The most anticipated concert tour of 2022 fired up SF Thursday night, as Lady Gaga delivered three hours of glorious pop delirium, more than a half-dozen outfits, and gigantic blazing cannons shooting humongous flames across Oracle Park.
Lady Gaga’s Chromatica Ball tour was supposed to have already happened two years ago. But the parade of horrors that was the year 2020 delayed the whole thing until this summer, with the much-anticipated San Francisco stop finally scheduled to arrive Thursday night at Oracle Park.
But the way this week went with horrible heatwaves and blackouts, it honestly felt a little uncertain a couple days back. Would she still play this big-budget, special effects extravaganza if there were rolling blackouts all over the East Bay? And what if Oracle Park lost power?
Fortunately for Lady Gaga’s legions of Bay Area fans, circumstances cooperated, and her dazzling, nearly three-hour set made the unpleasantness of the past week seem like a distant memory. SFist was there at the show, and yes we were in the cheap seats. (But have you seen those tickets prices? There are no cheap seats!)
She took the stage at 8:46 p.m., more than an hour past the scheduled start time, much to the relief of a very late-arriving Oracle Park crowd that clearly had trouble getting out of the house with their own highly involved wardrobe decisions.
And that was a good thing for us slowpokes, because she started with three bangers right off the bat: “Bad Romance,” “Poker Face,” and “Just Dance,” immediately covering the late 2000s Gaga ooh-la-la and mum-mum-mum-mah material that put her on the map.
Lady Gaga was seen dancing with Bloodpop and his girlfriend HANA, during “Free Woman” at the Chromatica Ball in San Francisco.💗 #LadyGaga #ChromaticaBall #ChromaticaBallsanfrancisco #Chromaticaballsf pic.twitter.com/hxMjYEyrc2— Ani💕 (@stefanimamaa) September 9, 2022
Sure, it was the exact same set as every show of the tour. But there is a special connection between Lady Gaga and San Francisco, which did make this one special. She gave shouts out to Tony Bennett, her longtime hairstylist Frederic Aspiras (to whom she dedicated “Born This Way”), and Chromatica producer BloodPop, who happened to be in the house Thursday night.
Lady Gaga at Oracle Park (San Francisco) - Stupid Love 🎶 pic.twitter.com/tx5M8Ey2Ks— Anthony Volkar (@ucdvolkie) September 9, 2022
And oh, those giant flame-shooting cannons! Certainly this show went to that well of flame-shooting cannons a lot. But honestly, gigantic bursts of fire never get old, and these flame-shooters were situated all over the field-level seating of Oracle Park.
Another trick the show pulled quite frequently was the color-coordinated constellation of tiny lights in the lower-level seats, utilized on most of the slower numbers, as she did for “Always Remember Us This Way” from A Star is Born.
Lady Gaga has clearly developed a remarkable versatility to transform her upbeat rager tracks into tasteful slow ones. She actually started “Born This Way” as a quiet, contemplative solo piano number, before it exploded (with flaming cannons of course) into the full-blast dance track you’re used to. She performed “Edge of Glory” entirely as a downtempo track, but led the crowd in such a passionate sing-along that the number was still remarkably high-energy.
Lady Gaga well-exceeded the very high expectations with her Thursday night SF show, with 21 songs, at least half a dozen over-the-top outfits, and more cake make-up than a bus full of drag queens going to Reno for Easter weekend. The beautifully mild weather definitely helped the vibe, and the nearly full moon over the outdoor venue even left Gaga’s herself a little breathless. We don’t know if she handed out stacks of cash to people living on the street, as she did for her 2017 show here. But certainly everyone who attended The Chromatica Ball tour show Thursday night left feeling (and looking) like a million bucks.