-guard, and it really humiliated me at a time when I’d already been dressed down. I mean, how would you feel if, at the lowest you’ve ever been, someone kicked you even lower?”
Swift and Mayer met in 2009 while collaborating on his song “Half of My Heart”.
Speak Now(Taylor’s Version) will be released on 7 July.