Mar 1, 2011

Lady Gaga at the United Center on 2/28/11

My friend Jennifer and I attended our first Monster Ball! Jennifer and her high power connectedness secured us two seats to the sold out show in a lower level box (complete with dessert cart access!).

As we walked into the United Center, we met a typical fan:

Here is a video of a few young ladies we met. They likely have parents that they listen to (judging from their mostly clothing covered skin).

and also, a Lady Gaga Virgin and her sidekick in black and chains:

Being old enough to parent Lady G, we were curious as to how we would feel about the show. As expected, it was stimulation overload right from the beginning. The larger than life set designs which included a car, subway train, fountain of blood, and blow up ginormous monster. Her most provocative outfit was a sheer plastic get-up with an X placed strategically over her nipples with what resembled masking tape. Otherwise, she was more or less wearing her usual bra and panties/fishnets with occasional mock blood splatter (on her washboard stomach) from her "fountain of blood".

She made a point during the show of telling her fans that she NEVER lip syncs. As such, she sounded fabulous throughout the show. The sound at the United Center coupled with her articulation was crisp and understandable. This being particularly remarkable for such a loud dance show. Lady Gaga made a special point throughout the performance to state her mission and mantra which is for everyone to feel good about themselves and to feel just a little bit more self-esteem when they leave the show. She also mentioned, which she has before at her shows, how she was bullied in high school and she was not always brave. She wants the bullies to look at her now with all her fame. Now really folks, haven't a lot of us experienced being bullied? Especially if there are people around us who are jealous? I have personally experienced this in high school by one mean girl (and ironically it stemmed from that fact that I could sing and had performed in front of the school) and have occasionally experienced this at work as an adult (possibly worse and more stressful). Lady Gaga is not unique in this experience. She does however have an opportunity to promote empowerment given her listening audience and open forum. I do believe that her message is a bit manufactured by her image makers. It does sound very preachy and spoon feeding of messages is not my favorite thing.

Here is a video of her Dr. Phil "high self-esteem" sermon:

Another favorite moment during the show was when she bit off a plastic Barbie Doll head while on stage using her teeth (clearly they are hers and not veneers). She did so because they are "plastic" and not real. We do all agree with the hate of all things plastic, especially miniature skinny sexy blonde female replicas. Pitooey.

Here is the video which includes both Lady Gaga biting off the Barbie head and the Virgin Mobile advertising plug where Gaga "phones a fan" in the audience and plugs Virgin Mobile and gushes more high self-esteem sound bites:

On another note about her new song "Born This Way" and the remarks it has been getting about being a Madonna "Express Yourself" carbon copy. It is a carbon copy. No doubt about it (you can listen to a mash-up on you tube). In her defense, as my friend Dita put it, why reinvent the wheel? Lady Gaga has tried to blend Michael Jackson's Thriller (via Monster Ball) and the best of Madonna, and has successfully built her own new empire. When Justin Timberlake sounds like Michael Jackson, he is considered "influenced" by him. No negativity. When Lady Gaga sounds like Madonna, she is "ripping her off". Sounds like a bit of gender discrimination.

The show was fantastic. Lady Gaga is very talented and has a voice, plays piano, writes, and can act (her part). I have to give her credit for pulling off her fame. She must also be brilliant. Overall, the show gets a 4 out of 5 guitar rating. I subtracted a guitar for force fed messages and succumbing to VIrgin Mobile's advertising scheme by phoning an audience member during the show.

Kyle Kramer of Metromix put this nice list together of the nights notable quotables:

Notable Gaga-isms:
“It’s raining unicorns and gay teddy bears”
“I don’t want your money, I want your soul.”
“I hear they’ve got some pretty good c**k here in Chicago.”
“All you have to do is follow the glitter way.”
“If you’re going to worship anyone, worship KISS. And maybe Anthrax.”
“My religion is you, little monsters. My religion is Chicago.”

Gaga’s Chicago entertainment picks, as revealed in “You and I:”
Kuma’s Corner for a burger.
Watching the Cubs.

Lady Gaga said she ate at Kuma's Corner the night before her United Center gig and she also claimed to hate money. I believe she had a burger at Kuma's but her hating money is hard to swallow. She does donate a significant amount of money to charity. For example, she told Oprah, during an appearance, that she planned to donate all of the proceeds from her New York show to the Haiti Relief Effort.

Here is a video I took from the fabulous lower level suite we were in (courtesy of my friend Jennifer and her awesomeness). Gaga is solo on the piano singing You and I from her new release. She does some fancy footwork on the piano (literally):

For dinner before a show at the United Center, think Taylor Street and in particular think Davanti Entoca! It was almost better than the show. Admittedly, we missed all but one song played by the opening act, Scissor Sisters (which was a mistake since many SS fans would have come to see this band and left before Gaga got on stage).

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