Review: Lady Gaga’s ArtRAVE – The ArtPop Ball Tour at Madison Square Garden

Posted by The G on May 14, 2014 under G Reviews | Be the First to Comment

Photos and words by G.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

Gaga ooh la la!  On May 13, 2014 Lady Gaga made her return to New York’s Madison Square Garden with a sold out “ArtRAVE” as part of her ArtPop Ball Tour.  For nearly 2 hours (and for those wondering, she went on around 9:45 pm – doors were at 8), Lady Gaga and her dancers hosted the biggest party Manhattan had to offer for the night.

Lady Gaga featuring Jeff Koons' Gazing Ball

Lady Gaga featuring Jeff Koons’ Gazing Ball

The stage had ‘legs’ where Gaga and her dancers were able to run around the whole of the floor of Madison Square Garden and they didn’t stop moving for the duration of the show, save for when Gaga sat down at the piano.  The bad part about the stage set up was that there were large portions of the show where depending on your seat, you only got to see the backs of everyone.  My only complaint was that I really didn’t get to see a lot of the visuals that were shown on the screens behind the dancers.  As you can see below, this was my view of Gaga for a large portion of the show.

My view for the majority of the Gaga show.

My view for the majority of the Gaga show.

The best part of the show for me was Gaga’s love for her fans.  She is truly grateful for the position she is in and she expressed her gratitude to the audience throughout the show.  And unlike other superstars who say those things and then when you catch them with the cameras off, their actions are quite the opposite, Gaga puts her money where her mouth is, so to speak, and treats her fans with respect and love.  At one point in the show, fans threw gifts and letters to her on stage and she read a few letters to the crowd.  She invited those people to come party with her backstage after the show!  What other superstar does that?  Crickets chirping…

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

Before a piano rendition of “Born This Way” (not unlike this version that I saw earlier in the year), she mentioned that many of her friends and early supporters were at the show and she tearfully thanked them all for believing in her.  She inspired the audience to keep being her inspiration and she told the crowd so many times to be who you truly are without apologies.  Clearly, you can’t and shouldn’t compare Gaga’s show to Miley Cyrus’ concert, but for someone with such young fans who don’t know tons about the world, the message Gaga puts out is inspiring and empowering and Miley’s message is basically “please degrade yourself for attention.”

Octo-Gaga!

Octo-Gaga!

Gaga had a ton of costume changes, including an octopus-like outfit which you can see above, but to be completely honest, after seeing Gaga a bunch of times in concert, I don’t think this was the best Gaga show I’ve been to.  Perhaps she’s done so many outrageous things that she is having a hard time topping herself and perhaps because her newer material is not that strong, that made for some lulls in the show.

Lady Gaga balancing chairs on her head.

Lady Gaga balancing chairs on her head.

There were many highs though.  She performed all (or bits of) most of her great songs including “Poker Face,” “Just Dance,” “Telephone,” “Alejandro” (of which a video will be coming soon, so stay tuned!), “Paparazzi,” “Bad Romance” and a large portion of “ArtPop” was performed including the title track, “Aura,” “Mary Jane Holland,” “MANiCURE,” “Swine,” “Sexx Dreams,” “Applause” “Do What You Want,” and rapper T.I. came out for a guest appearance on “Jewels N’ Drugs.”

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

Did you go to the ArtRAVE?  What did you think?  Tell us about your experience in the comments section.

Lady Gaga - The Merch

Lady Gaga – The Merch

The setlist was:

Artpop / G.U.Y. / Donatella / Fashion! / Venus / MANiCURE / Cake Like Lady Gaga / Just Dance / Poker Face / Telephone / Partynauseous / Paparazzi / Do What U Want / Born This Way (Piano Version) / Jewels N’ Drugs (with T.I.) / Aura / Sexx Dreams / Mary Jane Holland / Alejandro / Ratchet / Bad Romance / Applause / Swine

Encore: Gypsy (not the Fleetwood Mac song)

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10 Observations from Lady Gaga at Roseland Ballroom

Posted by The G on April 7, 2014 under G Reviews | 2 Comments to Read

Photos and words by G.

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

Lady Gaga is performing 7 shows at the iconic New York venue Roseland Ballroom shuts its doors for good on April 7, 2014.  I attended her show on April 4, 2014 and before I give you 10 observations from the show, I’d like to reminisce a bit about Roseland.  I’ve seen countless shows at Roseland from Radiohead to Lily Allen to New Order.  The venue housed The Black Party and it was also where I danced on stage with Grace Jones!  Such memories!  Roseland you will be missed and it’s tragic that the rumour is that the building will be turned into condominiums!  But anyway, here are 10 observations from the Lady Gaga show on April 4, 2014.

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

1. Lady Gaga performed for a paltry one hour.  Even new bands that barely have one album out play for longer.  I totally get that these are “warm up” shows for her ArtPop Ball tour, but that is ridiculously short.  Let the rumours start as to why she was unable to play for longer?  Is she on drugs?  Is she getting off drugs?  Is she just lazy?  The show should have been advertised differently if it was going to be that short.  For someone that loves her fans as much as she does, that’s a shitty thing to do to them.  Which brings me to observation number two:

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

2. The VIP package made you pay twice as much as a normal ticket cost for the show.  Though it did get you early entry to the venue (Entry at 5:30 pm.  She went on at 9:15-ish), you did not have a special section to stand in, so if you got there late, you were screwed!  In essence, the “VIP Access” made you have to stand there longer than everyone else and though it was nice that you were given a commemorative bag and poster (with poster tube), they gave it to you when you walked into the venue, so you have to schelp it around all night!  In the mob scene that was the “pit” at Roseland, that was not a nice thing to do to your fans.  However, as Roseland has notoriously bad sight lines, I guess it was either this or not be able to see at all.

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

3. Her voice sounds great.  If the drug rumours are in deed true, it hasn’t affected her voice.  She can genuinely sing!   In fact, you can see a video of “Born This Way” shot by yours truly at this link (which will open in a new window).

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

4. If you tried to sneak up to the front, the Little Monsters will cut you!  Granted, I thought that was kind of awesome because those of us in the front paid our dues for those coveted spots, but still – there ain’t no fury like a Little Monster scorned.  The people standing near me and my friend at the show were total characters – on our left, we had a guy with the best biceps I’ve ever seen arguing with his sister about family business all night and on our right, a woman who literally had brought a drug store with her to the show.  In the course of the evening, the woman drank mini bottles of alcohol which can be found at liquor stores, smoked several joints (she did share though!), had an E-cigarette and snorted coke – and ALL in plain view.  Go on, girl!

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

5. When Gaga addressed the crowd, she used a squeaky Olive Oyl type voice which was ridiculous and annoying.  When you are performing with your pussy out, it’s really hard to buy the “I’m so innocent” act.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

6. 4 of the 11 songs she played featured her sitting down behind the piano.  Also, one of the pianos was stationed in a spot where the over $500 tickets were, and while those people got a little extra value for their ticket price, the rest of the venue could pretty much not see a thing during that section of the show.  When 15 minutes of her 60 minute show are being cockblocked by bad sight lines, that is NOT COOL!

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

7. Performing in your panties and grabbing your crotch is all the rage!

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

8. Gaga looked bloated.  I’m not trying to start any blasphemous rumours, but as we all know, if you really break your hip, the recovery time is around a year and a half, not 4 months.  Just sayin’.

Lady Gaga Roseland Merch

Lady Gaga Roseland Merch

9. The Merch. – “Lady Fucking Gaga” T-shirts and cups.  Enough said.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

10. She lives for the applause.

As I got to the end of my list, I realized it sounds like I am complaining.  To some extent, I am complaining because I see A LOT of live entertainment, and I look at everything objectively (though I am completely grateful for the experience).    I feel it’s the job of the performer to make me leave with a smile on my face.  Gaga definitely did that and she puts on a good show (despite this one being criminally short) but in some ways the joy I felt was overshadowed by a bunch of douchey moves that her team concocted to torture her fans that have little or no basis in comparison to know the difference.

What was your experience like?  Tell us in the comments section.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

The setlist was:

Born This Way (acoustic) / Black Jesus – Amen Fashion / Monster / Bad Romance / Sexxx Dreams / Dope / You and I / Poker Face (acoustic) / Just Dance / Applause.

Encore:

G.U.Y.

Photos: Sky Ferreira at Bowery Ballroom

Posted by The G on March 21, 2013 under Encounters with G, G Reviews | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.

Sky Ferreira

Sky Ferreira

Sky Ferreira

Sky Ferreira

On March 20, 2013, Sky Ferreira performed a sold out show at New York’s Bowery Ballroom.  Despite being extremely sick, she made it through her half hour set (which began roughly at 10:20 PM) and performed songs from her new EP “Ghost,”  including her viral hit “Everything is Embarrassing.”

Sky Ferreira

Sky Ferreira

There was a smoke machine on stage blowing so much smoke that for a large portion of the 35 minute set, you could barely see the singer.  Chances are, you’ll be able to see her better when she performs in the daylight at Coachella next month.

Sky Ferreira

Sky Ferreira

Sky Ferreira

Sky Ferreira

Spotted in the audience was Cole Smith of Diiv.

Read more of this article »

Review: Madonna live at Madison Square Garden (1st Night)

Posted by The G on November 13, 2012 under G Reviews | 9 Comments to Read

Photos by G.

Madonna

Madonna

Oh Madge!  Madonna is wrapping up her MDNA world tour with 2 nights at New York’s Madison Square Garden.  I attended the first night on November 12, 2012.  Luckily I’d gotten the memo that she goes on EXTRA late, so I wasn’t one of the bitter concert goers who arrived when the doors opened at 7 pm, only to have to wait for Madonna to take the stage nearly FOUR hours later.  Madonna hit the stage around 10:45 and finished 2 hours later at 12:45 am!  I’ve never seen anything end that late at an arena show, but I guess there’s a first time for everything.

Madonna

Madonna

I enjoyed the Madonna show, but not for the reasons I usually enjoy concerts.  Madonna’s show is less of a concert and more of a Broadway-esque spectacle where they just happen to be dancing to Madonna tunes all night.  At 54 years old, you’ve got to respect that she’s taken care of her body and she looks great.  I am not entirely sure if that’s a reason to strip down to your bra and panties in front of 20,000 people (and with your children present), but I digress.

Madonna

Madonna

The Madonna show was filled with great dancing, and she seems to have doubled the number of dancers she usually has on stage with her.  During any given song, there were great acrobatics and every move was choreographed with precision.  There were the usual Madonna-esque “look at how shocking I can be” moments as she toted a fake machine gun, dry humped a bed, the stage floor and many of her dancers, did a strip tease and had visuals of dying babies, poverty and memorials of some people who’ve died of AIDS killed themselves from being bullied playing on screens behind her.

Madonna

Madonna

There was even a section where Madonna turned her microphone on and talked to the crowd about the recent US Presidential election (and she advised “regardless of your political views, we all need to work together”), the victims of Hurricane Sandy (as she was wearing very little and told the crowd that rather than just stare at her ass when she’s dressed this way, they should throw money at her so she can donate it) and she mentioned that we should be grateful for our freedom because artists like Pussy Riot are not allowed to freely express their opinions.  Speaking of Pussy Riot, Madonna was selling “Free Pussy Riot” T-shirts at the concert and I sure hope the moneys from those shirts go to help them instead of going to help the Madonna fund.

Madonna

Madonna

As Madonna was telling the crowd to be nicer people and to come together as one, I found it hard to keep a straight face (and found it hard to believe SHE could keep a straight face during this segment) because if you’ve ever tried to meet Madonna in person, she’s one of the nastiest celebrities you could ever encounter!  Although I’ve been a fan of her since she started (yes, I am THAT old), her “do as I say, not as I do” rhetoric has left me cold and because of all the great experiences I have with so many people who rock my world, I’d rather devote my time, energy and money into the plethora of talented artists who haven’t lost all touch with reality.

Madonna

Madonna

She performed truncated dance remixes of a lot of her more recent material including “Hung Up” and “Give it 2 Me” as well as a large section of her most recent album MDNA with tracks such as “Gang Bang,” “Gimmie All Your Luvin’,” “Girl Gone Wild,” “Masterpiece,” “Turn up The Radio,” “Love Spent,” “I’m Addicted,” and “I’m A Sinner.”  She also revisited a few (literally) of her classic songs in the form of reworked versions of “Like A Virgin” (which sounded like a funeral waltz), “Vogue,” “Open Your Heart,” “Like A Prayer” and “Express Yourself,” which she took her well publicized jab at Lady Gaga by singing the chorus of Gaga’s “Born This Way” over the music of her own track since the two songs sound quite similar.

Madonna

Madonna

Although she did some serious dancing, Madonna sat down on the job for a nice chunk of the show.  She sat on the stage (or laid down on the stage) for many songs and she took some extra breathers as she played her guitar for a couple of tracks.  There were the usual multiple outfit changes as her show was divided into sections where they’d play 4 or 5 tracks and the as she was off changing clothes, the show focused on a dancing sequence and video screens showed off new versions of her songs (such as “Justify My Love,” “Nobody Knows Me” and a hits medley).

Madonna

Madonna

Madonna strutted around a triangle shaped stage and it makes you wonder how many people she has on her crew setting up and tearing down the stage night after night and transporting it to different cities.  No matter my opinion of the show, I can’t deny that the logistics are pretty impressive.  As Madonna is approaching her mid-50s, it will be interesting to see the next incarnation of her career because you can say a lot of bad things about her, but you cannot deny that she is definitely the Queen of Reinvention.

Madonna

Madonna

The setlist was:

Gregorian Chant Intro / Girl Gone Wild / Revolver / Gang Bang / Papa Don’t Preach / Hung Up / I Don’t Give A / Best Friend (video segment) / Express Yourself – Born This Way / Gimmie All Your Luvin’ / Hits Medley (video segment) / Turn Up The Radio / Open Your Heart / Masterpiece / Justify My Love (video segment) / Vogue / Candy Shop / Human Nature / Love Spent / Nobody Knows Me (video segment) / I’m Addicted / I’m A Sinner / Like A Prayer / Celebration / Give It 2 Me

Madonna

Madonna – The Merch

Madonna and Rocco Ritchie

Madonna and Rocco Ritchie

Review: The Stepkids and Kimbra at Webster Hall (2nd Night)

Posted by The G on October 21, 2012 under G Reviews | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.

Kimbra

Kimbra

2012 is officially the year of Kimbra!  In addition to singing on one of the biggest songs of the year (Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”), the New Zealand born singer sold out two nights at New York’s Webster Hall.  I attended the second night on October 20, 2012.   The show began with a great opening set by Connecticut’s psychedelic pop/rock band The Stepkids.  I’ve seen The Stepkids several times before and they get better and better with each performance.  They dress all in white and have really amazing visuals projected onto them as they play.

The Stepkids

The Stepkids

Both myself and the crowd loved the set and their 2011 debut album “Stones Throw” was ranked in the best albums of the year list by many critics.  Vocal duties are shared by Jeff Geitleman (left) and Dan Edinberg (right) and at times, Jeff’s soulful vocals would make D’Angelo proud.  You should definitely check out their music as they have a nice mix of rock, soul and psychedelia.

Kimbra

Kimbra

Around 9 pm, the main attraction, Kimbra, took the stage.  Dressed in a Gaga-esque outfit (but much more classy), the 22 year old singer belted out tracks from her debut album “Vows.”  What a voice!  Kimbra doesn’t just sing the tracks, she sings the hell out of them! Her live band turns her studio tracks into full on church anthems and the crows went wild after each song.

Kimbra

Kimbra

Though she didn’t play her duet with Gotye, she sang the majority of her album “Vows” including her off the charts cover of Nina Simone’s “Plain Gold Ring” and “Warrior,” which she collaborated with A-Trak and Foster The People’s Mark Foster for the studio version.  She had the crowd singing along to songs such as “Settle Down,” “Cameo Lover” and “Two Way Street.”

Kimbra

Kimbra

If you missed the show, make sure you see Kimbra live. She’s only 22 years old and I can only imagine that she’s going to get better and better as her career skyrockets and I’ve certainly made it a point not to ever skip a Kimbra show.  Thanks for a great night!

The setlist was:

Limbo / Posse / Good Intent / Plain Gold Ring (Nina Simone cover) / Two Way Street / Marigold / Old Flame / Warrior / Something in the Way You Are / Settle Down / Cameo Lover / Come Into My Head

Encore: Withdraw / Call Me

 

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