Art and Performing Arts Review

Concert Review: Lady Gaga Born This Way Ball

By Zaki JufriEvents - 29 May 2012 5:08 PM | Updated 5:20 PM

Concert Review: Lady Gaga Born This Way Ball

Do people really care if there’s some sort of plot to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball concert? If there is a coherent story-line linking a ‘medieval castle’ (or what the star refers to as the ‘electric chapel’), a ‘horse’, a really freaky ‘birthing’ scene’ and an equally freaky giant talking Lady Gaga head? Embedded in which are themes of acceptance, independence, dancing and loads of PVC costumes? The answer is: no.

Honestly, none of this made any sense to us but, hey, it’s Lady Gaga.

Call her whatever you want: attention seeker, blasphemer, weirdo. But Lady Gaga really is — a stellar performer. Even if you strip her spectacle down, you have a very talented 26-year old woman who has a knack for putting on one helluva performance. 

The pop star demonstrated just that in her trademark audacious and outlandish fashion on Monday night, preaching to the converted, all 11,000 of them — her devoted ‘Little Monsters’ — at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Lady Gaga channels Lady Liberty in 'Love Game'

She kicked off the first of her three-night sold out shows here (28-29, 31 May) in true Gaga fashion with opening song ‘Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)’, horse and all. This epic entrance had the star literally up on a high horse, alluding that everyone is entitled to love, no matter what their sexual orientation. This was followed by a mock ‘birthing’ scene in ‘Born This Way’, complete with massive inflatable legs (which looked like a giant rubber chicken from where we were sitting), out of which popped — surprise, surprise — Gaga herself. It’s not as gross as it sounds, as Gaga just poked out of a zipper in between these giant legs.

Songs bearing titles like ‘Black Jesus † Amen Fashion’, ‘Bloody Mary’ and ‘Judas’ being sung in front of an ‘electric chapel’ have raised the ire of religious groups in some countries in the region, but we saw nothing sacrilegious here. Gaga’s aim in her show, as it has been in all her work, is to provoke, shock and, of course, entertain — part of her so-called performance art.

The three-storey medieval castle dominating the stage was a truly amazing prop. It roved around, spun and split open for the singer and her dancers to prance around, adding dimension and versatility to their performance.

Her choreography (including seamless costume changes — we stopped counting at five — and several ascents from below the floorboards) is amazing stuff, but what really stood out was that voice.

Gaga one ups the meat-dress with a meat sofa

Her voice was a powerhouse throughout the show (especially on ‘Hair’ and ‘You and I’) — on key and in tune. It was a stunning reminder: beneath the blood and latex, is a fantastic vocalist.

Undoubtedly, the highlight of the night will be her stripped-down and impassioned performance of ‘Hair’, an empowering track about embracing who you are, on a motorbike-mounted piano no less.

She also spoke openly about her childhood and about how she was bullied in school. “I didn’t want to tell my mum and dad, I didn’t want them to know I was a real loser,” she said, choking with emotion. Certainly, she’s become an empowering presence for many women, the LGBT community and all of her ‘Little Monsters’. In fact, the story of Lady Gaga’s life and career, from her strange get ups, to her meteoric rise from nightclub performer to arena superstar, to the constant speculation about her real gender; is as interesting and colourful as her stage shows.

Gaga then ramped up the tempo and raced through songs ‘Electric Chapel’, ‘Americano’, ‘Poker Face’, ‘Alejandro’ — in a Rob Halford-Judas Priest inspired robe followed by the infamous meat dress and then a ‘Tank Girl’ inspired get-up with machine-gun bra. Not to mention lots of homo-erotic gyrating by her hunky male dancers on a ‘meat sofa’. She ended with the electro-rap ‘Scheisse’ that had all her little monsters pumping their paws and singing their hearts out, even the verses in German.

Doing the 'Rhythm Nation'-thang on 'Scheisse'

After performing for over two hours, Lady Gaga closed the show with an encore version of ’Marry the Night’, a motivational dance number off her ’Born This Way’ album.

From start to finish and from top to bottom, the concert was absolutely innovative and creative. To be sure, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball was an overtly super-sexual and vivid exhibition — a musical spectacle that’s truly out of this world.