“Put your hands up for your love and your freedom and everything in between.”
Huge fire balls, moving set pieces, over-the-top fashion choices, and intricate choreographies make a big part of Lady Gaga’s latest outing in support of her pandemic album Chromatica. But one thing stands out above it all: her raw talent as a pop superstar.
Mother Monster’s stadium tour made a stop in the outskirts of Dallas on Tuesday (Aug. 23) night for one of two shows in Texas; she will return in a few weeks for a concert in Houston.
This latest spectacle seems like the appropriate way for Gaga to solidify herself as a stadium act and return to form as the pop star we all saw her become nearly 15 years ago. Something she is managing at a point in her career where movies (A Star Is Born, House Of Gucci, and soon Joker: Folie à Deux), sold-out jazz shows in Vegas, and many other ventures prove why she is perhaps the most well-rounded, versatile, and talented artist in the world right now.
Despite a setlist heavy on music from her latest album, Gaga opened things up in a way few artists can: with a brilliant trifecta of fan-favorites ‘Bad Romance,’ ‘Just Dance,’ and ‘Poker Face.’ It almost felt like a show before the actual show – setting the tone for what was going to be a very energetic and lucid night.
And sure enough, that is the epitome of what Chromatica is all about. Despite clearly personal and dismal lyrics, it is an album that masquerades the melancholy in very upbeat dance music. She mirrored that in presentation during her live experience as she made her way through many of the non-singles of the album such as ‘911,’ ‘Sour Candy,’ and ‘Replay.’ She made each step, each expression, each note mean something in a very masterful way.
Before ‘Babylon,’ one of the highlights of the night, Gaga clutched tightly to the theme of the world of Chromatica as she resonated with the audience by simply asking: “Have you ever had to battle for your life?” To put it plainly, she is embracing her personal shortcomings and creativity simultaneously which produces art in a very meaningful form. “Dance through all your pain. Laugh through all your tears.”
In ways that only Gaga can, she also managed to make a show so massive feel very intimate. It was when she sat down at the piano that truly showcased her star power and musical skills. She brought the audience – composed of everything from casual fans to families to her passionate little monsters – together when she belted out her biggest hit of all time ‘Shallow.’ The roaring sing-a-long created a moment like no other during the two-and-a-half hour show.
Staying true to her fearless nature when it comes to speaking out for what she believes in, Gaga briefly became political during one of the more serious moments of the night.
“From what I understand, right now, this state has a purple, purple heart,” she said referring to the very divided politics in Texas. “And I’m hoping that that purple is going to go blue. And maybe I brought this up, and you’re thinking, ‘This is not for me. I do not want to be talking about this right now.’ And, you might not agree. But guess what? I don’t know that this is about what you believe. This is about keeping people safe.”
This led to Gaga dedicating her 2016 Joanne cut ‘Angel Down,’ which she has not performed since that album’s tour four years ago, as a “a prayer to keeping people safe.”
Quickly after that, she turned things back around with the anthemy ‘Enigma’ – which saw Gaga at the center of it all on the B-stage with just her flawless vocals and a microphone. It was during this instant that her aforementioned position as a stadium act became as clear as can be. She had a stronghold on every single one of the nearly 40,000 in attendance right then and there.
Making dues to closing the show with what makes Chromatica the artsy universe she has made it to be, Gaga swiftly danced her way through the album’s singles ‘Stupid Love’ and ‘Rain On Me.’ (Missed opportunity for an Ariana Grande cameo on the big screen). She then, once again, embraced the stadium setting by belting out ‘Hold My Hand’ from the Top Gun: Maverick film as the flames that emerged throughout the show heated up the room one last time. The symbolism of hold my hand and her ‘paws up’ metaphoric ode to her little monsters was ever more present during the impressive finale.
At the end of the night, the culmination of this cohesive presentation of an album so complex became very comprehensible. And above all, Lady Gaga demonstrated why she is one of the top touring acts all these many years into her genius career.
Lady Gaga’s The Chromatica Ball Stadium Tour continues with nine more shows including dates in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Houston before wrapping up in Miami next month.
Born This Way
Always Remember Us This Way
The Edge of Glory
Rain On Me
Hold My Hand