Lady Gaga Raps, Rages And Shares Sex Dreams At iTunes Festival
Singer played seven new songs from her upcoming album, including 'Sex Dreams,' 'Aura' and 'Jewels & Drugs,' featuring T.I., Too $hort and Twista.
As if her opening set at last weekend's 2013 MTV Video Music Awards wasn't proof enough, Lady Gaga made sure the world knew she was back on Sunday (September 1) with a fierce album-preview performance to kick off the monthlong iTunes Festival.
Taking the stage at London's Roundhouse to play her first full live set since a hip injury scuttled her Born This Way Ball tour in February, Gaga blasted through seven (mostly unheard) tracks from her upcoming ARTPOP album.
Dressed in a black ninja-style suit complete with black ski mask and a knife with "Hollywood" written on it, Gaga opened with the thumping new tune "Aura," singing while strapped into a black cage suspended above the stage. The industrial-style song featured the chorus, "Do you want to see me naked lover?/ Do you want to peek underneath the covers?/ Do you want to see the girl that lives behind the aura?"
Showing no signs of rust, Gaga leisurely changed into sparkly boots and a bra and told her Monsters, "To say that I've missed you, it's a bit of an understatement, isn't it?" In fact, she said she couldn't live without them. The next new one, "MANiCURE," found Gaga in a hand-clap-happy 50s rock mood that folded in a girl group groove and a touch of Joan Jett pop angst amid the repeated plea, "Save me, because I'm addicted to love." Like a number of the new songs, it went through a variety of seemingly contradictory styles, ending with an extended metal solo coda.
The fresh tracks kept coming with the theatrical, throbbing pop of "Sex Dreams." Stripping off her wig and explaining that ARTPOP was a chance to take off the hair pieces and come out from behind all the disguises, Gaga encouraged her fans to do the same. "I knew I had to show you what's underneath all of the theater," said the singer, a brunette, apparently.
On came the sparkly pig nose mask for the industrial dance pop of "Swine," which had Gaga bashing away on a drum kit and using her punk growl and squeal. Her dancers, meanwhile, dressed in smoking snout pig gasmasks, crawled on and flew above the stage in a scene that would make a Cirque du Soleil director wonder just what was going on.
The final freshie was dedicated to the fans Gaga left wanting when she had to abandon her tour. "I don't wanna grow up/But when the lights come on/You lift me up and I feel strong," Gaga crooned all alone at a keyboard. "I'd rather be poor and happy than rich and alone ... I'll keep on singin for a living/But I want to be in love/And I wanna be with you," she sang, appearing to get a bit emotional at points during the power ballad that was both blatantly pandering and touchingly sweet at the same time.
Employing the Green jacket and top hat from the video, Gaga capped the hour-long show with high-energy new single, "Applause," which ended with a shower of confetti and thousands of hands clapping in the air in unison.
We'll have to wait until November 11 to hear the rest of ARTPOP, but Sunday show's was ample proof that the Gaga we know and love is back and in full effect.