If you’re headed to Coachella this weekend to see Lady Gaga here’s one thing you should not expect: the set from her upcoming Joanne world tour. Because, to be honest, there just wasn’t enough time to put together the same show she’s taking on the road later this year when Mother Monster stepped up in February to replace a pregnant Beyoncé at the annual beautiful people spring fling in Indio, California.
Don’t think that Gaga isn’t busting her butt to get ready, though. According to longtime choreographer and visual director Richy Jackson (“Bad Romance,” “Born This Way,” “Applause”), who became Gaga’s artistic director in 2011, the singer has been in rehearsals “pretty much every day” since she agreed to the gig.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Jackson said between starting to put together the Joanne tour — which launches on August 1 in Vancouver — and February’s Super Bowl LI halftime show things have been a bit hectic. “There is no time,” he told EW before leaving for Indio to oversee what will be the first headlining set by a woman at Coachella since Björk in 2007.
“It has been a very collaborative effort; it’s been meetings, meetings, more meetings, emails, text messages and everything under the sun, whatever technology to get information across to people,” he told the magazine. “There’s not a lot of time, so everything’s just got to be on point. We have to know who to call to get what done, there’s no time to take any chances. Once the meetings are done, it’s creating the setlist, making changes to the setlist. Then on top of that, getting music together, outfits, and the whole nine.”
Unlike videos like “John Wayne,” which required two days of rehearsals after a month of talks or the Super Bowl, which was three months of discussions with the NFL, with Coachella as soon as they got the confirmation it was “Go!… We had to get in those creative meetings quick, we had to start thinking faster because we don’t have a lot of time to put together a show where she’s headlining Coachella — this was sort of out of nowhere because we all thought Beyoncé was going to be doing it,” he said.
They did it, though, pulling the hour-plus set together in less than a month-and-a-half. As for the challenge of going from the massive Super Bowl audience in February to Gaga’s smallest crowds on her 2016 Dive Bar tour and then back to a big crowd at Coachella, Jackson said the singer is up for anything. “At Coachella, the crowd is there to enjoy music and enjoy art and to enjoy getting out of their normal lives for a day or a weekend — or maybe both weekends,” he said. “There’s already good energy; everyone’s just about energy out there. So the intent is, how do we keep them in that world, keep the energy up, keep them having a great musical experience?”
Some things Jackson could not talk about. Like, will there be a surprise guest? “I can’t answer any of those questions.” Will there be a “wow” moment like Gaga’s roof jump at the Super Bowl? “Well, you know, there’s always a ‘wow’ with Gaga at some point That’s all I can say,” he teased. “There’s always something.”
And this: “For the crowd at Coachella, they are there for so many different reasons, so as far as our show, what I can tell you, it is going to be high energy, we are going to play with some of her various genres she has within her as an artist and figure out a way to allocate those things throughout the show, and take some risks and some chances and have a good time, because we’re out there at Coachella.”
Click here to read the full EW interview.