After a break of almost five months, Lady Gaga returned to the stage on Friday night when she appeared at New York's gay pride parade. This was the singer's first performance since cancelling her world tour to undergo hip surgery in February.
The 24-carat gold wheelchair Gaga had made for use during her recovery was nowhere to be found at the pride kick-off rally; the 27-year-old wore nothing more elaborate than a rigid black dress and a platinum blonde hairdo. Before singing a modified version of The Star-Spangled Banner, she offered a short speech celebrating the US supreme court's recent ruling on gay marriage in California and its endorsement of gay rights. "I would like to thank everyone from the supreme court to every legislator and political leader that has ever stood with us," she said. "I am so fortunate to have been welcomed by all of you into the LGBT community … The further we are able to reveal and share our lives, the further we move into the hearts and minds of other Americans."
Gaga added: "My LGBT friends and fans always said to me, 'I knew Lady Gaga when.' Now I get to say that I knew you when. Now I get to say I knew you when you suffered, when you felt unequal, when you felt there was nothing to look forward to … Look who the star is now."
Gaga's rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner had one key alteration: as the a cappella number reached its apex, she changed a lyric to refer to the rainbow flag: "Oh, say does that star-spangled flag of pride yet wave/ O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."
In February, Gaga revealed that due to a labral tear of the right hip, she had been left more or less unable to walk. "I've been hiding this injury and pain from my staff for a month, praying it would heal," she said. Doctors said her surgery would require "strict down time to recover".
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk