« New nightlife reporter Erik Maza tries to buy sunscreen, gets flat tire on first day | Main | Usher's OMG Tour at 1st Mariner Arena Dec. 8 »

September 8, 2010

Concert Review: Lady Gaga at Verizon Center

lady gaga performs at the verizon centerMidnight Sun alumnus Sam Sessa saw Lady Gaga at the Verizon Center last night. Here are his thoughts:

If Brit Brit is still the reigning Pop Princess, Lady Gaga is her rebellious little sister.

At 24, Lady Gaga has sold more than 15 million albums and 51 million singles worldwide and tapped into the mainstream and gay and lesbian communities while scoring several top 10 singles.

All this with only two albums, both released in the past two years.

Last night, Lady Gaga's sold-out Monster Ball tour, a tantalizingly trashy two-hour spectacle of outrageous costumes, sexually charged dances and irresistible dance pop, rolled into Washington's Verizon Center.

The live band was tight, but the costumes were tighter ...

Lady Gaga champions the gay rights movement and encourages fans to celebrate themselves for who they are. It's a positive message in a polarized nation. Last night, she laid it all out there, over and over again. 

"I didn't use to be brave," she said. "In fact, I wasn't very brave at all. But you have made me brave, little monsters, so I'm going to be brave for you."

Gaga's passion for equal rights was genuine and heartfelt (she even seemed on the verge of tears a couple times), but she brought it up after every other song. That was my only real complaint with the show -- Gaga got a little heavy-handed and repetitive with her message, which slowed things down. Otherwise, it was one hell of a show.

lady gaga gets all clawy and stuff. reeeeeeer!The Monster Ball pairs theatrics with real talent. Lady Gaga sings live -- a feat few other pop stars of her status can pull off in concert -- and plays keyboards and piano. And Gaga knows how to get a crowd hot and bothered. For the first song, "Dance in the Dark," she stayed behind a scrim while her larger-than-life shadow was projected in front of her. She sang most of the song that way, striking poses and teasing the audience.

When the screen lifted, there was Lady Gaga, in all her glory (and not much else): a skin-tight leopard print leotard and black boots. It was the first in a series of bizarre outfits, which ranged from spark-shooting bra and thong to a flowing white fairy dress with a long train and a motorized headpiece. My personal favorite was the leather cape and getup which looked like Darth Vader at Mardi Gras.

While Gaga swapped outfits, surrealistic videos (one of Gaga eating a bloody human heart, another of a model vomiting sparkly blue liquid on Gaga) played on the video screens. Yum!

The set, which changed several times, included a beat up car with a keyboard under its hood (Gaga played it), film noir-ish neon signs, a giant angler fish puppet,  fountain and a flaming statue and piano, among other affects. Lady Gaga tickled the ivories for two ballads, "Speechless" and a hard-edged new song called "You and I."

Lady Gaga's first hit, "Just Dance," came a few songs into the set. The show was back-loaded with her more recent singles "Alejandro," "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance." She's had so many singles in such a short time, its hard to keep track of them all.

Live, the pulsing beat of "Telephone" throbbed with fresh intensity, and the scorching synth hook of "LoveGame" had fists pumping. Though Lady Gaga isn't as talented a dancer as, say, Britney Spears, her singing and crew of skilled backup dancers carried the night.

Lady Gaga's guitarist, Jesus, was a shirtless, musclebound guy with long locks and a penchant for shredding. All he ever did was fire off wailing solos with lots of notes. But at a show like this one, would you expect any less? 

The show started at 9:20 p.m. and ended at 11:30 p.m.

Here is the set list:

Dance in the Dark
Glitter and Grease
Just Dance
Beautiful Dirty Rich
The Fame
Boys Boys Boys
Money Honey
You and I (new song)
So Happy I Could Die
Poker Face

Bad Romance

(Baltimore Sun photos by Gene Sweeney Jr.)

Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog
Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:25 AM | | Comments (18)
Categories: Concert reviews


Midnight Sun Alumnus?

What gives? They finally fire you? The Good Life Boys track you down and put the kaibosh on you?

Maybe the Tribune company is rewarding you with a cushy editorial post in Chicago?

You're not done here, are you?

And I thought Madonna was a trashy POS. Nothing worse than paying money to hear a band play and then the singer has to pontificate on some BS half the time.

If I wanted to see bare midriff, I'd go to Hooters or better yet, Ocean City!

Worst review ever.

P.S. You should have let Matthew Pugh review the show.

That chick is gross.

The best concert of my life!

Really really disappointed with the show.

Three major problems:
1.) Even though I agreed pretty much 100% with Gaga's political views, I did not have to hear them over and over again. This is a concert, not a political rally. And when someone comes off more political at a concert than say, Roger Waters, well... that's a problem.

2.) Set changes and costume changes. You lost me Gaga... it interrupted the show and left me really bored at times.

3.) You do not own me. Do not call me a "Little Monster" and do not tell me to "dance you little mfs". Using the f-bomb is appropriate at times (such as to make a point), but using it over and over again really shows unintelligence and a lack of respect.

Take a hint from AC/DC. Your music is fun, but don't take yourself so gosh darned seriously.

Don't take yourself so seriously? Strange words from a person with a PnkFlyd tag. :)

Today's pop-art is as bad and intolerable as it ever has been throughout the course of history. From TV shows to music to movies, if you want to find talented artists, you need to stay away from the mainstream media.

It's funny, years ago, the teeny-boppers loved The Beatles, truely innovative artists/songwriters. I don't even enjoy their music, but I respect them. My, how far our society has fallen.

We need more rock stars to speak out and let the world know what they are thinking.

This idea that singers have no business speaking outmfrom the stage or through their music is an insult to our Constitution!

What would this nation have become if the Beatles and others hadn't spoken out in the 60s?

My wife saw the show and had the same problems. She wondered if the 'commentary, from Lady Gaga was ramped up a notch being in DC. She also was put off by the constant f bombs.

To : Tim S.

I try not to take myself so seriously, but I am a Pink Floyd fan, hence the tag. They take themselves very seriously, don't they?

Roger Waters could lighten up a bit at his concerts as well. Just wanted to add that. But you kind of go to a Roger Waters concert expecting some politics. Maybe Gaga just caught me off guard with all of her talk. :-)

Heh, what a story on gaga yet again... I can't seem but wonder what she's gonna do tomorrow ;P. Read another silly story on her last week, check out url.

I bet Lady Gaga puts on some kind of show on stage. I would love to see her in concert.

the show, the costumes, the shredding, the vulgarity and yes, even the political views... they're all part of the act. and it's sold out until 2011! i guess you have to take gaga as she is. if you don't wanna watch it, just get the mp3's at my site.

Part of being a headlining act is to stir the pot. If it weren't for controversy most big named acts wouldn't sell as much. Take it for what it is, know one is perfect.

Part of being a headlining act is to stir the pot. If it weren't for controversy most big named acts wouldn't sell as much. Take it for what it is, no one is perfect.

Hey, guys Lady Gaga is my favorite pop star. Gaga emerged as a super pop star ever. I am the biggest fan of Gaga and have lots of unknown facts about her. Like, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta is the original name of our star and there was a time when , she was very shy to be on stage. To know more about this Lady and create a custom home page and if you want to have number of pictures of her.go for the site, and have fun with Lady Gaga. Do you know that Paris and Nicky Hilton attended the sane school as Gaga and ended up becoming big fans. Apart from these interesting facts you can also upload the latest themes of Gaga through, , So have fun.

gaga isnt an ordinary pop star-- she has a message and she created a haven for those disenfranchised in society sorry if u were offended by how passionate she is standing up for those bullied or teased in society
shes not some perfect "im better than you" pop star who barely connects during concerts
i love how gaga has a special relationship with her fans and that is what carried her through to the top
if you dont like gagas way of performing then dont go simple as that shes a true superstar and she will stand up for what she believes in
and she says the f word a lot because she is passionate about her work and about her fans and about the message she wants to deliver

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "w" in the field below:
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.

Most Recent Comments
Recent tweets
Sign up for FREE nightlife alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Photo galleries
Stay connected