The Hp Pavilion in San Jose was transformed when Lady Gaga arrived. The majority of her “little monsters” were decked out for the occasion. The capacity crowd flooded in as opener Madeon gave a strong performance of his own. But there’s really no competing with Gaga. She arrived in flamboyant fashion and kicked off a two hour set that bombarded the senses and tried, much too hard, to justify the insanely expensive admission tickets.
No doubt Gaga is visionary, talented and original. The costume changes were countless, the stage- which was was built to look like a castle-was awe inspiring and Gaga’s crew of back up dancers were on point. But there were a few moments that the audience seemed winded. It was almost as if they’d embarked on a road trip and their enthusiasm was hitting a lull as they approached the thousandth mile. The performance had this effect on the massive audience. They started strong, in a frenzy. Mid way through they weren’t quite as loud and many had taken their seats.
Regardless of the audience’s enthusiasm, this was a show that won’t be forgotten by any of the attendees. The songstress made sure of that. There were gimmicks that worked and a few that didn’t. The chance to talk to the star, on your phone as she called a lucky fan from center stage, was one that worked. She strives to make these arena concerts as intimate and interactive as she possibly can. As the winner, which is picked at random, told her story the audience fell silent listening to the exchange. Gaga fiddled around on her piano as the conversation progressed and the woman, who had flown all the way from Arizona to see the show, was a bona fide celebrity after the call. Receiving back pats and high fives from everyone in her section. Any artist can perform a song on an auxiliary stage but very few will call a fan mid way through the show. Other stars should take note.
In lieu of that very personal Gaga moment, the rest of the set offered up a story line that didn’t make much sense. Millions of dollars worth of production amounted to a barrage of lights, elaborate costumes and video screens. That’s expected at a Gaga show, but Liberace would have winced at the excessive glitz.
Gaga’s core message was prevalent throughout the night. Being who you are is not only acceptable but it should be the way you live your life. Don’t be afraid to hide your true personality. Her various motivational tactics to get the audience engaged varied, but the message was inspirational every time. She reminded her fans that she had once been a stripper and now she was just on a bigger stage making more money.
This is a tour that a casual fan may pass up. The amount of numbers after the word “admission price” may raise a few eyebrows. But, Gaga fans and skeptics alike would enjoy the show. If the songs don’t get you out of your seat the pure spectacle will. Gaga knows how to entertain and she pulled out all the stops on this tour.