Seated at a piano made of thorns in the middle of a rapt sold-out audience at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Lady Gaga confessed that there was a point in her life when she wasn’t sure if she’d ever make it back to a stage like this again.
Indeed, a lot has happened to both Gaga and the world since she was last able to tour. “Severe physical pain” due to fibromyalgia forced her to postpone and eventually cancel the final leg of her Joanne World Tour in 2018. The “Chromatica Ball” stadium tour (grab tickets here), originally slated for 2020, was postponed twice for COVID concerns. The release date for the album she was planning to tour in support of, Chromatica, was briefly pushed back due to the pandemic, too.
Or as the singer/actress/performance artist herself put it with a mix of humor, reflection, and bravado: “This bitch has been to the grave and back!”
This complicated balance of tones and emotions was sustained throughout the kickoff of the North American leg of “The Chromatica Ball” on Saturday night (August 6th). The twohour and 10 minute spectacle, broken into four acts, along with a prelude, finale, and encore, mixed moments of triumph, vulnerability, celebration, defiance, heartache, and cathartic blowout as seamlessly as Gaga has always blended her wide-ranging aesthetic influences.
That artistic alchemy was also in fine form during the show, highlighting everything from the stark brutalist architecture of the stage design, to the Alexander McQueen tributes in the costume design, to the body horror accents in the set pieces, to the unabashed power metal excess of it all.