Starting out the show were rock n’ rollers Semi Precious Weapons. A new signing to Gaga’s ‘Haus Of Gaga’ label, their hideously camp guitar-driven antics were no more welcomed by the growing crowd as they were laughed at. They provided their fair share of hype though, charismatic and slightly weird frontman Justin Tranter dousing the first few rows with champagne and starting a sea of Lady GaGa chants; the latter following with a mighty “Shut up!” …Pointless maybe? The music they play isn’t all bad, but considering they managed to get through a grand total of four three-minute songs in half an hour is a bit of a shambles. Not the type of band that should be opening up for one of the biggest pop acts today, but a laugh of sorts, nonetheless.
Danish popsters Alphabeat fare a lot better and really bring the flow to the show. Classic hits like Fascination and the brilliant Boyfriend get an excitable outing, and there’s a serious amount of people that know the words here tonight, considering they played to a less than full Academy 2 just a few months ago. Their synth-drenched pop is as catchy as it is quirky, and spandexed frontwoman Stine Bramsen makes use of the great sound in the arena and delivers an impressive vocal performance to boot. They’ve got the crowd going a lot more than their predecessors, and bagging an impressive support slot like this, quite obviously won over more than a few new fans in the process.
Having played this venue supporting the Pussycat Dolls early last year, it’s amazing to think Lady Gaga has now sold out her own show here, and so quickly. Her rise to fame is nothing short of extraordinary. But, of course, she’s an extraordinary woman, and tonight cements that thick and tight.
A giant sheet unfurls to reveal a giant industrial fun house of wonder. Neon lights and even a car adorn this jungle of a stage set, and the woman herself appears surrounded by scantily clad hunks in just one of her many strange outfits to come. Bursting into hit Just Dance, it sets the crowd alight and admiring with glee, as they look on at the blonde beauty in front of them making the crowd positively hers.
Tonight’s set isn’t just a performance, it’s art. It tells the story, as Gaga puts it, of the Monster Ball – somewhere you can be free, and it’s almost theatric, the way things are acted out. A number of costume changes take a lot of time, but it’s worth it if only to see what weird and wonderful attires she’ll re-appear adorned in.
With a set lasting a solid two hours, it’s hard to believe there’s barely few more than a dozen proper songs in the set, but somehow Lady GaGa manages to drag out all manner of stage tricks, costume changes and interludes, and it does grow tiresome, but the pure spectacle keeping the audience entertained, including video screens rotating from the ceiling, and an organ setting on fire during a giant rendition of Speechless, keeps the audiences attention at full power.
A few of the lesser-known album tracks might have gone a miss, but for someone with only one full album and a much smaller second to their name, it’s hardly a choice. As a musician, her instrument playing is spot on, and her singing’s even better. She knows how to mystify as well as put in the graft and it definitely pays off.
A thrilling finale sees Poker Face mentalise the crowd, whilst a battle with a giant anamatronic fish (seriously) during a haunting Paparazzi and a hugely successful Bad Romance close things up, and this stop on the Monster Ball barely scratches the surface. A typically over-the-top production and performance from a larger than life woman, and an absolutely fantastic set. Lady Gaga deserves everything she achieves with a show like this.
– George Cannings.