“There has never been another night like this Monster Ball in Zurich!” declared Lady Gaga to her mass of adoring fans. Never, that is, except for the previous evening; this was Lady Gaga’s second Zurich concert.
The event certainly lived up to my expectations. Lady Gaga is incredibly talented and perhaps the best modern day entertainer-with-a-capital-E. The show often resembled a live film clip with costumes changes between every song and often mid-song. Lady Gaga seems to come from another planet – at least a comic book world. There was a questionable musical-theatre element: the songs were strung together with a tenuous storyline involving Lady Gaga travelling with her friends to The Monster Ball (erm, I thought that’s what we came for?). The songs didn’t fit this storyline at all, but as Lady Gaga’s film clips have nothing to do with her lyrics, I guess she’s just being consistent.
Aside from great fun, the main impression I had of the event was that it was terribly funny. My first thought was that Lady Gaga’s fans take her much more seriously than she takes herself. As the evening went on I became increasingly uncertain as to whether Lady Gaga herself was really in on the joke.
Lady Gaga expressed a philosophy that we should all believe in and love ourselves. She didn’t fit in high school and was bullied, she told us. She’s sure many of us were too. She still gets bullied, she says, but don’t worry: one day you’ll on a stage with 20’000 fans and you’ll feel better about yourself. While the current generation may well hope for 15 minutes of youtube fame, I’m not sure that pinning your hopes on celebrity super-stardom is the most pragmatic approach to teenage anxieties.
Despite emphasizing with the teenagers and inner-teenagers in the audience, Lady Gaga seems to be regressing back to her 6-year-old self. The one that wants to be a princess, with her dressing-up being a search for self-identity. This particular 6-year-old was apparently prematurely exposed to horror movies, given the amount of fake-blood incorporated into some of the acts.
Back to teenagers though. I had a “Kids of Today” moment when I realised I was one of the very few audience members actually dancing at a dance music concert. A large number of people experienced the concert by watching it on the screen of their mobile phone as they filmed the proceedings. Others were updating their facebook, sending updates to their friends via WhatsApp or calling them up to share a phone-conference virtual-concert experience. I’m sure this says something about this generation’s trade-off of having a community virtual friendships as opposed to living in the moment.
So, a great concert from the pop-art pop-star. Thanks to Dino for his post that first sparked my interest in the Lady Gaga phenomenon.