Say what you like about Lady Gaga it’s pretty impressive she went in four years from playing London’s GAY club to 55,000 strong Twickenham crowd. Welcome to the Monster Ball, it’s Rocky Horror for the under 18’s.
The first support is Gaga’s old New York friend Lady Starlight (who claims to have invented ‘Lady Gaga’). The bizarre performance art would have worked better had they shown the performance on the big screens. There’s short films followed by a striptease with masks, a dramatic unveiling of a hood and some spinning in bodysuits.
The Darkness are slightly less bonkers, but not necessarily better. I’m not sure if there’s a sound issue or if high pitched Justin Hawkins was their issue. The whole thing sounds like a bad X-Factor audition with the band playing Spinal Tap in their capes and catsuits. At Least Hawkins handstand on the drum kit was impressive.
Gaga subtly kicks off proceedings by unveiling a large castle and appears on a mechanical horse before going into an unnecessary plot about aliens escaping. Basically she’s an alien escaping the castle before visiting other worlds to absorb their culture before invading Earth, you still with me?
Initially there is hit after hit, from the anthemic ‘Born This Way’ through to the return of the keytar for ‘Just Dance’ and the appearance of Gaga sat in the Statue of Liberty’s crown in a shopping trolley. Each of these sing-a-longs are even more spectacular than the last, with the added clan of backing dancers and alien-esque couture gown. The lesser known ‘Bad Kids’, ‘Amen Fashion’ and ‘Fashion of his Love’ seem out of places alongside the radio giants.
Even more refreshing than her love of the fans is the live vocals and band who are hidden in the turrets of the castle. The bike Gaga had entwined herself with for ‘Heavy Metal Lover’ turns into a piano for the best part of the show.
Anyone who’s not a ‘monster’ may not realise that Gaga is at home with nothing but a piano. Her ten minute before the new addition ‘Princess Die’ is almost a disclaimer to the nation and is a good five minutes too long. Less than 30 minutes earlier she told us it wasn’t a funeral, so the tribute to Princess Diana and every other tragic British figure who has passed on is a little ironic. The following cover of Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ is a nice showcase of her talents but it’s not long before we’re back to the fast paced pop, although it’s a shame half of ‘Paparazzi’ is sung by a hologram ‘alien’ Gaga.
The mixing of the acoustic ‘Edge Of Glory’ and the single version is clever as she kicks off the encore before bringing more ‘Little Monsters’ in stage for the ‘Marry The Night‘ which was perhaps not the most uplifting way to end the Monster Ball.
What she did do she was very good at, but things were missing. Perhaps a little less ‘Born This Way’ speeches and a little more singing was needed. The absent of ‘Alejandro’ ‘Pokerface’ and ‘Speechless’ was definitely noticeable. We all needed that person to tell it was okay (I had Pete Wentz) but maybe Gaga puts it a little too much above the music.