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Monday, December 14, 2009

Lady Gaga: Monster Ball - Vancouver 12/11/09

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 and, 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

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Blogger Yuяi said...

Great recap. Yeah, I'm with you about the children there. Makes you wonder if the adults who brought them have any clue about who GaGa is, right? Wonder why Telephone was not done? I realize Beyonce is probably not at her beck and call, but clearly a backup singer could have filled in? Oh well, seems like a great show nonetheless.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Myfizzypop said...

you just may have persuaded me to attend with my friend Bernice in March... I do love a good theatrical concert!

10:09 PM  
Anonymous realtor in Vancouver BC said...

Hi. I join to Paul's opinion. Despite the fact that such kind of performance is not on my must see list I will add it to others without any problems. According to your situation with tickets it will be good to get them in advance. I'm looking forward to see this show asap in Vancouver.


7:25 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Yep, I'd definitely recommend going. And for those in the UK, you get Alphabeat as an opener. You are so so lucky!

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Louise said...

I first saw Lady Gaga performs live last year, and I haven't stopped talking about that experience yet!! : lol: Over the years, I've had the good fortune to see her many times, Lady Gaga and her shows improve with each new tour! I'm gonna attend her concert again since I can compare and get cheap tickets from; so I can save some dollars to the next concert ...I’m so excited!!

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Lady Gaga Tickets said...

Has anyone purchased Lady Gaga Tickets from the website

8:59 AM  

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