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Concert Reviews:
Lady Gaga brings arena-filling spectale to Little Caesars

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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DETROIT -- “I heard this is a brand new arena,” Lady Gaga told the crowd at Little Caesars Arena early during her show on Tuesday night, Nov. 7. “Ooh baby, I can’t wait to break it in for y’all.”

It can be argued that after nearly two months of concerts and sporting events Little Caesars has been well broken in. But rest assured that it hadn’t seen anything yet like the spectacle Gaga put on.

Her recently resumed Joanne World Tour, whose European leg was postponed due to Gaga’s struggles with fibromyalgia, is a visual tour-de-force that ranks among the most ambitious arena shows ever, with enough moving parts to populate an auto assembly plant. Over the course of 22 song and two-hours-and-10-minutes, Gaga and her ensemble -- nine dancers and a five-piece band -- delivered an energetic and intricately choreographed performance that traversed four stages spanning the length of the arena floor. The ensemble dance routines were slick and polished -- particularly on a main stage whose hydraulic lifts rose and tilted throughout the night -- while ample pyrotechnics, lasers and prepared videos made sure there was never much of a wait for a fresh piece of eye candy.

Meanwhile, three cloud-like pods above the stage housed not only lights but also video screens that doubled as ramps that allowed Gaga and her ensemble to move from stage to stage, above the general admission floor crowd’s heads.

The visuals also served to mitigate any of the show’s weaknesses -- which, truth be told, weren’t many. But there was a uniformity to the concert’s seven “acts” -- three or four songs followed by a band interlude, then a video, all buying time for Gaga to change into another elaborate (and usually revealing) outfit -- that grew a bit stale.

Nevertheless the songs were judiciously chosen, including hard-rocking renditions of “Diamond Heart” and “A-Yo” from her latest album, “Joanne,” that started the show and a litany of hits such as “Poker Face,” “Alejandro,” “Born This Way” and “Bad Romance.” Gaga incorporated some intimate moments as well, including a solo piano rendition of “The Edge Of Glory” on the furthestmost stage, “Angel Down” (during which she asked for prayers for the recent church shooting victims in Texas) an acoustic “Joanne” and the emotive show-closing “Million Reasons.” Her song introductions, meanwhile, doubled as socio-political statements, particularly regarding the LGBTQ community that’s so prominent within her Little Monsters fan base.

Gaga, in fact, brought one gay fan in the front row to tears by reading a “Monster Gram” he wrote to her expressing his thanks for her support, then came off the stage to hug him before returning to sing “The Cure.”

The best news for some at Little Caesars was there may be more. “I promise I’ll return, and I’ll be back,” Gaga said before “Million Reasons.” The Little Monsters will surely be holding their collective breath for that.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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