The best moments in Lady Gaga's “Chromatica Ball” film, from a new album tease to the “A Star Is Born” costar cameo

The best moments in Lady Gaga's “Chromatica Ball” film, from a new album tease to the “A Star Is Born” costar cameo

"RuPaul's Drag Race" icon Willam makes a brief appearance in the concert film, which also ends with the tease "'LG7.' Gaga returns."

If waiting for the long-promised Chromatica Ball film the past two years gave you a migraine worthy of a holy wafer known as Nurtec ODT, you must be a Lady Gaga fan.

For those that weren't tortured by the agonizing delay, you're in for a fresh treat, as the pop icon finally released the concert film on Saturday. The good news? It's as bonkers, brash, and unabashedly pop as the Chromatica album that inspired it — and even contains an exciting tease for LG7, the fan-given nickname for the next album in Gaga's oeuvre.

<p>Lady Gaga/Youtube</p> Lady Gaga performing in the 'Gaga Chromatica Ball' concert film

Lady Gaga/Youtube

Lady Gaga performing in the 'Gaga Chromatica Ball' concert film

Filmed in front of an audience of more than 52,000 people during the tour's Sept. 10, 2022 performance at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium, Gaga Chromatica Ball was directed by the singer herself, capturing the full concert from beginning to end. And while there aren't many major surprises along the way (the film doesn't include documentary-style behind-the-scenes segments), it's still a strong highlight reel for one of the most immersive and elaborately designed tours of Gaga's career.

From live versions of "Bad Romance," "Poker Face," and "Rain on Me" to a cameo from one of Gaga's A Star Is Born costars, Entertainment Weekly has compiled the best moments from the concert film — and, frankly, some of the strongest live performances of Gaga's career.

Gaga Chromatica Ball is streaming now on Max.

Lady Gaga teases LG7 at the end of the film

<p>HBO</p> Lady Gaga teases new album LG7 in 'Gaga Chromatica Ball'


Lady Gaga teases new album LG7 in 'Gaga Chromatica Ball'

As one era ends, another begins. Gaga was uncharacteristically cryptic in the run-up to her Chromatica era, which began nearly four years after 2016's Joanne. Now, as the Chromatica Ball film concludes the album's quadruple-year cycle, Gaga is sending "Stupid Love" and "Free Woman" off with a hint at what's to come.

As Gaga makes her way off the stage at the end of the concert film, a snippet from a new song plays over the footage, with Gaga singing "dance in the shadow of the night" as the words "LG7" and "Gaga returns" briefly appear on screen.

This marks the most significant tease for new music that Gaga has unveiled for the project to date, after she spent the past several months posting images of herself recording new material, using everything from monster emojis to the words "tik tok tik tok" to keep fans guessing at what sounds the next era might hold.

The A Star Is Born costar cameo from Willam

<p>HBO</p> Willam makes a cameo in Lady Gaga's 'Gaga Chromatica Ball' concert film


Willam makes a cameo in Lady Gaga's 'Gaga Chromatica Ball' concert film

You can't read Gaga's "Poker Face," but you can absolutely clock RuPaul's Drag Race star Willam's beautiful, bejeweled mug when the drag icon makes a brief cameo in the audience during the second number of the show.

Gaga reportedly handpicked Willam to appear alongside fellow Drag Race alum Shangela in scenes from Bradley Cooper's 2018 movie A Star Is Born, in which the queens play drag bar owners who foster the singing talents of Ally (Gaga) before she becomes a pop star under the guidance of Cooper's country crooner Jackson.

Days after Gaga Chromatica Ball was filmed, Willam shared an Instagram video showing off "some Chromatica nails for my friend’s gig" at the venue.

High-definition tour interludes that connect the painful (yet triumphant) Chromatica story

<p>Lady Gaga/Youtube</p> Lady Gaga in the 'Chromatica Ball' interludes

Lady Gaga/Youtube

Lady Gaga in the 'Chromatica Ball' interludes

One thing Gaga fans yearn for (and then obsess over) during each tour is when we'll get the icon's elaborate video interludes in HD form. It took roughly two years for the Chromatica Ball shorts to drop as part of the concert special, and, given the size of the outdoor venues Gaga played on the unusually short run of the tour throughout the summer of 2022, finally having these story-connecting visuals in crips, up-close form (versus squinting to see them at the live show) helps drive home its overall narrative.

In essence, the story begins with Gaga singing her signature hits like "Bad Romance," "Poker Face," and "Just Dance," while breaking out of a steel cocoon. She famously tweeted (and drew criticism for) likening fame to prison during the Chromatica album cycle, so this part of the concert was always obvious: Even at her peak (the three songs above are arguably her most impactful singles), Gaga was suffering in private.

Related: Lady Gaga reveals she performed 5 shows with COVID during her Chromatica Ball tour

Cut to the stark interlude that shows her on a cold operating table, nodules attached to her head, splayed out for the world to see, like a medical patient wasting away in plain sight. We also see an overhead shot of what can only be compared to a CT scan of her brain, alight with electronic pulses. Producer BloodPop said in an interview with EW that Chromatica was made when Gaga was "slipping down the rabbit hole of sadness." This included grappling with mental illness and subsequent treatment with antipsychotic medication, as she sings about on the album track "911."

"[Medication] is not fun to talk about for most people, but it’s a very real part of modern life for those who need it," BloodPop told EW at the time. "This was her truth, and she wanted to write about it even though she knew it would be painful to 'go there.'"

Now that we have the visuals, the album's messages about overcoming trauma and pain (both physical and mental, as Gaga also has fibromyalgia) through song — and even the textures of the brutalist structure of the Chromatica Ball stage — become clearer.

The "Sour Candy" screaming still slaps

<p>HBO</p> Gaga on the 'Chromatica' tour


Gaga on the 'Chromatica' tour

There was a time when it seemed likely that Gaga's Blackpink collaboration "Sour Candy" might be released as an official Chromatica single — but, like Artpop: Act II, that fantasy never materialized. Still, Gaga treated viewers to some inventive vocal acrobatics on the album's accompanying tour, and we're happy to report that the oddball "ahh"-ing and pseudo-climaxing are part of the concert film. Topping things off, Gaga kicks off the moment by asking the audience, "Are you a hard, gummy, or a stringy candy, L.A.?"

The "Bad Romance" and "Hold My Hand" fire effects still scorch eyebrows

<p>Lady Gaga/Youtube</p> Gaga scorches the audience in the 'Chromatica Ball' concert film

Lady Gaga/Youtube

Gaga scorches the audience in the 'Chromatica Ball' concert film

Even if you didn't see the memes about Gaga's Chromatica Ball pyrotechnic displays being hot enough to melt the Haus Labs foundation right off your face, you can still practically feel the heat while watching the concert film at home.

The effects begin during the tour opener "Bad Romance" and die down in the middle of the show, only to reappear as fiery flames again during the epic "Hold My Hand" finale.

The live version of "Replay" solidifies its might

<p>Lady Gaga/Youtube</p> Lady Gaga performing in the 'Chromatica Ball' concert film

Lady Gaga/Youtube

Lady Gaga performing in the 'Chromatica Ball' concert film

The debate over which of Gaga's album cuts deserve to be singles is a common point of contention among her fanbase, with standouts like Born This Way's "Heavy Metal Lover" and Joanne's "Dancin' in Circles" regularly cited as potential hits that got away. Chromatica Ball, however, solidifies the Chromatica tune "Replay" as one of the greatest non-single releases in Gaga's discography.

The underrated song that should’ve been a single finally gets its broadcast debut in the special, with Gaga amplifying the already lush production (which uses a dizzying sample of Diana Ross' 1979 song "It's My House") with her famous rocker shrieks. It can be hard to preserve the wallop a good banger packs when playing it on stage with live instruments, but the sledgehammering chorus of the original still hits — hard — accompanied by Gaga's backing band on guitars and keyboard.

"I'd already begun working on the 'Replay' instrumental outside of the Gaga project. Before I played it to Gaga and Blood, it was a sketch I had based around [the] sample," producer BURNS previously told EW. "When BloodPop heard it, he suggested I rework it to fit a song they had started writing together called 'Replay' …. It was the last song we finished for the album, I think."

Multiple piano ballads with intimate camera angles, from "Shallow" to "Angel Down" — and some politics

<p>Lady Gaga/Youtube</p> Lady Gaga sings at the piano in the 'Chromatica Ball' concert film

Lady Gaga/Youtube

Lady Gaga sings at the piano in the 'Chromatica Ball' concert film

As easy as it is to get lost in a classic Gaga hook as it throbs over an electro-dance bassline, the 38-year-old pop star always pays tribute to her roots as a singer-songwriter behind the piano.

Here, we get perhaps the most extended showcase of her balladry to date, with Gaga cycling through five songs accompanied by nothing but her voice and fingers on the keys.

As goofy (let's be real) as the lyrics to "Born This Way" may sound sung in earnest at the piano, there's no denying the spine-tingling experience of hearing Gaga's voice echo throughout an arena. Coupled with her calls for queer rights and staunch criticism of anti-abortion legislation that swept the country shortly before the special was filmed, the moment registers as all the more powerful.

Then things really get going, as Gaga belts some of the best lyrics she's ever written during "Shallow" and “Always Remember Us This Way," from the A Star Is Born soundtrack, which melt away into “The Edge of Glory” and her protest anthem "Angel Down."

Though it's not the same Gaga who gave the impassioned "Prime Rib of America" speech against the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in 2010, or the Gaga who spoke through tears in Florida after the Pulse nightclub shooting, her criticizing policy through art is a welcome return for the rebellious pop star fans fell for at the end of the aughts.

The final "Put your hands up!" count is...

<p>Lady Gaga/Youtube</p> Lady Gaga sings 'Alice' in the 'Chromatica Ball' concert film

Lady Gaga/Youtube

Lady Gaga sings 'Alice' in the 'Chromatica Ball' concert film

If you've seen Gaga on tour, you know you're going to be instructed, commanded, or forced to "put your hands up" in some form. In total, Gaga shouts for the Los Angeles crowd to lift their arms no less than 45 times (yes, we counted), averaging out to the Oscar winner uttering her signature concert phrase at least once every 2.5 minutes throughout the 113-minute special. Sometimes, Gaga delivers variations of the decree, ranging from the traditional "put your hands up" to "put your f---in' hands up” and even "I’ll get him hot, put your f---ing hands up" to the tune of "Poker Face." There's even a portion during "LoveGame" in which she says it five times in less than six seconds.

Anyway, the whole thing ends with a shot of Gaga — you guessed it — with her steel Chromatica claw held high in the air. So, Mother practices what she screeches!

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.