Review: The Monster Ball Tour Starring Lady GaGa

The Lady Gaga concert opened up with three young people and a broken down car, surrounded by a cityscape and neon, trying to make their way to the Monster Ball. The Monster Ball being, of course, the most fabulous party ever, where you can finally be free, as Lady Gaga reminded her cohorts when they waffled about continuing their journey.

Actually, strike that, the concert really opened up with a curtain screen and just the silhouette of Lady Gaga holding a pose. Every time she changed position, the crowd screamed wildly. Tension (as planned) built.

But back to those wacky kids, before anyone actually could give up on the Monster Ball, singing and dancing erupted everywhere and the quest went on.

And that pretty much laid the tone for the entire concert: a combination of theater, performance art, and flat out rock concert (albeit with dance music), the Monster Ball was laced with incredible energy and impeccable timing. On the story side, the intrepid ball seekers left their abandoned car, got on the subway, danced beneath (or perhaps were transported by) a giant chandelier, made their way into a spooky forest, fought a huge ass angler-fish monster with flaming boobs, and finally made it to the ball where they partied with the monster ball (a.k.a. glittery gyroscope) and all us affectionately named "little monsters." There were eight set changes and a whopping fourteen major and minor costume changes (I did have to pee so maybe I missed one?). It was an over-the-top spectacle that somehow still worked.

That was one hell of a concert (and this comes from someone who isn't a huge fan of this style of music). Concertgoers who may not have been fans before could certainly have been made at this show.

I personally really liked her performances of Speechless and You and I on the piano towards the middle of the show. However, I think I most enjoyed her interactions with the audience: at different times scripted, narcissistic, and genuine, trying to guess what she would say next kept the audience (and me) entranced. There was a lot of angst and a lot of love and support of her fans, and some screaming of swear words, but it wouldn't be a concert without that. She also had a nice segment where she called someone's cell in the audience, and put on a pair of men's underwear (inscribed with a personal note) that was thrown to her. She talked extensively about gay activism. And she must have called out our town's name about 20 times, "Set yourself free, San Jose!" (We're apparently not flying our freak flag enough.)

I do suspect that Lady Gaga may have slipped into lip syncing towards the very end of the show but Geez Louise! She was dancing her skinny little butt off and she had just fought off that monster and eaten a heart or something.

Of course, just as the crowd hoped and roared for, she ended the concert with Alejandro, Poker Face, and Paparazzi, with a spectacular Bad Romance as her encore. Lady Gaga would never disappoint her little monsters.


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