Link to home page

Lady Gaga

Glasgow SECC Hydro (Sunday 16th November)

By • Nov 26th, 2014 • Category: gig reviews

Right, pop-pickers, I’m gonna ease you in gently to this. You’re sensitive souls. I’ll spread forth the plus points of this 135 minutes plus [count ’em] spent in the company of Lady Gaga tonight. Heck, there were quite a few. I can’t go as far as a full legion but who can?

First things first, the venue itself is pretty great. Of its kind. The maligned sound system bashed us about most pleasingly. No idea if they’d done anything different but we rattled around a fair bit. Not internal organ rearrangement levels but pleasingly heavy. Lights were quite good too. Was near blinded at the end by the brightest spot either of us had ever seen. Stopped me scribbling in the notebook for a while in actual fact. When I was able to view my own hands some minutes later I noted that my last comment was, “Light jazz. Please shoot me”. I prayed for one of the extremely impressive lasers to rob me of my eyesight for ever at that point. Doing my ears first, obviously.

Ah…I’m supposed to be doing the good points. Sorry.

Well, the first 20 minutes were good. Thunderously heavy drums as we romped through ‘ARTPOP’, ‘G.U.Y’ and ‘Venus’. She’s flinging herself about. Well, strutting really, but it’s great. We’re grooving along. Crowd in the super-tech space going bonkers – kudos to the teenage fan club behind us. Two hours of non-stop frothing and squealing is not to be sniffed at.

Hell, she appeared dressed as an Octopus-Tapeworm-Dalamtion hybrid along the way. That was good. And sheesh, can she sing. Wasn’t expecting that, to this level. She can belt out a note, with power and precision, for a long time. A long long long time. Not as long as the entire evening turned out to be but, to be honest, Anna Karenina seemed like a cursory novella when we drooled out the exits eventually.

I’m not doing too well at keeping to the jollies am I?

‘Bad Romance’ was majestic. Thumpingly heavy and spiky. We even bounced along with our troll impersonations. I guess we’re now honourary monsters [her endearing term for the fanz]. A very wriggly time was had to that one. ‘Poker Face’ was predictably, but no less happily, an arena-wide sing along. Even liked her Boy George / Ewok get up amongst the myriad costume changes. Who knew that meeting of aesthetics would work? Perilously close to Nookie Bear with a wig on but a fine effort nonetheless.

And she did look great. Slithering, skipping, sliding and tripping down the runways each night are clearly marvellous ways of keeping in shape. People chucked stuff on the many-legged stage. A pink unicorn! A monkey. Also pink! A “baby dinosaur”. Correctly identified by the shouty crowd as in fact Nessie. Albeit, the monster of that foreboding loch seemingly having taken a short break in Jamaica and taken on a multi-coloured hue. I was only sad to see that the four-foot inflatable cock and balls being waved in her face by a happy chap in the stalls didn’t quite manage to get over the final hurdle. Someone put a lot of effort into that. Might have landed and stranded on one of the enormous acidic flower displays that rose up from runway, excuse the pun. Think Magic Roundabout with added lingerie. Could have stayed there for ages. Might have been interesting hearing parents explaining that one to little Matilda brought along for her tenth birthday. Lot of young ones amongst the varied crowd this eve. No doubt have made suggesting to Junior Gagafan that, “No, just because the lady on stage keeps calling us ‘crazy motherfuckers’ it won’t be okay to call yer granny that”, seem like a walk in the park.

We can disregard all that though. Well we can’t. But we can. Because stupefying torpor set in soon after the 4789th sermon of the night about celebrating “being singular”. About being “kerazzy”. About the fact we were all gathered here this frosty November Sunday to “Love, be different, to create…to cry together”. The only person crying was me when I was subjected to another mid 80’s guitar solo and told it was avant garde. It’s not avant garde, it’s post garde. Post-garde from the veg…patch. Sonic equivalent of a school dinners turnip with a tinsel hat for Christmas.

As seems to be the case with Gaga, the idea of her, and her art, is far more interesting than the actuality. She’s a peacock! A dandy! An ephemeral skitter and a beacon of delight. I’m down with that. But she really isn’t musically, morally or intellectually cutting edge. She might dress herself in pork products from time to time but that doesn’t make her a seductive swine leading us to enlightenment and self-realisation.

Because that is what she claims tonight, over and over again. At length. I could have leapt into the icy River Clyde and gone for a return swim to Arran and still been back in time to hear the last utterance of the latest sermon of the countess.

Sheesh, none of that would have mattered if she kept it brief. But each crashing bit of rump-shaking was continually interrupted by the leader of the pack informing me I need to express myself. To learn to love. That I’m an artist. I, “don’t need a record contract, an agent or any of that rubbish”, to be a true creative. Easy for you to say, love, ’cause you have. And that’s quite apart from it being trite, repetitive, vacuous nonsense. Couple of times, fine. If she’s helped some folk come out of their shells and be who they want to be, great! I’m all for it. When we get to redux 127, I started to wish for a return to the 1950s. Not that I was there of course but the idea of not sharing every single thing and imbuing it with significance way beyond its due – when your fingers are digging into your knees and your wondering how long it would take anyone to notice that you’re in a dismayed coma – at that point you’ve jumped the bark(ing mad).

And it’s such a shame. Knocking 45 minutes off this gig could have made it a banger. Not an all time great but she has real talent. She can rip them out. But this isn’t pop as religious experience. She can do it, she just needs an editor. Badly. Say what you like about someone like Kylie but they are not, in substance, that far apart. It’s just Miss Minogue isn’t too fussed about delivering you from introspection and lack of sin. She’ll sing about her arse. And woohoo for that.

Lady Gaga needs a metaphorical kick up the American ‘fanny’. Not to put in more effort. Less. Less is more. And to leave you not quite as likely to die quietly, but with some relief, upon the floor. Twenty per cent of the audience had drifted to the exits before the encore finally came. Even though those remaining were as joyfully enthusiastic as throughout the extravaganza, I empathised. I thought I was cutting it fine arriving twenty minutes before she frolicked onto the stage. I didn’t realise it would be four days before I could leave.

That’s commitment, guys. I view these things so you don’t have to.

I was reminded on the way out that I had a Twix in my pocket. If I’d have remembered I’d have pulled out both chocolatey prongs and stuck them in my ears each time I was entreated to believe in myself. And that I have a beautiful soul. No, I don’t, I’m horrible. And happily so. I’ll pull ’em out when we get back to the business in hand of cracking, heavy-assed pop dance.

This might have been an Art Rave but Ms G needs an Art Lathe. Get that show trimmed, lassie. You’re not the Messiah, you’re a very naughty girl. And there is nowt wrong with simply being naughty.

Comments are closed.