Lady Gaga @ Echo Arena Liverpool
DEAR STEFANI GERMANOTTA, you have succeeded in enticing me into your tangly web of ridiculousness and brilliance. She is a modern enigma and a sign of our throwaway times, a brand-new icon driven unashamedly by fashion and never seen looking the same; paradoxically though, she herself refuses so far to be disposed of. She is quick to re-invent herself in the same way Madonna does so, at a pace that must inject fear into her fellow Italian New-Yorker's heart. Tonight, she displayed an altogether avant-garde performance, deeming her worthy of her self-made fame that has been catapulted into our little faces.
“We are nothing without the spiritual hologram we perceive ourselves to be” was the first of around three 'deep' and 'philosophical' comments from Gaga, whose soft, nasally speaking voice immediately managed to silence the arena crowd between tunes. Comparitively, her singing was big, and technically impeccable; she is undoubtedly vocally able. After a little research, it's apparent that her hardcore followers have seen her early YouTube clips, and are safe in the knowledge that despite the hyped-up, glamourous facade, Gaga is one gifted individual. “When you are lonely, I'll be lonely too:” the second installment of Gaga synthetic-laden lines which, in the moment, were quite sweet.
The whole idea of 'The Monster Ball' proposed itself as a magnet for all her fans, and and as one of very few individuals there who didn't know every line to every song, it's easy to see why Gaga – the musician, the dancer, the designer, the performance artist, the creator – is still attracting all the right attention this decade. “You know I'm like Tinkerbell... you know how Tinkerbell will die if you don't come for her? Do you want me to DIE??”... finally, a darker utterance was spoken from the tiny chameleon's usually filthy mouth, and the show was in full-frontal swing. I have not seen so much crotch since Aguilera and her release of the aptly-named Stripped. 'Dance In the Dark' was anthemic, complete with a Vogue-esque spoken passage and so, so loud, sending the audience into a trance-party. 'So Happy I Could Die' saw more of what I had expected from Gaga: Madonna-circa-1990 masturbation gestures not-so-slyly thrown into thrust-heavy dance routines, followed by 'Beautiful, Dirty, Rich,' comprised indeed of a “pornographic dance fight.” Gaga sang “daddy I'm so sorry, I'm so so so sorry...” and though little Stefani may have been seizing a weird opportunity to apologise to her father (present in tonight's audience) for her provocative lyrics and moves, it was a piano ballad dedicated to Mr. Gaga himself that was truly redemptive of her unsavoury antics.
The stage lighting was dazzling at the fore of the pitch black arena where every pair of feet was dancing away, and slower numbers such as 'Speechless' on her flame-engulfed baby grand provided the dark of Gaga's knowingly-perfected chiaroscuro. Also as self-aware was her power in conducting the audience; a curious and hungry collective, her 'little monsters,' who watched on eagerly as she displayed some fifteen costume changes, including a futuristic, clear perspex-clad nun, a 'living' angel costume complete with mechanical wings, and a hilarious Cousin-It-style, head-to-toe blonde hair outfit. Writing this, I am unsure as to whether this should in fact be published within theatre reviews. Other theatrical devices included a mobile subway car, the constant stream of male-heavy backing dancers in bondage clothing, a 15-ft 'monster' and a mini-performance where her dancers, dressed as demonic black crows, attacked poor, innocent Gaga until she spilled fake blood all over Barely-There-Leotard #85 and leather clad GBF's lost their feathers and displayed their oiled bodies. It was all very homoerotic and histrionic.
Inevitably, the two-hour long show had to come to an end, but not before Gaga executed the hits (Just Dance, Paparazzi, LoveGame, Bad Romance, Telephone) without flaw, acting as the ne plus ultra of aesthetic thrill. With the presence of a harpist almost constantly onstage, she proved herself as a new queen of innovativity, best expressed with 'The Fame;' “I'm obsessively opposed to the typical...” and Gaga seemed adamant in securing her place in the ivy league of the industry for some time to come, displaying clear influence of Prince, Bowie, and Mercury in her stage performance and looking almost tearful as the curtain fell. She'll chase you down until you love her. There ain't no other superstar like Lady Gaga right now. Less than a year ago, I scowled at the idea of watching her perform at Glastonbury, opting for an indian head massage or something instead. The mere opening chords of 'Poker Face' made me flee. Now, Gaga has me eating out of her dirty little palm.