Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Inflatable Monsters (Lady Laga: Live in Montreal)


The conversation went something like this:

"Ben, I got two tickets for Lady Gaga tonight, you want to come?" said Josie.

"Can I say no?"

"Shaddup! It's free, you're coming."

My fate was sealed. I was going to a Lady Gaga concert and cross an item that never really was on my bucket list. To be fair, it wasn't on Josie's either, but free entertainment is what it is, in this world that's trying to bleed you dry of any possible resources. Nothing against Miss Gaga, she may be doing the catchiest pop since Michael Jackson, but something about her persona leaves me colder than hell *. Usually, going to a live show of an artist I don't care about imbues me of a grudging sense of respect, but not in this case. Seeing Gaga perform left me a few respect point short of what I had for her prior to it.

 I'm not the biggest concert animal and yet I found noticeable issues in her show, both on the artistic and logistic side. First of all, it's visually underwhelming. If anything, I expected gorgeous visuals and some kind of stage storytelling. An exchange of ideas, if you will, between me (the spectator) and a woman I thought was full of those. I didn't get any of that.

Her stage consist in a gigantic castle prop, which is quite impressive at first, but gets cumbersome really fucking fast. The problem is that it doesn't really do anything. It's just there. Two sliding doors open during JUST DANCE, revealing a vintage neon pink house interior with a minuscule rotating wardrobe, but it's about the only flare it has. Otherwise, Gaga and her dancers are bound to move like ants on the tiny strip of stage they have left to play with. It would have been fine if we had a proper giant screen, but the two screens she uses are small and are made irrelevant by the blinding light show.

I was surprised by such a poor ownership of the stage. Kanye West and Jay Z were only two and made a lot more with a lot less flare. But that wasn't my main complain with the show. See, I kinda like Lady Gaga's peculiar blend of pop. She has a terrific, powerful voice and it's not before hearing her live that you can understand the favorable comparisons to Christina Aguilera. Something it Gaga's voice though is raspier and more visceral, which make her musically more interesting than the R&B diva for me.

Only problem is that she doesn't sing all the time. She talks a lot, also.

She goes into these LONG, RAMBLING, CONFUSED and MORALIZING lectures about success, being yourself and the long hard road to superstardom of Gaga. Holy Shit, was this ever boring. She did three of those over two hours. The worst one was the "I don't give a fuck" bit, where she showed her ass multiple times and passed the microphones along her dancers, so they could express how bad they didn't gave a fuck. She also announced that she didn't give a fuck if we worked the next day, because so did she. Loss of perspective, anyone?

Another one of these awkward moments was when she sat at a piano and called someone in the crowd **. I thought to myself "What a wonderful setup to sing YOU & I"  But no, she sings BORN THIS WAY for the second time of the evening, with disjointed moralizing comments between the verses and when she hangs up, THEN she sings YOU & I with no context whatsoever. That was weird.

I'm aware a Lady Gaga show is not exactly a breeding ground for rational thinking. All around me were marginal people, dancing, yelling and having the time of their lives. I've seen a chick dressed like a siren, with fake gills and all, with only a piece of tape to cover her breast. I've seen more men in make up at the show than anywhere else in my life and I live in one of the most gay-friendly cities in the wold. Ultimately, this justifies Lady Gaga for just about anything. If she makes people feel free and gives them a good time, nothing else is important.

But I don't have a chip on my shoulder. I don't bear an unfair burden like some of the people I've seen in the crowd. Therefore, Lady Gaga appeared to me a lot shallower than I thought she was. Her visuals were underwhelming and incoherent, her ideas were a confused and maybe a little self-involved ***. I didn't like my experience at the Gaga show, but ultimately, I don't matter in the equation.


* Yes, Colder Than Hell, which also happens to be the title of a new Anthony Neil Smith book, now available on Amazon.

** You could text GAGA to a number before the show and get in a draw to have Gaga calling you during the performence.

*** I'm sorry, but such an engaged artist showing up 45 minutes late to her show and making jokes about people working the next day seems to have a poor understanding of who pays good money to see her.

11 comments:

  1. That's too bad. I actually like a lot of her music--it is the catchiest pop since Michael Jackson. I think it's easy for a certain level of success to go to your head. Too, that's usually when other people stop providing you any sort of reality/ego check.

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  2. Yeah, I love the music too...and the voice man. That voice is really understated when coming through a television screen. But I think it's that lack of an ego-check that hurt the overall product. It happens a lot when people tap into success quick. I've never figured out for an original, but I thought she had a better argument for herself and what she believes in.

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  3. I have never ever understood her appeal. From the beginning--I didn't get it. I still don't get it and I don't believe her. Not for a second...I've always been disturbed when artists get such a following that their fans become sheep or in her case 'little monsters' and the whole thing is borderline cult-ish. That alone creeps me the fuck out. I'm not saying I don't support the success, I just don't support the ego and the whole idea that she's THE voice for those born whatever way she claims to be born.

    In the end, her music isn't for me, and I don't feel a connection with it, so I don't listen to it. Her persona alone is off-putting.

    And I will take Christina Aguilera over her any day.

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  4. I understand the appeal and I think the music is really good pop. But yeah, the character has been blown out of proportion. Dan O'Brien, from Cracked, has written a good breakdown of what Gaga really is:

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/why-its-time-to-stop-paying-attention-to-lady-gaga/

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    1. I think it's a fairly accurate article. I don't know. I don't hate her, more like mildly annoyed by her...and if she makes good pop, then I obviously need to cut out what little bad pop I listen to.

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  5. hah! My theory about pop is that it has to please the ear and be catchy. MJ was like the archgod of that. Plus, he danced like an archdog too. I mean, SMOOTH CRIMINAL? SHEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTT! To me, Gaga has been the closest to these two concept and yet still far from MJ.

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    1. haha....very far from the greatest that ever did it.

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  6. As pointed out by many readers on social media, she DID dance pretty good for a woman with a blown ACL, so I'll give her that.

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  7. I am thunderstruck. You are brave man with a keen critical eye, and bully for you for rolling with the freebie situation, because I think (in similar circumstances) I would have elected to fall on a broken bottle.

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  8. Thank you. I don't particularly dislike her music. I like pop when it's well done. It's music made to share good moments and to remember things by and I think it's a style that Lady Gaga is doing well. Whoever made that show a reality though has to be fired immediatly. Maybe Guermanotta would hire Jay Z to direct her new show.

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  9. shawn titus....in Montreal...July 15, 2013 at 6:31 AM

    LADY GA GA ROCKS,AND I LOVE HER EVERYTHING......PERIOD....SHE HAS A GREAT RASPY,VOICE,THE KIND OF VOICE WE ARE NOT USED TO,SHE HAS GREAT OUTFITS,WEIRD A LITTLE I ADMIT..BUT HEY,SHE HAS MORE,GOING FOR HER THAN WE HAVE. AND HER BODY IS VERY SENSUAL IN MY EYES,WHAT I WOULDN'T GIVE TO HAVE HER WITH ME FOR A NIGHT AND A LIFETIME...IF YOU'VE SEEN HER EH! EH! VIDEO,YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN BY GREAT BODY...THANKS GA GA....

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