Goo Goo for Lady Gaga — review

17 08 2010

Page 24 • 0818 Edition of Daily Journal

I had a to take a moment to think about it last night as I was leaving the HP Pavilion — and while I wasn’t quite ready to anoint it as the best concert experience I have ever had (see: Mana, Enanitos Verdes, Foo Fighters), the energy during the Lady Gaga concert in San Jose Monday night was magical, truly unique and awesome to be a part of. Below you will find the review I filed today for publication in tomorrow’s Daily Journal. Shout out to Matt Maniego of OneTime Inc. for rolling with me to shoot the show.

Also, briefly, I saw Jim Harrington of the Oakland Tribune who is one of the best. This was his third time seeing Gaga and his review is exceptional. You can get to it here. His blog is also in the blog roll.

Matt Maniego/OneTime Inc for San Mateo Daily Journal • ® Copyright 2010

By Julio Lara, Daily Journal Staff

It isn’t often you’ll go to a concert where you are amazed from the moment you park at the arena and step outside to when you lay your head to rest that night — and the word you keep repeating is “wow.”

Apparently, Lady Gaga has that kind of effect on people.
Gaga rolled through the Bay Area on her “The Monster Ball Tour” and, with the help of thousands of her “little monsters,” tore the roof off the sold-out HP Pavilion in San Jose. On stage and off, her latest performance is a prime example of why there isn’t a bigger or better draw in the music industry today.
That’s because Gaga has done what few artists these days have been able to do — transcend music to the point a concert becomes an event, a spectacle, dare I say, like the Super Bowl of the summer.

You would assume some form of exaggeration in the last sentence, but judging by the scene at the HP Pavilion people had been preparing for this concert for a while — taking the time to put together elaborate ensembles that ran the gamut of style, from fish-net stockings, to intricate head pieces, glittered out leotards to pouches of fake blood. It was clear this wasn’t your typical concert.

We should take a moment here to say that, as a music act alone, Lady Gaga is special. Her two-hour set is complex, layered, art — what you’ve heard about the over-the-top stage sets, costume changes (of which I counted nine) and overall shock value is true. But an important thing to point out is that, amongst all that, Gaga’s music is never lost. Separated into a handful of acts and presented as a journey to “The Monster Ball,” Lady Gaga’s fans were treated to all her hits — “Just Dance,” “Alejandro,” “Poker Face,” the dance numbers the artist has rode to meteoric stardom.

But mixed in were interludes where Gaga would show off her musical talent say, by opening the hood of a busted-up yellow taxi to expose a piano she’d tickle for a couple of bars, or strap on a keytar and play the intro to one of her songs. Sure the show is loud and proud, but Gaga made it a point to show that amidst all the noise she surrounded herself with, at her core, she is about the music and about that journey that “will set you free.”

Nowhere was that more evident then during her rendition of “Speechless,” a song she said she wrote about her father, which she performed solo on a grand piano that, of course, was in flames. She also performed “You and I,” which Gaga said, would be on her upcoming record, in similar fashion. Her musical talents cannot be overlooked.

Lady Gaga’s love affair with her monsters, her interaction with them throughout the trip to the Monster Ball was a highlight — what comes across as genuine devotion between artist and fans is touching. During a time she took to speak about one of her sponsors donating money to her favorite charity, Gaga was showered with gifts flung toward her on stage. The artist took the time to bend down, pick up some of the garments, and play dress-up with a shirt, a flower for her hair, decked-out sunglasses, calling herself ‘the epitome of fashion” when she was done and performing “Telephone,” in the process.

But beyond the hits, the stage presence, the interaction, to truly appreciate and be awed by Gaga’s latest visit you have to step back and look at what her music has done and how it serves as a tool to unify such a diverse spectrum of people — it truly was a melting pot of cultures.

You had your 20-somethings, your gays, your grandfathers, hipsters, your group of 40-something year old moms who did their best to squeeze into skinny jeans, stilettos, tight tops and just let loose for a night. Over-the-top by “normal” standards? Sure. But Gaga put it best when she said that “the Monster Ball is a place where tonight, all the freaks are outside.”

It’s true, the underlying theme throughout the night was “beauty,” and how Gaga has changed it from a word with a soft connotation to something that is loud, in your face and unapologetic. “You can be whoever you want to be,” she said. It really is a dazzling thing to observe and witness — a “wow” experience of the truest form.

Lady Gaga will return to the Bay Area March 22, 2011 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. Tickets can be purchased at




3 responses

3 11 2010
Deck Lighting ·

some poeple hate Lady Gaga, but in my opinion Lady Gaga is just a very talented and unique artist `

2 12 2010
Rust Paint

Lady Gaga is the best female popstar, forget about Britney Spears. britney does not even come close to gaga -`;

29 12 2010
So long 2010 … You were AWESOME! Pt. 1 « Oh My July!

[…] The show was great too. I was already an admirer going in, but this concert put me over the top. You can read my review here. The photo up top is courtesy of Matt Maniego of OneTime Inc. You can find his great blog […]

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