"I only act different because I don't know how to act the same," Lady Gaga announced more than halfway through her Joanne World Tour stop at The Forum in Inglewood, California, on Tuesday night.
In that one sentence, she encapsulated everything Little Monsters would witness over the extravagant two-hour-plus show, from just a girl in a pink cowboy hat strumming a guitar to an avant-garde grande dame in feathered eye mask and studded leotard, defying gravity while dancing in heels on a 45-degree-angle stage.
All the Gagas were in the Haus, and below, we run through the six best moments from a show filled with nonstop moments:
"My Name Is Joanne!"
The show stayed very true to the tour's title, as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta honored her late aunt and middle-namesake by playing nine of her latest album's 11 tracks and telling stories about how Joanne's death before she was even born impacted her tight-knit family. When Lady Gaga declared after second song "A-YO," "My name is Joanne!," the crowd launched into a 30-second chant of "Jo-Anne! Jo-Anne! Jo-Anne!" "I wanted to write an album that came from the deepest pain that I had in me, something I had to say," she explained from the stage. "And the truth is, that what I realized when I dug deep down into myself, there was a pain that was passed on generation to generation that we all shared -- an intergenerational pain, a grief passed on by our grandparents, through our parents. When I was a young girl, I would sit at the dinner table, and I got that strong sense over Christmas and Thanksgiving that there was somebody missing. … For me, that pain has only one name, and it's Joanne."
A Welcome Deep Cut
Amid the Joanne-heavy set, one Born This Way album cut truly stood out: "Scheiße." The song -- a synth-heavy fan favorite -- was never a single, though it did crack the top 10 of Billboard's Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales chart, and dancing fans were clearly thrilled with the unexpected set-list addition.
Ronson Family Tree
Producer Mark Ronson was a constant presence during the Joanne rollout, but there was another Ronson family member Gaga wanted to spotlight on Tuesday night: Mark's DJ/songwriter sister Samantha. "I'd like to dedicate this song to a friend of mine who's here tonight," she said, before launching into universal-love anthem "Come to Mama." "I made Joanne with her brother, Mark Ronson -- Samantha Ronson, my friend, whom I have stayed up many a night talking about this very issue of the world loving each other. It was just her birthday. For those of you who are not here in the name of equality, I just have one thing to say to you: Come to Mama!"
Another dedication went out to Andre, the husband of Gaga's late best friend Sonja Durham. Fans might remember Sonja from her October appearance at the New York Bud Light Dive Bar Tour stop, when the longtime Haus of Gaga managing director was still battling stage 4 breast, brain and lung cancer. She died in May, and Gaga performed an emotional, stripped-down rendition of dance hit "The Edge of Glory" in honor of her family, tearfully sharing love from behind her piano throughout the song.
Gaga's uber-dramatic side came out in her "Paparazzi" performance, which ends with a choreographed attack on the bedazzled pop star before she ascends into the rafters and re-emerges as the Joanne troubadour, complete with cowboy hat and guitar strapped to her back. Is this the death of the dancing queen we met almost a decade ago? Or just another step in her constant evolution? Sounds like we'll have to wait to see what Gaga emerges when she releases her sixth studio album.
Gaga's Ideal Haus
By far the most impressive part of the Joanne World Tour stop was Gaga's use of The Forum space. She (of course) didn't feel confined to the main stage at the top of the floor, instead incorporating two circular stages in the center of the crowd and even a bonus stage at the opposite end. A series of bridges descended from the rafters, hidden in giant projection pods throughout the show, that connected all the stages and allowed Lady Gaga and her dancers to traverse the entire length of the arena floor. This meant no matter where you were sitting, you had an equal shot to be front-and-center with Mother Monster. Gaga even finished up the concert on the farthest back stage, which housed a translucent grand piano and was the setting for the dramatic "A Million Reasons" finale. The piano disappeared into the stage as she played her final notes, before Gaga scurried out from underneath to wild applause as she waved to fans -- equal parts elusive artist and accessible woman of the people, kind of like her multiple-personality show.
The Joanne World Tour continues Wednesday night (Aug. 9) at The Forum before wrapping up back at the Inglewood venue on Dec. 18, for a total of 60 nights across the globe.
Lady Gaga's Joanne World Tour set list at The Forum on Tuesday night:
Come to Mama
Edge of Glory
Born This Way
Dancin' in Circles
A Million Reasons