Last Friday night I attended the third and final Vancouver show of Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball
. I got tickets about a month ago, which in itself was a small miracle. The Lady can certainly sell out a theater.
Anyways, the night was fantastic. We had floor seats, right on the aisle toward the right side of the stage. We were sat by three adorable children. The two youngest were dressed up like they were going to the opera. I’m not sure what exactly they (or their grandparents, who bought them the tickets) were expecting. Let’s just say that the show was anything but kid-appropriate. And, as a teacher, I felt somewhat uneasy sitting next to them. Luckily, the smuttier stuff seemed to go right over their heads. Still, who brings children to a Lady Gaga show?
The rest of the crowd was surprisingly diverse. I was amazed how many older people attended (and by older I mean, gray/white hair). She’s certainly broken through all boundaries.
First up were openers (and longtime Gaga friends) Semi Precious Weapons
. They were an absolute revelation. I posted about them last year, but never really investigated further. Plus, I don’t think that their appeal can be fully appreciated unless you see them live. For anyone who’s seen the movie Hedwig & the Angry Inch
, lead singer Justin Tranter’s the spitting image of Hedwig in attitude and persona. Throughout their short set, he fed the audience champagne, laid on the stage for a mid-song costume change, and interacted with the sparsely filled auditorium with wit and an undeniable x-factor. The rest of the band was a cannonball of energy, flitting around the stage like a bunch of crazy people. It’s so charming when someone at this level of success plays with the air of a world-conquering stadium band. Most importantly, though, the songs were fantastic. They played three cuts from the upcoming album, which sounds like it will be a million times better than the first. They’re also signed to the same label as Gaga. Good for them.
Next came Kid Cudi, who I must admit, I wasn’t really looking forward to. I went through my brief hip-hop stage around the turn of the century. Since then, it hasn’t really done anything for me. Kid Cudi was fine, I suppose, and seemed to have a few good hooks, but his stage show consisted of walking back and forth of the stage and generally looking kind of uncomfortable.
Before Gaga arrived, the auditorium was filled with a greatest-hits playlist of Michael Jackson, prompting a spontaneous dance party from a good portion of the audience. Quite the carnival atmosphere. I’ve gotta say, I’ve never seen anything like it in a theatre venue.
Gaga arrived with Dance In The Dark
acting out the lyrics, spent the song dancing in the dark with what looked like white Christmas lights strung around her. The drum sections before the chorus were especially cool with the added light show.
She quickly segued into Just Dance
, standing on top of an enormous cube brandishing a keytar. There was also lots of fog. In fact, the entire show had more fog than I’ve ever seen. The front row must have been choking.
She went on to power her way through a two hour plus set, which was as exhausting as it was inspiring. She performed every song on the new album except (curiously) Telephone
, as well as most of the songs from the first one. There were two versions of Poker Face
, studio and piano. There were many costume changes (a crow-type get-up for Monster
, a gold Egyptian-looking thing for The Fame/Boys Boys Boys/Money Honey
and a Rapunzel costume for Paparazzi
). There were strange projections, including a brunette Gaga puking blue-green liquid on a blonde Gaga, and there was of course the piano section, which was the highlight for me. It was all too fleeting (Speechless
and Poker Face
), but felt like the most intimate portion of the concert. Other sections, especially the first quarter of the show, seemed more removed, like we were watching her perform inside some elaborate diorama. I appreciated seeing her stripped down to the voice and instrument. Few people give her the credit she deserves for her musicianship and raw talent.
Other highlights were the spoken interludes and stories she told (about her pre-Fame
life making costumes in her apartment, the international Gaga-fan hand gesture, the connection to her fans) and of course the finale encore of Bad Romance
. She’s so charming as a person, which can often be overshadowed by her over-the-top performances. The Monster Ball
was definitely over-the-top and more than a little raunchy, but thoroughly entertaining and memorable.
Songs performed (in no particular order, since I can’t remember): Bad Romance, Alejandro, Monster, Speechless, Dance in the Dark, So Happy I Could Die, Teeth, Just Dance, Love Game, Paparazzi, Poker Face, Poker Face (piano), Eh Eh, Beautiful Dirty Rich, The Fame, Money Honey, Boys Boys Boys, Paper Gangsta
Labels: concerts, Lady Gaga