It’s show time! Yes, once again, I find myself at an arena show complete with heavy duty props and stage accoutrements, dancers, backup singers, and tucked away in the back, an actual live band. Out front is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. You and I know her better as Lady Gaga.
At one time, LG seemed intent on becoming the new Madonna, shocking the world to get attention. Remember the dress of meat? She seems to have matured or simmered down some, and now relies on her abundant talent to keep the crowds coming back for more. I always liked both Madonna and Lady Gaga as they have great songs with hooks galore, and are strong women who dominate in a man’s man’s man’s world. But they are also performers who know that it’s more than music sometimes.
Still, it isn’t like me to go all arena again. And for the third show in four nights after The Man had beaten me to a pulp with his outrageous workplace demands? I was basically exhausted. But I’m not going to let The Man ruin me, and thus, it was Gaga time. And I’m here to say, that it was a good time. But in my opinion, not a great time.
Don’t get me wrong, Lady Gaga is cool and hip and puts on a performance heavy on style and moxie. She came out and blasted through a number of fast-paced and terrific songs. But alas, she then moved into a slower and more ballad-centric pace that left me yawning and checking the time. Yes, I admire all of the things she does to make the world a better place, drawing attention to autism and LBGT rights. But c’mon, man, I came to party and dance, and I need some jamming music to groove on. Eventually, LG came back and blasted through a few more upbeat tunes. But the lag in the middle of the show left me a bit, dare I say it, bored.
Not that she ignored the hits. Gaga played Poker Face, Bad Romance, Million Reasons, Alejandro, Just Dance, and more. I thought LG blew away the Super Bowl last year, and this performance was solid, too. Gaga has a lot of good songs, and she cherry picked the best for the live stage. But there were also a number of short intermissions that were accompanied by video films, most of them kind of weird.
Theatrics aplenty were on display – multiple costume changes (some sexy, some clumsy/odd)! Props that allowed she and her backup singers/dancers to move the length of the arena above the crowd to a second stage at the opposite end! Big-time professional pyrotechnics and lighting! A sound system that was superb for an arena setting! But it was Coldplay light as I did not get the glowing wrist band (with the secret decoder ring that spells out “Drink More Ovaltine”) and there was no confetti. Nah, I’m just busting – it was what you would expect from a performer with a flair for the outrageous, but professional to the core and who wants to entertain.
Fandom was remarkable, too. There are lots of LG lovers out there, and she gave them what they wanted. But with the size of the stage and the large cast, crowd intimacy was hard to find. She also likes to pose and stare sometimes, and while the crowd cheered while she did it, it struck me as overblown dramatics.
I took some photos, but like a lot of arena shows, I wasn’t that close to get the really good pics. I did get some of the entire staging, which are kind of cool, but nothing that would allow you to identify Lady Gaga from the rest of the troupe.
I’ll be back very shortly with, yes, another live music review. The best band out of Northern Ireland was in town in a nicely packed small club in Philly. I hope you are well, and that The Man in your world is lavishing you with money and praise and telling you to go home early. See you soon, cherubs.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.