Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 marked the beginning of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta’s Joanne album tour in B.C.’s very own city of Vancouver at Roger’s Place. Germanotta, better known by her stage name, Lady Gaga (only the die hard Gaga fans know her real name!) had released her fifth studio album on October 21st, 2016 after 3 years since her last solo album, Artpop; she and Tony Bennet recorded and released together the jazz album Cheek to Cheek in 2014.
This group of songs were quite different than those of her previous releases – of course Gaga had to throw in a few booty shaking hits, “Perfect Illusion and Dancin’ In Circles”- having more of a rock and roll or ballad vibe rather than pop and dance. Come To Mama is probably my favourite song off the album because the lyrics are so a beautiful and give the message of Joanne – staying true to one’s self and being there for those around you who are going through a rough time. It’s a neat song too because it’s got a Beatles sound to it with the soft guitar and the piano drive. I am a little biased because Lady Gaga is my favourite artist, but I really feel that Joanne is one of the best albums of the 2010s because of all the thought, words, soul, and personal aspect put into it.
Moving on to the actual concert I went to…unfortunately it took nearly two hours for them to fix a sound issue, which I can understand being the maiden voyage show, but I think they probably could’ve shaved off 20 minutes…better safe than sorry I guess? Gaga didn’t have an opening band, which I was surprised – not that I cared too much – as I thought all people had when going on tour; apparently this is not the case, my parents went to see Elton John in March and said he had not had one either. To get the crowd all crazy, they put up a giant clock with purple digits counting down the last 10 minutes after one of the sound people had announced that the show would be starting in 15 minutes. As the 5 minute mark approached, people were just going absolutely nuts – you could feel the crowd’s excitement through your whole body, I was getting the chills and all of my arm hair was standing straight up like I’d just had a cougar cross my path.
At approximately 9:20pm, the queen of pop finally kicked the show off with “Diamond Heart” – an upbeat rock and roll opener – with lyrics expressing hints of her entrance into the musical world, never-give-up-attitude, and her acceptance of personal imperfections. Next up was “A-Yo” – a rebellious toe-tapper, “Poker Face”, “Perfect Illusion followed by a costume change from the opening ensemble to some funky pop/rock garb that included boots, streamers on her arms, and a slick black cowgirl hat. With her new outfit, she played one of my favourites off Joanne – “John Wayne” – a song in which Gaga tiptoed on the line of rock and roll and country; proceeding this, she performed “Scheiße” (this song is so badass and sexy! Watch an awesome fan-made video here!) “Alejandro was done in a little less clothing where, on the upper stage in front of the giant screens depicting naked women on fire dancing, Gaga did sort of an artsy-mime-heartbreaek-dance-thingy to go along with the song while her backup dancers did a seductive routine on the lower stage.
After another costume change into more the sparkly style of her former, yet not disbanded self, not surprisingly, Miss Germanotta showed off her talents even more as she jammed the chords to “Just Dance”on her electric guitar before playing “Lovegame”, “Telephone” and “Applause”. During the latter chart-topper she moved to the other side of the arena on these platforms that came out of these jellyfish-esque things in the rafters. At this point, I got arm-hair boners again as the glourious woman came to my side of the stage (we didn’t have floor tickets, but the 100 section of Rogers arena was still pretty good. Asking for a security guard to grab the gay pride flag that was next to the little stage, she draped in over the piano and played “Come to Mama”…damn my face hurt from smiling; an acoustic version of “Edge of Glory” was also played. This smaller stage also accomedated a dressing room so down she went for this big-ass poofy dress for “Born This Way”; her backup dancers around her wore colourful lycra full body suits (like the green/blue screen ones used for movies).
The next song, I was amazed I didn’t recognize as I have all of Gaga’s albums on my iPhone. Then I realized it was “Bloody Mary”, one that I’d probably listened too all of once or twice since I’d downloaded Born This Way. Lady Gaga had changed into a sexy devilish onesie for her next trio of songs; I got all hot and bothered when she did “Dancin’ In Circles”, gosh would I just love to…you know…with Mamma Monster. While coming back to my side of the stage (she had went over to the main one for Paparazzi) she performed “Angel Down” in a lovely sparkly white outfit and her signature pink Joanne hat while a dancer dressed as an angel and gracefully danced around and then laid on the ground. “Joanne” was her next song, in which she spoke to it’s background: Joanne Stefani Germanotta was her aunt who was a painter and a poet who died at 19 due to lupus; Gaga attributes and plays this song to her memory, a wonderful girl that never had the chance to really shine. Here are some quotes on the singer’s love and respect for her late aunt:
I thought I was gonna die. I wanted to be the artists I loved, like Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol — and I thought the only way to do it was to live the lifestyle. But then I realized my father’s sister Joanne, who’d died at 19, had instilled her spirit in me. She was a painter and a poet — and I had a spiritual vision I had to finish her business.
– Lady Gaga: Queen of Pop biography, 2010
There’s two sides of me. There’s the side of me that’s a true rebel and then, another side of me that is my father’s daughter. And so this album, it doesn’t lean necessarily in a particular direction, which is why the album title is Joanne. This is my middle name. This is the middle on the center of me.
-Interview with T Magazine
The last were bone-chilling performances of “Bad Romance”, “The Cure” (for those of you who aren’t familiar with this tune, Gaga released this single on April 17, 2017 alongside DJ White Shadow as response to the world’s troubles), and for the encore…(which I didn’t realize was the encore at the time, and I was like “WTF?! No encore, Gaga?!”) “Million Reasons” was played on the piano just a hundred feet in front of me. Then, elegantly, went down through the stage’s trap door leaving her pink Joanne hat on the piano bench.
Now for the less wordy, mathematical part of the review:
Stage Fair (2.5/3)
1 = Makes no sense at all…way too distracting and I can’t focus on the dancers and music.
2 = Appealing enough and suitable lighting
2.5 I actually really enjoyed the simplicity of what she had, the dancing was awesome so there wasn’t a bunch of stuff needed.
3 = Absolutely beautiful and spectacular props and lighting, like ho-lee shit
Sound Quality (3/3)
1 = AGG!! My ears are bleeding!! Someone do something!
2 = Pretty good sound, I can hear it loud and clear.
3 = I am the music…every intonation is vibrating through my soul.
1 = What are they wearing?!?!?
2 = Cool stuff, I really like that thingy she had for that song
3 = Wow, fashion fashion baby…YOW-ZA!
Overall Show Style (2.25/3)
1 = Yawn,zzzzzz….why aren’t they playing any of the good songs?
2 = That was satisfying, not to shabby at all
2.25 = I had a really great time, she is always an amazing performer and speaks so well. Just would’ve liked the show to be 2-3 songs longer.
3 = Amazing! Wow – best concert I’ve seen this year…I could go to every show!
Vena, Jocelyn (April 27, 2017). “Lady Gaga’s Release of “The Cure” Proves She Does Nothing Low Key”. Bravo. Retrieved April 29, 2017.