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Lady Gaga makes history at Fenway Park

By Adam Lamper

Section: Arts

September 8, 2017

Tens of thousands of Little Monsters from every corner of New England flocked to Fenway Park this past weekend to witness what was truly a concert well worth braving the cold weather. Singer, songwriter and musician Stefani Germanotta, more formally known as the one and only Lady Gaga, made the trek to The Walking City as part of her 2017 Joanne World Tour. Not only did the popstar manage to completely sell-out the stadium both Friday and Saturday nights, she also made history as the first woman to headline an event at the park since its opening in 1912.

“Thank you Boston. I feel so honored, but at the same time, I have to tell you, I’m sorry that you all had to wait over 100 years for a woman,” said Gaga, before delving headfirst into “Scheiße,” a song from her 2011 album “Born This Way,” that expresses strong, outward messages of female empowerment.

In addition to successful songs from her latest album, “Joanne,” such as “Perfect Illusion,” “Million Reasons,” and separate single, “The Cure,” Gaga charmed long-term fans with a string of songs from her debut album, “The Fame,” and EP, “The Fame Monster.”

In addition to robust vocals, an array of electronic visuals and pyrotechnics enhanced the concert experience. In particular, many songs were accompanied by the use of fireworks launched from the empty seats reserved behind the stage, as well as a hydraulic platform system on the stage itself, which allowed for an ever-changing set for Gaga and her team of amazingly choreographed backup dancers.

However, despite the grandeur of the visuals, the best moments of the concert by far were those when it was just Gaga and her piano or guitar, with soulful songs like the title track, “Joanne,” and “The Edge of Glory,” which she dedicated to her team member and close friend Sonja Durham, who recently passed away after a long battle with cancer.

One striking aspect about the audience was the unexpected demographic, as nearly all attendees seemed to be above the age of 20, with a larger-than-anticipated amount of middle-aged people. Perhaps this is due to the toned-down country vibe of the latest album, or maybe it is just the passage of time and aging of a world-wide fan base that began nearly 10 years ago. When the 31-year-old talked about how much has changed in her life since the beginning of her music career, she made it clear that Lady Gaga will refuse to senesce any time soon into the litany of forgotten pop icons.

The only inglorious moment of the show came at no fault of the headliner herself, but rather by that of her opening act, DJ Whiteshadow, with whom Gaga has had an extensive career history, most notably on her “Born This Way” album and on 2013’s “ArtPop.” Though the music itself was not off-putting, and it was accompanied by incredibly psychedelic digital imagery, the performance lacked one of the most crucial elements of live EDM performance: volume. The volume was nowhere near the levels that make you want to dance.

One of the major takeaways of the show is that the legacy of Lady Gaga is far from over. Though perhaps not reaching the same critical success as in her heyday of 2008-2011, Gaga has surely made her talent known, dabbling in nearly all genres of music from jazz to EDM to country, and even finding time to land lead roles in productions like “American Horror Story” and 2018’s “A Star is Born,” starring Gaga and Bradley Cooper. However, underneath all of the glam and prowess lies a genuineness seen by few outside of her tight-knit fanbase.

For years, Gaga has used her fame not for personal gain, but as a voice to speak out for injustice. Though predominantly directed toward problems facing the LGBTQ community, the singer has used her music as a way to address many social problems facing the modern world, such as women’s rights, drug addiction and the Black Lives Matter movement which she addresses in the swan song of her “Joanne” album, “Angel Down,” which she has stated was written in honor of Trayvon Martin and other victims of police brutality in the U.S. It is for certain this artist will continue to make her mark on the world for years to come.

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