Lady Gaga returns to her roots in return for San Francisco

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If you’re trying to cool off from an oppressive heat wave, a Lady Gaga concert is probably the last place you should go. Pyrotechnics, a nightclub-like atmosphere and 40,000 dancing bodies don’t exactly make for a cool night. But if you wanted to see an absolutely stunning performer who holds nothing back, you were in for a treat when Gaga brought the Chromatica Ball to Oracle Park in San Francisco on Thursday night.

Lady Gaga didn’t have an opener, a flex that either purposefully or didn’t suggest that there’s simply no one to prepare an audience for what she was about to bring. Gaga took to the stage around 8:45 p.m. and played a blistering set that lasted more than two hours and was divided into five different “acts.”

She didn’t wait to blast her biggest songs, opening with a trio of mega hits: “Bad Romance,” “Just Dance” and “Poker Face.” But it just served as a prelude – it was another phenomenal flex, playing three multi-platinum singles as an introduction.


Almost half of the rest of the songs were from 2020’s “Chromatica”. Acts I and II featured “Alice” and “Sour Candy” alongside Gaga classics like “Telephone” and “LoveGame” (which is somehow already 14 years old).

Following the country-inspired album “Joanne,” a Tony Bennett collaboration, and a turn as Hollywood’s leading lady, “Chromatica” represents a triumphant return to Gaga’s dance-pop roots.

But that was far from the only genre on display Thursday night. Gaga manages to be both a dance-pop legend and a bona fide rock star. She performed with a cadre of backup dancers, but also three guitarists, all of whom would have fit in at any rock show. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether Gaga is the second coming of Madonna or Mick Jagger.

  Lady Gaga performs on stage during the Chromatica Ball Summer Stadium Tour at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on July 29, 2022 in London.

Lady Gaga performs on stage during the Chromatica Ball Summer Stadium Tour at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on July 29, 2022 in London.

Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/Getty Images for L

Many divas have rabid and obsessive fan bases, and Gaga seems to understand and appreciate her most loyal fans as much as any artist (no offense to Swifties or the Beyhive). About halfway through Gaga’s set, she called out to her die-hards: “You little monsters, you’re amazing. Hands up, paws up!”

Calling her punchline by their chosen nickname elicited deafening screams, including from the man next to me, who appeared to have come to the show solo but sang every word to every song.

For the show’s third and fourth acts, Gaga moved to another stage in the middle of the field. The change made it feel like the singer was not performing above, but alongside the concertgoers. She used this time to play some of her piano ballads, such as “Shallow”, “Edge of Glory” and “Angel Down”.

It was during the more intimate section that she talked about her relationship with the Bay Area.

“Like my friend Tony Bennett, I left my heart in San Francisco,” Gaga said to screams from the Bay Area crowd.

Lady Gaga performs on stage during the Chromatica Ball Summer Stadium Tour at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on July 29, 2022 in London.

Lady Gaga performs on stage during the Chromatica Ball Summer Stadium Tour at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on July 29, 2022 in London.

Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/Getty Images for L

She also dedicated “Born This Way” to her longtime hairdresser Frederic Aspiras and his mother. Growing up in San Francisco, Aspiras learned about hair from her mother, who worked and owned salons in the city after immigrating from Vietnam. She also fully supported Aspiras when he came out, so Gaga went ahead and dedicated the song to the entire LGBTQ community.

Gaga returned to the main stage for her final act, performing Chromatica’s “Stupid Love” and “Rain On Me.” The latter is her latest track to reach number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

After leaving fans screaming for an encore, she closed with “Hold My Hand,” which is featured in “Top Gun: Maverick” and could very well earn Gaga her second Academy Award for Best Original Song.

As hot as the California heat wave has been, it had nothing on Gaga.



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