BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
HOUSTON - You could say that Lady Gaga blew the roof off of NRG Stadium during her absolutely electrifying Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show.
She channeled her inner Peter Pan, showcased her tremendous range as a performer – even singing what sounded like live (a rarity during halftime shows) during her elegant ballad, “Million Reasons” - and teased the crowd with a performance of “Telephone,” her 2009 duet with rumored halftime guest Beyonce.
But this Lady needed no help during her 13-minute performance, which launched – literally – with her standing on the stadium roof to sing a respectful tribute to America.
Clad in a David Bowie-esque space age leotard and stiletto boots, Gaga belted portions of “God Bless America” and “This Land is Your Land” and recited some of the Pledge of Allegiance before floating down into the stadium on wires.
As she landed on the futuristic metal set, she unleashed athletic dance moves on a double punch of “The Edge of Glory” and “Poker Face” and was quickly swarmed by a troupe of dancers for her anthem of inclusion, “Born This Way.”
Then it was off to a breathless romp that demonstrated how nimble Gaga is on stage. She strapped on a keytar – accompanied by a gold jacket with lethal-looking spiked shoulders – and played with one hand while singing her first hit, 2008’s No. 1 smash “Just Dance.”
Then she scooted to a piano and briefly addressed the crowd in the stadium and elsewhere.
“We’re here to make you feel good. You want to feel good with us?” she asked rhetorically as she delved into “Million Reasons” and managed to half-stand on the piano bench, shout out a hello to her parents in the crowd and embrace some fans on the field.
But the show needed to end on a fiery note – fireworks aside – so it made sense that Gaga raced back onstage in a midriff-baring shirt for her pop-rock stomper “Bad Romance,” which she ended with a mic drop.