Good things come to those who wait they say. Well Lady Gaga made her Montreal fans wait and it was definitely good. After cancelling her planned September 4 concert roughly 2 hours before showtime because of health issues, she finally offered her “Joanne” show last night at the Bell Centre to a sold out crowd that didn’t seem to hold a grudge.
There were no opening act, so the evening was all Gaga. And to paraphrase another popular saying: “She came, she sang, danced, played guitar, played keytar, played the piano and she conquered”. But that conquest was won before she even showed up on stage: her devoted fans were loudly cheering the countdown clock that announced her imminent arrival.
The large main stage could be reconfigured on the fly with three large sections that could be raised and tilted to present new configurations. Two “island” stages were located on the floor, and were used as a mean for the singer and her musicians to reach the back stage when platforms were lowered from the ceiling to allow passage. When not in use, these platforms were raised and tilted to act as screens, projecting images of the singer of simple patterns.
Mother Monster, as she is known to her fans, was in fine form, her amazing voice ringing loudly (maybe too loudly at times) throughout the arena, going effortlessly through multiple choreographies. The setlist was arranged in short sections, separated by instrumental interludes that were entertaining at best, and sometimes short films starring the diva. Those interludes were necessary to allow Lady Gaga to pour herself into another tight, revealing outfit, but maybe she could have kept some of her costumes longer and cut down on the number of interruptions.
If in the past I’ve felt that her shows contained a bit of filler material, that wasn’t the case this time around. Her repertoire has grown so much that the show was hit after hit, with the fantastic material from her latest album « Joanne » shining in particular. You can feel how much she’s grown as an artist; she still likes to provoke, with not so subtle sexual innuendos and dance moves taken straight from the stages of the best strip clubs, but it’s no longer the focus, and she’s not relying on those to make an impression. She has so much talent that the stage can barely contain it.
And what about her voice. What a voice! Her piano performance of « Edge of Glory », reinvented as a ballad, was spectacular and I still have goosebumps thinking about it. She sang with passion and heart, completely at ease on a stage she calls home. She also displayed a wicked sense of humour, which she used to push her pro equality agenda in a much more subtle way than in the past. « If we have all kinds of people here tonight, it goes to say that there are probably a couple of people here who don’t believe in equality. Well, it’s going to be an awkward two hours for these two people. »
Lady Gaga has been plagued with serious health issues in recent years, and to be honest, who knows how long she’ll be able to put on such demanding shows. Let’s enjoy all that she has to offer while we can. And if you’re still hung up on the meat dress: get over it. You’re missing out on an amazing artist. And you missed a fantastic show with Gaga at the best she’s ever been. I’ve seen some of the greatest performers live on stage during the last 30+ years, and she ranks at the top, one of the most thrilling I’ve ever seen.
Come to Mama
The Edge of Glory
Born This Way
Dancin’ In Circles