Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lady Gaga Live: Slick, Shambolic and Stunning

Still can't quite believe that I saw Lady Gaga live in concert last weekend. I won't go into it now but safe to say I've been a huge Gaga fan since mid 2008 and I've watched her blow up in the last 18 months and loved every second of it. To finally see her live show was a real treat particularly as her first night in Dublin was only the second night of the newly re-jigged arena size version of The Monster Ball tour.

Unsurprisingly for someone who has made her name on outlandish costumes, performance art pretensions and stellar pop songs there was plenty to enjoy about the show. I loved the stage, it was quite simple but managed to fit in alot in terms of props. On tracks like Alejandaro and Love Game the props and lighting worked to spectacular effect to create stark but effective backdrops for the action. The concept of the show was part musical, part pop extravaganza and all Gaga. The basic story is of Gaga on her way to The Monster Ball and the dark things that happen all the way. Cue hokey dialogue and excuses for dance routines. It works but just about. The lines seem like a deliberate play on the programmed patter of most pop shows and when it works it really works. When it doesn't it's still quite amusing. I never thought I'd hear Lady Gaga say "Oh no! A TWISTER!" on stage but I did and it was fantastic.

Other highlights? So Happy I Could Die got across the sense of isolation and desperation in a supposedly happy club scene by elevating Gaga in a S&M style dress above the whole arena. Telephone was straightforward pop amazingness with a blindingly good dance routine and Paparazzi with it's actual on stage monster was an unbelievably striking set piece. And Bad Romance was suitably epic.

There were some niggles though. The interludes between songs were stunning pieces of high fashion pretentiousness that were beautiful to look at. But there were obvious gaps where the video wouldn't play quickly enough. Between the 2nd last song and the closing number there was a two minute gap that felt like it was in by mistake. Those odd gaps tarred an otherwise slick show.

Still even with such minor faults this is a stunning piece of pop entertainment meets high brow musical theatre. It helped that I saw with a crowd that proved just how rabid Gaga fans are. Singing along to album tracks almost as loudly as the singles there was a real sense of excitement about the place extending even to the support acts Semi Precious Weapons and Alphabeat.

It's quite staggering to think that this is the fourth tour by Lady Gaga in as many months. Between that convention busting videos, endless hit singles and mind bogglingly extensive wardrobe The Monster Ball is the icing on an already satisfying pop cake. Let's hope and pray this show gets immortalised on DVD.

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