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Lady Gaga With The Darkness & Lady Starlight
The Academy, Dublin
Nadene Ryan, 21 Sep 2012
A Lady Gaga show isn’t so much a concert as a theatrical experience. Forty thousand fans stepped out to see the Born This Way Ball in all its pop-opera glory. And what a night it was. With support from long-time collaborator Lady Starlight and glam outfit The Darkness it was destined to be unforgettable, one way or another.
Justin Hawkins made his entrance in white cape and threw himself around the stage doing handstands and belting out songs from their debut album Permission To Land, along with tracks from new LP Hot Cakes. Keeping the genre alive on the 35th anniversary of T. Rex founder Mark Bolan’s death, it was a fitting nod to the glam rock genre from a band who don’t take themselves too seriously. Hawkins takes the piss out of himself by stripping down to show off his tattoo-clad torso, mooning the crowd, and strutting around in exaggerated strides for ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’. When the opening riff to ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ blasted out, the crowd erupted! This is their anthem and, like them or not, you can’t help but sing along. Everybody does.
The excitement was palpable as Stefani Germanotta’s face lit up the big screens. The Aviva was awash with colour and off-the-wall outfits. A mother and her daughter wore matching blonde wigs with thunderbolts painted on their faces. There were teenage girls with fluttering fake eyelashes and geometric dresses and a surprisingly large male attendance, which shows the pop icon has a wider fanbase than you might imagine.
The spectacular stage came to life, revealing a decadent castle while the ‘cast’ emerged, some on horseback, and a space-age scene unfolded – with a loose plot based around a new race of aliens and mutants from the planet ‘G.O.A.T’ (or is G.O.A.T her captor? It doesn’t seem to matter). As the opening to ‘Born This Way’ kicked in, she emerged from the womb, simulating her birth on stage. We wouldn’t expect any less!
It was attention-grabbing from the start, with outstandingly choreographed performances of ‘Bad Romance’, ‘Telephone’ and her debut single ‘Just Dance’. We also had the vista of Black Jesus, monster sex, bloody doll heads, male dancers in their underwear, and that infamous meat dress, which made an appearance for ‘Poker Face’: her way of taking a stand against the world treating woman like meat.