Lady Gaga: “Sometimes I have to fucking pinch myself.”
All photos courtesy of little monster Stephen Lynch – visit him on Facebook!
If I had any alliances towards Madonna or Kylie being the queen of the ultimate live pop show extravaganza, that was all blown out of the water last night when Lady Gaga took to the stage at the prestigious O2 Arena in London. Her rise to super-stardom was faster than a comet on a destructive mission and even last night Gaga couldn’t quite believe that she was the headline act saying, “it was just last year that I was on this stage opening for The Pussycat Dolls“…honey, those glorified dancers ain’t got nothing on you darling…
After a surprisingly enjoyable set from Semi Precious Weapons where lead singer Justin Tranter stripped naked for an on-stage costume change and an all-too-short set from Alphabeat where they sang more old songs then new (I’m not complaining here – I still loved it), the wait for Gaga was excruciating. The O2 made the huge mistake of playing Michael Jackson’s greatest hits during the long interval which only resulted in hungry Gaga fans booing each Michael Jackson song when another classic like “Bad” and “Smooth Criminal” played throughout the arena – it was very cringe-worthy.
But alas, in the middle of “Thriller” at 9:30pm the house lights went down and Gaga’s iconic silhouette appeared right in front of us – totally incognito behind the curtain singing the show’s opener “Dance In The Dark” which then went into an incredible unreleased track called “Grease & Glitter” where we see a few of Gaga’s New York chic pals desperately trying to get to The Monster Ball – only to find that their car has unfortunately broken down. Of course Gaga comes to save them and lead them to the promised land of freaks, geeks, gay boys and trannies. But before that, let’s just pop open the hood (which conveniently has a piano underneath it) and play a few bars before stomping into the night’s first big number “Just Dance”.
At this point, I can already tell that The Monster Ball is something completely different than The Fame Ball which she brought to the UK just last July – read my review of that here. The Monster Ball has evolved in more ways than one. For the European leg of the tour, she has completely revamped it which had some of my friends in the US a little perturbed and almost ready to re-mortgage their property and max out their credit cards to get here to see the new show – and I can already begin to see why. After “Beautiful Dirty Rich”, Gaga goes into another rare track called “Vanity” which is welcome addition to the set-list where Gaga explains she wrote it four years ago and it’s a total treat that makes fans like me scream with delight.
“I love playing and coming to the UK, you guys really understand me the most. And I hear you got some pretty big cock over here too…”
The second act opens up on the New York subway as Gaga guides her friends of fabulosity to the all-important Monster Ball which Gaga explains is a place created especially for people like us – where we lock the doors and keep all the other freaks outside. A sentiment I can appreciate as Gaga really has taken the reigns and represents all of us who have ever felt like an outsider, alone, cool when nobody else thought we were and above all shows us that hard work and determination will get you what you want in life, no matter how weird or unacceptting society will deem it. The whole show is like a “fuck you” to those people who told Gaga she couldn’t have an album cover where she was crying blood or who ever told her she wasn’t cool in school. She even said during the night – “I wonder if they think I’m cool now”…priceless.
And as act two continues on we are treated to another huge number in “Lovegame”, A gay pride fest with “Boys Boys Boys” which had the minority of straight guys in the audience in a bit of a blush. The guy next to me said “he felt a little objectified” during that number – good I say. During “Telephone” Gaga explains how Beyonce busted her out of prison and in a slower section of the show, Gaga dedicated “Speechless” to her father who was in the audience and says her father “would rather die drinking with his friends than die alone”. I never cared for “Speechless” much before, but her touching rendition of the track really reached in my heart and “got me” when seeing her perform it live – girlfriend has chops. In “Brown Eyes” Gaga explained that it was a song for every one of us who have ever been dumped by those with brown bullshit eyes – mind you, “not maroon, not green, not blue, but those bullshit brown eyes”. In a bit of a Wizard Of Oz, follow the glitter path twist to the show, we find Gaga getting engulfed by a giant video screen twister to emerge in a beautiful costume that people have been calling “the living dress” during “So Happy I Could Die”. The dress is a technical wonder – it comes equipped with delicate moving parts that makes Gaga look like an elegant pink butterfly princess with wings as she’s propelled high into the air, miles above our heads so she can properly see all of us. It really has to be seen to be believed, but this part of the show left me and 15,000 other people at the O2 arena utterly breathless.
In the third act of the show, we find Gaga has been whipped away to a place which was not on the way to The Monster Ball – a bit of a scary forest where she feels like Dorothy must have felt on her trip to see the mighty Wizard. The act’s opening number is the totally insane “Monster” which has our Lady of Gaga in a Munsters type hairy blonde “Thing” outfit which makes the eye mesmerized – shortly after, she is attacked by a group of gay zombies who “eat her heart and eat her brain” in a monster orgy which sees Gaga emerge with a gaping bloody hole in her chest which then leads into “Teeth” and a bath in the eternal fountain of youth during the Ace Of Base sounding “Alejandro”. Closing out the monster act, Gaga gives us another huge number with “Poker Face” which has the uber fans going crazy and singing along with glee – you almost couldn’t see the stage even in the front as a wave of camera phones lit up the arena. Gaga also makes a tranny dream come true as she acknowledges a fan’s fantastic homeade costume effort at the front of the stage.
“My shoe broke during “Telephone”, but I would rather die than have you see me without high heels on. Because that’s what showbiz is all about.”
Closing out the night is a scary and creepy version of “Paparazzi” which see’s a giant pirhanna/octopus-like monster take over the stage which Gaga calms down and eventually befriends albeit with a little help from her fire-bra and fourth of July sparkler panties. And with that we have made our grand entrance into the fabled Monster Ball where we are treated to Gaga’s famous gyroscope costume “thingy” and huge closing number in the way of “Bad Romance” which has the audience in an absolute “rah rah rah ga ga ga” frenzy. It was the number that everyone was waiting for…
I can honestly say that I have never been to a show this good in a long long time. From start to finish and from top to bottom it was just absolutely innovative, creative and a fan boys every fantasy come true. It was on a scale that only Madonna could replicate. I have said it early on and now I confidentially shout it out from the mountaintops – Gaga has cut off Madonna’s head and has taken the throne as the “queen of pop”. There is no absolutely no doubt about it now as I can remember leaving The Sticky And Sweet Tour being utterly disappointed and gutted from having produced a bad album with “Hard Candy” and an equally uneventful tour. I feel gratified now through The Monster Ball – it will be a show that I will remember for a very long long time and my only regret is that I didn’t buy another ticket to see the repeat performance tonight – I would have loved to relive the entire experience again.
Shall I go buy a scalped ticket? It’s totally worth it.
Seeing The Monster Ball live is like a drug that I can’t live without and I beg The Haus of Gaga – please film this show for all of us fans who need another hit, I’m already starting to go through withdrawals…
Gaga you ate my heart.