Thoughts on Lady Gaga, Landmark Theatre 9.28.09 [Originally posted on FB 09.29.09]

Wanted to get some thoughts down, because I am seeing Alice Cooper and U2 later this week, so before it all gets combined in my head, here are some thoughts on tonight’s events:

It took five months, three venues and two resceheduled dates, but Richmond finally got to see Lady GaGa, in of all places, the usually reserved and calm Landmark Theatre [Mosque]. Lady GaGa’s music, for those of you who don’t know it, is dance/techno, so I found it a bit strange and intriguing that the show was at a seated theatre, not sure how the crowd would respond.

Tickets said 8:00…by 8:03, no lie, chants of ‘Ga Ga!! Ga Ga!!’ started and would echo until the star took the stage around 8:50. I can only compare that to the chant of “Meat! Meat!’ I heard before a Meat Loaf show in the 90s.

Wearing a silver, almost aluminum foil-looking outfit, she looked like she stepped out of the film ‘Barbarella’, opening with ‘Paparazzi’ which surprised me, as it’s her latest single. From the start until the end of the proceedings, the poor ushers [the same somewhat elderly individuals whom I saw Saturday working the Seinfeld show] tried very hard to keep everyone out of the ailses, but, after song two [LoveGame, better known as Disco Stick] I think even the ushers realized it was a lost cause.

Multiple costume changes, multi-media elements, a great live backing band and her troupe of dancers kept everything very high energy. After the first two songs, she apologized for ‘missing’ Richmond, but announced that the show we were seeing was ‘something no one has seen before [it was in fact the staging and setlist that she’ll use on the upcoming Fall tour with Kanye West].

Seeing her, comparisons to Madonna must be made, and they are valid. The main difference is, while Madonna [and Britney and Christina] tended to walk the line between teeny-bopper and adult artist when they began, Lady GaGa leaves nothing to the imagination. This is a show for grown ups, no innuendo or implied sexuality, it’s upfront with no apologies.

Highlights for me were an exteded version of ‘Just Dance’ and the closing number ‘Poker Face’, played in two diffent variations, first alone at the piano, where she seemed to channel both Jerry Lee Lewis [playing the keys with her high heel shoes and legs streched across the entire piano] and Tori Amos. As that version ended, the band returned and the version featured on the album started, ending the show as it began, with a dance party.

Lady GaGa and her touring band/dancers took numerous bows to a standing ovation before she was carried off the stage. She had not been off the stage for more than five seconds before the house lights came up and the pre-show music started back up. Call it The Landmark’s way of saying ‘Get the heck outta here so we can clean up all this glitter off the seats, and don’t even think about an encore!’

She’s arena ready and I am certain the tour this fall will be quite impressive. I just hope between now and November, she figures out an encore. That’s a must when you play arenas.

One last thing I noticed. Lady GaGa’s music seems to touch all kinds of demographics. I saw white, black, latino, men, women, gays, straights, and even a few people considerably older than myself. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it seems like ‘the freaks’ have taken GaGa to heart, and that’s something I can identify with.

I had a blast and I really look forward to whatever it is she does next.

Thanks to Kelly, Mallory and the girl wearing blue hair and sunglasses for allowing me to cut in line out front.