Lady Gaga Hits Road with Dive Bar Tour, Shows Off ‘Joanne’ Tracks

Posted October 6, 2016 by J Matthew Cobb in News

Mega pop star shows off four tracks in live, intimate setting at first stop on a dive bar tour

At Nashville’s 5 Spot on Wednesday night, Mother Monster, the unorthodox Madonna of our generation, Lady Gaga showed off four cuts from her forthcoming, highly-anticipated album Joanne. And the invite-only event, sponsored by Bud Light, allowed diehard Nasvillian music lovers of Gaga to experience her in a rare, intimate space, akin back to her roots of singing in NYC dive bars.

The idea of streaming the concert live is simply a slice of strategic genius, a light throwback to the almost-freebie campaign when a limited-time digital download of Born This Way sold at a discount bin price of $1. It’s a clever technique that allows her to whip in her already gargantuan fan base and to sweep them off their feet with live covers of new material. Gaga is still living on cloud nine with the news that she was selected as the featured performer for Super Bowl 2017’s halftime show.

After arriving fashionably late and greeting the thousands of fans on the outside of the Nashville venue, she moves in and sits down on a stool to perform a bare acoustic rendering of “Sinner’s Prayer,” a song she collaborated with Father John Misty. It flows well, possesses that rustic western movie drama, but it’s too relaxed and restrained, even for Gaga’s little monsters. She then bursts into a spirited Nashville pop/rock jam, “A-Yo,” showcasing her slightly cranking up the energy with electric guitar swag and and a melodic slice of ’80’s pop.

She then slows things down with the country-rock ballad “Million Reasons,” a pure heart-tugging ballad worthy of being a radio single. Word on the street is that her management and record labels are quickly rushing this as the album’s next single. A tweet from Gaga confirms it. And if this news is true then they would have made a wise choice, particularly if it flows anything like this live version. Just the cadence, warmth and the sensitivity of the lyrics of finally letting go of her ex (“I’ve got a hundred reasons to walk away/But baby, I just need one good one to stay”) is enough to cause you to think Gaga has entered Adele mode. When the song eventually ends, Gaga exits the stage for a quick wardrobe change, allowing the band to hype up the crowd with   some soulful guitar riffing and emotional pounding.

Her set concludes with a pompous electropop version of “Perfect Illusion.” With light synths and bad ass drumming, they pulled off the new single using fervent control and rock-style charisma. Gaga even decides to leap into the audience for a little light crowd play, as the video production team swirls around them to create a hypnotic dreamscape.

She only showed off four tracks at her Nashville stop (see below). With other unannounced stops underway, it isn’t quite sure if Gaga plans to show off any of the other album’s material or if she plans to repeat and retreat, but her Dive Bar Tour looks like it’s already a hit — with over 1.4 million views already locked to her Facebook Live-streamed Nashville performance.

Joanne, to be released on Interscope and Streamline Records, hits the streets on October 21.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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