Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gaga On HBO

I could have sworn I saw Paul McCartney in the audience.

And why not?

Lady Gaga’s Madison Square Garden’s performance was billed as N.Y.C’s concert of the year and anyone who was anybody would be foolish not to be a part of this event.

The irony is that Gaga’s bio clearly puts her rise from being a nobody into America’s biggest pop sensation since Madonna charted a similar course in the early 80’s.

I love Madonna-scratch that-I love Madonna circa The Immaculate Collection volume 1 and 2. Post millennium, not so much. And the reason is that she seems to have forgotten the road she came from.

Gaga still hasn’t, and The Monster Ball theme-outside of the spectacle of the actual show-is a constant reminder of a girl who was brought up to believe that she wouldn’t amount to much is now performing to a sold out show in N.Y.C.’s most recognizable arenas.

In addition to Macca, Gaga acknowledges two other attendees who served as inspiration: Marisa Tomei and Liza Minnelli. She addresses them during a make-up malfunction, stating that Liza was revered by all during her time at Tisch School of the Arts, and that her teachers always put her in Marissa Tomei roles during drama class.

At some points, the continual “up from nowhere” reminders, endless references to her “monsters,” and non-stop shouts of “New York City!” get to be too much. That is, until you see the emotional impact that Gaga gets over the event.

Only a hard-nosed cynic would be able to dismiss the tears and heart-wrenching tales of overcoming adversity. It’s clearly honest, and Gaga clearly still has a hard time believing that she’s in the position she has found herself in.

All of this would mean nothing if the performance sucked, and it most certainly does not.
Even if Gaga’s reconstituted Material Girl action plan isn’t your cup of tea, The Monster Ball is delivered with such over-the-top theatrics, costume changes, dance routines, and stunning visuals that you may want to consider taking a ride on the disco stick.

All of the hits are presented, and the fans are rabid enough that virtually every song is met with body rhythms, repeated lyrics, and the obligatory smart phone illumination.

The film switches to black and white for every behind the scenes shot. We see Gaga rehearsing before the show, we find her beneath the stage switching costumes, and we find the last shot of her singing a definitive ground up title track “Born This Way” where she nails the chorus in an awesome a cappella version.

It’s a reminder that-regardless of what shocking Dale Bozzio attire she dons or what intentionally button-pushing statement she says-at the end of the day, the artist formally known as Stefani Germanotta possesses real talent and a real opportunity to forge a lengthy career just like her obvious inspiration(s).

Let’s hope that she listens to her songs, remembers the theme presented on The Monster Ball and doesn’t forget the road that led her to Madison Square Garden.

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