Lady Gaga Kills It

Lady Gaga Kills It

First, I want to begin by finally getting something off my chest.  I can’t live a lie anymore, keeping something so important so hidden.  Lady Gaga has been an inspiration to many others like me, showing that we can accept ourselves as we are.  It’s high time I came out of the closet and was truthful about who I am, regardless of the fear of ridicule or judgement because I don’t perfectly fit society’s narrow definition of “masculinity”.  Tonight, inspired by Lady Gaga, I’m coming out.

I am a pop music fan.  (Ok, so it’s not that shocking.)

Like an estimated 90,000 people, I turned out for Lady Gaga tonight for the kickoff to the Festival d’Été de Québec’s big shows.  Canadian alt-pop duo Tegan and Sara opened the evening on the major Bell stage.  I enjoy their music (now that I’m “out”, I can freely admit to having their full album on my iTunes library), but their delivery to the overwhelming crowd seemed to be hampered by inadequate sound preparation, as well as the crowd themselves mostly being there for Gaga alone.  The long pause between the end of the group’s short show, along with the generally softer tone of their music, didn’t make for the best “opening act” – though this being the Festival d’Été and not a standalone show, that may not have been the intent.  There’s still plenty of opportunity for Tegan and Sara to make their mark – and they will make it – but I just don’t think tonight was it.

It was only when Lady Gaga’s show began that the crowd seemed to liven up… and even then, only after a few first songs.  As the show is part of her artRAVE tour showcasing her new album ARTPOP, the show opened with a series of songs that most of the crowd, used to hearing her older radio hits, weren’t familiar with.  Still, Lady Gaga’s high energy, over-the-top dancers, as well as regular use of French in addressing the already-won crowd got the mood going soon enough.

In particular, during a beautifully stripped-down concert piano version of Born This Way, the now world-famous artist related how Québec fans were among the first to propel her to mainstream superstardom during her Just Dance debut days, some five years ago.  She showed her love for her fans by going as far as stepping off the stage and into the crowd itself.

True to her style, Lady Gaga’s show was a pastiche of extreme sexual imagery, with 8 or 9 costume changes – including one performed live on stage that left the artist essentially nude.  Lady Gaga’s staunch support of the LGBT community was also apparent in the show and in the crowd, as rainbow flags proudly waved beside the Fleurdelisé and Stars and Stripes celebrating Independence Day.

Incredibly generous over the nearly two-hour show, Lady Gaga went through the highlights of her new album as well as most of her best-known hits, with the audience singing and – space permitting – dancing along.  My only disappointment was the absence of Edge of Glory, though given the number of songs played, I could hardly call it a complaint.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Lady Gaga came to a crowd of sky-high expectations and absolutely killed it.  If this is how the rest of the Festival d’Été is supposed to go, we’re in for a treat.

Sunset with Tegan and Sara, minutes before Lady Gaga took the stage

Sunset with Tegan and Sara, minutes before Lady Gaga took the stage

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