Lady Gaga, one of the worlds biggest pop stars, and while her last album ARTPOP was branded a “flop” by more people than fair, her 3 night residency at London’s O2 Arena proves she’s still worthy of her superstar status.
Lady Gaga’s artRAVE: The Artpop Ball has been all around the world, with its last leg currently taking place in Europe. The two hour spectacle is filled with a full live band, several different wigs and costume changes, elaborate stage mechanics, more dancers than you can shake a stick at, and that’s not to mention the stage itself that takes over the majority of the standing area.
After opening the show with album title track ARTPOP, Gaga chanted “get the fuck out of your seats!”, which was fitting after an apparent concert-virgin behind me demanded I sit down… Sit down at a Lady Gaga concert?! Ha!
The 28 year old pop queen was welcomed into The O2 Arena with open arms from 20,000 Little Monsters, and the leader of the pack worked her way through a mammoth 26 song setlist. You wanted Pokerface? You got Pokerface. You wanted Just Dance? You got Just Dance. We were even treated to a cover of Bang Bang, in which Gaga showcased her recent jazz efforts – and fittingly looked like Cher in a black afro wig – whilst dedicating the song to her Cheek To Cheek partner Tony Bennett. But the main focus of course lied on her 2013 release ARTPOP, creating theatrical performances of Donatella, Sexxx Dreams, G.U.Y. and Mary Jane Holland. A particular stand out though was Swine, where Gaga picked 3 lucky audience members to join her on stage for the screeching, snorting, raving pig party. “Let me see your piggy noses London” yelled Miss Germanotta, before she turned The O2 into the biggest party you’ve ever seen.
As mind blowing as the big production is, it’s when Lady Gaga just sits beside her piano that really takes us away. After a vocally stunning performance of Dope, Gaga really touched some hearts when she read out a letter that a fan had thrown on stage. 20 year old Sarah spoke about suffering from bipolar and depression, and despite the letter going in the well predicted direction of Gaga saving her life, there was something special about the unplanned therapy session in the middle of the artRAVE.
“I now write in colour instead of grey” Gaga read out from the letter, to which she singer left her piano and asked where Sarah was – she was soon on the stage sitting beside Gaga for an acoustic version of Born This Way. “Mental illness is a real thing, and it should be taken seriously by everyone” she spoke inbetween verses. “And for others that this song may reach, if you are living in the United Kingdom, and you are young, or old, or in the middle, and you are gay; hold your fucking head up” before finishing the song, she concluded “you’re not fucking invisible, live your life, be happy” and there certainly wasn’t a dry eye in the house as she hugged, kissed and told Sarah how much she loved her.
But before we had time to sort out our smudged mascara, Gaga was back in yet another outfit, this time supporting a green wig and leather jacket for an angry belting of Born This Way single Judas.
In a short and what seemed unplanned acapella version of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You in the middle of the show, it was clear to see that lying underneath all the wacky clothes is just an extremely talented singer. Just minutes after hanging a chair off her neck like some kind of accessory, the eccentric diva howled into the arena “the more people say I’m weird, the more I just want to fuck shit up” then bursting into a bright UV themed version of Bad Romance.
I’ve seen Lady Gaga live before, but The Artpop Ball was a whole new level of spectacular. This wasn’t a pop star singing their hits, it was an artist delivering their craft. Stunning vocals, extravagant visuals, and a very happy London Town. Our paws are certainly up in applause, Mother Monster.
Review by Jayde Engledew