Heeere we go! Lady Gaga kicked off her Joanne World Tour Tuesday night in Vancouver, treating fans to a slew of time-tested hits (“Bad Romance,” “The Edge of Glory,” “Just Dance,” “Applause”) and new fan favorites (“Perfect Illusion,” “Million Reasons,” “A-YO”) alike as she hit the road for her latest traveling concert series.
From a bold set of fresh fashions (rhino horns! Impractically long finger nails!) to one of the Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter’s most complex stage arrangements to date, here are seven highlights from the first Joanne World Tour performance of the year.
The Joanne World Tour ushers in a new era of Gaga looks
From rhino horns to leather tassels, the Joanne World Tour features several fresh looks for Gaga, including approximately nine outfit changes during the show and new imagery that debuted on tour merchandise or in one of the show’s video interludes.
The stage is one of the most elaborate in Gaga’s touring history
That’s not a mirror on the ceiling — it’s a catwalk that doubles as a video screen. From the looks of photos posted to attendees’ social media accounts, the Joanne World Tour stage consists of a main stage and two circular risers bridged by mobile platforms that raise and lower to allow movement between them.
The lighting package is also so intense that the Rogers Arena placed warning signs outside the venue.
Gaga also reportedly rides the bridge as it lifts into the air during her performance of “Angel Down.”
Fans were *really* excited for Gaga’s performance of “Bloody Mary” (warning: strong language)
Though she’s belted the midtempo bop on tour before (it was part of the ever evolving Born This Way Ball setlist before that concert series was cut short due to Gaga’s hip injury), fans were eager for Gaga to perform the popular tune, which she did while wearing an intricate, blood-red ensemble.
Gay pride took center stage
Days after Gaga called out President Donald Trump for his controversial ban on transgender people in the military, Gaga iterated her long-standing support of the LGBTQ community.
“May I have that Gay Pride flag, please?” Gaga asked a security guard standing off stage after a fan tossed it her way. She then raised it high above her head as the crowd roared.
Draping the flag across her piano stool before launching into the lyrics of Joanne track “Come to Mama,” Gaga continued: “Needless to say, I have a lot to say about this issue. But the most important thing I have to say about it is everybody’s gotta love each other. You gotta stop throwing stones at your sisters and your brothers, because man it wasn’t that long ago we were all just living in the jungle… so for any of you who don’t believe in equality that are here this evening, come to mama.”
Gaga emotionally reiterated the story behind Joanne
She’s opened up about the inspiration for her latest LP in the past (her aunt, Joanne, died in 1974 as a result of Lupus-related complications), but hearing Gaga tearfully recount the tour namesake’s life and legacy as she carries her late relative’s torch to arenas around the world epitomizes the raw emotion and energy Gaga’s fans have come to expect — and highly anticipate — from each of her live performances.
“There is grief passed on from generation to generation,” she explained while perched on a stool, guitar in hand, waiting to perform Joanne‘s title track. “What I’d like to ask you all to do tonight is, in this moment, although it’s hard and you might be having fun with your friends here, I’d like for you to ask yourself, ‘What was that one moment in your life that blasted you so hard you don’t remember who you were before it happened?’”
She continued: “When I look back on my life, there are a series of events that blasted me. I walk around a lot wondering if I’ll ever feel the way I used to feel. What was my life before the fame, what happened after, what happened during, and all the things that made me who I am as a young woman? If you could all just take a moment and give yourself mercy for that moment… for me, that moment has one name, and it’s Joanne. This one’s for you, dad.”
“Dancin’ In Circles” performed live for the first time
Before “The Cure” was released as a single in April, fans campaigned (hard) for Joanne cut “Dancin’ In Circles” to be released as the album’s third single. Though the chances at Gaga pushing another single from the studio set are slim at this point, fans were treated to the first live performance of the dancehall-tinged song on Tuesday evening.
Opening night was a family affair
In addition to Gaga’s parents, Cynthia and Joe Germanotta, attending the launch, Gaga also revealed her sister, Natali, designed some of the show’s fashions. “I’d like to say a big thank you to my sister. She made me this jacket tonight,” Gaga said during her performance of “Joanne.”