For the second time in less than a year Lady Gaga, arguably the hottest female performer today, brought her Monster Ball Tour to the Gateway City. This time she played a more fitting venue for her dynamic labyrinth of a show, the Scottrade Center. When she played in January at the Fox her stage seemed ready to blow the roof and walls off the old Fox. This time, with a bit more room to play with, Gaga dazzled the sell out crowd with an extravagant display of art meets Broadway.
The show opened with a giant silver curtain surrounding the massive stage, with images of Gaga intermingled with artistic poses, pictures, and everything Gaga. The curtain stayed up for the first song, “Dance in the Dark”, with Gaga striking poses with a silhouette broadcast on the curtain.
She appeared for the next song “Glitter and Grease”, as the curtain rose, to the ecstatic cheer of 20,000 “little Monsters”, as she affectionately calls her fans. She made her way down the cityscape set and in front of a broken down NY cab, where she lifted up the hood to reveal a keyboard where the radiator should be. She played for a few minutes before tearing into “Just Dance”, her first number one single from 2008, which is exactly what a majority of the crowd ended up doing.
At the conclusion Gaga stood with one of the members of her troupe who asked her ” What is the Monster Ball really all about?” To which Gaga replied “Well Posh, the Monster Ball will set you free. A place where all the real freaks are outside. Tonight you can be whatever you want to be. All you have to do is just follow the glitter way.” (The first of many similarities to the Wizard of Oz). In short, Gaga and her friends were trying to make their way to the Monster Ball, where they can be free to be whomever they want. Along the way they meet up with obstacles and dangers, like a tornado ravaged park, a good witch reference in one of her many costumes, and an actual “monster” at the end.
Gaga changed her costumes so many times that you were kept wondering what she would change into next. Well, next came in the form of a long red outfit, complete with a red helmet/headdress and a long red cape while playing a stand up bass for “The Fame” before an interlude to change sets. Sort of like a musical on Broadway that also has interludes to quickly change sets, Gaga has incorporated that into her shows. This time the scene was set in a New York subway which ends up breaking down. She performed a good portion of her hit “Love Game” from inside the subway car, emerging with a lighted staff with a giant crystal at the end she used to illuminate the crowd with.
Gaga is actually a very talented musician, with her main instrument of choice is the piano. She also performed “Money Honey” while playing “Emma”, her personalized keytar designed by her Haus of Gaga, her own personal production design company.
She showed she is an accomplished pianist by playing the ballad “Speechless”, where she played with the piano on fire, and a new song “You and I” alone, with no other band members. It was a nice break from the whirlwind speed of the first half of the show, showcasing her range and diverseness. “You and I” has a bluesy, country, crossover feel and is from her forthcoming, as yet unnamed, CD.
Gaga changed sets again after another bluesy romp, “Teeth” and the show took a spookier turn. The new set resembled a cross between Halloween and a wind damaged Central Park where she performed her latest hit “Alejandro”, much to the delight of the large crowd.
Gaga seems very appreciative of her fans and gives them everything she has. She also preached love and understanding, as well as establishing high self-esteem with messages like “You are all pretty and you are all superstars,” and “You can be whatever you want to be. It’s up to you.”Her self proclaimed being a “huge dork” and her championing of the LGBT community has endeared her to millions, while simultaneously attracting hate rallies at some of her concerts. However, she takes that negative energy and turns it into a positive. She even takes time out to personally call one of the audience members at every show and talk to them for a few minutes before bringing that party down closer to the stage. Of course this was a preclude to her hit “telephone”, a duet she released with Beyonce’.
After she performed her smash “Poker Face” another set change was in order, this time Gaga emerged with 3 friends who eventually abandoned her to face a giant glowing monster that resembled a cross between an angler fish and an octopus. Gaga sang “Paparazzi” before slaying the monster.
Finally after another set change she re-emerged, in a giant gyroscope, “The Orbit” as she calls it for her encore to perform “Bad Romance”.
With a myriad of costume and set changes, a mini fashion show of sorts, elaborate stage productions, swirling around a grand production with catchy hit songs it appears Lady Gaga has truly redefined music like no one since Madonna 26 years ago. Unlike Madonna, and fortunately for all her St. Louis Little Monsters, Lady Gaga doesn’t avoid cities that aren’t “chic” for her. She feels right at home at each show. So do her fans.