Having wowed each and every crowd on her current artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball world tour throughout the U.S, Canada and Asia, Australia’s turn has come around for the Gaga treatment with the flamboyant superstar touching down on Australian soil at the start of the month with shows in Perth and Melbourne setting the Australasian leg of the tour off with a spectacular bang.
The pop icon is currently touring her latest musical creation, Artpop, and given the enormous success of previous tours, expectations were rightfully placed at the higher end of the spectrum for this new live juggernaut.
Sydney fans were given a glimpse of the musician at the recent Queen show on August 27th when she joined the legendary rockers and past collaborator and American Idol star Adam Lambert for a performance of the bands iconic hit, Another One Bites The Dust. The singer has also been busy preparing for her new duet record release with Tony Bennett, Cheek to Cheek, which is arriving at the end of next month.
Having seen each of Gaga’s 3 previous tours (2009’s intimate The Fame Ball, 2010’s The Fame Monster Ball and 2012’s The Born This Way Ball), I knew exactly what I was getting myself into as I headed to this latest extravaganza. I expected the usual bright lights, vibrant colours, impeccable dance routines and the countless costume changes that have made this beacon of talent one of the most eagerly anticipated live acts in the world and she truly delivered on all of those expectations – and then some!
During the course of almost 2 hours, the pop icon performed much of her latest Artpop LP, opening with the records title track and dressed in a gentle silver and sparkly winged 1 piece, leaping into latest single G.U.Y and fashion homage Donatella before emerging from beneath the busy stage dressed in a glittering bikini and toppling mousy brown wig.
The stage set up was as busy as the set list and costumes and commanded attention as much as the leading lady herself. While her previous Born This Way Ball world tour included a circular runway for the superstar to offer herself to fans in the standing area of the arenas, the set up for artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball has gone 10 steps further; branching out and extending over the entire floor-space so that everyone in the venue was able to get a close-up snapshot of mother monster from almost any angle. Fans in the standing section of the venue were able to walk underneath and around the walkways as the pop powerhouse and her talented dance troupe performed hits above them from the musicians hit filled back catalogue.
The stage was dressed like a scene from a Dr Seuss book; colourful, melting igloo shaped caves and giant inflatable trees sprouting up from the floor of the runway created a very animated and fantastical playground for the superstar to perform her catalogue to the little monsters that were throwing countess gifts to the singer including stuffed toys and letters of adoration. A piano, surrounded by large ice crystals and fans who were lucky enough to be watching the singer from the intimate Artpop lounge, a small reserved section for high-price ticket holders, sat at the end of the walkway where the star descended to periodically for vocally charged and emotional renditions of piano ballad Dope, closing hit Gypsy and one of the singers signature hits, Born This Way which was shared with fans with a heartfelt message of equality and freedom to be yourself. During her performance of Do What U Want, Gaga sat perched within an enormous claw-shaped hand that elevated the singer several metres in the air.
The costumes were as outrageously extravagant as you are ever going to see at a Lady Gaga show – or any concert for that matter. No one does it quite like Lady Gaga. While toned down efforts like the long flowing, pale coloured dress, perfected only by an equally long straight blonde wig, gave the opening to encore Gypsy a serene and almost cleansed feel to the closing of the show, her over the top anime outfit complete with neon coloured dreadlocks for Bad Romance and Applause, revealed to the audience after a revealing on-stage costume change, provided the highlight segment of the show.
Fans were also treated to a bit of S&M during on the mark performances of new album highlight Sexxx Dreams and The Fame Monster hit, Alejandro with Gaga and her troupe performing the hits dressed in leather straps and mother monster donning a short green wig.
While most pop artists these days will opt for the occasional lip-sync (or entire concert dedicated to it – I am looking directly at you Ms Spears) to get through the full throttle dance routines that songs like Born This Way and Poker Face are delivered with, Gaga offered her little monsters the real deal. Like all of her previous shows, there was not cutting corners on any aspect of the artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball for this musician.
While I was disappointed that Mary Jane Holland, my favourite song from the new Artpop collection, was omitted from the set list, it was made up with memorable, show stopping performances and incredible visuals that will make me remember this show for years to come.
When you commit yourself to a Lady Gaga performance, you commit yourself not just to the music but to the spectacle that is any Lady Gaga show. You go to experience a moment of untainted fun, finely crafted pop masterpieces and impeccable showmanship from one of the leading figures in music. Like the star said so perfectly herself, for those who didn’t come along to experience Artpop last night at Sydney’s Allphones Arena should, they should “get the fuck out”. Thankfully everyone, from the floor standing area to up in the nosebleeds, had come to witness the Artpop movement and to see one of the finest 2014 tours arrive on Australian soil and it was one hell of an experience.
Do What U Want
Born This Way
The Edge of Glory
Lady Gaga performs a second show at Sydney’s Allphones Arena on August 31st.
All Photos supplied courtesy of Paul Kane for Getty Images. Images taken at the Perth Arena concert on Aug 20th 2014.
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
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