Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lady Gaga in Dublin

Claire and I went to see Lady Gaga in the O2 yesterday. Hearing Poker Face, Bad Romance, etc., live was wonderful, and Gaga is an impressive performer - really knows how to drive the crowd wild. "Stand up and dance - this isn't a f**king funeral!!!"

Her response to items thrown on stage was one of the best parts of the performance. I quite like her "stuffed animals thown on stage will be beheaded" shtick; she does however allow unicorns to live. Nice. When a stuffed leprechaun toy landed beside her she ripped its hat off with her teeth, put the hat on her head, strutted around and concluded: "No hat is too small for Lady Gaga". Awesome stuff. (Maybe you had to be there.)

It's interesting to see how, after only a single album (sort of), she's already redefined herself. It's very clear from many of her songs that she's exceptionally ambitious and wanted wealth and fame. Beautiful, Dirty, Rich; The Fame; Money Honey and Paper Gangsta are about her, Stefani Germanotta. She now seems to have reinterpreted her songs to fit with her newer concept, one more attractive to her Little Monsters, that everyone can be a star (or at least, happy with themselves). It's not always an easy fit - saying "I don't want your money, I want your souls" right before launching into a song about how sexy money is, for example. Poker Face is explicitly about manipulating people for the sake of her ambition.

However, I'm not a cynic. I think Gaga is the Real Deal, a true talent and a star. It's possible that she's trying to change the meaning of her songs because she herself has changed. I've no doubt that she's still ambitious, hard-working, calculating, and as shrewd a crafter of image as Marilyn Manson, but that doesn't mean that she doesn't genuinely have an interest in some of the issues she talks about, such as gay rights. Besides, for all that it's odd to hear the most popular musician in the world claim to be on the side of freaks and outsiders, it's only fair to say that she's not... conventionally beautiful, let's say. She's sexual rather than sexy; more Rocky Horror than girl next door. So it's possible that her sentiments are at least partly authentic.

Or of course, maybe I've just been taken in by the most ruthlessly brilliant manipulator of modern pop culture.

Lady Gaga has one more night in Dublin, on 29th October, and then she's off to Belfast.


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