Monday, April 25, 2011

I have only two words for you: Lady. Gaga.

After the miserable turtle soup experience, we hopped in the car and drove out to Uniondale. The show was at the Nassau Coliseum (the same place we saw A. R. Rahman last summer) and is a really nice venue.

Having learned from our mistake of getting to the Elton John show on time, we arrived for an 8pm show at 6:30. This meant a bit of waiting, but it also meant free shirts! Good thing, too, since the cheapest concert shirts were $40. I got an awesome poster instead.

The first opening act started at about 8:20. It was some DJ chick dancing around in a feather headdress to metal. It was so bad, I'm not even going to waste time on how terrible it was.

At about 8:45, the real opening act started. I'd never heard of Semi Precious Weapons before, but holy crap, new love. This guy is fierce.

SPW played for about 45 minutes and they were awesome. Old friends of Lady Gaga's, the lead singer told a few stories about her. Then he took his pants off. I'm pretty sure every person in the audience wanted a piece of that. I'm normally not really into opening acts, but I'd definitely go see a show of theirs again if I get the chance.

We had about an hour wait in between SPW and Gaga while the stage was set, but this meant that people (us) who had had far too much tea that morning were able to relieve themselves. Repeatedly.

I don't really know how to begin speaking about Lady Gaga's performance. To say it was amazing would be a gross understatement. I do know that I have never before been to a concert when I did not at some point think "I wonder when it will be over?" The entire audience was enthralled. She was on stage for about two hours, and sang all but a few songs from The Fame and Fame Monster, and a few from her soon to be released album. But, again, that is not doing her justice, because the concert was only partially about the music.

I should really be calling it an event. Everyone knows that she wears crazy outfits; I'm not sure everyone appreciates that she changes outfits between every few songs. Some have tear-away parts, some include fake blood, and some have breast sparklers. Her sets were on the level of Wicked!, including a lime-green automobile, a subway car, and a massive angler-fish/octopus monster. Even the costumes and the sets were not the most spectacular part - although I will say I'm a little in love with one of her back up dancers, they were all beautiful.

It was her sincerity and feeling that made the show what it was. It was the gay community that truly helped launch her career, and she has repaid them passionately. Her current project is helping homeless youth in NYC, many of whom were kicked out of their homes due to their sexual orientation. I know a few people who have experienced this, so it made her interest in that topic personal.

She communicated with the audience, and truly seemed to appreciate us. At one point various gifts were flung onstage, and she took time to look at as many as possible. One was a fleshlight, or something like it (I won't link to that one - if you know what it is, good, if not, find it on your own) with a note stuffed in it. She was highly amused at that gift, squealing "Ohh, let's see what your vagina has to say!" She seemed to accept the request to go backstage after the show. Someone else gave her a t shirt depicting three soldiers walking out of a closet, carrying a rainbow flag. If anyone can find a website for this shirt, let me know, I couldn't.

Most powerful to me was her discussion on bullying. She started by talking about the people who disregard the message behind her music and say it is all a publicity stunt. Those people don't get it, she said, because they may have never experienced the pain and humiliation that comes with bullying. She told one story about herself; she was friends in high school with a group of guys who were also friends with some girls who hated her. In an attempt to amuse those other girls, they threw this tiny, eccentric girl into a trash can. She said she tried to laugh it off, to seem in on the joke, when in reality it was taking all of her self control to not cry.

Having been on the end of severe bullying in middle school, I was deeply moved. It was awful to think that other people had been treated as badly as I was, and I'm sure far worse in some cases, but also cathartic to know that I was not alone, and that I have grown so much as a person in the decade since then. She transitioned from bullying to the song Teeth, one of my favorites, and it will forever-more have a deeper meaning and powerful memories.

She finished the concert with Bad Romance, my favorite song of hers to sing along with, and by the end my voice was pretty much shot, which wasn't helped by the fact that she bounded back on stage to perform Born This Way.

What better message can you put in a song than to love yourself and everyone else just as we are? "Same DNA".

Just as I have never been so engrossed in a concert that I didn't think about how long it was going, I have never wanted to see an artist again as I was still walking out of the audience. Dave was practically giddy, asking to "ride that one again", and Jin said "she fucking blew my mind". That is about the summation of the concert. It was an two hour explosion of sight, sound and emotion, and I can't wait to see her again. Paws up for Mother Monster.

Advice for people attending future Gaga concerts: Take your camera. Not only are you not checked for them, she encourages their use. And there really are some things you will want pictures of, whether it is her stripping to her underwear or the guy in front of you dressed as Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

Credit: The pre-show photo of Hannah and I is from the Facebook group Gaga for NYIT

As I hadn't taken a camera with me, and wouldn't have been able to take photos anyway (we were way up in the stands to stage right), here are some links to good concert photos. She puts in a hell of a show.

Trang's Blog - 3/29/2010

LittleMonstersGallery - 2/19/2011

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