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Gaga Oh Lala! Lady Gaga's Bad Romance music video, directed by Francis Lawrence, has hit the No.1 spot on the Top Music Videos chart on iTunes. Congratulations!
Since Mamma Mia hit the boards a decade ago, the lines between musical theatre and pop concerts have become increasingly blurred. So, taking Gaga at her word, I donned my theatre critic hat (a tuque actually, it's getting cold here in Canada) and went to Toronto's Air Canada Centre to find out if Stefani Germanotta is the Pokerface of a new musical theatre?
Of The Monster Ball, Lady Gaga told Rolling Stone: "The theatrics and story elements are in the style of an opera." And yet I'm scratching my head to think of an opera that includes a lesbian orgy in a dentist's chair. La Traviata? The style seems more like a cross between The Phantom of the Opera and Cirque du Soleil – at least in the opening number, when Gaga dons a mask and sings Dance in the Dark while mimes dressed in white gyrate around her.
As for story, I quickly abandoned the search for a coherent one. Gaga jumps into a giant white cube with her keytar, sings songs about fame, money and monsters for the next two hours, and then departs in a woman-sized gyroscope. The dialogue didn't really clear up the plot, either, since most of it consisted of "Scream for me, my little monsters!" and "What's up, Toronto?".
Music and lyrics
Rather than approaching The Monster Ball as an opera or book musical,
perhaps it makes more sense to imagine it as a song cycle, like Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World.
Gaga's catchy songs might not form a traditional narrative, but her lyrics are thematically linked by an exploration and examination of the Dionysian, the grotesque and, of course, rough oral sex. To the double entendre of Poker Face, Gaga has now added – in new song Teeth – an exhortation to "take a bite of my bad-girl meat". Those who think this has no antecedent in musical theatre, however, should remember Mrs Lovett's plea to Sweeney Todd to "take a bite" of her meat pies, the worst in London: "Is that just disgusting? You have to concede it! It's nothing but crusting!"
While I have seen suggestive dance moves in many a Kander and Ebb musical, The Monster Ball is the only time I have seen a pas de trois meant to evoke double penetration. Especially one in which two men are dressed like the horses from Equus.
It's obvious that Lady Gaga was part of the burlesque revival in New York before she became a big-time pop star. Almost every one of her songs involves her walking on stage dressed in some bizarre get-up and then removing bits of it until she's down to a series of well-placed straps or strategically located bits of scrap metal.
But The Monster Ball ain't Gypsy. During Boys, Boys, Boys, for instance, Gaga wore an outfit made out of guns (and a hat consisting entirely of muzzles) and slowly disarmed. Similarly, during Monster, she arrived dressed as – it seemed to me, anyway – a huge, hairy vagina. During this song, she removed tufts of her costume until she was down to a thin landing strip of apparel. Not even La Cage Aux Folles and Priscilla: Queen of the Desert could beat this wardrobe.
While The Monster Ball has nothing on the great operas or the golden age of musical theatre, Lady Gaga's "electro-pop opera" is at least twice as entertaining and infinitely fresher than any stage musical written over the last decade. No need to write that sequel to We Will Rock You, Ben Elton – Lady Gaga's done it for you.
The 'Poker Face' singer struggles to cope with homesickness while out on the road but has now learned to accept her "darkness". She said: "The lowest point is loneliness, being on the road. I have a chronic sadness that recurs.
"The lowest point was in Australia in May. I was overwhelmingly sad, and I didn't know why because I had all these things to be happy about." Despite her black moods, the singer says her emotional state inspired her to write her best ever material.
She added: "I went to the studio and played for hours and I wrote what is going to be the greatest record of my career, a beautiful song about my father. "I remember watching the mascara tears flood the ivories and I thought, 'It's OK to be said.' I've learned to love my darkness."
Lady Gaga's Monster Ball tour steamrolled through Ottawa last night in all its electro-pop, disco-fused glory, giving the near-sellout Scotiabank Place crowd -- brimming with glamour boys and glitter girls -- a chance to break out the hairspray and heels and get their collective freak on.
At the centre of the spectacle was the former Stefani Joanne Germanotta -- Lady Gaga herself -- with a trademark sexually charged, innuendo and profanity-laced performance that has vaulted her along a rocket-fuelled voyage to superstardom.
No review tickets or photo calls were granted to the press -- usually a troubling sign -- though the immaculately choreographed and visually stunning show dazzled critics on tour-opening stops in Montreal and Toronto over the weekend.
CLICK HERE FOR THE PHOTOS
Lady Gaga didn't disappoint on her much-anticipated return to the capital, a mere eight months after wowing a relatively minuscule crowd at the Bronson Centre, and after a fall tour stop supporting Kanye West was abruptly cancelled following the rap icon's public flameout at the VMAs.
As the lyric "I'm a freak" droned on repeat over the loudspeakers, Gaga emerged in the centre of a blackened empty stage, dry ice trails swirling around her sequined Jetsons spacesuit, complete with Xmas lights breastplate.
Opening with Dance in the Dark, a new tune from The Fame Monster -- the wildly-successful followup to 2008's breakthrough, multi-platinum-selling The Fame -- Lady Gaga launched into a raucous and racy set that featured almost as many costume changes as songs.
At first blush, it might seem the real driving force behind Gaga's meteoric rise to fame is her hand-picked cadre of costume and set designers -- dubbed Haus of Gaga -- who seemingly know no bounds when it comes to pushing the envelope of haute couture and the theatre of the absurd.
But what really sets Gaga apart from the middling masses of lip-synching Britney clones and Idol wannabes is her pure, unadulterated musical talent.
After an understated opening, the stage vacated of dancers following the hit single Just Dance to facilitate the first of many wardrobe changes, and the show really heated up.
Wearing a glittering ribbed blouse and matching headpiece, Gaga stormed back on stage with Love Game, featuring the cheeky lyric "I wanna ride your disco stick."
Lady Gaga oozed sexuality, channelling her obvious hero Madonna as dancers grooved and groped alongside the bleached blonde diva.
"I'm about to be very wicked," she promised.
Then, lying prone at centre stage, her legs splayed in the air, she cooed, "I'm kinda like Tinkerbell.
"When Tinkerbell died, the only way to bring her back to life was if you come for her," she said, feigning orgasm. "Scream for me Ottawa!"
The concert's most touching moment came mid-set with a dedication to her father, who has accompanied the starlet on each of the tour's first three Canadian dates.
The tender ballad Speechless gave way to a teasing, barely recognizable solo piano rendering of her name-making hit Poker Face, featuring an appearance from opening act Kid Cudi, who spliced his own Make Her Say in the mix as Gaga crooned.
Poker Face, predictably, was reprised later in the set to uproarious applause.
After yet another wardrobe break, Gaga returned in full Cleopatra regalia, with gilded headpiece and skimpy cone bra, to rip through Fashion, The Fame and Money Honey in rapid succession.
As Gaga herself likes to say, she's just trying to change the world, "one sequin at a time."
Beautiful, Dirty, Rich
Boys Boys Boys
Lady Gaga has confessed that she prefers to stay out of clubs because she loves being in the studio most of the time. The 23-year-old pop sensation revealed she may never be caught falling drunk because her work takes almost all of her time.
"I don't go to nightclubs. If I do, I'll be one whisky and a half into it and then I have to get back to work. I love my work so much, I find it really hard to go out and have a good time. Something that I have or fear is never being able to enjoy myself."
At the very end of the Monster Ball tour, which debuted last night in Montréal, some footage of Lady Gaga getting a tattoo in honor of her dad closed the show. You can watch the beautiful clip below!
The official commercial for the 2010 edition of the NRJ Music Awards, the biggest music event in France, is finally here for you to watch! Lady Gaga is one of the many stars appearing in it.
The first show of the Monster Ball Tour took place last night in Montréal, Canada. Lady Gaga delivered an amazing performance while wearing incredible outfits! See all the photos here or scroll down for videos.
Dance In The Dark
Beautiful, Dirty, Rich
Boys Boys Boys
So Happy I Could Die
During this old interview, which dates back to 2008 when she visited Japan, Lady Gaga discussed several matters, The Fame, just like the name of her debut album, but also plastic surgery. Watch the video below!