The Lady Gaga concert Tuesday night involved more show than any television could handle.
Hours before Gaga began singing funky disco songs about freedom, love and dancing, hundreds of patrons lined up in front of the Ford Center to get closer to their “mother monster,” a maternal nickname fans reserve for Lady Gaga.
The front doors of the venue were swarmed by what resembled an explosion of Lady Gaga music videos and merchandise booths. Fans pinned Diet Coke cans in their hair, wore telephones as hats and wrapped themselves in yellow caution tape like they were some sort of a dangerous mummy.
Several visitors of the National Association of Free Will Baptists Conference, who congregated inside the Cox Convention Center this week, gawked at the carnival of weird, which begged for a joke along the lines of, “What do you get when you mix religion and Lady Gaga?”
The punch line is, of course, a show and that’s what Gaga brings with her.
Headlines let you know Lady Gaga is good at upsetting Jerry Seinfeld, wearing skimpy outfits to baseball games and doing whatever she wants to do. She’s great at all that, but she’s even better at performing.
Opening act like Semi Precious Weapons had patrons chanting “Gaga” well before her set. It was like watching a huge gang of babies demanding nourishment, and Lady Gaga knew what the crowd wanted.
She began her concert hidden behind a silhouetted screen. Her shadow alone managed to get the crowd roaring by striking a single pose while singing the show’s opening track “Dance in the Dark.” The pop star emerged onto the stage, which was bathed with neon lights in an urban city landscape. She was garbed in an oversized studded purple jacket that was straight out of “Purple Rain.” It could have fit five Prince-sized human beings.
After the song, a series of skits began. The plot involved a journey to the Monster Ball, a magical place that neatly summarized the concert’s theme of being free to do whatever you want and be whoever you want. In one skit, Gaga lifted the hood of a glowing neon car and began playing a keyboard. This move would only have made sense in a “Looney Tunes” episode and a Lady Gaga concert.
Anyone suggesting Gaga isn’t talented should find something else to critique. She can play piano even when it’s on fire, effortlessly change her wardrobe several times and command an audience of 18,000 to make claw-like hand gestures.