Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lady Gaga at Madison Square Garden, New York--Review

Kat Georges

Lady Gaga's opening night on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden was a landmark event for the most talented force in pop music of today. Gaga supplied a powerhouse performance with a 2-hour, 19-song set which she seemed as much in awe of presenting as those who watched were of her.

Gaga has come a long way in the past year of almost non-stop touring. Her live vocal chops are on fire and she has assumed unfettered, total command of the pacing and glitter of the show: her music now encompasses more than just straight-out dance tunes; indeed her scope, shown by a huge variety of musical styles is growing increasingly impressive.

The show covered all songs off her last disc, The Fame Monster, and eight of 13 songs on her 2008 hit album, The Fame. It also featured three additional songs including "Glitter and Grease," "Vanity," and "You and I," plus impressive "interludes" with music and short wondrous b/w films and visual effects. With 10 crazy costume changes, and a set that brought Gaga and her 10 dancers, 3 backup singers and 7-piece band to dizzying heights, the show had the floor of the Garden (all General Admission) jamming non-stop, and kept patrons in the surrounding seats on their feet throughout.

Remarkably, for a show that focused so much on dance hits, Gaga interspersed musical booty-shaking with dramatic pauses marked solely by the sound of her breathing and the audience hanging onto what her next word would be. And she had plenty to say, dedicating the show to the people of New York City, and remarking that she had sat in the nosebleed seats as a kid to see such stars as Madonna, Cher, The Rolling Stones, and Kiss. She truly seemed ecstatic to find herself on the same stage as these idols, and such enthusiasm is refreshing in a world where musical stars seem to be blessed with little talent and a huge sense of entitlement.

Gaga was able to provide numerous intimate moments, especially during her solo piano versions of "Speechless" and her new as-yet-unreleased rock ballad "You and I." During "Speechless," she mentioned that the song was written for her father, and that he was actually present at the show. While the lyrics stemmed from a disillusionment with his drinking, she acknowledged, "Out of all the drunk men in my life, Dad--you're my favorite." A compliment, sort of . . .

Throughout the show, Gaga reaffirmed her mantra of "You can do anything you want," and "Don't let anybody hold you back--you're free!" Trite as it may sound in the retelling, when you hear it said by this orangey-blonde-wigged woman, flat on her back, clad in metallic lingerie and stilettos, her hands and chest covered in fake blood, and the word "FUCK" fingerpainted on her upper arm, surrounded by 10 gorgeous dancers--you'd swear it was true.

At Tuesday's show, Gaga delivered an especially powerful version of the soulful "Fame Monster" song "Teeth"--accompanied by a wondrous introduction, in which Gaga concluded, "I am the most delusional bitch on the earth." As a delusional idealist myself, I couldn't be happier.

Here's the set list from Tuesday's show:

Dance in the Dark

Glitter & Grease

Just Dance

Beautiful Dirty Rich


The Fame

Love Game

Boys Boys Boys

Money Honey



You and I

So Happy I Could Die




Poker Face


Bad Romance

If you can get to the Garden in the next two days, do it. Who knows how long this ride will last? It's worth everything to catch it while it's real.



If you have GA East tickets, you better arrive EARLY (by 4:30, the latest) and plan to wait outside until 7 when they open the doors. Don't be disappointed but you won't be right next to the stage. The only people next to the stage are VIP ticket holders and GA West tickets. The GA East area is divided by a metal barrier. If you're in the front, you'll be about 15-20 feet from the end of the ramp, but if you're not in the very front, you might not be able to see very well, because the very front of GA East section is about 6 inches higher than the rest of the section, due to a support for the metal barrier. I was in the front and it was great! But if you can afford VIP, you can get right next to the stage and ramp.


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