Senior Staff Writer
If there is one thing about Lady Gaga you should know by now, it’s that she is an entertainer in every respect of the word. Lady Gaga appeared in mainstream radio with catchy pop tunes that forced you onto your feet like “Just Dance” and “Poker Face”. Gaga made it quite clear that she didn’t want to be marginalized as an artist, or forced to put out a certain sound and appearance as to what may be considered acceptable or the safe choice, executing her ideas on both small and grand scales with her first album The Fame.
Her follow up EP, The Fame Monster, was a collection songs that showcased a serious side to pop music with “Speechless”, and underplayed boundary pushing songs such as “Teeth”. Lady Gaga’s second complete studio album Born This Way, saw a new side to the artist that infused the singer’s voice with a metal/rock sound in addition to her pop persona. Gaga toured for over a year and a half for the Born This Way album until having to cancel remaining dates after suffering a hip injury that left her in need of surgery and time to heal. When she returned with her newest album, Artpop, she successfully and methodically selected the track listing to incorporate dance music while exploring various lanes including a rap collaboration, 70’s groove, pulsating EDM beats, and R&B, among other genres.
When I purchased my ticket to the tour for ArtRave: The Artpop Ball in Las Vegas I was extremely anxious to see the well produced album performed live by the devoted performer. South Korean girl group, Crayon Pop took the stage before Gaga bringing their original songs to a new audience that whisked a bubbly energy to the crowd; followed by former Gaga collaborator Lady Starlight, whose high energy beats amped up the audience just enough before Gaga debuted.
Lady Gaga rose form the stage in a jewel encrusted ensemble, with golden tasseled wings and the Koons gazing ball, belting out the title track Artpop which demanded everyone’s attention. She went on to perform a number of Artpop songs with Venus, Donatella, G.U.Y., and MANiCURE, each as impressive as the previous number. Gaga manages to be one of the few artists who tends to impress even more live than studio recording, adding her own nuances and riffs to demonstrate the powerful voice she contains. With every song, a plethora of elaborate and gorgeous multi-colored lights lit up the room in true rave fashion, transitioning with the band and singer to perfection.
She successfully integrates an emotional connection to her fans as she takes time to share parts of herself, along with acknowledging the hardcore devoted and passionate fans who she credits a big portion of her career to. When reminiscing of the early days and her strength in keeping her music honest to who she is, we return to the sounds where her massive career began, singing previous singles from all other albums The Fame, The Fame Monster,andBorn This Way. It’s the moments like her added vocal slayage at the end of “Do What U Want” and her stripped down ballad rendition of “Born This Way” that impress completely, and you could find a quiet, peaceful feeling of bliss throughout the hard hitting concert.
When Lady Gaga undergoes an outfit change (phenomenal wardrobe decisions overall), the party ambiance continues as unreleased songs like “Ratchet” and “Party Nauseous” blare over speakers to the intricate light show with fiercely dressed dancers, showing that there is never a dull moment from a Lady Gaga concert. While the fans and I adored the fact that she keeps past songs close to her heart and performing them on the ArtRave, the Artpop tracks prove to be individual standouts that will be enjoyed for years to come like her previous albums. As a self proclaimed little monster, I was enthralled by the overall vision and the emotional rawness Gaga brings to the stage on a consistent basis.
Even when she announces “Applause” as her final performance, she is reeled in by the electric fan response performing additional showstoppers like “Swine”, and closing out the concert with possibly one her greatest songs in her singer/songwriter history, “Gypsy”. Donning long pure white hair, a white shimmery dress with metallic detailing and a long train as she strutted her way to the crystal shaped piano, transitioning between the song’s soft emotional pull and its brisk upbeat change that had nearly everyone singing along. As I sit writing this piece, returning to that state of mind I felt during the concert, its superb production brings excitement flowing right back through me. Not only would I see the concert again and again, I will definitely see Gaga live at any chance I may receive. She is a true artist that simply exudes genuineness that is so rare to find in music. You can watch videos, performances, listen to her music even, however seeing her live trumps it all which is a large feat on its own.
Congratulations, Mother Monster, on an extremely successful tour that correctly shines a light on your evolution as an artist and musical icon who consistently impacts the industry with every ounce of your talent and compassion.