Hey, guys! Kelli here. How's everyone doing today? Good? Just fine? Great? Well, quick question for you: Did you know that if you go to a Lady Gaga concert, your entire life just fades away and you become nothing because Gaga is everything? Haha, yeah. That happened to me Monday night when I went to Lady Gaga's Joanne World Tour. "Shook" is too simple a word to describe the experience. "Spiritual" is closer, but the only phrase I can come up with that accurately describes how I felt during and after that concert is "I am nothing; Gaga is my religion."
I was invited to the show as part of Verizon's new partnership with the Joanne World Tour, and they sure know how to treat a lady (Gaga). A group of us were taken to Citi Field in NYC on a fancy-ass bus, where we then met up with other Verizon users/guests at a large tent/makeshift stage set up in the Citi Field parking lot. Basically, what happened all night was Verizon gave us the full VIP treatment as part of a promotion for their new rewards system: Verizon Up.
How the rewards program works is you download the My Verizon app, and as you spend money on things like your monthly phone bills, you collect reward points. One point can get you floor seats to a Lady Gaga concert, but the tickets are first come, first served, so the only catch is that you have to use the app consistently to get updates on the latest deals. But those deals can literally land you free floor seats to Lady Gaga, so SET UP THEM ALERTS, BABY.
There are a few different levels of tickets through Verizon Up. When you attend Lady Gaga's Joanne World Tour with the Dream ticket, you get floor seats to the concert, access to their pre-show booth with food, refreshments, and a DJ, a backstage tour of the venue, and you can even win a meet and greet with Gaga herself. It's a pretty cool thing.
But we're here to talk about Gaga, so let's f*cking do it. I'm one of the biggest Beyoncé stans in the universe (self-proclaimed). I've only been to a handful of concerts in my life, and majority of them have been hers. But I've also loved Lady Gaga ever since her "Bad Romance" days and have always wanted to see her live. And guys, Gaga is just as good as Beyoncé in my mind now. I know I am literally nothing and Gaga and Beyoncé are the world so my opinion is that of the lowly peasant I am, but that is the highest compliment I am capable of giving. There's a reason people weren't pissed when Beyoncé stepped out of Coachella and Lady Gaga took her place. It's because Lady Gaga is. An. Icon.
I'm the first to admit I'm a total snob when it comes to musicians without even being one myself. I can carry a tune, but I play no instruments and couldn't write a song to save my damn life. But I did grow up doing musical theatre and dancing, so I put a lot of value (read: literally all of the values) on stage presence and production quality. I'm not going to see anyone live unless I know they put on a nearly perfect show that goes the whole nine yards for everything involved.
In my opinion, if you aren't going to dance, what's the point? Why would I want to see someone just stand on stage for hours? If you're not going to sing live, or if you don't sound good singing live, why are you even a singer? So to sum that all up: I am a music snob and only like superstars even though I am a flaming pile of dumpster garbage myself. Got it? Great. Moving on.
Lady Gaga is my everything now. Don't get me wrong, she's always been an incredible artist, but seeing her live was the closest thing I've ever felt to finding Jesus. Everything she did was perfect. The singing, the dancing, the visuals, everything.
There was one point when she was singing "John Wayne" that she propped the side of her body on the side of her hunched-over dance partner and defied the laws of physics and gravity while having both feet in the air but barely any support underneath her. I still don't understand how it happened, and I will likely spend the rest of my life trying to figure it out. And don't even get me started on the vocals she was serving throughout the whole show. Just like Beyoncé, she sounds better live. And the RIFFS, sweet mother of god, my ears have never heard anything so pure.
And you know how she has a beautiful friendship with Tony Bennett? Well, he was at the concert on Monday to support her and sat, like, six seats away from me in the Verizon Up section. He is a precious angel whom we must protect at all costs. Gaga dedicated "Come To Mama" to him, and you can bet your sweet ass I spent the entire song staring at Bennett like the creep I am so I could witness the fatherly pride on his face. Back in 2011, before their Grammy-winning album Cheek To Cheek was even made, Gaga sang "The Lady Is A Tramp" with Bennett on his album, Duets II. When commenting on the experience, Bennett — one of the most famous singers of all time — said about Gaga, "I never met a more talented person in my life... I think she's going to become as big as Elvis Presley."
Honestly, where is the lie? Going to a Lady Gaga show isn't just your typical concert. It's a showcase of one of the most talented artists our generation will ever see in the prime of her career. We may be the ones paying for a ticket, but once the show starts, it feels more like you're paying her what she's owed rather than her providing you an artistic service. Imagine her stellar Super Bowl performance, but two hours long and with much more unforgettable moments. She doesn't begin the show by propelling from the stadium ceiling; she literally just walks on stage slowly and starts singing, and it's electrifying. She knows she doesn't need death-defying acts to impress her concert-goers — all she needs is a stage and a mic.
There's a certain kind of stage presence superstars like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga possess that make fans go insane the moment they step on stage. It's the elusive "it" quality everyone talks about but can never seem to really define, and that's because "it" is beyond definition. It's just a state of being that only people who were meant to perform on stage are born with. It's not learned, rather it exists within a performer and is finely tuned over time. And witnessing that quality live makes you feel like the rest of the world doesn't exist outside of this performance. You're lured in, you're entranced, and then you leave a little different than you were when you came in. It's like a shot of vitality directly into your bloodstream, and not many artists can make a person feel this way.
It's why we place such a high value on performers. Their talent makes us feel like the world is one giant pool of possibility that we would be lucky to just dip our toes into, let alone dive in headfirst. If you're feeling particularly low given the state of the world, go to Lady Gaga's Joanne World Tour. It will pump the much-needed life back into you, and you'll leave feeling like you just witnessed a piece of history you'll want to tell your grandchildren years from now.
In her song "Angel Down," Gaga sings,
Doesn't everyone belong In the arms of the sacred Why do we pretend we're wrong? Has our young courage faded?
In a world where it seems like every news story is a bad one and the future seems bleak, Lady Gaga reminds you that just because we're young, doesn't mean we're wrong, misguided, or naïve in our convictions. Her discography historically celebrates everything millennials value: equality, truth, acceptance, love, and being unapologetically, authentically you. The Joanne World Tour couldn't be more perfectly timed, as its message serves as a reminder of the things millennials value most and emboldens you to never forget the importance of those qualities.
So if you're feeling particularly useless in the face of all of the bullsh*t going on in the world, go see Lady Gaga live. It's the fix you need.