Lady Gaga rolled her “Monster Ball” tour into the Verizon Center on Tuesday night and left a sold-out audience of 15,000 young girls, gay boys, suburban moms and the K Street crowd screaming for more.
This is not a PG-13 show, as evidenced by the bleeding angel statues and heavy religious and sexual imagery. This is the Monster Ball and Gaga wanted D.C. to know that she “burned the place to the f—ing ground.”
Gaga’s hits were belted out with gusto in the Broadway-esque spectacle. Introducing “Fame,” Gaga declared, “All you have to do is follow the glitter way.” As Gaga and her performers navigated their way to the “monster ball” (Oz) the crowd experienced a set that not only included the standard video screens and catwalks of pop shows today, but stage props and set designs that gave the multi-dimensional feel of being on a subway and in New York’s Central Park. Finally, the audience was confronted with the Fame Monster himself — a close cousin to Audrey Jr. from “The Little Shop of Horrors.”
Sprinkled between numbers and Broadway references was Lady Gaga’s unabashed pro-gay message. During “Boys, Boys, Boys,” Gaga demanded, “Celebrate your gay pride tonight.”
The audience was filled with LGBT fans who screamed and applauded with delight at each message calling for gay equality. Members of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network were in the audience and Gaga expressed her support for repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” She recounted several of the heartbreaking stories of those who have been discharged under the military’s gay ban. Gaga also gave a check for $20,000 at every show to her favorite local charity. (Her D.C. beneficiary was unconfirmed at press time.)
As a singer, Gaga seems to have the goods and fans clearly noticed, many commenting on her solid live vocals.
Lady Gaga demonstrated that her voice is not only getting stronger, but her timing on stage is engaging and impressive as she danced and deftly navigated multiple quick costume changes. Gaga is the ringleader of the massive production, at one point demanding that the music be stopped because two fans were fighting in the general admission area.
She denounced the fighting during her concert, as her message is all about love, not hate: “Only fake monster fighting” is allowed. With fans crammed together on the floor, there was no arguing that in just a few years Gaga has garnered some passionate and highly animated fans. Some came with Haus of Gaga-inspired club wear and many more engaged in fist-pumping and screaming. More than one fight was spotted and several fans were escorted out of the arena.
Highlights included Gaga rising above the stage on a platform that lifted her high above the arena floor as she belted out “So Happy I Could Die.” Gaga also appeared on stage in a furry fringed costume, in which she rocked back and forth to the opening of “Monster,” evoking a crazed rendition of a character from “Where the Wild Things Are.”
Pot smoke wafted through the audience as Gaga delivered the worst best news of the evening: the finale. “Poker Face,” “Paparazzi” and “Bad Romance” left fans hungry for more.
Keeping the Broadway theme throughout the show, Lady Gaga, her dancers and musicians gathered at the front of the stage after “Bad Romance” and took a bow. The audience reacted with yet more screams and extended monster claws.