Lady Gaga at the 3Arena, Dublin – Review
Lady Gaga. Two words that either incur eye-rolling or avid excitement, some despise her over-theatrical mannerisms whilst others clearly align themselves with the Mother Monster, see her as a musical revelations. To be honest, I wasn’t sure where I stood, I liked her music, I liked that she was passionate, but I didn’t know if I was quite the Little Monster when I set out to the 3Arena last night. yet as avid fans travelled in their droves to see Gaga before her only Irish date this year, it was hard to shake the pulsing enthusiasm that rolled off them in waves, many spoke of her “Born This Way Tour” claiming it to be both a visual and musical feast. It’s safe to say that Gaga puts as much into her live performances as she does into her set and choreography, the girl next to me commented that one could not simply focus on one element of the show, it was a menagerie of people dressed of butterflies, glitter and confetti, and numerous costume changes. Emerging through a trap door in a plume of smoke, looking like some sort of sci-fi angel with golden spider wings, encircled by a handful of dancers, losing their minds to pumping techno music. Bursting on the stage with the title track of her third album, ‘Art Pop’, donning a gold, shimmering leotard, Gaga’s voice is as powerful live as it is on her album, a rare occurrence in music these days. Her set initially focused on the firm fan favourites from Art Pop, ranging from ‘G.U.Y’ to ‘Venus’. An array of shimmering lights and confetti twinkling through the air, you can’t help but get into the swing of a rave atmosphere. Looking out into the sea of people that had been crammed into the arena, it’s obvious that Gaga’s fans extend far beyond on the category of the twentysomethings, as I noticed a man in business suit rocking out to “Do What U Want”, glow stick in hand. A sight that had to be seen.
What’s even more impressive than her fan-base are her multiple costume changes, choosing to do her costume change (which left little to the imagination) for ‘Bad Romance’ in front of the audience. Normally, costume changes that interfere with the performance incite a sense of mild fury within me. But she did so with such speed and each was incredibly different to the last one she had donned that I couldn’t help but feel a little spark of admiration in me, she doesn’t let it hinder her routine- she uses it as a means of reflecting the varying meanings of the songs. How she manages to keep the wigs on her scalp will remain a mystery to me, I could only watch in awe as she swung a butterscotch-shade mane of hair around and simultaneously played guitar. “She’s hideously talented, isn’t she?” my friend said. It’s true, she is. She makes the smoothest of transitions from leading her dance troupe in a routine to “Just Dance” to then sitting at the piano as she sung a heartfelt rendition of “Dope”- which she said was dedicated to anyone who, like her, had suffered from any form of addiction. She is a performer and musician who extends a hand to her fans through her lyrics and soaring vocals. People will say that the way she speaks to her fans, trying to unite them through their love of themselves, their uniqueness, fashion, art, and music, is a little contrived, I can’t say if that’s the case after watching her perform last night. Taking a tiny fan, almost screaming in delight at the fact that it was “a genuine Dublin kid”, Gaga wrapped an arm around her as she sung and it seemed like the most sincere action, I don’t even care if it wasn’t, her fan’s tears of delight rolling down her cheeks demonstrated that she had made someone’s night.
Her show is some sort of grandiose combination of a concert, fashion show, and performance art (her recital of ‘Swine’ cements the latter, where her dancers projected paint form their mouths onto a canvas as she sang). She also has wondrously cool jazz moments, speaking of her latest collaboration with Tony Bennett and dressed like Cher, she sang a deliciously slow and bubbling version of ‘Bang Bang’, showing that she is just as talented without a billion, body-painted dancers shimmering in the background. The sane went for her encore of ‘Gypsy’, it was the perfect closing number, a vibrant song that allowed her to show just what a multi-talented artist she is. After last night, watching her perform the fan favourites and some of her newer tracks, I can safely say it is the most insanely vivacious and animated performance I have ever witnessed. Similarly, she is the most dramatic, emotional, and animated artist I have had the good fortune to see live, I’m excited what direction her next musical release will take and how any future tours will top this one.
Review by Elaine McDonald