With a new album and her first leading role in a major Hollywood production right around the corner, Lady Gaga is on the brink of a new era. To the surprise of many, the next chapter of her career is also set to include a residency show in Las Vegas, where Mother Monster will launch a two-year concert series at the MGM Park Theater in December 2018.
Though many — including Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, and Jennifer Lopez — have preceded her as Sin City headliners, Gaga’s foray into the Vegas spotlight charts new territory for mainstream pop acts. She’s arguably the most prominent contemporary artist to secure a permanent gig on the strip, a spot typically reserved for artists whose robust legacies outpace their current clout on the charts. Gaga has set a new standard for mainstream acts perching in Vegas, as she heads to Nevada on the heels of a successful world tour, the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show of all time, another platinum album (Joanne), and a top five, Grammy-nominated hit song (“Million Reasons”) under her belt in 2017 alone. Still, there’s no denying the sizable catalog of past cuts she has to choose from when creating the set for the as-yet-untitled show.
Based on the shows performed by the aforementioned Vegas divas, expect a setlist that includes anywhere between 18-25 tracks. As this is a show that will reach general audiences and tourists across its lengthy stretch, we’ll probably see all of her biggest hits reflected in the performance, and that means she’ll probably open with something big.
Perhaps the most fitting opener in Gaga’s repertoire is the title cut from her 2011 LP Born This Way, which soars into its initial drop with a mixture of cinematic strings and crystalline electronic glitches, and could also serve as an appropriate foundation for a show that, by all indications, signals a rebirth (of sorts) for its star.
Aside from incorporating the obvious, time-tested singles that made her a superstar, we’re hoping Gaga also finds a way to reintroduce ARTPOP and Fame songs she shunned during the Joanne World Tour, particularly fan favorites like “Venus,” “Starstruck,” “Teeth,” “Gypsy,” “Fashion!” and “Do What U Want,” which was remixed at the top of 2014 to include vocals from Christina Aguilera. Creating the opportunity to bring on another queen (or two, if she includes Joanne‘s Florence Welch ditty “Hey Girl,” which could open up a revolving door of female singers who could hop on stage for the empowerment duet throughout the show’s run) for a special performance is the kind of razzle-dazzle Vegas audiences (and pop stans around the world) live for.
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With two years’ worth of performances currently scheduled, Gaga will have plenty of room to retool and remix whatever setlist she lands on, but mainstays like “Poker Face,” “Bad Romance,” “Applause,” “Paparazzi,” “Just Dance,” and “The Edge of Glory” are safe bets. When confirming her Vegas deal, she mentioned her Cheek to Cheek partner Tony Bennett by name, so don’t be surprised when he makes an appearance (or several) over the show’s tenure. This is, after all, one of the glitziest cities in the country, and its aesthetic is complementary to the showgirl fashions Gaga touted while promoting the 2014 Bennett collaboration.
Since she crafted most of A Star Is Born‘s original soundtrack with the likes of Mark Ronson, Lukas Nelson, Jason Isbell, and Dave Cobb, expect some of those songs to pop up in Vegas as well. LG6 might be up and running by December 2018, too, so don’t rule out a fixed show built around the upcoming studio set, either. And unreleased material presumably isn’t off the table: Gaga has performed plenty of unreleased songs on the road in the past (“Living On the Radio,” “Partynauseous,” or “Princess Die,” anyone?), and we imagine Vegas might see the live debut of a few never-before-heard songs, too.
Check out our full collection above of tunes we’d love to see Gaga perform — in this specific order — when she kicks off her Vegas residency next year.