20110116

Gaga 2010

We saw Lady Gaga's Fame Monster show in Tacoma, Washington last year.  I do not consider myself an authority on popular culture or music or anything like that.  I'm interested in Lady Gaga as an artist - a performance artist - and I guess as a role model for young women.  My want to see her live was very simple:  I like dance music, I like her dance music, and I appreciate how she has drawn on performance artists throughout history.  I guess I have become a minor fan.  

Here is how it went:

Getting to the show was one of the most fun parts.

We took the light rail from downtown to the Tacoma Dome.


Fans dressed like Gaga, Madonna's Material Girl, 80's retro and in drag.  We didn't.  We love to costume and dress up but we just didn't get our acts together in time.

  
waiting for the show to start
one of my favorite photos of B, ever!


My report?  It was a great show.  We had a great time.  And clearly so did everyone else.

The biggest things that struck me were 1) there were many many 8 -12 year old girls there, with a dad or mom or aunt or somebody of course, and I have not been to concerts that included children so comfortably, and 2) how much Gaga delivers and repeats a 'love yourself' message to her fans.  I don't know what I expected, but these were both unexpected things that I can definitely get behind.   

I respect diva pop stars that came before her, like Madonna and Cher. Madonna was fierce, athletic and invented a powerful persona in an inspiring way and dared her fans in provocative ways.  Cher is authentically wacky and naturally bold with a distinct voice.  Both have enough musical talent - perhaps not the best voice, or most beautiful, or best whatever, but they have enough going on in their whole package to command a massive audience. That is not easy. My only complaint about Gaga so far is that she seems to model herself after others so much. A few of her songs sound way too much like Madonna's for me. I get that the modeling is part of her point/image/concept, but I wanted to see she was more.  And at this concert I think I did.
  
When Gaga stood in a black bikini on the piano bench, bent over,  playing the keys while belting a song, I decided, "well, alright then. She's got chops."  It was the whole combination of instrument, performance and strut that proved she owned the show.  It's hard to explain but that was the moment for me. Her ideas and references to other artists - popular culture and fringe performance - are smart and she is clearly on the money with this up and coming generation. The next couple of albums should be revealing.  Her self-mocking fame ideas are good, but how long can it hold up?  I look forward to whatever she does and wish her luck.

2 comments:

Chris said...

I think that's the true test. Madonna's genius has been as much her ability to reinvent herself time and time again to stay fresh. It will be interesting to see if Gaga and others are able to pull that off.

Tonette said...

Exactly!