I should start off by admitting that I’m not really a rock concert kind of person. I see rock shows every so often as a change of pace, or because I really like an artist, but in general I dislike them because it’s too loud, the music is distorted, you end up standing for the whole thing, and you can’t even see the person you’re there to see. Worst of all is when the singer isn’t really all that impressive without all the technical help added in the studio. I much prefer Broadway musicals–beautiful music, I get to sit, I can understand the lyrics, high quality (usually) voices, and narrative (which, as a storyteller myself, I am incredibly fond of, unsurprisingly).
So, now that I’ve gotten that off my curmudgeonly chest…
OH MY GOD YOU GUYS, LADY GAGA IS EVEN MORE AWESOME IN PERSON THAN ON HER CD’S/MUSIC VIDEOS.
I will admit that I’ve been a “Little Monster” (the popular nickname for Lady Gaga fans for those not into pop/current music) for a few years. I first liked the catchy pop music. Then I caught a video (Paparazzi, I think) on youtube and I’ve been hooked ever since. Most of the time there’s so many elements happening in her music videos that you can just enjoy them as a story, or you can go for a swim in symbolism (which I will admit to doing–I love deconstructing stuff, and Gaga’s work is ripe for it). I’m a little obsessed with the “Judas” video at the moment for that reason (I could sit around and analyze/talk about that for AGES) Obviously her strong stance on gay rights is right up my alley.
So when I heard she was going to bring her Born This Way Ball to Singapore, I made a point of trying to buy a ticket as soon as they went on sale. 20 minutes after they did, I was able to get through on the website, at which point only single seats were available. I promptly bought one and texted Ravi something along the lines of “Thank you for the Lady Gaga concert ticket. What a great Mother’s Day gift.” His response was something back to the effect of “Glad I don’t have to figure that out.”
I knew I was likely going to miss the opening act because I had to get the girls home from Ellie’s pre-school pick up, get ready, breastfeed, and then drive to the Indoor stadium. However, I didn’t think I’d be more than 15 minutes late—with traffic I was almost an hour late, and trying not to freak out. Luckily I got to my seat about five minutes before Lady Gaga took the stage.
It was a show unlike any other I’d seen The dancing was spectacular, her voice was even better live (if anything, she downplays what an amazing singer she in on her albums), the costumes were everything you’d expect, and there was even a vague narrative (taking over a country). I think what blew me away was how little (if at all) the show was toned down. She opened with “Government Hooker,” for one. There was rhetoric like “I am not an instrument of your government.”
She performed “Judas,” which was banned here in Singapore from radio play. Possibly because I”m a former Catholic and anything that pisses them off tends to cheer me up (particularly in a literary, musical, or art related form), or possibly just because it’s a damn good song (and video–see above) it’s a current favorite of mine. However, it crossed a line here (and in many other nearby countries–it was also banned in Indonesia and Malaysia). It was the cause of protests during her concerts in the Philippines. Threats from Islamic Extremists caused her to cancel her Jakarta concert (which in a predictable yet amusing twist has only boosted her popularity there.)
screen shot from a radio station explaining that “Judas” is banned from radio play in SG
Clip of her playing Judas in concert. Sorry for the distortion-shot on my camera phone and the bass distorted both sound and picture
There was a ton of homoerotic dancing. It was, quite possibly, the most gay friendly night of my time here in Singapore. I felt free to be myself–including the part of me that is open about my bisexuality. I know that 337(a) isn’t often enforced, but it *is* still on the books, and Pink Dot (while awesome) is a far cry from a Pride Parade/Festival. We are very far from even discussing marriage equality here. While I’m not trying to impose my vision of equality on Singapore/Asia, one of the things I struggle with most in Singapore is how open/vocal I can be without risking Ravi’s employment pass/my dependent pass. Foreigners, after all, aren’t allowed to be “political,” and it’s hard to know what that means. I have a feeling that my full uncensored view about all things LGBT would likely fall into that category, so I mostly keep my mouth shut and support Pink Dot and the few opportunities I have.
I absolutely loved every second of it. After the first 20-30 minutes, I put the cameras away so I could just enjoy the show. I’m kind of sad that my camera died before one part where she was sitting and chatting with the audience when someone tossed her a doll. She then made it dance on the stage and sang a bit of “Born this Way.” She then said “if you ever wonder what I’m like when I’m at home in my room…I do a lot of silly stuff like that.” But enjoy the rest of my photos and videos.
Obviously one of the keys to Gaga’s success is her insistence that you love yourself, that you are special. (It was even the center of a recent Simpsons episode “Lisa goes Gaga”–thanks to my friend Jim for pointing me at it earlier today). No matter what horrible things someone is saying about you or doing to you (she shared a story about being tossed in the dumpster by some boys in front of classmates), that you are worthwhile. People respond to that, and obviously it’s something that isn’t getting said enough.
Early on, she did Born This Way, of course (shot on my dslr, so the pic/sound is a bit better)
I loved her motorcycle/keyboard
It’s hard to escape being a mom, though. The two people sitting in front of me were a mom and her tweenage daughter. It made me all mushy to think of sharing a concert or event like this with my daughters one day. Earlier this week, Ellie and I (and Rhi in my arms) had danced around to Lady Gaga, and Ellie is a fan of her songs. So after the show, I made a point of stopping by the merchandise tent. I couldn’t resist getting Ellie a light up hair bow, and the smallest shirt I could get for her…which is currently a nightgown on her.
Obviously, I think that if you get the chance, you need to catch the Born This Way Ball. It’s next in Australia and New Zeleand, then Europe and eventually the US. Keep an ear out for when tickets go on sale in your area.