“I’m half living my life between reality and fantasy at all times.” Lady Gaga
Words fail me when it comes to Lady Gaga (aka Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) and her visit to Dubai. Not a good situation to be in when you are trying to write a post about seeing her in concert. I always knew she was going to be off the scale bonkers but the extent of the crazy was unknown.
Let me start by setting the scene. I collected the teenager from school and she assumed her business class like horizontal position in the front seat of the car and slept all the way to Dubai, conversation was minimal over tacos in Dubai Mall, it was snap chat central to her friends on the way to the event at Meydan Racecourse and then she ditched me for a friend for the entire show. The ride home was much the same as the ride there, flat-out sleeping, as mother and daughter bonding goes, it was rubbish. Add to that an intense level of humidity, my hair was literally expanding by the second into a wiry bouffant, untold levels of perspiration, no make that sweating profusely and then add to that the fact that Gaga was late! Not a minute or two late, but one and half hours late! Angry doesn’t even cut it!
Meydan Racecourse was easily accessible but the acoustics weren’t the best
The scheduled 9pm start came and went while some 50’s inspired polka dot dress wearing DJ called Lady Starlight (apparently Lady Gaga’s friend) played some absolute dreadful non-stop sh*te, 9.30pm passed then 10pm and the crowd were booing (déjà vu back to the Madonna concert here in June 2012), finally the curtain went up at 10.30pm and the booing was replaced with cheering. Gaga had prepared for the show by learning some basic arabic addressing the crowd with an opening ‘Marhaba Dubai‘ (Hello Dubai) but it appears ‘Sorry, I’m late‘ in any language eluded her!
The impatient crowd waiting for Gaga
ArtRave: The Artpop Ball Tour’ show (eventually) started with Mother Monster (as she calls herself) in all her glory decked out in the first of many various striking outfits, a gold embellished leotard complete with wings and an electric blue 3D sphere in the centre which actually turned out not to be the craziest thing she wore. On arrival at Dubai airport, Gaga had promised the throngs of waiting media and fans that she would censor her usual stage antics to respect local culture here in the UAE (so no nudity, no vomiting (how in any shape or form that’s entertainment I’ll never know), no pole dancing and no raunchy interactions).
Gold winged sparkly leotard with blue sphere, standard concert attire (source:www.sunnewsonline.com)
So there were just smatterings of conversational Arabic in an attempt to connect with the audience (many of who were in fancy dress themselves in homage to Gaga) and more costume changes and crazy wigs than you could shake a twig at, her most bizarre ensemble being an octopus meets Dalmatian inspired creation, complete with neon tentacles!!
Peace, Love, Tolerance and Equality was the message Gaga was spreading in her own unique style and there was a lot of emotional procrastination (less twaddle about ‘International love’ and more singing I was thinking) and tales of her begging to come to the UAE to perform (again why weren’t you on time then ……let it go now, Jo!) “They used to tell me I was crazy, I would never come to the Middle East. They were wrong, they were the judgmental ones,” Gaga told the crowd “We have different religions, we come from different places, but tonight I will do my best to respect your culture. We are here to celebrate because we belong together.”
Understated Octopus meets Dalmatian costume (source:www.gulfnews.com)
It was definitely a spectacle with a mixture of her popular hits, lasers, scantily clad backing dancers and loads of energy all taking place on an over the top glitzy stage. Artpop, (title track from her latest album, the Manhattan-native) kicked off the show, G.U.Y.’ went down well with the now enthusiastic crowd. Tracks from The Fame album ‘Just Dance’, ‘Poker Face’ and ‘Telephone’ were delivered in a massive medusa-esq style wig and ‘Paparazzi’ (wearing aforementioned octopus outfit) commanded the loudest cheers. ‘Do What U Want’ followed before she sat at her piano for an acoustic performance of ‘Dope’. ‘Born This Way’ was next and we left to the strains of “The Edge of Glory’ ringing in our ears (only missing ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Alejandro’ that I cared about) as it was too late to stay any longer, a shame I know but with a drive back to Abu Dhabi and a 6am wake-up call for school, I was over it and the teenager was keen to leave.
Saw these fans at the concert and they were very popular with the local media (source:www.thenational.ae)
I think ‘Fame Monster’ may be a better title than ‘Mother Monster’ for Gaga but despite all the crazy, controversy and blatant courting of media attention (remember the meat dress) you cannot take away from this pop diva that she is a one of the best-selling female artists
of recent times. So what I’ve learned from this particular outing is don’t book tickets to any concerts held at outdoor venues in September or on school nights in Dubai. There were some positives, the venue was easily accessible and Gaga despite all the bravado can actually sing and play her instruments, who knew! Oh and I’m a grumpy and somewhat sweaty, grumpy old bag and I cannot take decent photos at a concert with my iPhone or camera!
Gaga arriving in Dubai in toned down respectful attire and a week later in her normal day wear in Athens (source:www.dailymail.co.uk)