When it was announced that Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball tickets would go on sale in Singapore on 27 February 2012, I was of two minds whether I should go. Afterall, I had been to her first concert at Fort Canning Park and found it lacking. The Mother Monster was fantastic – her voice was the only saving grace, but I could not forget the lack of proper seating, the sweltering heat at an outdoor concert (think sweaty, smelly bodies), as well as a lacklustre stage set and props (the giant discoball was a manual device made up of dancers holding parts and opening/closing them – how 80s & un-Gaga).
Plus not to mention getting concert tickets in Singapore is akin to striking the lottery (except you pay instead of win money)– the booking website & phoneline gets jammed, and you need to take leave to go queue up early in the morning. Furthermore, hearing that the London concert sold out within 60 seconds, while the Manchester concert sold out under ten minutes – I was simply not game enough for the challenge. 27 February came, and the temptation was too great – I spent 2 hours getting through the phoneline while simultaneously trying to buy online and doing my work (hee). It felt like I got Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket when my purchase was finally confirmed!
It felt almost unreal when 28 May finally came – I usually arrived 1 hour late for concerts so I don’t need to wait that long for fashionably-late performers, but I arrived ON TIME for this one –catching Gaga fans in their costumes was a performance by itself! Lady Gaga’s finally in Singapore!
I thought I had walked into a mega-danceclub instead of a concert hall with the DJ already spinning – COOL! The stage set itself was also interesting – the centrepiece was a three-storey medieval castle or what Lady Gaga calls an ‘electric chapel’. I was particularly awed by the versatility of this setpiece as it opened itself more than once to transform into a new stage for the singer and her dancers. The band itself was also stationed at different areas within the chapel, visible through the chapel windows – interesting! I read that it took over fifteen trailers to move the castle onto the stage.
The central area within the stage is known as “The Monster Pit” or standing pen. Entry to “The Monster Pit” are only for fans who have arrived first or have waited all night, and dressed to the “Ball”. I saw many fans in brightly coloured wigs and brightly lighted Minnie-mouse LED hairbands.
Conceptualised as an Electro-Metal Pop-Opera, “The Born This Way Ball tells the tale of the Beginning, the genesis of the Kingdom of Fame; how we were birthed and how we will die celebrating. Embedded within them are themes of acceptance and independence. That explained why the concert opened with Lady Gaga charging on stage singing “Highway Unicorn” on a horse, followed by a birthing scene onstage with Lady Gaga bursting out in between the legs of a giant inflatable to the song “Born This Way” – what an entrance I must say.
When Lady Gaga said she is not human, I am inclined to believe cos’ she sang and danced the night through non-stop. The costume changes were aplenty too, most probably because there was so little of it to wear (think SM leather strips, bras, micro-mini dresses) turnaround was pretty easy, haha.
A version of Lady Gag’s infamous meat dress also made an appearance as well as a machine-gun bra. I wondered how she got all those machine gun props through the strict Singapore customs too… I was tempted to go in a bak-kwa (barbecued pork) dress that night too – at least I could munch on my dress if I got hungry, but decided against it just in case I couldn’t even get past the ushers at the door.
What I particularly enjoyed about the concert was Lady Gaga’s friendliness – it really felt like she was talking to her friends (affectionately called her ‘little monsters’) rather than fans. Instead of ignoring a doll which a fan had threw up on-stage, she took the doll and did an impromptu rendition of “Born This Way’ with the doll, which was down-right cuuuute (Lady Gaga kawaii-cute?!? But yeah, she was at that moment)
The other segment which I really liked was when she shared with the audience how she was bullied and thrown in a dumpster back in high school while the other girls simply looked on. Having being ‘different’ in terms of thinking and dressing most of my life, I could identify with the sense of being marginalized just because you do not behave the way people expect you to. Many a time I have been criticized because of my fashion-forward dress sense; it was a great struggle whether I could continue wearing quirky clothes (think Jeremy Scott, Jeffrey Campbell, McQueen) and endure all the stares on the street, or just bow to societal conformism. That was why the song ‘Hair’ spoke to me, an empowering track about embracing who you are. If people can’t accept you for who you are, they probably aren’t worth your friendship.
I think part of the Gaga power lies in the fact that she encourages you not to be afraid to express who you really are, and her meteoric rise to stardom attests to the fact that if you keep doing what you believe in, there’s a chance you may succeed like she did, and finally win acceptance.
Beneath the theatrics, gyrating dance moves, shocking costumes, hair extensions and performance art, we must not overlook the fact that Lady Gaga is a fantastic vocalist. Her voice was strong throughout, unwavering and pitch-perfect. She is definitely one born for the stage.
The concert closed after two hours with ’Marry the Night’ and left Little Monsters wanting more. From start to finish, none of us stopped screaming or dancing, and mind you – this is the sedate Singapore audience you are talking about. I dare say every single one of the audience immensely enjoyed themselves, and it would certainly be a concert to remember for a long time to come…until the next Monster Ball comes along. I’m going again for sure!
About “Born This Way Ball”
The Born This Way Ball is the third concert tour by American recording artist Lady Gaga, in support of her second studio album Born This Way (2011). The tour will consist of 110 shows starting from Seoul, South Korea on 27 Aprial 2012, rest of in Asia, Australia, Europe in August 2012, Latin America in end-2012, and then North America in January 2013 to end in March 2013.
- “Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)”
- “Government Hooker”
- “Born This Way”
- “Black Jesus † Amen Fashion”
- “Bloody Mary”
- “Bad Romance”
- “Fashion of His Love”
- “Just Dance”
- 10. “Love Game”
- 11. “Telephone”
- 12. “Heavy Metal Lover”
- 13. “Bad Kids”
- 14. “Hair”
- 15. “Yoü and I”
- 16. “Electric Chapel”
- 17. “Americano”
- 18. “Poker Face”
- 19. “Alejandro”
- 20. “Paparazzi”
- 21. “Scheiße”
22. “The Edge of Glory”
23. “Marry the Night”