Live Review: Lady Gaga — The Staples Center, Los Angeles
Tue, 29 Mar 2011 07:00:11
Art is Lady Gaga's weapon, and she's winning a war right now.
It's a war against an oppressive pop culture machine. It's a war against conformity. It's a war against blind materialism. It's a war for the soul of every girl and boy who doesn't feel like he or she belongs. It's a war for the future.
Make no mistake about it, Gaga has the power to change the world, and the army of "Little Monsters" at The Staples Center last night for her Monster Ball tour and birthday party illuminated that fact.
Gaga has that power because she's the best performer to come down the pop music pike since Madonna first turned heads in the '80s. The Monster Ball sits at a crossroads between Queen-style theatrics, fist pumping freak bombast a la Marilyn Manson, and U2's all-encompassing immersive concert experience. Over the course of the two hour show, Gaga told the story of fans on the way to the Monster Ball going from a tricked out old school wagon to a train car between numerous mind-blowing dance numbers. It was like The Who's Tommy meets Moulin Rouge—in other words, it's unlike anything you've ever seen before or will see again.
Standing behind a transparent screen, Gaga kicked off this trip to The Ball with an entrancing rendition of "Dance In The Dark." Her powerful, potent pipes instantly pushed the packed audience into her world, wrapping them a warm crescendo of vocals and synths. There was an airy noir elegance to the opening dance number that let Gaga take hold tightly and never let go from that point on. She chanted "I'm a free bitch" to roars of agreement, showing a sly smile in between verses.
After a raucous "Glitter and Grease," she took off her jacket and popped open the hood of the car on stage. A keyboard sat in the trunk and Gaga played a hypnotic organ melody that wouldn't be out of place in a Danny Elfman score. However, Tim Burton-esque tones quickly morphed into "Just Dance" and some of the most unforgettable choreography of the evening. Gaga never stopped moving, gliding across the stage while pristinely belting out the song's eternal refrain.
A blazing guitar solo bled right into "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" as Gaga announced, "You don't need money to be beautiful." Showing off her multi-instrumental talents, Gaga shredded a standup bass at the beginning of "The Fame," before flawlessly carrying the hook over a slick electro beat. Between all of the instrumental and dance fireworks, Gaga also proved that she's the queen of cultural subversion.
The floor-to-ceiling video screen morphed into a video of our heroine eating a heart with her face covered in blood. It was unsettling, yet undeniably entrancing, and it shows that Gaga's certainly not afraid to go a little avant garde. That New York sensibility shined through and Andy Warhol would be proud.
"Lovegame" practically shook the whole building as everyone rode on Gaga's "disco stick." The end of the song saw her let everyone in even closer. With a genuine grin, she declared, "Thank you for the best birthday present you could give me. Thank you so much for still buying tickets to my show. Today is my birthday. We have something else to celebrate this week. 'Born This Way' is number one for the sixth week in a row. Thank you for believing in my music."
Gaga returned that belief though, and that's what makes her a timeless performer. She went on to say, "I didn't used to be brave. In fact, I wasn't very brave at all. You have made me so brave. Remember, you're a goddamn superstar Hollywood, and you were born this way!"
Gaga's words sailed right into the psyches of every person in attendance, and that positivity felt palpable and infectious. The show's standout saw Gaga lone playing a stripped down version of her incredible new single, "Born This Way." Gaga nailed each note and carried the hook beyond heaven as the piano melody rose through the L.A. sky. Of course, she ended with a big bang of hits but seeing Gaga at the piano proves utterly transcendent and tear-jerking.
At one point she screamed, "Tonight and every night after, you can be whoever it is you want to be." With her leading the fray, it's impossible not to feel that way—especially at one of her shows.
It feels great to be "Born This Way," and that's why Gaga will remain victorious.
Were you there? Are you excited for Lady Gaga's new album Born This Way? Will you be picking it up May 23, 2011?
Check out our review of the single here!
Visit our Lady Gaga "Born This Way" page here!