I GOT a bit of an idea what sort of spectacular freak show I would be in for at Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball in Melbourne on Thursday night when I got on the train that morning.
Sitting across from me were two teenage ‘‘little monsters’’ (a term used to describe Gaga fans), who were absolutely beside themselves with the excitement of seeing their idol in the flesh.
They were planning their entire night, from what colour lightning bolt to paint on their face, to what Gaga-inspired outfit they were going to wear, and even shrieking in delight when hypothesising about what they would say if they had the chance to speak with the lady herself.
But nothing could prepare me for exactly what I would encounter when I rocked up at Rod Laver Arena with my two friends Tiff Brasher and Kayla Roberts. I soon realised that jeans and a T-shirt wouldn’t be the normal attire at this gig.
From our seats high in the stands, we had a clear view of the area dubbed the “monster pit”, a section right in front of the stage reserved for the most die-hard fans.
And die-hard they were. Down in the monster pit were people covered in fairy lights, glitter, plastic baubles, short blonde bob wigs and a couple in not much more than a bit of lycra and a few feathers — and that was just the male fans.
The only Gaga costume not represented was the now infamous meat dress. But I’m sure if the management of Rod Laver Arena hadn’t placed a ban on raw meat being brought in, there would have been plenty of steak and sausages fashioned into some form of outfit in the monster pit. That’s how crazy these people were for ‘‘mother monster’’.
I mean, they were even going nuts for the support act, Lady Starlight, who did little more than prance around the stage with a few props to some lame music.
I’m happy to put it on record that she is the worst support act I have ever seen. Seriously, look her up on YouTube.
But it’s not hard to see why the fans go gaga for Gaga; put simply, the show was awesome.
From the minute the giant Gothic castle was revealed on the stage we knew this was not going to be just another concert, it was going to be a full-scale production.
Then she appeared, riding a horse escorted by scantily clad guards, and the atmosphere was electric with 10,000 pairs of hands clapping and 10,000 fans screaming, the noise was deafening. After the first few songs, a mixture of her well-known top 40 hits and some album tracks, it was clear the message of the concert was: don’t hide yourself in regret, just love yourself and don’t listen to what others say.
“Are you having a good time Melbourne?” Gaga asked. “If you’re not I don’t give a f***, I don’t care what other people say,” she professed to the sell-out crowd. But I began to question Gaga’s mental state after she was ‘born’ onto the stage via a giant inflatable vagina, a few aggressive rants about not being a “product of the Australian government” and being here to “extract as much information as possible”, an obsession with guns and a bizarre new song that had dark, suicidal undertones, controversially titled Princess Die.
My friends Tiff and Kayla have both worked in the mental health field, and described Gaga’s current mental state as “somewhat unstable,” and said she was in “need of a review, stat.”
But her raw talent shone through the kookiness like a beacon. Gaga sang and danced her way through the two-hour set almost uninterrupted, aside from the costume changes, about 15 in total, that included an array of indescribable outfits and head dresses. The acoustic version of Edge of Glory in the encore was spine tingling, and showed off her superb voice. It’s clear she is no record label manufactured, computer-altered pop act. Her talent is 100 per cent real.
I wouldn’t call myself a die-hard fan of Lady Gaga, but I do enjoy the odd sing-a-long to a couple of her songs after a few drinks. But I’m glad I decided to fork out $130 to see her live. It was money well spent and I’m now looking forward to the next time she tours to see what she can come up with next, and to do a bit more people-watching from high up in the stands.