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."
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.
** 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.