Column: Lady Gaga Brings Born This Way Ball to St. Paul
Lady Gaga is not touring to promote a new album.
Last night she made it very clear that she was in St. Paul to visit with fans and throw a party, pardon me a ball. More importantly, she was there to promote a message, that her fans were Born This Way.
Before the show, Lady Gaga surprised fans as she stepped out of her Born Brave Bus which is normally tailgating outside but was moved inside the St. Paul River Centre yesterday afternoon due to snow. The goal is to give fans a place to learn about anti-bullying, suicide prevention, and mental health services. Gaga wants to provide a safe, fun place for her Little Monsters to work through their issues with no judgment.
This is what makes her so unique and why she was named Forbes’ Most Powerful Woman in the World in 2011 and was included in Time Magazines’ 2010 Time 100 List of the most influential people in the world.
“I might not be like everybody else, but I don’t give a ****!” says Gaga. “If I cared what people think, I would’ve broken down a long time ago, and I’m gonna be around for the next 35 years.”
Mother Monster describes The Born This Way Ball as “an electro-metal pop-opera. It’s the tale of the beginning, the genesis of the kingdom of fame. How we were birthed and how we will die celebrating.”
The 2 hour show was weird, entertaining, and motivational.
The show opens with Gaga emerging from a huge castle that housed her band, riding a mechanical horse wearing black headgear with horns, singing “Highway Unicorn (Road to Love).” Dancers held flags with the letters G.O.A.T. This is where things got a little confusing. Later on in the show, Gaga explains what it stands for: Government Organized Alien Territory.
Is she provocative? No doubt, but it’s totally Gaga. How many artists do you know that can get away with sitting on top of an inflatable uterus while singing “Born This Way” or being overly sexual while riding a motorcycle around the stage?
“Tonight, Minnesota is a place of unity and equality. Put your hands together and celebrate yourselves,” Gaga screamed.
There’s even a point in the show where she comes out on a meat hook surrounded by dangling carcasses but the crowd doesn't seem to care because they’re singing and dancing along to “Poker Face.” While singing “Alejandro,” she dives into one of three meat grinders used as props. Again, totally Gaga.
In her typical unique fashion, Gaga says, “I’m gonna switch it up a bit. Would you all mind checking your cell phones.” One lucky fan that happened to be sitting 2 rows in front of me got a phone call from Gaga. “Chelsea, because you picked up the phone, Virgin Mobile donated $5,000 to a homeless shelter right here in St. Paul. That money will go to kids who don’t have a home because they weren't understood. Also, I was wondering if you wanted to have a cup of tea with me.”
Chelsea if you’re reading this I want to know what your experience was like having a cup of tea with Lady Gaga after the show. Tweet me @SarinaBl.
The Born This Way Ball features hits from the 5-time Grammy Award winner’s album “Born This Way,” which has sold nearly 6 million copies since its release in May 2011. While there isn't a release date set yet for her highly anticipated fourth studio album, Gaga made references throughout the show about “Artpop.”
This was Lady Gaga’s third show at the Xcel Energy Center. Previous performances include two sold-out shows on August 30 and 31, 2010.
Seen (see photos) and heard from the fans:
“We can express ourselves and not give a ****!” … “I love how devoted she is to bullying. She supports so many causes.” -Sheila from Edina
“She is supportive no matter who you are or what age, especially with the gay population.” -Kat from Andover
“She’s a role model. She’s honest to her work. She speaks to her audience as if this is her first show even though she’s been touring around the world.” -Adrienne from Coon Rapids
“She has a way of making me feel so loved. I don’t know how she does it. I already have goose bumps thinking about it.” –Ty from Minneapolis
“She represents individuality, empowerment, and love.” –Sam from Minneapolis
“With Lady Gaga you have an ally; you have someone to look up to. She’s a role model. I can be whatever the hell I want to be.” –Jeff from Minneapolis
“I’m her biggest fan. She is a true artist, a showman, high energy.” –Becky from Waconia
“Bullying is a big issue these days and it’s good she is doing this.” – Krystal student at the U of M
“I have a 14-year-old son who is entering high school soon and we definitely take it seriously. We never really had that issue when I was in high school. Now when I see my son dealing with it, it’s hard.” –Joanne from St. Michael
By far the most amazing story of the night was a beautiful, older but young at heart woman sitting next to me named Mary Jo Thurston from Lakeville. Her son told me that his mother asked him to buy tickets the day of the show and they couldn't believe how lucky they were to be sitting so close to the stage.
“Lady Gaga is sensational,” Mary Jo said. “Her talent and energy is second to none. She gives her heart and soul to her fans. She’s America’s Picasso.”
Right before Gaga came out to perform an encore, Mary Jo whispered in my ear again…
“Her voice is divine inspiration. I saw Elvis when I was 14 years old at The Met. You know what, a lot of people didn't like what he was doing then either.”
Born This Way Ball set list:
“Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)”
“Born This Way”
“Fashion of His Love”
“Heavy Metal Lover”
“You and I”
“Born This Way (reprise, solo at the piano)”
“The Edge of Glory”
“Marry the Night”
Sarina Long is a columnist for KSTP.com covering the latest entertainment news. Follow her @sarinaBL.