In the spring of 2008, I received a watermarked CD from an artist named Lady GaGa. The disc was called The Fame and I was excited by what I heard. There were no pictures attached to the recording and I had no idea what this Lady GaGa looked like. I reviewed The Fame in August of 2008 and waited around for its United States release date of October 28, 2008.
On the night of January 11, 2013, I saw Lady Gaga perform at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. In front of a horde of “little monsters,” I watched the artist I first heard in spring of 2008 take over like the most accomplished of performers. I watched as she captivated a couple of senior citizens two rows up from me and I watched as she made a bald guy in his 40s dance like nobody was watching. I watched as she delighted small children and brought teenagers to tears.
Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball is her third concert tour. It is in support of her 2011 recording Born This Way and it commenced in Vancouver, BC, Canada on January 11. She performed again in Vancouver the following night. The Canadian dates kicked off the North American leg of the tour after a whirlwind run that started in South Korea in April of 2012.
The backdrop, a massive castle/cathedral, housed Lady Gaga’s band and whirled around constantly to reveal new sets and new opportunities for song delivery. She first emerged on a mechanical horse and did a loop around the walkway to a massive squall of cheers. It was the first of many deafening, seemingly non-stop blasts from the appreciative Vancouver crowd.
She sang “Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)” from Born This Way and disappeared on her horse, emerging for “Government Hooker” and a barrage of hits. A diamond-shaped prism, Mother GOAT, commenced “Operation: Kill the Bitch” and served as the show’s narrator. A story emerged that informed the audience that Gaga was a “space renegade” and she had escaped.
The “space renegade” sailed through tracks like “Born This Way,” “Judas,” “Just Dance,” Telephone,” and others with the roaring approval of the crowd. They didn’t seem to mind that she was possibly an escaped alien or an “enigmatic fugitive.”
And they sure didn’t mind when Lady Gaga took to “Bad Romance,” offering a thunderous, ear-shattering ovation that lasted for several minutes. People in my section stomped their feet and threw their hands in the air.
Between many of the songs, Gaga would address the crowd with personal stories and would single out certain members. She found a girl named Julia who had just turned 18 and sang “Happy Birthday.” Later, she called a 16-year-old girl on her cell phone and gave out some money to charity. She also invited the stunned concertgoer backstage for a “big bag of tea.”
To say the show was electric would be an understatement. For all the criticism launched her way by artists and onlookers who fancy themselves above such theatrics or so-called gibberish, Lady Gaga and her fans simply don’t give a fuck. She gave her all in Vancouver.
I’ll never forget receiving her first recording in spring of 2008. I’ll never forget calling it “as inspiring a dance debut as I’ve heard in a long while.”
A lot has happened between that day in 2008 and the night in January of 2013. I’ve reviewed a lot of records since and been to other shows. I’ve made friends and I’ve quietly read big-headed, snotty tirades of musicians, authors and writers I respect and cherish about Lady Gaga and other similar artists. I’ve heard the detachments over music reach fever pitches, tunnelling like spikes into my ears with witlessness and scorn their only constants.
With 2013 in full swing and hundreds more records sure to be reviewed this year at Canadian Audiophile, I couldn’t be happier to have started things with Lady Gaga and her “little monsters” in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Paws up.