Lately there has been a twitter-war of some sorts, the battle for Twitter supremacy if you will, between Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. The two themselves aren’t necessarily duking it out for the most followers, just their fans and the media are making a big deal about how they’re essentially neck and neck for followers and it seems that each day the title of most followed Twitterer is passed between them. Myself, I’m like Switzerland and I just follow both. If I had to choose though, I’d go with the better of the two performers and after last night I can say with absolute certainty that Lady Gaga blows Britney out of the water (as of the time I’m posting this, Gaga is winning. Also, I’m certain it’s Gaga actually posting, can’t say Britney is doing her own Tweets).
(You can read about my Britney experience here. Although it must be noted I saw Britney post-crazy breakdown and never in her hay-day, so a comparison of these two Ladies of Pop would be unfair to Ms. Britney).
Leah and I arrived at GM Place (aka Rogers Arena, but the ticket still said GM so let’s stick with that while we still can) pretty early, there was a “DJ” set up on stage to entertain the crowd, although I’m not sure if she (he? We were far away and they looked fairly androgynous) was actually the DJ, she would change records but there wasn’t much to it and I can’t be certain that the music wasn’t actually coming from the sound booth. During the songs she would dance around on stage while taking drinks from her bottle of Jack. At one point she looked to have passed out on stage before getting up and manically dancing around again. It was all so odd and inexplicable, we weren’t sure if she was hired to be there or just someone who had jumped on stage and security was too amused to take her off. In any case, just like the fake musicians at the Britney concert, I was left with a new career ambition. I want this person’s job. I’m fairly certain it has to pay pretty well and it doesn’t require much work. Oh, and you get to tour with Gaga.
The opening act, Semi Precious Weapons, then came on stage. They’re a group who has been with Lady Gaga since 2006, this seemed to be a recurring theme through the night, Gaga has taken a lot of the people she knew when she was struggling in the business with her along for the ride. Semi Precious Weapons hail from New York, they’re flamboyant, energetic and a lot of fun. The lead singer also sings with a British accent, which is odd since I wasn’t aware of New Yorkers having British accents. He spoke with no accent, but singing was all-British. It was like he was Avril Lavigne or something. He also seems to be heavily influenced by Bowie, Freddie Mercury and Sid Vicious so that could have something to do with it. I think the perfect way to describe him was a comment by Leah “he’s lucky he’s a rock star or else he’d be managing a makeup counter.” Sad yet true. As for the music, it was good, very rock and roll. I’ll have to check it out further because it was hard to get a taste for it when you’re so distracted by the stage show- the guitarist, who I’m 99% sure wasn’t playing but rather playing along to his recorded guitar licks (odd since everyone else was obviously playing and singing), was rolling around on the floor doing somersaults and other acrobatics and the lead singer does a costume change on the middle of the stage. Yep, stripped down to his thong on stage. Like I said, the music was probably really good, I was just to distracted by everything else going on. But I will hand it to them, they got the crowd ready for Lady Ga-Ga (that was my way of trying to write how he says her name. It’s hard to convey in words the way the singer said her name, but it was cool).
After a brief intermission and more expensive drinks later (note, we were not ID’d for our first $8 cooler, but were on the second. This made two girls who spent a few nights prior worrying about our aging skin feel good) Lady Gaga came to the stage.
She started with Dance in the Dark, and until the end of the second chorus she just stood on the stairs still and singing, her shadow illuminated against the curtain still covering the stage and every so often changing poses, driving the crowd wild. The energy in the crowd as well as on stage was huge. Every number was sung live by Gaga and with backup singers as well as some prerecorded track for choruses. The dancing, both by the dancers and Gaga was very well choreographed and made me wish that I had any sense of rhythm. And the costumes did not disappoint. I was worried that because so much is put into her award show productions as well as her photo shoots that the stuff she wore on stage wouldn’t be as spectacular, but they too were fabulous. Every single aspect of the show, costumes to the stage sets to the storyline was well executed.
I went into this show with an appreciation for Lady Gaga, she writes really great pop music (yes, she writes all of it herself without depending on Swedish producers) and every time I’ve seen her televised performances she is innovative and really seems to love performing, but I was blown away by her concert. You read in her interviews and see via her Twitter feed that she has an appreciation for her fans, or “Little Monsters” as she calls them, but with most artists I wondered if it was just something she says to get her music sold and people in the seats. Maybe I’m just buying whatever she’s selling but you sense that she has a genuine love for the little monsters and the people that she’s known for all these years. She mentioned that one of her dancers and her had known each other for years, since they were just club kids in NYC, showing that she really wants to bring with her the people that helped her get where she is, beyond giving them a job as her assistant as so many other artists do (I’m sorry, but after years of friendship you want me to run and get your diet coke for you… ha. Wait, how much does it pay?). At one point during the concert she saw a sign that said it was a guys birthday, she sang him happy birthday and engaged him from the stage. And it wasn’t just him, she would pick out random fans and just have a conversation as if it were just her and them. Another gimmick I wish I had picked up on was between the openers and Gaga they tell you to text a number to get your seats upgraded, fearing being added to some subscription list I decided against it (taking Leah along with me). During the show she (in an advertisement for concert tour sponsor’s Virgin Mobile) calls that fan (on their Virgin Mobile phones) and has a little talk, inviting this girl backstage after the show. Then launches into Telephone.
Overall I have to say the show was more than I could imagine it to be, which is saying a lot since I had high expectations. Not only was I entertained but I came away with an even bigger appreciation for Gaga as an artist and a person. I truly believe in what she’s saying, her only ambition for the show was for people to come and be free, no matter their race, size, sexual orientation or whatever insecurities you have about yourself. Her show was not only entertaining but she had a message that she wanted to deliver, even if it was only for the two hours she was onstage.