LADY GAGA delivered a dynamic, heartfelt, inspirational concert to a sold out audience at American Airlines Center in Dallas with an elaborate Vegas-style production. I for one have never seen her live in concert but the one thing I was certain of was there was a lingering mystique about attending her show. As my curiosity peaked by the hour leading up to the concert my anxiety level increased like I was waiting for fairy dust to drop from the heavens above or something.
From the moment I arrived it was apparent the “Little Monsters” (a term of endearment GAGA uses to describe her fans) were unleashed and freely roaming amongst the crowd of which very few were equivalent to my age. At first, I literally felt like I should have been there as a chaperone more than a fan. Yes, I was hanging out primarily with a college age to 30-something crowd, many whom obviously didn’t receive the memo Halloween was over. Oh well, who doesn’t appreciate a good costume right? Actually, I sensed the “Little Monsters” felt more like themselves in costume than not. Is this the typical norm? Yes, it certainly is for a GAGA concert.
There was glitter, sequins and rhinestones here, there and everywhere. On shoes, boots, jackets, tops, etc. in an assortment of bright colors, after five attire paired with denim, embellished leather pieces and several individuals wearing tutu’s. It was like watching a live version of RuPaul’s fashion show. The mystique was visually unfolding with happy Little Monsters in their element waiting for Mother Monster to take charge. The floor was standing room only packed with fans clinging onto two of the three individual smaller round stages set up on the floor hoping that one might catch a close-up glimpse of their beloved idol.
The concert kicked off at 8:30, leaving plenty of time for everyone to arrive, be seen and get comfortably situated. The massive digital clock on stage begins the countdown, and as it raised in the air LADY GAGA appeared on an elevated hydraulic platform singing “Diamond Heart” and “A-Yo” from the new record wearing a cowboy hat adorned in glitter, a black bodysuit layered with a black leather jacket with fringe. The backdrop on stage was a monstrous panel of flashing LED lights and a video screen above it to watch every dance move.
With guitar in hand GAGA stated, “I’m going to need you to do something for me. You have done a lot for me over the years, buy my records, come to my shows. I’m just gonna need to remind you that this is a party! I’m gonna need every single one of you unless you have a real good reason to get up out of your seat. That’s right it’s only polite, it’s a party y’all! Even though you’ve given me a lot over the years you did not give me a good “POKER FACE!” as she sang her smash hit song from The Fame album followed by “Perfection Illusion”.
The 22-song setlist lasted over two hours and was divided into seven acts each with a video interlude which allowed plenty of time for costume changes. Act Two began with a video of GAGA wearing a pink cowgirl hat, driving an old convertible spinning donuts in the dirt emitting hot pink smoke from the vehicle.
The vivacious songstress returned to the stage in a black leather risqué bodysuit complete with fringe galore and black leather thigh high boots performing a rockin’ version of “John Wayne” where flames of fire continuously exploded and lit up the stage behind her dancers. The lady was smoking hot and her dancers on fire! She followed with the fast-paced pop song “ScheiBe” from the 2011’s Born This Way which speaks of female empowerment and “Alejandro” a song of farewell to her past boyfriends from the 2009’s The Fame Monster.
Sounding more powerful than ever, her five-piece band was exceptionally outstanding and included a ginormous curricular piano that looked like an oversized tire where the pianist stood inside to play.
Proceeding onto Act 3 with lights flashing and heavy emphasis on the synthesizer GAGA abruptly appeared onstage through a trap platform in the stage floor, playing her keytar and singing her mega hit song “Just Dance”. She looked absolutely stunning with her long blonde locks and baby blue bodysuit covered in white pearl and crystal embellishments, fishnet stockings and matching baby blue boots. The catchy tune had everyone dancing, the joyous crowd adored her. She followed up with “Love Game” and “Telephone” both from The Fame Monster.
The versatility of song selection, dance choreography, costume, and set changes were indisputably amazing. Her energetic dancers were fabulous and with a production of this magnitude timing is of the utmost importance. She and her crew were flawless the entire night as she shared her incredible vocal gift to the sold out crowd.
Bringing her art form to life there were three blimp type objects, black with daisy patterns suspended from the ceiling. The lower portion of the blimps descended toward the stage unfolding and making three bridges that connected to the main stage and the smaller round stages that elevated on the floor where GAGA danced from one end of the arena to the other above the crowd. Returning to the stage in a black velour one piece jumpsuit, her dancers fell in line behind her as she walked the first bridge singing “Applause”.
She asked, “Who in the audience is here from the LGBT Community?” then. “Who is not?” The response was 50/50 as she told the audience, “We are all here in the spirit of love. I try to better myself everyday. You’ve got to stop throwing stones at your sisters and brothers.Taking a seat at her heart shaped, transparent piano that lit up in rainbow colors located on the opposite end of the arena she played a beautiful, touching acoustic rendition of “The Edge Of Glory” dedicated to Sonya, her best friend and Managing Director who recently passed away from breast cancer. It was obvious LADY GAGA is still grieving over the loss.
I was surrounded by “Little Monsters” robustly singing along knowing the words to every tune going into a frenzy as she belted out hit after hit, especially during “Born This Way” a song promoting self acceptance, embracing your identity regardless of what others think.
Not only a fierce advocate for the LGBT Community she explains she and her mother formed the Born This Way Foundation dedicated to creating a safe community by helping young people with skills and opportunities to build a kinder, braver world. Other songs included were “Bloody Mary”, “Dancin’ In Circles”, “Angel Down”, and “Paparazzi” where she posed and encouraged her fans to photograph her, as she reiterated, “Did you get my picture? Make sure you get my picture!”
With countless costume changes throughout the night, GAGA mastered an illusion where you thought she had departed the stage as the bridges folded and elevated towards the ceiling only to open and have her reappear in something else. As the bridges were once again lowered she sat on a stool with her acoustic guitar explaining the untimely death of her Aunt prior to singing new album title track “Joanne”.
For the encore, dressed in a white one piece jumpsuit covered in rhinestones LADY GAGA stated, “There is nothing more beautiful than kindness, it’s what makes the world go round. You can find a million reasons to give up, but all you’ve got to do is find one good one to stick around” as she stood on top of her grand piano and emotionally sang “A Million Reasons”. One thing I can assure you, the best reason to see LADY GAGA live in concert…she’s epic!!!
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: JANICE SPICER