Lady Gaga brought her 'Joanne' tour to the Tacoma Dome Saturday night.
Lady Gaga has the kind of fans that would probably have gone home happy if she had showed up to the Tacoma Dome Saturday night and given a lecture on quantum physics, such is their reverence for their queen.
Gaga treated the sold-out crowd to a different kind of master class instead, cherry picking some of her biggest hits and new material from her 2016 album “Joanne” to fill out an expansive two-hour set with an intoxicating mix of her best work.
As an ominous, pink neon countdown hit zero, Gaga stormed the stage promptly at 8:55 p.m. to the crunchy chords of “Diamond Heart.” It had been quite the build up given that there was no opening act, but the long wait only seemed to wind the crowd up further.
The best pop shows function much the same as summer blockbusters: they are loud escapes from reality, full of action and spectacular set pieces and they’re unafraid of a little fan service. Gaga embraced the spectacle, setting the place on fire as she launched into “Poker Face” while a section of the stage raised her high into the air.
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It was almost odd to hear the iconic song and realize that it is nine years old. Gaga herself noted the passage of time, but there was no regret or nostalgia in her voice, simply pride for keeping the passionate relationship she enjoys with her fans going for that long.
While the old hits were certainly welcome — “Telephone” off 2009’s “The Fame Monster” in particular was almost a religious experience — it was Gaga’s new material that proved most compelling. Whether it was the explosive flash and swagger of “John Wayne” or “Come to Mama” (played on a satellite stage in the middle of the arena), she seemed to relish her new songs most.
Two more new ones, “Angel Down” and “Joanne,” provided Gaga with a quieter moment to catch her breath after executing a barrage of impressive choreography and turned out to be nice vocal highlights. Gaga isn’t in possession of an absolute laser voice like Carrie Underwood, but she’s come a long way for someone whose massive success has never been predicated on singing perfection.
Gaga closed the show with “Bad Romance” and “The Cure,” a pair of singles that served as a reminder that few people in the industry write more anthemic pop songs. After a brief delay, she came back out to the satellite stage for “Million Reasons.”
“I try to make the worst seem better,” she belted out, surrounded by thousands of hands reaching toward her on all sides. As the crowd sang along reverently, it was hard not to think Gaga had succeeded.