A seasoned performer and the owner of a relentless discography laced with glittery hits, Lady Gaga kicked off her Joanne World Tour in Vancouver last night (August 1) to a sold out Rogers Arena filled with Little Monsters. And boy, did they get what they paid for.
Gaga is riding high on the success of her fifth studio album Joanne right now, and a 60-date tour couldn't have come sooner. Despite beginning the show 40 minutes late — opening nights have their glitches — Gaga was in full energy as she ripped into "Diamond Heart," standing atop a large high-rise stage and playing the guitar. There were, of course, multiple costume changes throughout the evening; Gaga favoured heavy amounts of sparkling fringe and bodysuits, and multiple rock instrumental interludes and video sequences allowed her to change into pearl-endowed and shoulder-padded get-ups, eccentric frocks and glittery gowns aplenty.
Mega hits like "Alejandro," "Born This Way" and "Bad Romance" had the crowd (many of whom dressed up in wigs, pounds of makeup and bedazzled dresses) in a giddy frenzy. The beloved "Paparazzi" got only half-played however, and some key Born This Way triumphs like "You and I" were missing from the 22-song setlist, but the show was otherwise near-perfect.
"There are a lot of things I'm good at because of you, except for one thing…I got a shit poker face," Gaga admitted as she led the stadium into "Poker Face" and classic dance numbers from her early days. New Joanne hit and insanely infectious track "Perfect Illusion" gathered some real love from the adoring crowd, and the live debut of Gaga's "Dancin' in Circles" proved that the singer has no problem packing her shows with the impressive genre spectrum that is her extensive discography. And during "Love Game," she even had a disco stick — I guess it's a real thing after all.
One key and truly fantastic feature of this tour is the fact that Gaga's backup dancer pack consists of equal parts men and women, a physical manifestation of her beliefs on gender equality that make her that much more in tune with the LGBTQ community. "Needless to say, I have a lot to say about this issue," Gaga said as she took a fan's pride flag onto the stage. "If any of you here don't believe in equality this evening, come to mama!"
The Joanne World Tour is packed with hoedown-style dancing and retro flower print getups that reflected the classic Americana tone of its album inspiration. The stage production was quite the spectacle to behold, with constantly moving, floating and descending stages strewn throughout the venue that allowed Gaga and her dancers to cross the length of the stadium in a matter of minutes.
The show was pure Gaga, clocking in at over two hours and incorporating fire, theatrical dance numbers and plenty of that unstoppable voice. Moments that featured the singer alone at the piano — especially the ballad version of "Edge of Glory" — really drove home the flawlessness of her vocal range. But seeing her onstage dancing nearly continuously as she delivered her hits never failed to be impressive, either.
At the heart of the show was Gaga's aunt Joanne, the album's namesake. She died at age 19, and the tragedy is something Gaga considers to be a big part of who she is. This led to a beautiful rendition of "Joanne," which found Gaga back on guitar again.
Gaga ended the night wearing her now-iconic pink wide-brimmed Joanne hat. Belting out her hit "Million Reasons," placing the hat on her piano stool and slipping away into the stage floor trapdoor, Gaga left her Little Monsters entertained and satisfied, hearts full to bursting.