Friday, July 23, 2010
Concert review and photos: Lady Gaga and Semi-Precious Weapons at American Airlines Center (July 22)
It was the greatest pop show our reviewer has ever seen.
DALLAS The American Airlines Center endured the ultimate in crazy fandom last night for the first of two Lady Gaga concerts. Whatever I had prepared myself for it wasn’t nearly enough, because parading through Victory Park in all directions were Little Monsters donning leather, rubber, sequins, glitter, platforms boots, and balloon-covered bikinis. And those were just the boys! It was a delightful sensory overload of painted faces, shredded fishnet tights, and puffy bows. I was so pumped I didn’t even mind the $4.50 bottle of Aquafina.
Semi-Precious Weapons opened. The glam rock quartet from New York was nothing short of a shock and awe show that put an ear-to-ear Cheshire grin on my face. Some of the younger girls dressed in their latexed Gaga best seemed surprised by Semi-Precious Weapons' act but lovingly embraced the overtly sexual, sequined high heel-wearing frontman Justin Trantor and his pack of hysterically fun misfit bandmates. Trantor humped the stage in his flesh-toned spandex leggings and jiggled his ass as he proclaimed, “We’re here to get you beautiful, filthy Texans wet and excited for Lady Gaga!”
Their sound is definitely a nod to late ‘80s hair metal, with a bit of a New York Dolls twist in style and attitude. They were wildly entertaining to watch as Trantor led the packed AAC in a back and forth “LADY! GAGA!” chant to get them riled. Overall, Semi-Precious Weapons were a deliciously shameless and fascinating gender-bending alternative as the opening act.
After SPW, I could only imagine we were in for complete insanity next. And it was. If there’s one thing Lady Gaga does, it's perform. Her set started with an enormous countdown screen that projected conceptual videos, and as the screen lifted, an ear-splitting shrill blanketed the stadium seating, as if an airplane had just taken off.
Gaga had more than five set/stage changes, starting with a city street setup complete with an old jalopy that, upon lifting its hood, turned into a keyboard that she wailed on. “Just Dance” was one of her first songs, followed by a number of hits like “Fame” and “Telephone” throughout. It was refreshing that she didn't hold out on her fans until the very end.
Her costumes were impeccable and bizarre, from black latex bikinis to an X-rated, transparent, and seemingly rubberized nun getup. Avant-garde would be an understatement, and my very high ensemble expectations were fulfilled.
Needless to say there was a lot going on on stage, with a full band including a violin player, two backup singers, about 15 dancers, and her old drag queen roommate named Ponch. Coincidentally (or completely intentional) her hair was cut in true early ‘90s Madonna fashion – a yellow-blond bob just above the shoulder with a slight wave – an appropriate nod to the woman who mothered Gaga’s attitude as well as her concert aesthetic.
Say what you will about her songs – obviously they’re not everyone’s cup of spiked tea – but the woman jumped through hoops for her fans (literally), making her completely lovable in my eyes. Lady Gaga and her Monster Ball Tour was a celebration of personal freedom. Gaga proclaimed, “I created this so that my fans have a place to go to be who they are!” and frequently encouraged the audience to let their inner freak fly. And honestly, in the current and concurrent climate of kids dying to be seen as hip(ster), I applaud her.
The entire two-hour concert, including her 10 costume changes, was a practice in the ultimate in theatrics. You could argue that it was too much, but that’s what the fans came for. She embodies “too much.” And, her musical prowess is impressive, especially in the ballad “Speechless,” where she dominated her elaborate grand piano that spewed fire. If fans didn't come for a show ending with a giant octopus engulfing the stage, or crotch wrangling backup dancers, or levitating stages, or an angel with fire-blazing wings spilling blood-hued water from its feet, then they should’ve stayed home and watched Antiques Roadshow reruns.
City: Act 1
Dance in the Dark
Glitter and Grease
Beautiful, Dirty, Rich
Subway: Act 2
Boys Boys Boys
You and I
So Happy I Could Die
Forest: Act 3
- Film -
- Film -
Monster Ball: Act 4
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