Concerts

"Rain on Me": Lightning Shuts Down Last Show of Lady Gaga's Chromatica Ball Tour

Photo by Norbert Schoerner
"I'd rather be dry, but at least I'm alive" took on new meaning at Lady Gaga's rained out Hard Rock Stadium show.
Lady Gaga said "Rain on Me" and God obliged.

After what has been an unseasonably dry summer, days of foreboding showers threatened to put a damper on Lady Gaga's concert at Hard Rock Stadium, the closing show of her long-awaited Chromatica Ball tour. Delayed for two years owing to the pandemic, the shows in support of Gaga’s 2020 album, Chromatica, comprised her first stadium tour in the United States.

As has been tradition at Gaga concerts since her 2008 debut, fans showed up to the stadium wearing elaborate, flashy DIY outfits: some re-created her tour costumes, others offered their take on Chromatica-pink fashion.

Taking the stage at 9 p.m. — a few minutes earlier than scheduled "due to potential inclement weather," according to a preshow Live Nation email to VIP fans — Lady Gaga emerged encased in a geometric, coffinlike structured costume. Boldly opening with her pièce de résistance, "Bad Romance," she ran through some of her biggest hits, including "Poker Face" and "Just Dance," during the opening suite. Whereas other acts save their best-known songs for encores, Lady Gaga is known to focus on her latest projects almost exclusively during her concert tours. While she'd later perform songs from her earlier albums — "LoveGame" from 2008's The Fame, "Monster" and "Telephone" from 2009's The Fame Monster, and 2011's "Born This Way" — the vast majority of the setlist was derived from Chromatica.

Lying on a flat structure that suspended her above the stage, Gaga kicked her legs out as she sang about seeking relief from anxiety on "Alice." Dancers carried her down and removed her horned, red coat; unveiling a transparent PVC top that revealed black electrical tape on her nipples and fake blood on her chest. Gaga bounced her way through "Replay" and "Monster" before fading backstage for another quick costume change.

She emerged wearing a black cutout PVC outfit with a military hat, a visual nod to Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation," and ran through fan-favorite Chromatica cuts "911" and "Sour Candy". After performing early hits "Telephone" and "LoveGame," she re-emerged in a gold Alexander McQueen pantsuit for "Babylon" and walked through the crowd during "Free Woman," arriving at the B-stage to sing a stripped-down "Born This Way" at the piano. After kicking into the studio version of the song, she slunk away for one final costume change.

Having donend a squidlike headpiece and black and lavender latex bodysuit, Gaga sat back down at the piano for a stirring rendition of "Shallow," from her 2018 film, A Star Is Born. Though she focused on her latest album as she does on all her tours, it's clear she knew the film had garnered some new fans, and she rewarded them by singing soundtrack deep cut "Always Remember Us This Way."

"They're telling me there's thunder 20 minutes away from us," Gaga warned the crowd around 10:35 p.m. "Don't worry, I'm going to try to keep the thunder away," she continued before launching into a triumphant piano rendition of "The Edge of Glory."

"All right, let's pray," Gaga declared after the song, leading into what has been a political part of the show on the Chromatica Ball tour, during which Gaga has advocated for abortion choice and LGBTQ+ rights. But she kept it brief, perhaps anticipating a weather interruption. "I know there's a lot happening in Florida right now. Let's not talk about it, let's just pray about it." She continued with "Angel Down," a ballad written in the wake of Trayvon Martin's murder, from Gaga's 2016 studio album, Joanne.

Despite chuckling at the thunder warning minutes earlier, Gaga stopped the song abruptly and ducked below the stage when the threat became imminent. After a few minutes of silence, she returned to the main stage and told fans there was "nothing to worry about," but she needed to pause the show because of lightning in the area. "I want you all to be safe. Go slow, go quiet, keep it peaceful," she pleaded, asking fans to seek shelter in the stands.
The rain delay began around 10:45 p.m., with hopeful fans treating the intermission as an excuse to grab more drinks. Lightning illuminated the stadium and the buzz from the anxious crowd was occasionally undercut by roaring thunderclaps. After an hour or so, the crowd cheered as staff signaled fans could return to the pit and floor. Some fans rushed the pit, as overwhelmed staff were unable to scrutinize lanyards and wristbands as thoroughly the second time around. As frustrated as fans were with the circumstances, the worst affected were these staff members, who knew it would be a long night whether Gaga returned to the stage or not. After a two-hour-plus delay, a handful more lightning strikes — each met with groans from the crowd — appeared to confirm what everyone feared: The show could not go on.
Gaga, clad in the same black and purple PVC bodysuit she'd worn during the last pre-storm number, walked onto the stage alone. "I'm sorry, but I'm too worried about this," she said, gesturing to the sky. "When I wrote [the "Rain on Me"] lyrics — when I said, "I'd rather be dry, but at least I'm alive" — it's because I care about life now in a way that I didn't for a long time." And with that, she asked the crowd to leave and get home safely. A fan threw a bouquet of red roses at her feet, and Gaga began to cry.
Though it makes for a glorious time dancing in the rain, Lady Gaga's song "Rain on Me" is actually about emotional catharsis: having a good cry and allowing tears to flow when they come. After the show, an emotional Gaga took to Instagram Live to apologize to fans for ending the show early. She was still tweeting apologies well into the early morning hours. But even after a two-hour delay that wound up being futile, attendees were largely calm and resigned as they shuffled out of the stadium and hopped over puddles in search of their cars. Some hid under rain jackets and costume appendages, others danced in the deluge. Fans walked out singing "Rain on Me" as Gaga — ironically — did not get to perform the number herself.

Setlist:
- "Bad Romance"
- "Poker Face"
- "Just Dance"

Act I:
- "Chromatica I" (Interlude)
- "Alice"
- "Replay"
- "Monster"

Act II:
- "Chromatica II" (Interlude)
- "911"
- "Sour Candy"
- "Telephone"
- "LoveGame"

Act III:
- "Chromatica III"
- "Babylon"
- "Free Woman"
- "Born This Way" (Piano and Studio Version)

Act IV:
- "Shallow"
- "Always Remember Us This Way"
- "The Edge of Glory"
- "Angel Down"