The singer defends same-sex marriage and abortion
WASHINGTON — White smoke billowed from the top of the stage as if a new pope had been named to the Vatican.
But that was only part of the long introduction to the high priestess of pop, Lady Gaga, to make her grand entrance, cocooned in a vertical metal tomb to surround “Bad Romance”. The tense music, riddled with metallic guitars, matched his claustrophobic presentation and immediately announced that this long-awaited Chromatica Ball would be a trippy trip.
Fans have endured two years of delays from Gaga’s live production to complete her 2020 album ‘Chromatica’, and Monday’s kickoff of the US tour, which spans the country through September, delivered the Gaga peak.
Even while wearing a headset, her powerful voice ripped through Nationals Park in Washington, DC, as she broke free from her shell to bounce on “Just Dance” and twirl during “Poker Face.”
The catchy opening salvo prefaced a four-act show that carried vague themes of Gaga’s holy trinity of identity, reinvention and acceptance. Artistic video interludes were understandable necessities to allow for set and costume changes, but their length often slowed momentum.
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Still, it wasn’t too difficult to step back into Gaga’s world when she returned to the stage, whether she was sprawled out on a slab for “Alice,” an identity crisis set to a disco beat, or imploring fans to “put your paws up”. !” during the raging “Replay”.
At 36, Gaga slipped amid what felt like an acre of dancers and a glam band tucked into alcoves on the massive stage. His innate acting abilities crept into her blatant facial expressions, zoomed in on the two circular screens flanking the stage, as she stormed “911” with her frantic red lights.
Some predictable trappings of the stadium appeared throughout the two-hour show, including the plumes of fire that erupted around the venue during a frothy “phone call” (because that’s what this night of was needed – more heat) and the inevitable switch to the B-stage at the back of the floor.
But as nice as it was to watch Gaga and her dance crew as “Vogue” smash their way through “Babylon” matching the golden satin and boogie to the smaller setup during “Free Woman,” minimalist Gaga was , as always, the most rewarding part of the night.
It’s also allowed her to put aside choreographed exuberance to connect with her fans, a devoted and loving horde who she clearly adores in equal measure.
“I see a lot of people in this audience who know exactly who you are!” she proclaimed at the start of the glorious hymn of acceptance, “Born This Way.” Beginning behind a piano adorned with tree branches, Gaga imbued the song with deliberate phrasing before bursting into the disco ball version with a handful of dancers and shouting, “They better not mess with the gay marriage in this country!”
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While Gaga might have stayed put, she instead disappeared for another costume change and reappeared in black fishnet stockings and a matching purple and black leotard and headpiece that looked like a prop from the “Star Wars” canteen.
But the flashy outfit was a direct contrast to the most compelling part of the gig.
Between two gems from “A Star is Born,” the magical “Shallow” — her voice is a powerful and versatile instrument — and the tender yet grand piano ballad “Always Remember Us This Way,” Gaga got pensive.
“Over the past few years this country has been very brave and has shown a lot of courage and there has been a lot of pain,” she said. “We wish we could go back and change what happened, but I want to remember your bravery. I think the world is pretty special, even if it’s (expletive) too.
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But she reserved her strongest comment before a soaring take on “The Edge of Glory,” dedicating the song to “every woman in America who now has to worry about her body if she gets pregnant. I pray that this country speaks. That we will stick together and won’t stop until it’s GOOD.
Lady Gaga’s evolution has been great to see. Let her dance cheek to cheek with mentor Tony Bennettbrittle an Italian accent on cinemapeeling showmanship for her jazz and piano show in Las Vegas or wrapping up a massive stadium production with a mediocre ballad of the current “Top Gun” (as she did with “Hold My Hand”), his ambitions always seem limitless.