Friday, 4 June 2010

Starstruck by her Disco Stick

I went to The Monster GaGa, hosted by the one and only Lady GaGa, with my sister in Manchester last night. It was my second GaGa concert experience. The first time that I saw her perform was almost a year ago, back in London. The first time was a barebones affair with sets that looked like a bunch of GaGa's friends got together and used their DIY tools to produce them. It was also a much shorter set; one that lasted just under an hour. A lot has changed since last July - she's won a truckload of awards (including two Grammy Awards and three Brit Awards), been the subject of an episode of Glee (which puts her on par in terms of cultural impact as Madonna!), been namechecked by President Barack Obama (at the Human Rights Campaign's 13th Annual Dinner back in October 2009) and released the successful companion piece to her debut album 'The Fame'. With 'The Fame Monster', Lady GaGa's expanded repertoire of songs allowed her to put together a much longer show, one that lasted almost two years and it's rather incredible how many hits she has accumulated in such a short time. Above is a clip of 'Paparazzi' that someone kindly recorded and uploaded from the concert in Manchester the night before I went.

The show began, appropriately enough, with 'Dancing in the Dark' and it was a rather intriguing beginning to the show - as the curtains lifted, we set GaGa already standing at the top of a staircase on the stage, where she remained motionless for most of the song. Not only were the sets bigger and better, employing lots of hydrolics, there were more dancers and much more costume changes. My favorite song from 'The Fame Monster' is 'So Happy I Could Die' and GaGa performed this number in an ensemble that resembled a wedding dress made from folded film that opened and closed like a lizard. That number has so much beauty in its simplicity and serenity and this was literally heightened when she was lifted up high to create the impression of her ascending into heaven. Another striking moment came during 'Monster' when GaGa and her bevy of bodaciously-built male and female dancers acted out the line 'He ate my heart and then, he ate my brain', resulting in GaGa being smeared with red body paint on her chest.

As a live performer, this Lady is pure class and charisma. I am just so awestruck by how someone so young can have such a commanding presence. GaGa's obvious pleasure, comfort and confidence at being onstage and adored by thousands of fans puts the likes of Britney Spears to shame. That she manages to create intimacy that belies the size of the venues that she's performing in nowadays is incredible. That she's a gifted vocalist and musician (she plays GaGa also engages her audience in spontaneous, effortless banter through out the show. I couldn't help but be reminded of Madonna watching GaGa, not because I see GaGa copying Madonna (although we all know that every female pop icon that came after Madonna is indebted to her in one way or another), because both of them embrace the power of image and self-expression and the necessity of projecting all of your dreams and fantasies. My sister and I were on the standing floor and we were literally two meters from the stage. We were on our feet for two hours before she came out and another two hours for the show itself. My feet and my back were aching like mad but I just danced away all the mundane frustrations of daily life and for one night, we were all her little monsters.

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