It feels like a lifetime ago when Lady Gaga, in the darkest days of the pandemic, released “Chromatica” in May 2020.
It was essentially, a way to free yourself from the lockdown of the walls you were climbing and escape to another planet where the clubs were still pumping out beats—instead of hand sanitizer—in a world where masking up and social distancing never existed.
But perhaps Chromatica was a victim of timing: There was only so much an album designed to just dance could do when there was no place to dance.
And as if “Chromatica” never happened—aside from the futuristic getup that, for Gaga, almost looked like grocery-shopping sweats at this point—she came out strong at the Chromatica Ball at MetLife Stadium on Thursday night with three of her biggest pre-Covid hits: “Bad Romance,” “Just Dance” and “Pokerface.”
Bam. Bam. Bam.
The artist born Stefani Germanotta was not about to wait for no dang encore to give the people what they had been waiting for for two-plus years. And certainly, the Little Monsters who had come from all around the New York area to worship Mother in her one and only local appearance of her summer stadium trek that must ultimately be more about the fans than the coins.
By the time she did her first costume change—and first “Chromatica” track, “Alice”—there was almost no where to to go but down. Still—whether it was a golden oldie such as “Monster” or an overlooked newer jam such as “Sour Candy,” Gaga left no doubt that was a star was reborn.
And really, this is a rebirth that has been happening since the disappointment of 2016’s country-pop turn “Joanne.” After her Oscar-winning reset in “A Star Is Born,” Gaga is firmly back to riding on your disco stick.
Although she seems to have been around forever, Gaga is still only 36. And she’s nowhere near ready to settle into Tony Bennett territory.
But if anything, those Bennett collabs prove just what a vocal dynamo Gaga is—never a doubt that she’s singing all the way live. And it’s hard to think of few singers who can hoof, belt and, yes, even play an instrument with the full-on force that she can.
Although the show hit a lull with lesser “Chromatica” cuts such as “Babylon,” hearing a song such as “Free Woman” in the liberating environment in which it was meant to be experienced was downright cathartic.
But it’s telling that “Shallow”—the Bradley Cooper duet from a “A Star Is Born” that is more Ally Maine than Lady Gaga was the more recent hint that got the biggest reaction. Meanwhile, she tenderly dedicated another “Star” song, “I’ll Always Remember Us ThisWay,” to Bennett during an extended piano section that went on a little too long.
And when she broke “Born This Way” down into a piano ballad before thumping it up, it reminded you about just what she can do at the peak of her powers—when she’s on the right track, baby.