Live Review: Lady Gaga – Rogers Arena – August 23rd, 2010

August 23rd marked the first of two nights of Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour at Rogers Arena.

Gaga’s opening act was Semi Precious Weapons, a glam rock band that made me feel like I’d entered a time machine and stepped out into the early 70s. It turns out they have a history with Lady Gaga; the two acts first toured together way back in 2006. Over all I would say that Semi Precious Weapons entertained the crowd. Seeing them in concert was fun, but I couldn’t imagine sitting alone and listening to their CD. It was more about the performance than the music itself (which, frankly, left much to be desired). Still, they really did try to engage those in attendance. It was the first time I’d ever seen a full outift change take place onstage (the lead singer laid on the ground and pulled off his tights, lifting one leg carefully so as to cover his junk). They also gave fans a chance to meet them after the show, offering autographs, photo ops, and sexual favours. I didn’t go, so I suppose I’ll never know exactly what went down.

Anyhow, let’s not kid ourselves. No one was there to see Semi Precious Weapons. The real show really began when Lady Gaga took to the stage, opening with “Dance in the Dark” from behind a black screen. Her mere shadow sent the crowd into a frenzy. That was the first of the approximately 20 songs that comprised her set. Each number was unique and memorable. “Just Dance” was performed third, and it was like a third drink; it was the performance that allowed the crowd to let loose and start dancing. She dedicated “Boys Boys Boys” to her gay fans, who came out in full force (I swear – Davie St. must have been empty). Her stunning performance of “Speechless” left me just that. The set was back loaded, with many of her mega hits coming at the end of the show. This helped to build excitement as the night progressed.

Though some of Gaga’s “wisdom” seemed a little hypocritical (she claimed she didn’t want our money, which was hard to believe since I’d forked out a hundred bucks for my nosebleed seat), she did effectively stress the message that one must love and accept himself. She also connected with her fans, taking some time to talk to the crowd, even asking questions about various outfits. This was easy, since there were all sorts – girls with records glued to their heads, boys in drag with platform heels and false eyelashes. If these aren’t conversation starters, I don’t know what is.

I’ll be honest – the first thing I did after the concert was log onto Craigslist to find out if I could afford a ticket to night two. It was that great. I also feel like seeing the show again would provide the opportunity to really take in the entire performance. Lady Gaga was captivating. I often found myself so focused on her that I didn’t even notice what was happening all around her (even when that included incredibly attractive go go dancers and a giant mechanical monster). Compared to Gaga, nothing else even registered.

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