"This whole show was for Tony," said Gaga at her Las Vegas residency of jazz classics on Thursday, shouting out his widow Susan Benedetto
The superstar, 37, resumed her Lady Gaga: Jazz & Piano Las Vegas residency on Thursday for the first time since May 2022. As the concert — which features classic jazz numbers and stripped-down versions of the Grammy winner’s hits — marked her first show since Tony Bennett died in late July, she made sure to honor the legendary musician.
Fans captured footage of the “Bad Romance” singer speaking on stage about Bennett, who died at age 96 in July after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2016. She also dedicated a song to his wife Susan Benedetto, who was reportedly in the audience and married the recording artist in 2007 after 20 years together.
“Susan, everybody in this audience loves you so much,” Gaga began her tribute.
“The truth is I didn’t know exactly what to say about Tony because the truth is, this whole show was for Tony, everything,” the A Star is Born actress continued. “The opening number, the middle numbers, all the diamonds, all the musical instruments, all the conducting, all the improvisation was in his memory.”
Gaga also opened up about how she believes the late jazz singer would want her to continue performing: “But if I know Tony well, I know he would be real mad at me for being sad, so I couldn’t come out here and be sad. I sung this song while Tony was still alive, and I’m going to sing it now even though he’s gone, because he’ll never be gone.”
The pop star then sweetly called out Bennett’s widow again. “Susan, this is for you, and I’m going to get through it, I promise. And I’ll never do it as well as Tony, but I’ll try,” she added before performing an elegant, slowed-down version of “Fly Me to the Moon.” She even mentioned Benedetto's name in the middle of the song before jumping into the chorus.
Gaga and Bennett first met in 2011 at a gala, and they became close friends before recording two Grammy-winning albums together, 2014’s Cheek to Cheek and 2021’s Love for Sale. They also frequently played shows together, including the crooner’s final performance, a celebration of his 95th birthday at New York's Radio City Music Hall in August 2021.
The “Shallow” singer has frequently honored his legacy in the past several weeks.
On what would have been his 97th birthday, Gaga shared a message on Instagram. Along with a photo of herself in a black gown in his native New York City, she wrote, “Happy Birthday Tony. August 3rd is Tony Bennett Day. A day for smiling. But I’ll be celebrating you a lot more than once a year. I’ll celebrate you every time I’m on stage singing jazz music, every time I’m with your family, every time I walk down the streets of New York I’ll look around and remember all you did for this city and the whole world. 😘"
She also penned a moving tribute that she shared on Instagram shortly after his death. “I will miss my friend forever. I will miss singing with him, recording with him, talking with him, being on stage together.”
“With Tony, I got to live my life in a time warp. Tony & I had this magical power,” Gaga continued. “We transported ourselves to another era, modernized the music together, & gave it all new life as a singing duo. But it wasn’t an act. Our relationship was very real.”
After praising his lifelong dedication to social justice work and positive disposition, she added, “I've been grieving the loss of Tony for a long time. We had a very long and powerful goodbye. Though there were 5 decades between us, he was my friend. My real true friend.”
Lady Gaga’s Piano & Jazz residency — which kicked off in January 2019 — continues with 11 more shows through Oct. 5.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.