Lady Gaga Returns To Her Old Stomping Grounds At Madison Square Garden
Last night was a bit of an emotional milestone for the artist formerly unknown as Stefani Germanotta — it marked the last of five shows (“five sold-out shows,” she did not hesitate to remind us) at Madison Square Garden in New York, and Idolator was in the packed house. Contrary to our expectations, Lady Gaga did not emerge wearing jeans and a plain white T-shirt, stand center stage the whole time, and mumble unenthusiastically into her microphone. Turns out the Lady knows how to put on a show! Read on for more firsthand “Monster Ball” goodness.
Gaga, a native New York City gal, called Madison Square Garden the venue where she spent years watching “some other bitch” perform, dreaming she’d one day see her own name up in lights. Being that she’s only 24-years old, it sure didn’t take all that long!
True to the Atlantic City show that kicked off this last leg of the tour, Gaga stuck to the standard set list, with the addition of an a cappella “Born This Way” that launched into the version she performed at the Grammys (delightfully over-the-top organ interlude intact). She also gifted her little monsters with Born This Way piano rock ballad “You And I”, another song from the upcoming album that has been drawing comparisons to another artist’s hit (and her own “Speechless”). It’s clear that Gaga is as excited as ever about her new music, introducing and performing these songs with a passion far surpassing that on most other songs, especially older non-single tracks from The Fame that are bound to be phased out of her concerts as she builds up a bigger catalog.
Even in the city that never sleeps, Gaga’s fan base proved to be more diverse than you might expect, featuring everyone from young kids and their parents to full-grown men dressed in many of the memorable looks Gaga has taken on throughout her young career. There were, of course, girls with Diet Coke cans in their hair and lots of platinum blonde wigs with bangs cut very short.
With the addition of “Born This Way,” two messages are coming through more clearly than ever on this tour: equality for all (especially in regards to sexual orientation) and fearless individuality in the face of adversity. (Gaga thanked Liza Minnelli and Marisa Tomei, who were both in attendance, for being role models she looked to when she was told she’d never make it as a singer or actress.) We spotted a young boy of about 10 years of age in the crowd with his mother and sister, dancing and singing along to every song (he knew them all) and putting his paw up each and every time he was asked.
What’s great about the message Gaga is sending on this tour and in her new music is that whether this kid turns out gay, straight, or whatever becomes totally irrelevant; Gaga is just trying to have a good time and (Madonna influence alert!) express herself, inviting her little monsters to do the same. She’s not saying it’s okay to be gay — it’s okay to be anything. Including a nun in see-through rubber with her nipples taped. The incredibly varied crowd at Madison Square Garden demonstrated that Gaga has done what she set out to do: conquered the mainstream, and united a lot of very different people through her pop music.
The final show in New York — as she put it, “the town that gave birth to me” — clearly meant a lot to the elegant and creepy pop icon as she frequently referenced where she used to be, where she wanted to be, and the fact that she’s there now. Good thing HBO was on hand to capture all the nostalgia for their upcoming special. It’s great that fans have one more chance to see the Monster Ball before Born This Way takes her on tour next year (she says, hopefully).
Gaga adamantly promised her little monsters that she’d never “waste your time” lip-syncing live, which resulted in a rousing cheer from fans. It’s certainly true — when it comes to giving a live show, Gaga doesn’t phone it in, making the Monster Ball a truly memorable concert experience.
—Reporting by X. Alexander (or as he’s called on Twitter, @hardinthecity)