How well did Lady Gaga's second show go? Quite well, as Damien Grant found out
Gaga rode in on a mechanical horse alongside a huge disembodied head announcing her intention to invade the country and it never relaxed from there.
The show marries two themes; an impending invasion by her little monsters merged with a one woman campaign to end discrimination against homosexuals. I prefer my rock stars to be from the self-destructive narcissistic nihilist school of Rock and Roll, no one was there for a civic lesson Gaga. Get on with the show!
We endured Highway Unicorn and Government Hooker, two worthy and unknown tunes from her recent album, but took to our feet when she sprang from a giant vagina belting out Born This Way.
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The infectious beat and unconventional voice that is her signature filled the arena and the megawatt base system made sure that we felt the song pounding in our internal organs. The volume was cranked up well past any OSH standards and the light display may have left me with a permanent blind spot but the passion that goes into each song can be felt even from the cheap seats.
The hits were compressed into the first half with Bad Romance and Just Dance getting even grandma's juices flowing and Gaga's rapid fire costume changes were as impressive creatively as they were logistically.
The backdrop was a medieval castle that folded, opened, collapsed and rotated to accommodate the enormous energy of Gaga and her dancers. This was her kingdom, she declared. And it was. She had herself built into a bike and seemed to enjoy being ridden before pausing the show for a full twenty minutes delving into some new age nonsense before thankfully returning to the music.
She was invading so guns were everywhere, the most impressive a self-loading two gun bra that was waved around with menace as she rocked out Paparazzi although this was tame compared to the execution and dispatching of a discharged lover, pogo stick and all, through a meat grinder. A very bad romance.
The meaning of meat dresses escapes me but several of her female dancers appeared to be sporting meat underwear during the rendition of the otherwise un-noteworthy song Americano. Steak tartare anyone?
Hopefully the cows were TB free before being sent to the pattern maker but this lead us into the tune of the night: Poker Face. Vector rose to her feet for the song that kicked Gaga's career into high gear and is still defines her music. It was what the crowd had come to hear. We could have heard it again.
She finished with a technically brilliant, soaring and passionate rendition of The Edge of Glory and it obvious Gaga believes in her message, you can feel it in her voice. Behind all lights, glitz, meat, guns and exploding bras is a singer of exceptional talent.
She will be back, she tells us, but fame is a fickle master. She has one more Auckland concert tonight.