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September 30, 2009

Concert review: Lady Gaga at DAR Constitution Hall

lady gaga

John-John Williams IV was at last night's Lady Gaga show at DAR Constitution Hall. Here are his thoughts:

Lady Gaga knows how to put on a show -- when she's on stage. Too bad she makes her fans wait an hour and a half for an hour performance with no encore.

That's right: At her DAR Constitution Hall show last night, there was no opening act, an hour-long performance by Lady Gaga and no encore. But like I said, when she's on stage, she's one heck of a performer.

The minute the curtain dropped, revealing Lady Gaga dressed in a geometric, glittery metallic dress with an Anna Wintour blonde and pink bob, she had the crowd's attention.

Gaga launched into her hit single "Paparazzi," working the screaming fans by screaming "D.C." and flashing the middle finger at the end of the song.

It quickly became apparent that Lady Gaga is more than just a shiny pop package. She’s a phenomenal performer with a myriad of tricks up her haute coutured sleeves. She's a great singer, pianist, and showman too: She was tickling the ivories while squatting on the piano bench in heels ...

A little later, Gaga bounced up on top of the bench and bent down to plink a couple notes. She also threw her foot up onto the keys at one point and played some more.

You know Lady Gaga's over-the-top persona has been carefully calculated. And you know she's a bit of a thrill-seeking attention whore. But all that doesn't matter. The girl can flat out sing. She's got raw singing power a la Kelly Clarkson and swagger like Pink.

It's hard to think of a recent dance music artist who has been more successful. And other than Gwen Stefani and Fergie, I can't think of another white songstress who is able to make such a seamless cross-over into hip-hop. (Just ask Kanye West, who she will be touring with this fall.)

Last night, Lady Gaga told the crowd that she was a problem child who has grown into a woman who only wants to make her father proud. She also told the crowd that her father was scheduled to have open heart surgery, a revelation that was really unexpected and well received by the audience, who yelled words of encouragement. 

"You be good to your mom and dad," she later told her fans. (You don't hear that everyday -- especially from a sexed-up pop starlet.)

Lady Gaga also knows where a big chunk of her fan base lies -- with the gays!

Unlike some artists who shy away from the major elephant in the room -- Beyonce for one -- Lady Gaga acknowledges her dedicated fans. During more than one interview I've heard Lady Gaga give shout outs to her same-sex loving followers. And during last night's concert, she dedicated the song "Boys, Boys, Boys" to her gay fans who are "there for me" and "tell me when I suck," she told the audience, which drove them into frenzied cheers.

From the beginning, Lady Gaga wanted her fans to know of her fashionista tendencies. The words "Haus of Gaga" and "Candy Worhol" flashed onto a cloth screen. The videos shown throughout her performance were reminiscent of scenes from an ultra-eccentric fashion show. (Think Jean-Paul Gaultier.)

I was surprised she was as reserved as she was with her outfits. After the MTV Music Video Awards where she had a number of costume changes that included what appeared to be a bird’s nest on her face and homage to the abominable snowman, I expected more of the same. Instead there were only about four real wardrobe changes. Most of them looked like they had been salvaged from the movie "Flash Gordon." (I could have done without her bubble dress. Complete. Disaster.)

I have to admit, when I first saw Lady Gaga perform last summer on an episode of "So You Think You Can Dance," I was convinced that she was simply a studio voice with a manufactured look. I have since rethought my stance on her voice. It’s fantastic by today’s standards. All that she really needs to work on is her timing. A 90-minute wait for an hour-long show is as over-the-top as she is. Maybe a (fashionable) alarm clock might help.

(AP photo)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:02 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Concert reviews


Thank you so much for writing this review. She is coming to Buffalo with Kanye West in December. The tickets are pricy, but now I am convinced it will be worth the cost. Well worth it! I wish the concert were tonight. Oh wait a second. You can't go dressed to a GAGA concert in your usual garb. I have to go shopping! And about being gay, not gay, whatever. We will all have a fantastic time.

I attended the concert last night at DAR and totally agree with your review!
One of my friends was ready to walk out, but at the (resold!) price of $120 per ticket - and seats at the very top, it would have been an expensive and unnoticed statement. She's good, but no one is worth waiting 1.5 hours. Since she's only released one popular CD, and played all the songs from it, perhaps she ran out of material? Hopefully she can correct this when she tours with Kanye! and the Lady DOES know how to sing the blues!

The wait was absolutely crazy -- it was supposed to start at 8, I saw a sign by will call that said she'd actually come on at 8:30, but she didn't come on until 9:30 -- but the show itself was fantastic. Totally worth the wait.

When I first heard of Lady Gaga, I loved her. Then when I heard 'Poker Face' on the radio a bazillion times, I rated her as annoying and overrated. After reading this review and doing some follow up I have fallen back in love. She's unique and she has a presence. Ok yeah she over exaggerated being 'fashionably late' for her concert, but from the sound of it, she made up for it through her performance. Lady Gaga's demeanor sort of reminds me of Peaches. Maybe she can have her as an opening act sometime. Not only does Lady Gaga have an amazing voice for the hip-hop genre, but she has passion and message in her performances.

From the first time I saw Lady Gaga on "So you think you can dance" I have been listening to her non-stop. She just puts me in a good mood. I was probably one of the oldest people at the concert at DAR being 47, but still had a great time. She did not sing 2 of her album songs. I swear I saw her leaving in a Maybach. The people around said no it was a man in the car, but really, she could easily put on a costume to leave. Have you seen the ending of the "Birdcage"? Besides who else there could afford a $400,000+ car?

Totally agree on this review! I paid way over face value for my tickets (b-day gift for my BF) but it was totally worth it when she performed. Based on some reviews from her earlier shows, I had anticipated at least 1 opening act (some people cited 3!) but was fairly surprised when the audience was left sitting forever. The concert was a little short compared to the wait...especially since there was no encore. And no, she actually didn't sing all her songs - Starstruck, Summerboys, Paper Gangster anyone??

All and all, I'm super glad we went to see her on her first headlining tour. I had my doubts about the Lady when her song Just Dance hit the radio waves...just another flash in the Pop-pan...but she's so much more talented than some other Pop veterans (Britney - gf, your voice is like UGH!...Madonna - your hips called, they need to be replaced). Unfortunately, I will not be seeing La Gagita in the "Fame Kills" tour b/c I despise Kanye West. And yes, she is definitely ALL Lady!

all lady? she sounds like a broad whose a showman like david lee roth.
a lady doesn't keep ppl waiting for 90 mins. or flash her middle finger. looks like an expensive call girl.

"Unlike some artists who shy away from the major elephant in the room -- Beyonce for one -- Lady Gaga acknowledges her dedicated fans."

If by the "major elephant in the room" you mean gays, then are you accusing Beyonce of being a homophobe because she never gives a specific shout out to gays at the end of all her performances? Well neither do a lot of artists who have gay fans, that doesn't mean they ignore them, especially not Beyonce. Beyonce has fans of both genders and of all creeds and races, do you criticize her for not giving a shout out to all her black female fans, who make up for a more then healthy amount of her fanbase? No, so why do you take issue with her not dedicating her shows to the gay community? And why has everyone taken to comparing Beyonce to Lady Gaga? Beyonce has been here longer than her, and is better than her. She doesn't need to aspire to be like Gaga. Gaga is only where she is because of her "talent" to wrap the media around her finger, and you're all a bunch of fools for buying into it.

Guess one needs to define their audience. making special acknowledgements to their gay fans, redefines or limits the fan base.

i love this picture of lady gaga!! i saved it and she is my new screensaver!!

TJI...Sorry kids. Kanye/Gagay tour canceled.

I loved your review! You told it like it was, didn't hold back and painted a great scene with your descriptions and hilarious commentary.great stuff!

There really is a Lady Gaga, and people actually paid real money for a Lady Gaga "concert"?

Jeez, people really will fall for anything.

lady gaga is italiano baby! like madonna. and is letting us know she appreciates us, unlike those selfish other artists who dont care about anything but money. go gaga go! gays made u! and keep it up cause beyonce will fall flat on her big ass again!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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