Originally Published on April 7th, 2014; Updated on June 24th, 2014.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: Minds Were Blown.
On April 6th, 2014, Lady Gaga performed at Roseland Ballroom, the penultimate show before the iconic venue closed forever EVER. On April 7th, Gaga performs the final show before embarking on her artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball tour.
Arriving at Roseland for the last time, the first thing to appreciate is the signage. It’s iconic. It’s nostalgic. It’s GAGA. #BRBDying.
We got in line at around 2:20pm so that we’d be one of the first groups of people into the venue. Most of the venue is standing room around the stage, so we wanted to get in as close to Gaga as humanly possible.
While waiting in line, around 4pm, a girl emerged from inside Roseland with bags of Baked by Melissa cupcakes for everyone waiting in the early admission line, otherwise known as the Little Monster Zone. Yes, I’m a Little Monster. Bite me. You’re just jealous because you didn’t eat 6 mini-cupcakes filled with deliciousness. The lemon were the best. Obviously.
BUT THAT’S NOT EVEN THE BEST PART! After we get cases of delicious cupcakes, this magical mystery woman tells us to “get some questions ready” because we’re going in EVEN EARLIER for a Q&A with the QUEEN. I COULD NOT EVEN HANDLE.
Once we got let in, we got bags of swag because we’re Little Monsters. Buttons, special tickets, VIP passes, Born This Way Foundation buttons, and a Lady Gaga Tote bag and special Lady Gaga @ Roseland poster (I did not take a picture of the poster. It’s still rolled up in my car.)
As we waited for this apparent Q&A, Lady Gaga casually walks out on stage and plays an acoustic version of “Born This Way” and tell us that needed to sound check. SO SHE DID A SPECIAL THREE SONG SOUNDCHECK FOR JUST THE SMALL GROUP OF FANS WHO WERE LET IN EARLY.
Here is a video I took during Gaga’s sound check where she performed “Sexxx Dreams” in a brown wig and a flannel button down. ***Flawless.
Here she is during the Q&A, which was really wonderful because Gaga is so down to earth and funny, but kind of lame because 99% of the questions came from twitter. users, not the audience. #LoveMeLoveMePleaseRetweet (If you don’t know what this hashtag refers to, you’re dead to me.)
Steve and I are literally DYING. We look high because we’re high on life. #Selfies
Then we waited. For almost two hours. My feet were throbbing. At 8pm, Lady Starlight came out and DJed and I realized that I just don’t understand house music. It makes no sense. There are no words. Literally. MUSIC WITHOUT WORDS. Can it actually be called music, though? I mean, it’s a lot of thumping beats and whizzing noises and synthesizer “sounds” and just a whole lot of eardrum-piercing nonsense. But it was cute. At least the crowd was PUMPED.
That’s when the velvet “curtain” (it’s more like a sheet, but curtain just sounds so much more lush. Much like Gaga herself) was lifted and Gaga emerged in a gorgeous geometric costume reminiscent of something she would wear during The Fame Monster era and sang an acoustic, heartfelt version of “Born This Way.” She spoke the audience and preached about love and acceptance and how excited she was to be back in New York and how she wouldn’t have made it through everything without her fans. As she sang the words to the now infamous “love yourself” mantra hit, you could tell that she was singing from her gut, with every fiber of her being, and her voice radiated throughout the ballroom, bounced off the walls, and reverberated in the ears of every single audience member who ever felt like an outcast.
It was beautiful.
Then she launched into “Black Jesus + Amen Fashion and danced alongside a, well, black Jesus. “Black Jesus” was a bonus track off of Born This Way, and it was never one of my favorites, but seeing it live made me a believer #JesusIsTheNewBlack. Cut to a quick costume change and Gaga emerges dressed entirely in roses singing “Monster” from The Fame Monster, which then launched into Bad Romance.
At one point, she was directly in FRONT OF ME.
From a performance standpoint, Lady Gaga is unmatched. Not only does she command an audience, but she presents interesting, controversial, and ironic visuals that suspend the audience between a state of disbelief and awe. Combine that with the raw talent that she possesses, her unbeatable energy, and her undeniably catchy pop songs, and you have someone who will without a doubt stand the test of time. Not only that, but Lady Gaga’s earnest and showmanship transcends pop music and goes beyond that of her contemporaries.
Nobody can put on a show like Gaga. I was in awe.
I’ve been to innumerable concerts and shows and despite her 11-song set, Gaga’s showcase was the most impressive, the most energetic, and the one that will stick with me for days, weeks, months, years to come.
It’s not too often that a superstar of Gaga’s stature performs at such an intimate venue. I’ll always remember getting to see Gaga up close and personal in that capacity.
Oh, and LEGEND Tony Bennett was in the balcony on the left of the stage. During her eye-popling performance of “Bad Romance” (my personal favorite), she climbed up a ladder and danced on the tables, bent down and kissed Tony Bennett, who she’s reportedly releasing a duets album with at some point (this year?) She mentioned it briefly during the Q&A as well as during the show after “Bad Romance.”
BTW (“by the way” BTW, not “Born This Way” BTW. In case you were wondering) THIS IS HOW CLOSE I WAS TO GAGA. No joke. She ended “Bad Romance” right in front of me. Did I mention she was RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. I was four people from the stage, and if we all weren’t packed in as tightly like an unopened jar of pickles, I might’ve been able to squeeze my way to the front and LICKED THE SWEAT OFF HER FACE.
Don’t think I didn’t think about it. Here is the video I took of “Bad Romance”:
She went on to perform a slew of her hits, including “Yoü and I,” “Poker Face,” “Just Dance,” and some killer ARTPOP album tracks, like “Dope” and “Sexxx Dreams.” She ended the show with “Applause,” of which I also took a video, because #duh. (Also, every single one of these videos and photos are mine from my camera that I took during the performance. Apologies if they’re not the best, but I was concerned with enjoying myself and actually watching than keeping track of what was happening during the capturing process)
She came out for an encore with a killer performance of her new single “G.U.Y.,” which stands for Girl Under You, a new age female empowerment JAM. All in all, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, something that I will never forget. Lady Gaga is one of the most dynamic, thought-provoking artists out there right now. She’s an activist for the LGBT community, a visual artist as well as a musician, and she knows exactly what she’s doing (Check out this piece, “Lady Gaga: The Key to Success” I wrote last summer).
Now we just need to pay attention just a little bit more and take the time to unpack her genius.