Lady Gaga shows she's impossible to top in Vancouver

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At Rogers Arena on Friday, January 11

Without question, Lady Gaga is the best pop star of our time. Twenty-six-year-old Stefani Germanotta’s songs are wonderfully infectious, her videos are mesmerizingly artful, and her outlandish style is unfuckwithable. The world's most popular tweeter is panache perfect and it's impossible to avert your eyes. Simply calling her a “young Madonna” needs to end, as she's equal parts Damien Hirst and Alexander McQueen as well. My God, even her signature scent, Fame, which they were handing out samples of at Rogers Arena, smells good and doesn't induce hives.

Walking through the crowd at the first of two Vancouver stops for the Born This Way Ball on Friday was to observe a sweded retrospective of every outfit the Queen of Pop has ever donned. From the moment the curtain dropped and unveiled the show's ridiculously awesome set—a three-storey castle—till the very last song, this city's most flamboyantly gay men and most “misunderstood” young women were elated. Her monsters were not disappointed.

Gaga took the stage in spectacular fashion: riding a mechanical unicorn while singing "Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)". However, a metallic helmet hid her face until the third song. The reveal was, of course, outrageous. Lady Gaga’s head appeared at the top of a giant inflatable body in the lithotomy position. Shortly thereafter, she emerged from the body's zipper-vagina to perform the LGBT mantra "Born This Way". From here on out, it was clear that the Vancouver Pride Society will need to work overtime this year if they want the parade to compete with this grandiose pop affair.

The Ball is a pop-rock opera. The story goes Lady Gaga escaped to Vancouver from an interstellar Government Owned Alien Territory (G.O.A.T.) to train for an invasion of Earth. Periodically, Mother G.O.A.T., a giant animatronic re-creation of the Fame Monster's face encased in a glowing diamond, would lower from the rafters and spew some gibberish about Operation: Kill the Bitch. It even sang part of “Paparazzi” then bled to death out of its eyes, mouth, and nose. Confused? It’s okay, that’s part and parcel of the Lady Gaga experience.

Megahits like "Bad Romance", "Just Dance", and "Telephone" were almost always accompanied by a costume change into an Italian-fashion-house–designed outfit. There were even a few throwbacks to classics like an assault-rifle bra, which she wore during "Alejandro", and a meat dress, which was trotted out for "Americano" and "Poker Face". (The latter was performed while in a meat grinder.) The Kermit the Frog doll top appeared on-stage but, sadly, was never worn.

Pop concerts tend to be as spontaneous as evolution. Thankfully, there were a few moments when our visitor from G.O.A.T. veered from the script and almost seemed human. At one point she sang "Happy Birthday" to a tearful devotee who had just turned 18. Following that, Gaga relayed what her dad told her when she hit the same age: “Don’t get too excited. It just means you don’t get a fucking allowance.”

Then, after performing “The Edge of Glory” during the encore, Lady Gaga invited five lucky little monsters on-stage with her during the final number, “Marry the Night”. Jubilant tears ensued as they danced with their hero, then descended through a trap door to hang out backstage. Damn it, Gaga! You’re making everyone else look bad, again. How many more Twitter followers do you need?

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Seamus

Jan 12, 2013 at 11:29am

Just wondering what time she hit the stage. looking forward to the show tonight.

Kennedy

Jan 12, 2013 at 1:52pm

Is this article a joke or serious? In what universe is Lady Gaga the "Queen of Pop?" We all know Gaga pretends Madonna does not exist, as she constantly borrows from her catalog without ever giving credit. Now your gonna pretend to Madonna does not exist. She is still the reigning Queen of Pop, were you asleep all through 2012?? MDNA Tour #1 .......FACT.

Martin Dunphy

Jan 12, 2013 at 1:56pm

Reeeeooowwwwrrr! Cat fight!

suck it

Jan 12, 2013 at 2:19pm

GaGa hit the stage at abput 20:30pm last night and then left at abput 23:20

Paulie

Jan 12, 2013 at 2:59pm

"Walking through the crowd at the first of two Vancouver stops for the Born This Way Ball on Friday was to observe a sweded retrospective of every outfit the Queen of Pop has ever donned."

Why were people dressed as Madonna at a Lady Gaga concert?

Crystaleyes

Jan 12, 2013 at 3:17pm

She took the stage at 8:45pm and didn't stop until 2 1/2 hours later. Though I'm twice (or more) the age of most other fans, I thoroughly enjoyed her show!

out at night

Jan 12, 2013 at 4:02pm

She undoubtedly has an amazing stage show, but come on, the songs are all just okay, maybe a couple "really good" at best. Anyone who doesn't recognize the fact that our standards have declined in terms of songwriting isn't paying attention. It has been a long, long while since anyone, including Modonna, has put out a hit song with a strong and memorable melody, powerful, well-crafed lyrics and impressive musicianship all at once. I'm getting quite used to the ol' two outta three thing. Gaga may well be among the best right now, but the mega-corporations that carefully control our pop music diet seem intent on denying us any songs that might be so good as to raise our ever-declining expectations.

WestEndGuy

Jan 12, 2013 at 4:55pm

If it's like Friday you don't need to take your seat until 8:15. Madeon did his thing until 8-ish and there was a long-ish break before the main event.

murf

Jan 12, 2013 at 6:13pm

Why is this shoddy hack still writing for the Straight? Lots of lavish over the top descriptions of the stage set and costumes but nothing about her singing, sound, dance moves, not even what her perfume smells like.

I tried to listen to Lady Gaga but her songs sound all the same, her voice auto tuned so it has no personality. I do give her credit for outrageous self promotion with blatent thievery and total lack of originality.

dustin

Jan 12, 2013 at 10:28pm

This is clearly biased! It does not mention that for Bad romance, Poker face, Americano, Born this way, Judas and You and I heavy, heavy playback were used. She was clearly out of shape and her dancing was laughable. Having 2 and a half albums and selling 24 million albums world wide and the 6th top grossing concert does not make you Queen. 350 million, number 1 top tour gross does. Madonna's show was mature and meaningful. The sets, dancing and stage presents were all superior. p.s. fridays show was not a sell out, saturdays show was even further from one.

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