Not even a Tornado Watch could keep Lady Gaga from packing out Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse and selling out the place when her Joanne World Tour recently came to town.
While the show was scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start time, the sold-out crowd was still slowly coming in so things were pushed back to 8:45 when the majority of the building was full- it was well worth the wait in more ways than one.
“When they told me there was a Tornado Watch today, I said the only tornado that was coming through Indy tonight was me,” Gaga said after the first song ended, which was met with a roar of excitement from the Gaga fans- also known as “Monsters.”
The crowd was deafening from start to finish and gave everything back to Gaga that she put forward and with a production and show like Gaga’s, it’s hard not to.
A giant video screen raised and lowered from time to time and there were four stages set up around the arena. The main stage looked like a traditional one but had a giant platform that arose from the floor that tilted and changed shapes, while two smaller circular stages were set up in the middle of the arena and a second stage was set up in the back of the arena and all four got plenty of use.
With a show that spanned almost 2-and-a-half hours virtually every major Gaga hit found a way into the set as well as a few new tracks from her latest record- Joanne, which she took time to talk to the fans about. Gaga’s aunt, whom she never got to meet, was named Joanne. This also Gaga’s middle name and she wanted to pay homage to her family roots with this album. It was a special moment hearing her talk about this and it made you really appreciate her even more.
During the middle of the set, three giant bridges lowered from the LED clouds that adorned the top of the arena- making so Gaga and her crew paraded across the top of the crowd to the back of the arena during “Perfect Illusion,” where they played half the set.
This is where the highlight of the night came. Gaga dedicated an acoustic piano version of “Edge of Glory” to a young girl in the front row of this smaller stage. She met this girl a few years back on the meet and greet tour bus and the girl has Cerebral Palsy and she asked Gaga if her head hurt. Gaga said her whole body hurt but then realized she had no right to think that when the girl was sitting there in so much pain every day.
Then she dedicated the second verse to the girl’s best friend who was also in attendance. Her friend wakes up at 3am every day, drives to her house, picks her up and drives her to college. From there, she waits for her to be done and drives her home. She does this every day- after which Gaga explained she made a statement that resonated long after anyone left- “Don’t stare, but don’t look away.”
Later in the show- toward the end- a girl threw a letter onto the stage. Gaga stopped the show to pick it up and read the letter, in which the girl told Gaga how she gave her the confidence to not be afraid to be different. The girl was bullied and picked on to the point she didn’t want to live anymore and, through Gaga’s music, she found friends. Even though they don’t live in the same place, they all talk every day and they attend every Gaga show together that they can.
In the end, this was more than a concert. This was an experience, a journey and a night of inspiration, love, acceptance and empowerment.