Being invited to play the iTunes Festival full stop is an honor, but being asked to open the month long music event is in a different league, and who else could step the mark than Lady Gaga.
Although the 27 year old hadn’t released a single in nearly two years (Marry The Night, November 2011), she still wormed her way into the press on a daily basis with her usual outrageous outfits and extensive touring. But when a hip injury caused her to cancel the remainder of the Born This Way Ball, we heard very little from Miss Gaga.
The release of new single Applause last month hit us in the face like a tonne of bricks and reassured us that the Queen of Pop certainly hadn’t gone anywhere, and she was going to come back with a bang – performing nothing but new material from upcoming album ARTPOP at iTunes Festival.
Labelled by the woman herself as ‘Swine Fest’, Gaga’s set at Camden’s Roundhouse was different to any other we’d seen. This show saw costume changes happen right in front of our eyes on stage, alongside an audience not knowing the words to 99% of her set for the first time ever.
Constantly reinventing herself, Gaga used this performance to show nothing but the new era; ARTPOP. Opening the 90 minute set with a song titled Aura, she then continues to tell the audience “to say i’ve missed you is an understatement”, before bursting into the next song exclusive, MANiCURE (below).
After this uptempo number that Adele later tweeted about in praise (below), Gaga changed into her new mermaid themed attire leaving not much to the imagination with just a oversized wig and seashells covering her dignity.
@ladygaga mermaids for life! Brilliant as always thank you for a wonderful night! #MANiCUREisthebest
The show went on with title track ARTPOP, then into Jewels And Drugs, which is probably the most un-Gaga track on the album, featuring rappers Twista, Too $hort and T.I. After the next song, Sex Dreams, which is by far our favourite performance of the night, it was time for an infamous Gaga speech, where she told fans she often hides behind a persona and wanted to show them the real her. Removing her wig and letting out her real hair whilst wearing a plain white t-shirt, this is the most under-dressed (without being naked) we’ve ever seen Lady Gaga, real name Stefani Germanotta.
Whilst introducing the next song, Swine (above), Gaga tells the audience “I went through some tough times I’ve never talked about. In order to write ARTPOP I had to take off all the wigs that mask the pain.” People are debating about whether this statement was about being sexually abused, and the pain throughout the rave performance of Swine makes us wonder if that’s exactly what it is. But before we even have time to think about the meaning behind the song and speech, Gaga is treating us to a closing of an emotional ballad titled I Wanna Be With You.
Explaining the song was written when she had to cancel dates of her tour due to injuries, half way through the performance Gaga thanks her fans for “taking her back”, and we truly do see the emotion in the singers eyes when singing the lyrics ‘i’d rather be poor and happy than rich and alone’.
Whether a dedicated Little Monster (fan) or not, there is no denying Lady Gaga’s superstar status and how she has every single person in the Roundhouse feeling her emotion with her. No matter happy or sad, Gaga portrays so much art within her music – maybe hence the bringing together of ‘art’ and ‘pop’.
Of course, the show wouldn’t be complete without an encore, and Gaga returns to the stage (below) for new single Applause, which finally gives the audience a chance to sing along with her.
Watch Lady Gaga’s entire iTunes set here.
ARTPOP is out November 11.