Lady Gaga visited Music City on Tuesday, April 19, when her critically acclaimed Monster Ball Tour made its one and only stop in Middle Tennessee at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. The musical temptress delighted all in attendance as she delivered her best known hits (“Poker Face” and “Bad Romance), as well as new numbers from her upcoming album (“Born This Way” and “You and I”). The singer wowed all in attendance with dazzling costumes, ghoulish visuals and remarkable vocal and musical skills while delivering an impressive spectacle of music and theater with the energy of a whirling dervish.
Since announcing her arrival in late 2008, Lady Gaga (born Stefani Germanotta) has exploded into the stratosphere raising eyebrows and causing jaws to drop. It seems futile to try to escape her presence that’s permeated pop culture through her music, fashion and outrageous live performances. The 25-year-old performance artist from Manhattan has the kind of formidable presence that makes fans want to ardently follow her every move.
Her statistics are impressive when realizing what she has accomplished in such a short time. In just over two years, she amassed nine top-ten hit singles, sold millions of albums and became the most downloaded and searched female on the internet in history. She is set to release her sophomore full-length effort, Born This Way, on May 24, which has already been heralded as this decade’s Thriller. The title track became the fastest selling download in the history of iTunes, having sold 1,000,000 copies in just five days, and remained No. 1 atop the Billboard singles chart for six consecutive weeks. Her current hit “Judas” (released four days earlier than originally planned) is closely following its predecessor’s record-breaking footsteps, already becoming the third-highest debuting single of her career.
Gaga has stirred up her own lion’s share of controversy with her live musical theatrics demonstrated on television, such as bleeding to death during her MTV performance, not to mention the fire emitting bra and panties she proudly modeled during her Nashville concert. And let’s not forget the religious connotations in the lyrics of her most recent hits “Born This Way” and “Judas,” as well as her sexually charged music videos, which contain elements of S&M, bestiality and homoeroticism.
During her sold-out Nashville performance, the musical vamp managed to keep the enthralled audience out of their seats and up on their feet for the entire two-hour event. The concert included all of her hits, multiple dancers and various video interludes, which served to divide the show into five separate segments. Gaga spoke to the audience about the trappings of fame and money and how she has been unfairly persecuted by religious groups who continually misunderstand her music. She also broke into an impromptu line from “Judas,” singing from the chorus: “I’m just a holy fool/Oh baby it’s so cruel/But I’m still in love with Judas, baby.” She then commented, “People get their panties all in a bunch over nothing. It’s just a fucking pop song,” to which the audience heartily indicated their approval by responding with deafening applause.
Although some have written her off as a temporary novelty act, it will be interesting and highly entertaining to see if Lady Gaga will be able to sustain her massive success in the long run. Only time will tell for sure if the masses will grow restless and move on to the next big thing, but there is no denying the everlasting impact this provocative and highly successful performer has already had on the ever-changing world of pop music. And judging by the captivated audience’s fanatical response during the enigmatic singer’s Middle Tennessee performance, Lady Gaga doesn’t seem to be showing signs of fading into obscurity anytime soon.