Gaga Makes Cleveland Last U.S. Stop

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That is how the classic novel “A Tale of Two Cities” begins. It’s also an accurate description of the most recent Lady Gaga concert I attended. This past Wednesday was the final U.S. concert in Lady Gaga’s acclaimed Monster Ball Tour. Last year, I was also in attendance when she came to town though my seat was on the opposite end of the arena. This time, I was 15 feet from the stage. How was this latest delivery?

It’s usually difficult to find someone who shares the same fanfare as myself when it comes to concerts. Fortunately, planning for this show started off on the right foot for me as I was to head out with an even bigger little monster than I, though I had never met her. My first meeting with her would be one to catch me off guard as I approached the skeleton-faced makeup of my partner in crime for the evening. Donning a blonde wig and cosmetic artistry that mimicked Lady Gaga’s voodoo-like appearance in the ‘Born This Way’ video, we immediately struck up a conversation on the approaching show.

The hours passed quickly as we eventually made our way across the street to Quicken Loans Arena with a show slated for an 8:00 start time. Let me repeat that…an 8:00 start time. Somewhere around 8:30, the opening DJ known as Lady Stardust made her entrance, complete with a full bottle of Jack Daniels in hand. Aside from some attempts to dance on stage while downing gulps of the Tennessee liquor, she spun some hardcore records from some of my favorite bands like Metallica and Faith No More. Talent was fairly non-existent here though cramped as we were on the standing-only floor, I think people just wanted someone to come out and do something. After all, the occasional shove from behind and rising humidity in the close proximity of others was starting to take effect.

After Lady Stardust made her exit, opening band Semi Precious Weapons came out to perform, putting a cap on an overly long delay between acts. With humorous taglines in the songs such as “put a diamond in it and bite down” and “I can’t pay my rent but I’m fu***ng gorgeous,” they provided a smile if nothing else. As my fellow fan next to me said, “I just want to see Gaga already.” I second that, honey. Things started to heat up for fans and not in a good way.  The levels of irritation had long since surpassed a state of mild annoyance at that point. 

It all started with a trio of girls who insisted on pushing through everyone to get a better position closer to the stage. The reluctance of others, yours truly included, resulted in them playing the pout card. Too bad, so sad. The next undesirable event came when a fishnet jumpsuit-wearing individual next to me accidentally clobbered me in the head during his arm-raising cheer. Nothing like an elbow to the back of the cranium. Effectively pissing everyone off in our area, the same guy was trying to maneuver his way to different people over the course of different songs. Finally, my cohort tried making him aware of his aggitating actions. His response was telling the girl next to him, “I’m gonna bring a friend of mine up here to stand in front of you, but don’t worry, she won’t block you.” She won’t block you? Is she invisible? Finally, my temper reached its climax from the constant bumping, nausea-inducing smells and rising temperatures when I blatantly gave Mr. Fishnet his behavioral option. That’s singular. He was not provided with multiple choices at his disposal when it came to rectifying his actions. Thankfully, he disappeared.

Now, on to the show. On to Lady Gaga! Wait, who? The clock struck 10 and we still waited for the pop culture queen to make her appearance. The stage had long been prepped and ready, but the seemingly incessant delay was nothing short of painful. Everyone was getting a little edgy and understandably so. Finally, at around 10:30, the show started. I understand that unexpected delays happen, but for the courtesy of the fans, you need to give them an explanation. It’s like showing up 2 hours late for a date and acting like there’s nothing wrong with that. Still, Gaga is very good to her fans and watching her perform that up close and personal was nothing short of amazing. I have to mention that at one point in between songs she said, “Some people ask me if I lip sync.  No.  F##k no.”  Ms. Spears, are you reading this?  Take notes.

The evening’s set list consisted of the usual favorites like ‘Poker Face’ and the opening tune, ‘Dance in the Dark’.  She even included a ballad rendition of the title track off her new album, ‘Born This Way’, of which she played on her burning piano. In addition, she also played another song off of her upcoming album, this one titled ‘You and I’; a song that she stated was completely written in Cleveland and whose guitar rhythms will be played on the album by Queen guitarist Brian May. The jazzy-sounding piece with frequent tips of the hat to the home of rock n’ roll ignited the crowd, which, like all of her other songs, ended with resounding applause.

Great music and awesome choreography couldn’t save the night though. The awful waiting, irritating fans, wafting body odor, and awful waiting had done its damage (did I mention the waiting). As my concert other-half said to me last night, “This is more draining than a sporting event,” and she meant actually competing in the event. It was taxing to be sure, so with dignity intact and enough stamina to reach the concession stand for some revitalizing Aquafina, we re-energized enough to head out before the show’s closure. We missed ‘Bad Romance’ and the encore, but between the two of us, we felt like we just finished the Boston Marathon…twice. In short, it was time to go. Lady Gaga sounded great but the delaying antics were too hard to swallow to keep the enjoyment buzz going.

Born This Way arrives May 23rd, 2011


1 Response to “Gaga Makes Cleveland Last U.S. Stop”

  1. Brian White

    i talked to my friend today who attended this and for the most part the show sounded like a re-hash of what we already saw last summer. The encore by the way after “Bad Romance” (how can you not stay for that song…lol) was the regular version of “Born This Way.”

    Now as for her lateness, well, I guess news sources are quoting that she was talking to her very ill mother on the phone. She should have at least gave an explanation though…I agree.