With Semi Precious Weapons
American Airlines Arena
April 13, 2011
Better Than: A Slurpee on a cool day in a hot room.
Not since a 1990-something Ani DiFranco show has so much talking been heard coming from the stage at a concert. The funny thing is, Lady Gaga's performance last night was as heartfelt, loving, unironic, and sincere as an Ani show. (If you're too young to remember DiFranco, please use Google.) It's like Mother Monster's got all of Madonna's gimmicks -- the Jesus, the cone boobs, etc. But she still comes off like DiFranco -- kinda gay, caring but strange, though less earthy, definitely less earthy than Ani.
At times, the Gaga performance at the American Airlines Arena was part self-help seminar, a little like a public therapy session. But it was also similar to a charismatic church sermon. Oh, and it felt like a Broadway show too. She talked about her own journey to the stage, told everyone they'd have their own stage one day, preached to the audience while laying on the floor, and wriggled through tons of synchronized dancing.
Like a socially intelligent person, Lady Gaga name-dropped Miami approximately 1,000 times, so that we, Miami, knew that she was in this with us. It was flattering, we must admit. Gaga's a great singer and performer. It was just all the lecturing about how we need to accept ourselves that made the event occasionally uncomfortable. Well, that, and all the mohawks and crotch grabbing.
The show actually started an hour and a half after the doors opened, so when the panting audience saw her shadow behind the screen, people were screaming heartily. A voice said, "Now we're never gonna make it to the Monster Ball." And a lime-green blonde Gaga responded, "Yes, you will. I'll take you there." Um, aren't we there already? Is this the Monster Ball? Wait, where are we?
This monster mob was almost exclusively comprised of older gay men and teenaged girls, all of which made non-stop clawing motions at each other and the stage. There were tons of people dressed in Gaga garb, including one teen boy who donned leather, knee-high spike heels.
Then the talking began and rarely stopped.
Some dude that is possibly actually a dude said, "What's the Monster Ball?"
Gaga noted, "Well, the Monster Ball will set you free."
Dude's all, "I can be whoever or whatever I want to be?"
Gaga's like, "Tonight in Miami, we're gonna be super free little monsters!"
The nicest thing Gaga did was interact with the audience a ton. People were throwing gifts onto the stage and she was accepting them gratefully. One girl tossed a crown up and Gaga put it on for a bit, kissed it, and threw it back into the crowd. A pillow bearing the image of Ariel from "Little Mermaid" inspired an impromptu "Part of Your World." And another little monster sent a book flying Gaga's way and she read from it, like a loving mother to a group of 20,000 little ones.
Next, Ms. Germanotta played the title song from her new album "You and I" on the piano. It sounds like a soulful Sheryl Crow pop country tune. Who knew she had it in her? And then during the encore, it became clear that "Born This Way" sounds like a hybrid of TLC's "Waterfalls" and Madonna's "Express Yourself." Please go listen to it again with these songs in mind. You'll be surprised by the accuracy of this assessment. Really.
Then Lady Gaga emerged with sparks shooting out of her boobs. The whole thing didn't make a ton of sense. But it was definitely entertaining. And that's really the thing about Lady Gaga at this point: She's got a lot of good stuff here. And though it's not always crystal clear and conceptually sound, it's got our total attention.
Gaga's got us little and big monsters right where she wants us.
Spotted In The Crowd: Shirtless men.
Overheard In The Crowd: "What does this sound like? Country?"
Personal Bias: "Bad Romance" is a rad dance song.
Lady Gaga's Setlist
City, Act 1
Subway, Act 2
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