Lady Gaga @ M.E.N Arena 02/06/10
June 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
The last time Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour came to the UK, tickets were £27.50. This time they came with a heftier price tag of £50-75. So I guess the big question is, was it worth the money? The answer – a resounding yes.
Having been to my fair share of female pop star shows, I can tell you that it’s not what the tour is made up of that will make or break it, it is how it is pulled off, and if there is talent to back it up. You can have all the gimmicks in the world, all the dancers and pyrotechnics and sparkling costumes that money can buy, but if you stumble on stage and proceed to re-enact Whitney Houston’s X Factor debacle, no-one is going to be impressed.
Thankfully, it was clear from the outset that no-one was going to be leaving this arena unimpressed. The show opened with ‘Dance In The Dark’, which started a level of sing-alongs that carried on for the entire evening. The only time the audience stopped yelling lyrics back at their idol was during numbers ‘Glitter and Grease’ and ‘Vanity’, unreleased tracks included to facilitate the idea of the Monster Ball as a journey; Gaga and her dancers’ trip from their starting point, through various foreboding scenes, and eventually to the Monster Ball, “the greatest party in the world”. It may seem like a trivial and juvenile idea, but it worked fantastically. What with all the costume changes, stage rearrangements, and differing moods brought on by the various songs, it really did feel like a journey. The fact that Lady Gaga was on stage for two whole hours certainly added to this feeling. By the time the audience had been led through energetic, dance inducing numbers such as ‘Just Dance’, ‘LoveGame’ and ‘Telephone’, to the slower and heavily emotional ‘Brown Eyes’, a cover of ‘Stand By Me’, and ‘Speechless’, it was hard not feel a little exhausted from the intensity of it all. Not that there was much time to ponder this, with the show reaching its climax in the form of ‘Monster’, ‘Teeth’, ‘Alejandro’, ‘Poker Face’, ‘Paparazzi’ and finally ‘Bad Romance’. If nothing else, a reminder that for someone who released their debut album less than two years ago, this woman has an incredible amount of hits. Each of these songs was accompanied by choreography, theatrics, a whole lot of drama, and an overwhelming response from the crowd. This was acknowledged constantly throughout the night by the lady herself; even whilst dragging herself across the stage in response to ‘having her heart torn out’ by the ‘monster’ she responded to cries of adoration with “I love you too!”, whilst holding a dramatic pose she moved to accept a handmade book from a fan, during an intense moment at her flaming piano she stopped to explain how she had spoken to security to allow fans wearing Coke cans in their hair into the venue (“I know how much effort you put into your hair, your make-up, your outfit, and then some SCHMUCK tells you you can’t come in?!?!”).
This was the overall feeling I was left with after the show; that Lady Gaga really does love her fans just as much as she proclaims to. In fact, almost definitely too much. This show is exhausting to watch , never mind act out several times a week for months at a time. Whilst Lady Gaga pulled it all off with grace, attitude, and a whole load of charm, it was obvious from her tiny frame and heavy breathing that it is taking its toll on her. I sincerely hope that Gaga’s love for her fans, and her fear of disappointing them, doesn’t mean her health suffers more than it already has (she recently announced she has been tested borderline positive for lupus).
Health issues aside, the Monster Ball is truly a spectacle to behold. With all the hype surrounding Lady Gaga, it would be easy for the real thing to be a disappointment. Surely no-one can be that outlandish?! A disappointment it was not: with a complex stage construction, neon lights, moveable platforms, a mechanical dress, fantastically dramatic choreography, and lest we forget, unbelievable vocals, this is one show that you will not forget in a hurry. Lady Gaga has raised the bar so high that the vast majority of pop stars are left looking diminished, and plain lazy. She is one of the few celebrities these days who actually deserves her status as a total and utter star.