John Mayer performed his 2009 hit “Half of My Heart” at a recent concert, and fans are shocked. Why? It’s been long, long time since he last played it for an audience, maybe or maybe not due to the fact that it was originally released as a duet with his superstar ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift.
The 45-year-old musician dusted off the track for his Detroit crowd Wednesday night (March 22) at Little Caesar’s Arena, a show on his solo acoustic tour. And even though he was the only one on stage, he still had a duet partner(s), as fans in the audience sang Swift’s accompanying vocals themselves.
“John Mayer played my favorite song of his last night for the first time in years,” one fan later tweeted, sharing a video of the rare performance. “I cried. This song means so much to me.”
As many other pleasantly surprised concertgoers also pointed out after the fact, Mayer has largely shelved “Half of My Heart” from his setlists, in spite of its commercial success. This could simply be because it’s a 14-year-old song, but it’s also no secret that the “Gravity” musician hasn’t exactly been on good terms with his former co-singer in the decade and a half since they dated.
The pair were first linked after Mayer, then 31, invited Swift, who was 19, to contribute vocals to “Half of My Heart” back when he was still working on the song. Sparks flew between them when they performed the duet live at the Z100 Jingle Ball, but their romance seemed to end a couple months after that.
Since then, Swift seems to have commented on their age gap in a couple stinging songs over the years, first on 2010’s “Dear John,” and again just a few months ago on Midnights bonus track “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve.” “I d–n sure never would’ve danced with the devil at 19,” she sang on the latter. “I regret you all the time.”
Mayer also appeared to hit back at his former flame on 2013’s “Paper Doll” — “You’re like 22 girls in one/ And none of them know what they’re running from” — and slammed Swift outright in an interview the year prior. “It was a really lousy thing to do,” Mayer told Rolling Stone at the time, referring to “Dear John” as “cheap songwriting.”
See clips of John Mayer’s performance of “Half of My Heart” below: