Going goo goo for Gaga’s Monster Ball concert

Photo courtesy Judy Hong.

Ashleigh Heaton

Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Concert: Outrageous and skimpy costumes. Borderline pornographic dance moves. Smatterings of profanity.

In other words? It was amazing.

The performance on March 14 at the American Airlines Center was Gaga’s second time to perform the concert in Dallas, the first being only this last summer. Though most performers would crash from such a strenuous performance schedule, Gaga can sum up her motivation: at one point in the evening, Gaga fell to the floor, breathing hard, and said, “You know, guys…I’m kind of like Tinker Bell. I need applause to live.”

As per Gaga’s style, the concert is not your traditional listen-to-me-play-a-few-songs-then-leave event. Instead, Gaga opts to add a loose storyline to the evening, making it more of a “pop opera”. The evening begins with Gaga and her friends trying to get to the Monster Ball, and as their car breaks down, they get lost in the city and forest before finally arriving at the Ball.

The highlights of the evening are Gaga’s most popular songs: the up-beat dancing of “Telephone”, “Alejandro” and, of course, the grand finale at the Monster Ball with “Bad Romance”. She surprised everyone with an encore performance of “Born This Way”, similar to her performance at the Grammys, and the energy in the room screamed in approval of the chart-topping single.

Photo courtesy Judy Hong.

However, the true gem of the evening is not one of her well-known singles. Towards the middle of the show, Gaga sat down at a piano (which was literally on fire) and slowed down the tempo, performing a ballad version of “Born This Way” and a beautiful love song, “You and I”, which will appear on the Born This Way album in May.

Impressively, none of the songs were lip-synched; Gaga sang and danced through the entire two-hour concert. I note this point because many people assume she has little talent in terms of singing – however, in some cases she sounded better live than she does in recording. Gaga has always first and foremost been a solid performer, and it truly showed throughout the night.

In-between numbers, Gaga usually takes a few moments to talk to her fans (if she was not having to strap on a ludicrously complicated outfit). Most of her mini-speeches preached self-acceptance and a sincere adoration of her fans; one of my friends who went with me noticed, “the only time she truly smiled was when she was talking about her fans.” She also used the time to promote a cause she has been passionate about from the beginning of her career: youth homelessness, especially in cases of violence and abuse caused by homophobia.

Photo courtesy Judy Hong.

Of course, I speak as a fan of the performer – I am sure someone who is not a huge Lady Gaga enthusiast would hate the evening (see: any music critic). The concert, however, was not just about the music – it was about the vibe of the fans, the experience of being there and feeling the power of acceptance. Everyone knew all the words to her songs, knew all the key dance moves, knew they could be as outlandish as possible without fear of being made fun of. In the words of Gaga, she “gave the freaks a place to gather and locked the door”.

For those of you who could not be at the show, all I can say is you missed an incredibly fun experience. Even though Gaga is planning on releasing a DVD recording of the concert within the next year, you will only get half of the feeling of what the event was all about from watching it – the other half, you have to have the energy of thousands of people around you to understand.