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There can be 55,000 people in a room, and all it takes is one to dazzle them.
Lady Gaga brought her Chromatica Ball to the tri-state area Thursday night, soaring her way through a spectacular sold-out concert at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
Gaga opened her 22-song set with the one-two-three punch of “Bad Romance,” “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” before transitioning to tracks from the tour’s namesake album. It’s rare to see an artist perform their biggest hits straight out of the gate in live shows, and while the audience had the floor shaking with energy from that iconic first “oh-oh-oh-oh-oh,” it was not a dance party for the lady of the hour.
Instead, Gaga was perched atop the stage in an avant-garde costume that confined her movements, signifying how she’s been put in a box throughout her career as the radio-dominating, meat dress-wearing pop star who had the world’s eyes on her at all times in the 2010s.
But the Gaga of 2022 is just as magnificent — and stronger than ever before. Her choreography was crisp during fan favorites like “911” and “Babylon” after fibromyalgia forced her to cancel her last tour, and her vocals on a piano rendition of “Born This Way” and her powerful “Top Gun: Maverick” theme song “Hold My Hand” left fans awestruck.
The show was more macabre than Gaga’s past tours, but so is “Chromatica,” the cathartic house album she wrote about healing and released in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic that almost upended her plans to get back on the road.
At one point, she lay on a floating platform reminiscent of an operating table while wearing a blood-stained latex bodysuit that called back to her shocking 2009 VMAs performance. Later, a video interlude showed Gaga reciting a manifesto about art with the same brooding cadence as her vampiric character in “American Horror Story: Hotel.”
Even with its dark themes and brutalist stage design, the theatric Chromatica Ball turned into one big celebration by the end of the evening. “Stupid Love” literally brought the heat, with flames rocketing up to the nosebleeds and making the crowd sweat even more than they already were in the dead of summer, followed by “Rain on Me,” one of the most euphoric performances the stadium has seen in a while.
While Gaga did not announce whether any of her idols were in the crowd for her hometown show (she famously shouted out Liza Minnelli at Madison Square Garden in her 2011 HBO special), she did take the time to pay tribute to those who came before her.
Gaga dedicated her breathtaking “A Star Is Born” ballad “Always Remember Us This Way” to her frequent collaborator Tony Bennett, who retired from performing in 2021 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and she reminded her Little Monsters that Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen inspired “The Edge of Glory.”
And yet, the night was still all about Gaga, the first superstar since Madonna to constantly reinvent herself and smash it every time.
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