live review

Lady Gaga, Vector Arena, Auckland

Lady Gaga, Vector Arena, Auckland

Reviewed by Buriedbeneathfloorboards.wordpress.com
20th May 2010

Lady Gaga - The Monster Ball Tour
Sunday 14th March, 2010
Vector Arena, Auckland

 

Sure, I could distance myself and hide behind the old "I only got the tickets because they were a present for my wife for her birthday" line. Just like the time I bought that Justin Timberlake album for her because I secretly wanted to listen to it myself.

But I'm not afraid to admit that I like Lady Gaga. Heck I'd even like to love her. Long time. Unless those comments about her being a transvestite are true. In which case I'd probably have to think about it a little bit more first.

But I don't need to second guess how much I loved her Monster Ball gig. It was more pop opera than rock concert and would easily have been at home on Broadway, or perhaps Old Soho, being part stage show, part fashion show. Part strip show.

It was seeing the video Bad Romance on TV turned me around on Lady Gaga. The song is a lesson in catchy 119 bpm composition and the video is a work of art in its own right. I wasn't familiar with much of her work beyond that and her other hit singles, but it didn't matter. This was as much of a visual experience as it was an aural one.

 

Part of that experience was crowd-watching and checking out those who had dressed up Gaga-style (mostly with blonde wigs and Bowie-lightning-bolts on their faces, although a couple of guys went as white Lycra-wrapped characters from her video).

There was a few minutes of waiting and watching her silhouette before the stage curtains went up and she launched into her opening song, Dance in the Dark, for her second Auckland appearance.

"This is our second date, New Zealand. So you know what that means: I can go down and suck your dick without feeling like a slut!"

Those parents who took their 8-year-olds along would have been left slapping their foreheads and questioning their own wisdom.  There was also a lot of Michael Jackson-esque self-touching from her and her backing dancers, which I guess was to be expected given his music was playing during the hour it took to set up her stage following the opening act.

The show revolved around a very basic storyline about getting her friends to the monster ball. Hardly an award-winning plot, but it did provide the vehicle to tie together the music, the moves, the moods and the costumes.

"Tonight, the freaks are all outside and we've locked the door!" Cue squeals and screams of delight. The crowd was hers. Her show(wo)manship was tight. Like her costumes.

I lost count, but the newspapers say she had 16 changes. They were pretty amazing, although they did screw with the show's momentum near the end as she got down to one garment per song.

But this show was also about the musician behind her larger-than-reality neo-glam persona. She first briefly showed her skills early when the hood of a car on stage was opened to reveal a piano, but she really got to reveal her chops and her musical range when she later slowed down to belt out the ballads of Brown Eyes and Speechless. She was on fire. And her piano literally was, as part of a special prop effect. I also noticed how her dance trade mark monster claw resembled the shape her hand makes during certain piano chords.

Did she make it to the Monster Ball? I guess so. She lost her friends along the way and got attacked by a large anglofish-type puppet monster but survived to follow-up Pokerface and Paparazzi with the perfect finale, Bad Romance. 

Then it was time for the group bow, curtains down, lights on, show over, Gaga gone. 

I was left on such a high that I didn't even mind so much when I got to my car and discovered a $40 parking ticket thanks to a parking sign that was even more ambiguous than the lead singer of the opening act, Semi Precious Weapons. Actually, I liked their music. Weird. Camp. Dressed in drag. A fitting opening act, perhaps.

Review thanks to DM at buriedbeneathfloorboards.wordpress.com.

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