Lady Gaga’s gig at Manchester’s Phones 4u Arena last night was never going to be just another pop concert but an ‘expression of self’ for both Mother Monster and her fans.
The atmosphere at the ArtPOP: The ArtRave Ball was electric as brightly coloured gender defying Little Monsters dance, chatted and did the ‘claw’ as they patiently waited for Mother, who was half an hour late.
Eventually, a huge silver curtain dropped, revealing a Moroccan, space-age style set with Lady Gaga rising from the floor wearing gold furry wings, a white wig and the PopArt blue ball that protrudes from her body.
Gaga shouted ‘we are having a rave, Manchester!’ And the Little Monsters did indeed.
The male and female dancers wore outfits that looked like they were inspired by Leigh Bowery as GaGa performed ArtPop, G.U.Y and Donatella.
A quick costume change and more influences: Tina Turner, the iconic Barbarella and 50,000 Years BC all came together for the Venus section as bright phallic flowers burst through the stage.
Coming to a stop GaGa was flanked on either side by two guitarists who looked less like musicians and more like personal bodyguards as she addressed her Little Monsters.
GaGa talked of her love for Manchester and of her shopping trip to Afflecks Palace, getting a cheer that raised the roof.
The Lady of pop went on to perform Manicure, Poker Face and Telephone and brought the atmosphere up yet another notch.
Clothes were thrown on to the stage and while sitting at her ice-packed piano she popped on a camouflage bomber jacket and donned a union flag.
Interrupting her piano introduction to Dope, GaGa said: “They told me that I would most likely have to lip sync and stop playing the piano, and I told them to go fuck themselves.”
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and straight Little Monsters cuddled and kissed in a safe, accepting space.
Then GaGa gave her all with renditions of The Edge of Glory, Judas and Aura before reading a letter from a Kazakhstan fan, whose life changed after listening to her music.
Now studying in the UK and at the Manchester concert GaGa invited him backstage to meet her after the show.
Yet another happy Little Monster.
The highlight of the concert was her performing a jazzy version of Sonny Bono’s Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).
Wearing a Cher wig and a red leather jacket the performer confirmed that she was a jazz singer before she was a pop artist.
The Little Monsters lapped up this change of pace by showing the claw.
A costume change on stage and GaGa slipped into her psychedelic schoolgirl outfit
She finished on Bad Romance, Applause and Swine.
Swine had male dancers with pig masks on running around and squirting paint on Swine canvasses.
It is a great track to finish on and the audience went crazy when the performance came to an end.
Then was a bit of a hiatus between the end of the show and the encore.
Eventually Mother Monster returned dressed as Rhinestone GaGa.
Telling us that she will be fined for going past the 11pm curfew and asking people to leave, GaGa said: “I have to tell you to leave now and get home safely.
“I don’t think an artist has ever asked the audience to leave in the history of this arena.”
Defying Mother Monster, the Little Monsters, in an expression of gratitude, stayed until the end.
Image courtesy of Def Jam Records, via YouTube, with thanks.