Photo Credit: Getty Images For Live Nation.
Award Winning and Globally Successful Pop artist Lady Gaga took the stage of the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday, September 6th 2017. This was my first time seeing Gaga, and to say I was excited would be an understatement.
She was supposed to take the stage at 8:30, but she came on slightly after 9. During the time I had to absorb in the Gaga environment, I came to an appreciation for the stage set up. Most Arena shows these days feature a second stage in the back or middle of the venue so that those who don’t have seats close to the stage recieve the opportunity to see a song or two from their favourite artists a bit closer than they had been intending. The setup included not only one additional stage, but a third. There was a stage that essentially covered each part of the room, and I thought this was awesome. It gave everyone the chance to see a clearer view of Gaga, and added an intimate vibe to the show. Throughout the show there were also connecting bridges in between the stages that she would walk through, so that was another added bonus for her to engage with the entire audience.
Before she came on, a 10 minute countdown appeared on the front facing screen to the audience. It would have been nice for it to appear on all of the screens hanging from the ceiling so that everyone could see the number clearly, but I still loved this idea and you could truly sense the excitement building up in the room as the count down proceeded.
She opened the show with “Diamond Heart” on a wide raised platform that not only was she on, but her dancers and band as well with an American flag background. It was hard hitting, with a touch of a classic rock feel with Gaga’s voice as powerful as ever. She then went right into “A-Yo” not giving the audience much of a break to take it in. After the second song, she stood still wearing a straight face with her band, and the crowd expressed an extremely large applause. After a minute or so, Gaga finally let out a smile. “Toronto, you’ve given me so much over the years; I love you so much.”
“I’m gonna have to ask you something tonight. I’m gonna need you to get on your mother f***** feet. Stand up; this is a party.” She then continued to perform “Poker Face”, and “Perfect Illusion”- one so impactful because of it being a hit, another because of Gaga’s vocals being displayed in one of the best ways possible.
I had such an appreciation for her backup dancers- it was truly the perfect addition to the show. I loved the choreography, at times it was very Jazz Funk, while at others it had more of a Modern Jazz feel to it. Their costumes were also awesome. Powerful, but not taking away from Gaga and the choreography.
Following the first act, “Perfect Illusion” went into guitar solo with a blue themed light show, and then into a video of Gaga in the pink convertible being a bad- ass and such.
She played her Modern day classics such as “Alejandro”, “Love Game”, “Just Dance”, “Telephone”, which were all jaw dropping, while she was also switching in between stages keeping the audience pleased. I was a real sucker for her piano acoustic performance “Edge of Glory” because it is truly just a beautiful song, lyrically. I feel as though the instrumentals can take away from that, so it was lovely to hear this song with a main focus on the vocals and emotion in the song.
Before “Joanne” was played, Gaga explained to the crowd that they are probably wondering who Joanne was, and that she would explain it to them. She explained how she was her Aunt, whom she never met. “I grew up worshipping her, even though I never knew her. I remember everybody crying. And I remember growing up wondering why my Dad would get so angry. I didn’t understand him sometimes and I didn’t know why and I was really, really trying to understand. I guess when I made this album, I was looking for an answer for my own pain inside, the deepest pain I have- something honest and true, that I could share with all of you. The truth is that when I was born I was born with something I call I guess a, intergenerational grief. This sadness I guess, and I never knew where it came from and I was so confused and ashamed. What I learned is that, its part of who I am.”, and went on to sing a breathtaking performance of “Joanne”.
This is probably some of the most talking I have heard from an arena performance from any Artist. She was so incredibly open with the crowd, making this one of the most intimate arena shows I have been too. It didn’t matter that the crowd was so large, she put in such an effort to be raw about her life and personal struggles with such a large audience. Most artists cannot connect with that size of audience (understandably so) and there isn’t always a large effort to connect so to see her actually make effort to connect, was touching. It was much more than I expected.
One of the most epic portions of the concert was “Paparazzi” and “Angel Down”. This was performed beautifully once again show-casing Gaga’s incredible voice. Essentially at the end of “Paparazzi”, Gaga “died” and disappeared into the stage. Instrumentals began to play and a portion of the ceiling dropped down a bit, with clouds as the visuals. She then began singing “Angel Down” and appeared from the ceiling slowly being dropped down, signifying that she died and came back to life in heaven.
The concert truly touched my heart with the closing song, “Million Reasons”. This song is very impactful and although the show didn’t end upbeat and happy, it ended sentimentally and gave her one last chance to have a deeper connection with the audience. She killed it obviously, but it ended with Gaga sinking into the stage, and the Joanne Pink Hat on top of the piano. As soon as she was gone, a spotlight shone on top of the hat- and that was on the screen as well. It was so clever, so emotional, so symbolized, and hard-hitting. Thank you Lady Gaga- it was an absolute pleasure to see your show.