Lady Gaga At Citi Field, Monday, August 28th, 2017, Reviewed
If you bought a ticket to see an 8pm “Wicked” on Broadway and by 930pm the musical hadn’t begun and nobody had told you why, you’d be well within your rights to be furiously angry. If you had tickets to a 6pm movie and two hours later it still hadn’t begun you’d have a riot. It has a trickle down effect, cars, and subways, trains and babysitters, work and later plans are all shot to hell, not to mention the insane annoyance of having to sit around for two hours at the whim of people there to serve you. The Lady Gaga “Joanne” tour reached Citi Field last night with an 830pm start where she didn’t get on stage till 1010pm. Perhaps her adoring Little Monsters will accept this, the vast majority of her fans are being screwed over. What makes things worse is Gaga proceeding to tell us to respect other people while having disrespected 30,000 people who had paid $100 for nosebleed seats. What is even worse than that is her incessant (seven of them) costume changes: for every 15 minutes of music we get five minutes of vamping by the band as Gaga changes her outfit.
I arrived at Citi Field around 730pm and I have never seen a more perfect audience, a gender fluid collection of people gay, lesbian, fabulous, trans, hets, kids, adults, young and old. And all just jumping and dancing. I realized I’d be sitting on my hands for awhile, but I checked the previous shows and she’d been hitting the stage no later than nine o’clock except for one night when she arrived at 915 and apologized. No opening acts, anywhere. I figured I’d be out by 11 and when the lights dimmed at 830 visions of an on time start thrilled the fans. What we got was a 45 minute house music set by DJ White Shadow, he produced Born This Way and Artpop, and while I love house enough to enjoy it on many levels except one: the one where I haven’t been warned. It isn’t difficult: email your damn ticketmaster customers and write
Dj Shadow – 830
Lady Gaga – 1015
I could have gone to a 7pm show on Broadway and still made it in time. Saturday at Jones Beach, Edgar Winter, Alice Cooper , and Deep Purple, managed to be precise and punctual. On Thursday, I saw eight reggaeton artists in the time it took Gaga to reach the stage.
That hour break between a DJ we didn’t want to hear spinning house beats and Gaga presence dear suctioned the air out of the field, there were small kids falling asleep and drag queens slipping out of five inch heels and rubbing their tootsies, people tweeting “where is Gaga?”. Where was Stefani? It’s the stalled subway train syndrome, keep people updated and they will be patient. Look at it this way: 30,000 people lost two hours each, that’s 60,000 hours, 2500 days, 357 weeks, an entire year wasted without reason.
The audience flipped once she hit the stage but I was tired and in a lousy mood and when she left the stage fifteen minutes later for her first costume change, I was tired and in a lousy mood and I was not amused. She sounded great, the first four songs were excellent, hard rocking, state of the artpop: “Diamond Heart,” A-Yo,” “Poker Face,” and “Perfect Illusion,” -very well, even though her guitar strumming during “A-Yo” was stupid. The problem in this section wasn’t music, certainly not her powerful voice, it was her “As I stand before you tonight…” speechifying. Are you joking me? Every time she starts in on her self-evident Colors Of Benetton crap I tune out. Maybe West Virginia need to hear about LGBTQIA, why would New York City need it? Shut up and change your outfit, you pompous, self-righteous, egotistical, hypocrite. However much I might enjoy Gaga when she gets down to business, there is far more where she drives me to distracted boredom, she hectors us like Bono does: you’ve got my money, you’ve kept me waiting for hours forcing me to leave before the end, if you love me so much do what I’m paying you to do.
I’ve seen Gaga maybe six times, the last time with Tony Bennett at his 90th birthday party gig, the best time headlining Jingle Ball, what those performances had in common was time constraints that forced her hand: she had to tighten up. In her “Cheek To Cheek” 2015 performance at Radio City with Tony she had no problem showing up on time, she was very good but she was maybe better last night, but I didn’t enjoy it. I’m not a fan ever since that godawful Thanksgiving Special in 2011, after that she became the playdough of pop. A miniset on piano was good, but not that good, by the time she was back on the mainstage it was 1130 and I was done for the night.
Here is a quick rundown of Gaga’s albums:
The Fame – A
The Fame Monster – A+
Born This Way – B+
Artpop – B
Cheek To Cheek – B
Joanne – B+
So, I am not a hater of her recorded work. Unlike many people, I prefer her on the rockier songs, on the ballads she is too harsh, it goes down like sharded glass and she overpowers you. On stage, I would like her a lot more if I wasn’t half dead before she ever got on stage:
The Fame Ball Tour (2009) – B+
The Monster Ball Tour (2009–2011) – B
Born This Way Ball (2012–2013) – C+
ArtRave: The Artpop Ball (2014) – C+
Cheek to Cheek Tour (with Tony Bennett) (2014–2015) – B
Joanne World Tour (2017) – C+
And I am being kind, guessing how I’d feel if I wasn’t dead from exhaustion.
That was as deeply depressing a night as I have ever spent at a concert. Stuff like “Poker Face” and “Telephone” were so good, the stage alive with dancers and colors, movement and sound and so what? The show was one long unforced error. She can take a ride on this disco stick.