BTWB Review: Lady Gaga delivered a perfect dose of pure pop theatre

Review: The Born This Way Ball Tour starring Lady Gaga

Whether she was shooting a man on stage for daring to simulate cunnilingus on her or dancing with an ecstatic kid, Lady Gaga did not put a spiky-heeled foot wrong last night.
The challenger for the Queen of Pop title brought her Born This Way Tour to the Brisbane Entertainment Centre complete with a towering castle as a stage and a message of love and acceptance for all. She opened it by doing a lap of the stage on a horse before screaming at a man "Are you going to pay me?" and pretending to shoot him for attempting to lick her while she lay spread eagled in front of him. She then launched into a rendition of last year's highest selling single Born This Way and welcomed her "Little Monsters".
The show was pure pop theatre, with the premise being that a race of moon people were bringing acceptance to all. Or something. Who really cared what it was about? Everyone was too overwhelmed by the smoke machines and Gaga's umpteenth costume change. With the venue packed with strident feminists, gays and bullied kids - there was something in the show for everyone as Gaga preached equality for all from her million-dollar stage in her custom designer costumes.
She showed off an obscenely fantastic voice in slower songs such as You and I and Edge of Glory while using the help of backing tracks to deliver insane dance routines in songs such as Judas.
Madonna, even with her recently exposed 53-year-old nipple, cannot touch the sort of theatre and experience Gaga is giving her fans.

As she caught her breath halfway through the concert, she sat at a keyboard and told her story of being thrown in a bin when she was a school girl, with the point being bullying is bad. The crowd roared in agreement, though they also roared in agreement to anything she said, however bizarre. 
The crowd was simply lost in the Gaga experience. When she barked "jump!" the Entertainment Centre shook, when she demanded "shout" we screamed so loud Queensland got spooked and lost the State of Origin.
Her costumes ranged from a re-imagination of her meat dress to a detailed leather leotard, and the only thing that let the show down occasionally was the poor acoustics of the venue. Gaga closed the show by bringing a primary school age girl on stage to dance with her as she sang Marry the Night, asking everyone "Do you feel stronger after tonight? Do you feel more free?" The only thing cornier than the question was after two hours of Born This Way escapism, everyone meant it when they screamed back "YES".

Another review:
Lady Gaga sets new benchmark with her Born This Way Ball

LADY Gaga has already established herself as the first real pop superstar of the 21st century. Possibly the most watched artist of her generation, Lady Gaga is in Australia as part of her global Born This Way Ball.
A few years ago she debuted in this country as the opening act on a Pussycat Dolls tour. Even then she looked liked the future of pop, and now she delivers her vision with all guns blazing - literally. 
The stage features a medieval castle as the centrepiece. Lady Gaga enters to the overture of Highway Unicorn riding a horse. Government Hooker moves the show into high gear immediately and 15 minutes later Gaga is rebirthed on stage. Emerging from the womb, she leads the dancers and the entire room into a rousing Born This Way. It’s the start of two and a half hours of stunning visuals. 
The concert is broken into a series of acts. If there's a plot, this reviewer couldn't follow it. The dialogue links run from "kill the bitch" to a subtext of "empathy love unity and acceptance". Gaga takes time between her songs to genuinely engage with her audience. There's a lengthy dialogue during Hair where she discusses bullying, her own experiences and a need for tolerance. Her art has a sense of the inspired outsider to it - which provokes a fierce connectivity with her audience.
Great art isn't conceived in a vacuum. There are references to pop culture throughout. The stage set and dance routines are informed by everything from Dali to Madonna: but they're also Gaga's own. The costumes are terrific: the visuals are inspired. At one point Gaga, perched on a couch that looks to be constructed from raw meat, does for the animal carcass what Damien Hirst did for cows and thermaldahide. There is a point to it - but no need to give it away here.
What the audience really turned out for are the songs. The show is stacked with hits. Early highlights include Black Jesus, Bad Romance and Just Dance. Telephone, minus Beyonce, is magnificent and by the time Electric ChApple Pieel has rolled around the band are shredding like a glorious 80s LA metal act. Stay for the encore: Marry The Night is jaw dropping.
An extravaganza in every sense, the Born This Way Ball will be remembered as a benchmark tour. It's that good.