By Johnny Papan
Aug 1, 2017
VANCOUVER – “We’re here to sing, to dance and to perform for you.” Lady Gaga opened her highly-anticipated North American tour to a completely sold out Vancouver crowd on Tuesday evening. The stadium sparkled like a starry ballroom night as the freaky and the fabulous bedazzled themselves for a night of going Gaga.
The show itself was everything you’d imagine, flashy lights, fit dancers and glamorous costume changes complimented by the undeniable power of Lady Gaga’s operatic voice.
Touring in honour of Gaga’s newest album Joanne, there’s no surprise that it’s tracks were heavily featured throughout the setlist. Explosively opening with the new record’s first two songs: “Diamond Heart,” and “A-Yo,” the audience was immediately immersed. She followed these fresh tracks with her debut album mega-hit “Poker Face.”
Though the setlist was sprinkled with Gaga classics, it was slightly disappointing to see virtually nothing from her previous record: Artpop, aside from it’s lead single “Applause.” Possibly her clubbiest dance record, the exclusion of songs like “Venus,” “Sexxx Dreams,” “Do What U Want,” and “G.U.Y.” was a tough pill to swallow for those who brought their dancing shoes. Sadly, Rocket Number Nine did not take off to the planet Venus.
Still, though. What was missing in her setlist was made up for with the stage production and visuals; the LED stage was a spectacle. Throughout the night it would take on different forms: separating, elevating and reforming the floor into new shapes. Psychedelic visuals plastered on the big screen during the few washed out, trippy interludes, giving her backing band a time to shine as Gaga changed into her next outworldly costume, one of which was designed by her sister. Some video-packages had an American Horror Story-esque vibe, possibly paying homage to the show that earned her a Golden Globe Award and several nominations.
Giant ship-like structures hung high above the audience, each with a bridge that would descend and link the main-stage with two smaller, circular ones that were placed within the general admission floor. Gaga would walk the stages, getting up close and personal with not only audience members at the very front, but also those in the middle and back. One the last of the three stages, Gaga performed a beautifully performed solo piano version of “the Edge of Glory.” She ended her set on this same stage with her current worldwide sensation “Million Reasons.”
Overall, this performance felt like the beginning of a change for the pop star. Though it still had it’s share of flare, things felt a bit more stripped-down and much more intimate. Gaga shared small stories with the audience, including one about her father’s sister who passed away in 1974. Gaga named Joanne after her.
“I named my record after my father’s sister because what I realized is for all of us there is grief passed on from generation to generation…I’d like for you to ask yourself: ‘What was that one moment in your life that blasted you so hard that you don’t remember who you were before it happened? For me, that moment has one name, and it’s Joanne.”Lady Gaga, Rogers Arena