Concert Review: Lady Gaga Goes Back to Her Roots at Madison Square Garden

Words such as shy, soft-spoken, or introverted will never be used in any conversation about the outrageously over-the-top musical icon known as Lady Gaga. It seems like only yesterday we heard whispers of this new “edgy” artist who wore blonde bow-tied wigs, plastic bubbles, and a rainbow variety of latex. Her 2008 studio album, “The Fame,” became one of the biggest releases of 2009. But her follow-up EP, “The Fame Monster,” made her a superstar with hits like “Bad Romance” and her duet with Beyoncé, “Telephone.”

The whispers are now roars of applause from droves of diehard fans, known as “little monsters,” that are goo-goo for Gaga. Tuesday night’s performance at Madison Square Garden played host to her fifth and final sold-out show in New York City. Cameras rolled for an upcoming HBO special, ready to capture the essence of this pop culture phenomenon. The stage was transformed into a pinnacle of fabulously freakish perverted perfection. From the opening song, “Dance in the Dark,” Gaga played a sinister version of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz with an array of off-the-chart avant-garde attire.

Gaga pumped out countless wardrobe changes: purple studded shoulder pads, transparent Saran Wrap dresses, metal spikes, duct-tape pasties, and leather panties. Also, an über-out-of-this-world white, whimsical gown with a battery-operated headdress that puts Glenda the Good Witch’s garbs to shame. Had there been flying monkeys in the mix, she surely would have clipped their wings and added the feathers to her ensemble.

However, for a pop star who is more known for costumes than vocals, enticing an audience with a strong voice is a noble feat. Gaga belted out familiar fan favorites like “Just Dance,” “Paparazzi,” and “Poker Face.”  But the vocal highlight was an a cappella performance of her latest No. 1 hit, “Born This Way,” on which Ms. Stephanie Germanotta (Gaga’s given name) held her own with a trio of church-singing sisters. Perhaps with the right lighting, the audience, peering through squinted eyes, could have easily mistaken Gaga as Jennifer Hudson—just on voice alone.

Not only could she belt out a tune, but she picked up any instrument and strummed, banged, or plucked—all while she balanced in skyscraping stilettos. Prince is one of few artists who’s mastered all of these skills; he is probably in Paisley Park right now writing some tracks for Ms. Germanotta.

Performing a mere 20 blocks away from her childhood New York City home, Lady Gaga made no apologizes for being a woman of her own creation. The self-proclaimed advocate for gay and lesbian rights shouted endless words of encouragement. Her message, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or financial status: Everyone is special and can achieve their personal dreams. Most importantly, she encouraged all to give a big “F you” to any naysayer who may try to discourage those dreams. Whether you love hip-hop, R&B, funk, or pop, Lady Gaga’s concert will not leave you ”Speechless.” On the contrary, you will be ranting about the "Monster Ball" tour for weeks to come.  As she said minutes before “Bad Romance” ended, “When people ask you how it was at the Monster Ball, you'll tell them, ‘We burnt the place to the f**king ground!’”



Image:  Jason Merritt/Getty Images

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