Last Saturday, I celebrated my 25th birthday with my best friend in London, watching Lady Gaga perform her #artRAVE. We bought the tickets back in February. You would not believe how hard it was to buy the tickets. They were released and sold out within minutes! Nevertheless. As my Mum is more patient and persistent than I am, we got our tickets. The only date that we could get for the concert was on my actual birthday. Seemed like a great idea to me! Me and my friend spent the year texting and tweeting back and forth counting down the days until it finally happened. The day was upon us.
After meeting up at London Kings Cross in the afternoon, we sent the day milling around Covent Garden and looking in vintage shops that were hidden away from the business of a Saturday afternoon in London. I bought myself a vintage Ralph Loren wallet for £12, which made me very happy. Finally, some designer swag that I liked, for a good price. After that, she took me for a classy lunch at patisserie Valerie. I opted for a bottle of mineral water and a Greek salad as the alcohol from the night before was swirling in my stomach and was making me feel like a slug. After that, we made our way to the o2 arena.
Upon arriving at the arena, the smell of Gaga was in the air. People were dressed as Gaga throughout her different eras. There were drag queens, ravers, queens and girls alike all mixed together, rushing on their way towards the gig of a lifetime. It’s part of my concert routine to buy myself a t-shirt and tour book from every one that I go to, so this time, I didn’t break tradition. After changing into my new shirt, I was ready to see what Lady Gaga had to offer.
We took our (really good, front row) seats and waited for Gaga to come out on stage. There were two warm-up acts on stage before the main event; one guy that I can’t remember his name as he was really terrible, and Lady Starlight, who played her set for what felt like a millennium. She finished her set and the lights went out. The music went silent and the crowd started to cheer. If you have been to a concert before, you can appreciate the volume of a crowd that big, screaming at the top of their lungs.
The music started to play and the plasma screen above the stage lit up. Gaga opted for rave-inspired music to incorporate with her opening video which worked really well. The video finished, the dancers came out on stage and Lady Gaga came up from under the floor, wearing a sparkling leotard, angel wings and a blonde wig, circa-poker face. She screamed to the crowd at the top of her voice and every single person in that arena was on their feet. Her first number was ‘Artpop’, which is my favourite song off the album.
The whole thing was packed with colour. There was glitter and dancing everywhere. There was nobody sat down. Everybody knew the routines to the songs, everyone was singing along to their idol. She had a number of costume changes including; a cow-print tentacle dress, a head-dress of chairs and a rave-girl outfit. She sung all of her most famous hits as well as the songs from her newest album ‘Artpop’. Out of all of the songs that she performed, one song struck a chord with me the most. ‘Dope’. It was released when I was going through my break-up last year and one lyric in particular brought a tear to my eye:
“My heart would break without you, might not awake without you. Been hurting low from living high for so long. I’m sorry that I love you, sing with me ‘Bell Bottom Blue’. I’ll keep on searching for an answer ‘cause I need you more than dope.”
It was a very, very brief tear. If anything, it was a tear of happiness that I don’t need to feel sad about any of it anymore. I remember sitting in china listening to that song on repeat, telling myself that I needed him more than anything, and then there I was, sat feet away from Lady Gaga, belting it out into the microphone. Anyone with an ounce of emotion would have felt the same way, or so I like to think.
During the concert, Gaga pulled a girl on the stage who had thrown a letter up to her telling her that her music helped her to pull through all of her chemotherapy, and that she didn’t have the all clear yet, but all of her hair had grown back, and she was on the mend. Gaga pulled her up on stage and sung an acapella version of ‘Born This Way’ to her and looked straight into her eyes for the whole song. When the song finished, she told the crown that she had taken the girl back with her to party and celebrate after the show.
That made me have more respect for Lady Gaga. For a long time, at the start of her career, I viewed her as a money-machine. I saw no originality (this is where her little monsters would crucify me), and I didn’t see anything special. Over the years, I have grown to like her more and more, and after seeing her live, I have so much more respect for her as an artist now. It takes little to no effort to jump on stage, wearing a thong and booty-popping anything that moves, but to go on stage and command the audience and have such an impact on thousands of people by using your music; that, my friends is an artist. Even if it is pop music.
At the end of the night, after the glitter and spotlights had vanished, we made our way into the jungle that was London on a Saturday night to try and get our last train home. No matter how many times I go to London, I will never, ever understand the underground system. I have always gotten lost on it, and I’m probably not going to get any better as time goes on. I just followed my friend and threw myself on the trains that she told me to.
I had an amazing time seeing Lady Gaga and cannot thank my Mum enough for helping me to get the chance to go! If you aren’t a fan of Lady Gaga, my advice would be that if you ever get the chance to go and see her perform, even if you don’t like her music, please give her a chance and let her wow you with her performance. It really is something to be seen.
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