As Lady GaGa looked out at the entranced packed-to-the-rafters Manchester Arena on Tuesday evening, she promised everyone in attendance “I’m gonna dance my p***y off for you all night long”. One of the most talked about pop stars in the world was here and she was ready to provide an unforgettable evening of entertainment.

Lady Gaga

Earlier on the excitable crowd had been occupied by a lively set from The Darkness. The energetic reaction to Justin Hawkins strutting across the stage and howling along to their glam rock tunes proved how long these fans had waited to see their idol and how ready they were to enjoy the night. Their biggest hit “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” had the steadily filling venue singing and stamping their feet and nicely warmed up for the main act. Dressed as different music video versions of GaGa, barely any of the crowd could sit or stand still in anticipation of how she would make her entrance.

A fever pitch like no other descended as the arena lights dimmed and curtains dropped revealing an extravagant castle setting. GaGa arrived on stage, parading around the extended walkway to the delight of fans before launching into the Born This Way Ball, performing the 2011 album almost in its entirety. The tone of the concert was set when GaGa appeared to give birth to herself via a giant inflatable pregnant stomach before launching into anthem Born This Way. The titel track from the album was written backstage at the Manchester Arena two years ago and the concert became a celebration of its homecoming.

When you go to a GaGa show you expect theatrical moments and they were present, particularly in a dramatic wedding scene at the start of ‘Americano’, however the performance was less contrived than you would imagine it could have been. It focussed on making people dance and getting them involved. It was during the high octane dance routines and big choruses that the Arena roof was almost lifted off its hinges. Despite GaGa’s reputation for being outrageous, no part of the show came across as disingenuous; even a meat sofa felt like part of a wider message. GaGa morphing into a motorcycle during ‘Heavy Metal Lover’ with a female dancer writhing above her felt surprisingly less sexualised than it should have. Shock value seemed to give way to creative expression.

With all of the staging and personality on display it would be easy to overlook the actual talent that was evident by the bucket-load. GaGa’s voice is very powerful live. Even if the elaborate costumes and alien themed narrative running throughout the course of the evening aren’t your thing, her singing and dancing will impress. It’s clear she and her team haved worked extremely hard on this spectacle. Every upbeat number had an accompanying vibrant and complex dance routine during which no one on stage ever misses a beat. ‘Born This Way’, ‘Bad Romance’, ‘Telephone’, ‘Bad Kids’, ‘Americano’, ‘Poker Face’ and ‘Scheisse’ were choreographed so superbly there is no doubt GaGa’s little monsters will be practicing the routines for months to come.

If there’s anything to critique here it is the lengthy conversations GaGa indulged in inbetween songs. Every four or five songs proceedings were halted to talk about her love for her fan community and how they have inspired her. The hardcore GaGa fans were obviously enthralled by every empowering word she uttered and these are the people she appeared to be out to impress. They were even the focus of the finale, during which GaGa ran around the stage with a small group of devotees that she had pulled up to join her while they all sang ‘Marry The Night’. By then I had my paws up and I was wishing I was one of them.

Set List: Highway Unicorn (Road to Love) / Government Hooker / Born This Way / Black Jesus and Amen Fashion / Bloody Mary / Bad Romance / Judas / Fashion Of His Love / Just Dance / Love Game / Telephone / Heavy Metal Lover / Bad Kids / Hair / Princess Die / You and I / Electric Chapel / Americano / Poker Face / Alejandro / Paparazzi / Scheisse

Encore: Edge of Glory / Marry the Night

Lady Gaga Review by Nic Jones

One Response to “Lady GaGa + The Darkness @ Manchester Arena, Manchester, UK – 11th September 2012”

  1. Review for Gig Junkies – Lady GaGa | NavigatorNic Says:

    […] Lady GaGa + The Darkness @ Manchester Arena, Manchester, UK – 11th September 2012 […]

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