Before Lady Gaga had Little Monsters, built chicken coops, and famously wore the meat dress that is now a hallmark of her headline-making style, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, her given name, was just a wide-eyed singer and NYU Tisch School of the Arts dropout trying to make it. Among the various ways: performances at all hours of the night within the bars of Manhattan's Lower East Side. That’s why Thursday was a full-circle moment for the 30-year-old Grammy winner, who glamorously strutted into The Bitter End, a bar she said she has performed in since age 15, that evening for the second stop of her Bud Light x Lady Gaga Dive Bar Tour.
After stepping out of her father’s vintage Mercedes-Benz, Gaga marched into the venue to meet screaming fans, friends, and family. She wore knee-high black leather cowgirl boots, denim cutoffs, and an oversize black hat. The audience erupted into dance the moment she began the set with “Diamond Heart,” the first song off her just-released album, Joanne.
As promised, the singer delivered live, killer renditions of new jams like “Another Day” and “Million Reasons,” a track co-written and performed by musician Hillary Lindsey. Mark Ronson, who wrote and produced much of the album, stood next to Gaga and struck the right chords on his guitar while, later in the set, longtime New York friend Brian Newman, a regular at local city jazz clubs who performed on many parts of the Cheek to Cheek album with Gaga and Tony Bennett, joined the band for another uplifting tune.
While A-list guests like Broad City’s Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson along with Robert De Niro and Helen Mirren were in attendance, the luckiest of Gaga revelers were, arguably, those waiting outside. After her performance inside, which wrapped just short of midnight, the crowd headed to the street to watch her descend from a fire escape above The Bitter End’s awning and, once again, take to the mic.
She belted out “Joanne,” the album’s title track in honor of her late aunt, along with “Angel Down” a mournful ballad in honor of Trayvon Martin. As she has previously done before, Gaga used her platform to evoke positivity. “There’s so much stuff going on in the world, but we need to remember to stay together, you know? And stick together, and love each other, and care about each other,” she said atop Bleeker street as she waved a pink hat.
After the music ended, Gaga appeared one last time back inside the venue, where she dutifully met with every single fan who purchased an album and signed each with “Xoxo, Joanne.”
Watch the full Bud Light x Lady Gaga Dive Bar Tour New York performance below.
Lady Gaga’s fifth studio album, Joanne, hits stores today.