Somehwere in the middle of last night’s show, Lady Gaga paused for one of her many monologues. I forgot what she was going on about — self-love, growing up or something we’ve heard before — but then came the poignant truth for the evening.
“I may ask you, who is Lady Gaga?” she said, followed by a full-on dramatic pause. “I am you.”
Amid over-the-top theatrics, high-energy songs and calorie-killing dancing, this was the message that Gaga reinforced throughout her marathon Born This Way Ball. How Gaga straddles the line between ridiculous and heartfelt may be her real talent because the near-capacity crowd at American Airlines Center was under her spell and roared about it.
When the curtain fell to reveal what I could only describe as Castle Grayskull without the skull, the excitement level amped up from zero to 60 in a nanosecond. From her entrance on a (human) horse amid a flag corps for “Highway Unicorn” to the inflated bottom half of female torso giving birth out of a zipper vagina for “Born this Way” (duh), expectation was thrown out the window early because that all happened in the first trio of songs. Yeah.
Checking off the stage antics, there were floating brides for “Bloody Mary,” the now-famous Grammy egg for “Bad Romance,” meat couture for “Americano” along with a meat couch and her entrance as a living motorcycle for “Heavy Metal Lover” that overloaded all senses. What more could she give in such a packed show? Oh, lots.
Gaga jam-packed the show with a set list that counted up to 25 songs. She really pushed tracks off of Born This Way but she’d hardly forget her first hits. When the synths began “Just Dance,” she described it as the song that changed her life. Gaga relishes in her fame but doesn’t disregard its impact whether on her or the fans (she asked if we remembered first hearing the song). Will she do that in 20 years? Who knows, but the way she made it sound, her rise to fame was a journey for all the people.
Is that kind of self-indulgent talk worthwhile? Anyone (minus the few conservative, straight men that had perplexed looks on their faces the whole time) in that building would say yes. And they’d be right. Gaga reinforces her own story, her fight for equal rights and embracing your inner freak over and over, and although sometimes it just felt like a rehash of Monsters Ball chatter, it worked just as well. Her one-of-the-people posturing felt genuine and was only added to when she brought fans onstage. The most touching moment of the night happened when she sat at the piano with a four lucky fans singing a scaled back reprise of “Born This Way.” It was the time to catch your breath and even shed a tear.
And then a meat grinder came out for “Americano” as she hung with other carcasses in her meat-mini and meaty bikinis for the dancers. Did I mention the meat couch that was also a part of the set?
Clearly she was relentlessness in giving a dynamic performance, making it feel like it was the first show of her tour. She shocked, she touched, she served diva realness, and like those four fans onstage (as well as the ones who joined her in the “Marry the Night” finale), she made everyone feel special.