In 2017, there are few more appropriate artists to take on the daunting task of the Super Bowl halftime show than Lady Gaga. Throughout her career, she’s championed inclusivity and individualism and often took a brave stand against bullying – something we’re going to need a lot of in 2017.
In the build-up to the most-watched gig of the year (over 100 million will likely tune in), there were warnings from The National Rifle Association not to ‘politicise’ the event, despite assurances from the NFL that Gaga ‘would not be banned’ from speaking out against Donald Trump. At a press conference on Friday, Gaga kept things diplomatic, assuring that the show would feature few messages. “The only statements that I’ll be making during the halftime show are the ones that I have been consistently making during my career. I believe in a passion for inclusion, I believe in the spirit of equality”
But after all the talk of messages, threats and rumours – the New York musician put all that to one side to provide a dazzling halftime show in Houston’s NRG Stadium. These are the biggest moments from Gaga’s big bash.
Read More: Lady Gaga – The Full NME Cover Interview
1. Going solo for the show
Guests in the halftime show is nothing new. Last year Coldplay recruited Beyonce, Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson and the year before, Mars was joined by Red Hot Chili Peppers during his performance. This time Gaga bucked a trend and went solo – an admirable decision in an era where stars can’t resist teaming up. The result? A show with no distractions that as a result found time for all sides of Gaga.
2. The drone opening
As far as openings go, few halftime shows have been as epic as Gaga’s. Stood on top of the NRG Stadium in Houston – Gaga treated the millions tuned in to a soulful rendition of famous American folk song ‘This Land Is Your Land’, backed by hundreds of red, white and blue drones floating behind her. It was this moment which proved as ripe as any for a political statement, but Gaga kept things simple, just reiterating the motto of “liberty and justice for all.”
— Mashable (@mashable) February 6, 2017
3. The Jump
And then she literally leaped into the stadium with her best Spiderman impression, landing on a gigantic rig that looked like it was last seen in Mad Max, and following it up with some daring acrobatics.
Lady Gaga's jump has me in tears pic.twitter.com/oJ1fse3cVf
— Nick Breezus ? (@NickBrownHD) February 6, 2017
4. Revisiting The Dive Bar
After stomping around with an army of dancers to her pop hits, Gaga stripped things back and took to the piano for a rousing rendition of ‘Joanne’ ballad ‘Million Reasons’ – something that was praised on her intimate Dive Bar tour last year. And what’s more, the brief set piece required complete darkness throughout the stadium, which meant even the lights in the bathroom had to be switched off for a couple minutes. Getting that real dive bar aesthetic throughout the stadium, then.
— ExtraTV (@extratv) February 6, 2017
5. Sticking to the hits
Talk of a big political statement dominated the run up to the show – but on the night, Gaga stayed true to her word and just focused on the music. She rattled through ‘Edge Of Glory’, ‘Pokerface’ and Beyonce collaboration ‘Telephone’ all while barely breaking a sweat, and keeping talking to an absolute minimum. Set closer ‘Bad Romance’ provided a glitzy and fitting finale for her big show, but it was ‘Born This Way’, the inclusive and self-celebratory anthem that stuck out as the most meaningful moment, mainly because she let the empowering lyrics do the talking.