Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lady Gaga and her little monsters, last night at Sprint Center

A review of the Lady Gaga extravanza at the Sprint Center.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 11:32 AM

From the Sprint Center Facebook page.
  • From the Sprint Center Facebook page.
Sunday night, on Twitter, Lady Gaga shouted out Kansas City ribs. She did so again Monday night, during the encore of her show at the Sprint Center. She was perched up on the third floor of the elaborate castle that serves as the stage backdrop for shows on the Born This Way Ball, her current tour. The song was "The Edge of Glory," and she was doing that thing performers sometimes do where they tell personal stories in between the formal lyrics of the song.

"I ate some of your ribs last night, Kansas City," Gaga said, to big, wild, proud roars from the crowd. Then she sang part of the verse of "The Edge of Glory." Then she goes, "That's when I knew tonight was going to be a great night. Because anybody that can barbecue a piece of meat like that is OK with me." And everybody screamed, and then Gaga sang more of the song. Then dancers appeared, and the lights started flashing, and the music kicked up into a disco-beat power ballad, and the drunk girls in the row behind me started shrieking their horrible shrieks again, and that was pretty much the end of the rib story. We never learned where the ribs came from. Probably not Oklahoma Joe's. It's closed on Sundays.

Thats a horse right there.
  • That's a horse right there.
Maybe the ribs came from Adam? Like in the Bible? Such grandiosity would not have been out of place at last night's show. Over the course of two and a half hours (it felt like five), we watched Gaga's "birth"; we tried to make sense of a convoluted story line about aliens and government territories and the dawn of some new utopian race; and we listened to Gaga get all Joel Osteen on us, preaching during the downtime between songs about the many struggles and obstacles she overcame along the way to becoming the kind of performer who requires a living horse as part of her stage show.

This is the birth scene.
  • This is the birth scene.
The evening opened with a procession of dancers dressed as soldiers marching around the looped stage walkway. The music was ominous, and the dancers were wearing mostly black, and some carried flags with "G.O.A.T." emblazoned on them. (G.O.A.T. stands for "Government Owned Alien Territory," according to the Internet search I just did.) I am not sure whether the masked person riding the horse was Gaga or not. But at the end of this scene, which was set to a song called "Highway Unicorn" (I guess the horse was supposed to be a unicorn?), there came a moment when a Pulp Fiction-like gimp mimed oral sex on whoever had been previously riding the horse, which led me to believe that it was Gaga. Then this disembodied 3-D face that was floating up by the rafters lit up and announced that Gaga was an alien fugitive and that there was a mission to "kill the bitch." What? Then the lights went low, and when they came up, we bore witness to the birth of Gaga? About one-half of the stage was now occupied by a giant sculpture of a pregnant stomach. There was a zipper where the vagina opening would be. Gaga stood above it wearing a yellow rubbery dress and said some stuff about being born. Then she disappeared for a moment down into this fake body and unzipped the zipper from the inside and crawled out of the vagina. Cue "Born This Way."

The crowd: What you'd expect. Screaming tween girls; gay teens; sorority girls wearing tiny black skirts with fishnet stockings; middle-aged accountants wearing tiny black skirts with fishnet stockings; guys in very detailed drag outfits; and more than a couple of people with black-and-white skeleton face paint.

I counted 12 backup dancers, half men, half women. They wore a variety of skimpy outfits, and obviously they all had perfect bodies. The band played from inside the castle - guitarists shredding up in the turrets, the drummer and DJ down on the first floor. The walkway out into the crowd was shaped vaguely like a pentagon. Inside its loop were a couple of hundred especially lucky fans - "little monsters," as Gaga adoringly refers to them.

As you might have already noticed, I lack the fashion vocabulary necessary to do justice to Gaga's progressive sense of style and many costume changes. It's possible that some of these clothes don't even have names yet, because Gaga just invented them. I mean, the hats alone - there was an oversized beret thing, there were a couple of huge, oval-shaped ones that looked like circus peanuts. There were hats where I didn't even know if they were hats or not. It was like seeing a color you've never seen before.

For "You and I" (also known as the song that sounds like a Shania Twain song), Gaga draped herself in an American flag and strutted around like a real American girl. At the end of the song, she slid about 10 feet across the top of the stage and held a pose with her left leg kicked up.

On "Just Dance," Gaga was wearing more of a pink princess type of outfit, hanging out on the third floor of her castle. Halfway through, one of her backup dancers handed her an oversized pink keytar that she pretended to play for a while.

At one point, she came out dressed kind of like Donatella Versace, with those big tinted sunglasses that are shaped like Oakley baseball sunglasses.

She gave a shout-out to Beyonce and her Super Bowl performance during "Telephone."

During "Alejandro," she was just lounging on a red couch that looked like a small intestine. At one point during the song, I happened to glance up to the second floor of the castle, and one of the shirtless dancers was miming doggy-style sex on another shirtless dancer.

As far as I could tell, the floating 3-D head handled vocals on "Paparazzi."

For "Poker Face," she arrived onstage hanging from a meat hook, in between large cuts of fake meat.

Once, she said, "Suck my dick, Kansas City!" But she meant it in a positive way, or something? Later on, she said something about how she "birthed all of [us] out of her pussy."

There came a moment when she pulled four of the little monsters from the pit onstage, and they sat around the piano and Gaga played a slow version of "Born This Way." Then she called a special fan in the audience. "Hopefully whoever it is isn't in the bathroom right now," she said. But it turned out that the person she called wasn't in the bathroom. Actually, he happened to have a microphone connected to his cellphone, so the whole crowd could hear their conversation. Also, the folks in charge of lighting on this tour are really on their game, because they were able to find this unsuspecting fan and shine the spotlight on him about one second after he answered the phone.

The fan - a gay teenager wearing lots of eyeliner - told Gaga that "every day I get called a fag, and I just say, 'Forget it.'" Gaga got choked up. "I'm so lucky to have fans like you," she said. "You're so brave. You inspire me."

"You set me free," the kid said.

A few songs later, Gaga announced that it was "time to leave G.O.A.T. and invade Earth and Artpop!" (Artpop is the name of her upcoming album; I can't elucidate the other parts of this statement.) She left the stage for about nine minutes and returned for "The Edge of Glory" and "Marry the Night." She invited four more pit members onstage, and at the end of the song, they all huddled together on the part of the stage where the floor is mechanized, and somebody somewhere pressed a button and the five of them descended down into the darkness below.

Set List:

Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)
Government Hooker
Born This Way
Black Jesus - Amen Fashion
Bloody Mary
Bad Romance
Fashion of His Love
Just Dance
Love Game
Electric Chapel
Heavy Metal Lover
Bad Kids
The Queen
Yoü and I
Born This Way (solo, on piano)
Poker Face


The Edge of Glory
Marry the Night

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