Lady Gaga played an intimate hometown show at Apollo Theater (pics, review, setlist)
Since emerging in the late 2000s as a confrontational, boundary-pushing electronic pop star, Lady Gaga has out-lived many of her former peers by continuing to explore sounds outside of the realm of music that made her famous -- like jazz and country -- and also by venturing into television and film, which recently earned her an Oscar and helped her score her first No. 1 hit in nearly eight years.
After playing to large stadiums and concert halls for the majority of her career, Gaga returned to her hometown of NYC for an intimate show at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem on Monday night (6/24). The entire event was a celebration of the merger between SiriusXM and Pandora, which was made clear by the two companies' logos being plastered everywhere throughout the venue, including appearing on plastic cups which sat beside an open bar, and on the back of the show's custom T-shirts (which were also free). This was also an invite-only show, which meant the audience solely consisted of members of the press, industry bigwigs, contest winners, and celebrities. Some famous faces at this show included John Oliver, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Neil Patrick Harris, Heidi Gardner, Steven Van Zandt, and others.
At around 8 PM, after much anticipation and some climactic intro music, Gaga finally took the stage to perform many of her biggest early hits, such as "Just Dance," "Poker Face," "Dance In The Dark," and more from her first two records. The show was essentially a scaled-down version of her "Enigma" residency in Las Vegas, complete with an electrifying backing band (one member stood behind a circular Piano Arc), several high-energy backup dancers, and an overarching futuristic narrative told by a character projected on-screen, appropriately dubbed Gaga's "enigma." While the Apollo is an entirely seated venue, most of the audience remained standing and jumping around throughout the night, with tons of crowd members showcasing their hardcore knowledge of Gaga's lyrics. At one point, Gaga pointed out the show was being livestreamed, saying, "Did you hear that SiriusXM and Pandora are merging? That sounds kinda hot... I wonder what sex they're gonna have."
Aside from bringing out further hits like "Bad Romance" and "Applause," Gaga frequently engaged in stage banter, which often dealt with her emotional return to NYC. "I used to always visit here," she said about the Apollo. "I have friends [in Harlem]. We always used to go here." She later expressed her gratitude for playing the historic venue, declaring, "What a historical moment for me and my life. I don't know how it'll matter to anyone else, but for me, this is my personal history." During her performance of "You and I," Gaga changed some of the lyrics to reflect her homecoming, including the altered line, "something about my cool Harlem guy."
She also talked about her personal relationship with the LGBTQ+ community, reminding fans of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. Gaga name dropped activist Marsha P. Johnson, who was a central figure in the Stonewall riots, and urged the audience to ask people what pronouns they prefer. "Ask the question: 'What is your pronoun.' Because for a lot of people, it’s really hard, and their pronouns aren’t respected or they’re not asked."
Gaga continued to crank out the hits all night, before closing her main set with "Born This Way." Minutes later, following frantic chants of "Gaga! Gaga!," she returned to the stage to perform her Oscar-winning song "Shallow" from A Star Is Born. Before she began to sing the song, shouts in the audience along the lines of "Where's Bradley [Cooper]?" were audible, but her performance was stirring and passionate enough that a solo version was just as satisfying. Fighting back tears, Gaga joined her band members onstage during a final bow, capping an end to a very special night.
According to SiriusXM, you can hear the concert in its entirety later this week, on the channels "SiriusXM Hits 1 on Friday, June 28 at 5 pm ET/ PT, on Howard 101 on Friday, June 28 at 11 pm ET, on Pandora NOW on Saturday, June 29 at 5 pm ET and will re broadcast on all three channels throughout the weekend."
You can view pictures from the show in the gallery above. Fan-shot video and Lady Gaga's setlist can be viewed below.
Setlist - Lady Gaga @ Apollo Theater 6/24/19
Dance in the Dark
The Edge Of Glory
Yoü and I
Born This Way
photos by Kevin Mazur, Getty Images for Sirius XM