By Christopher Stevens
Pigs in boiler suits, ninjas and a mermaid in a fur thong on stage. In the audience, unicorns, transvestites and Pierrots . . . and a greying, middle-aged bloke in a shirt from George at Asda. Among all the Little Monsters at Lady Gaga’s comeback gig, I looked and felt like a dinosaur. After two sweaty hours, the crowd was bouncing, and I was bobbing up and down with them . . . to stop my knees from locking up. The opening night of the iTunes Festival, a concert dubbed ‘SwineFest’ by Stefani Germanotta, alias Lady Gaga, alias Mother Monster, was intended as a celebration for those Little Monsters, as her hardcore fans call themselves. So what on earth was I, a Fleet Street critic decades past his sell-by date, doing there?
Quite simply, paying homage. Forget the outrageous fashion statements — Lady Gaga’s music is the ultimate evolution of glam pop. If you grew up with David Bowie, Queen, Marc Bolan and Abba, these are songs to sweep you away.
I was determined to be there, to hear her preview seven new tracks from an album that won’t be released until November. Ever since her first collection of songs, The Fame, was released in 2007, Gaga’s music has never been off my iPod — the perfect gym soundtrack for a fan of pre-punk pop. These days I’m more flab than fab, more glum than glam. But a workout with Lady Gaga in my earbuds can almost make me feel young. Younger, at any rate. So what is the with-it middle-aged male sporting at a Gaga gig these days? The question only got trickier when my wife banned me from raiding the fridge for inspiration.
Would I look out of place if I wasn’t partially clad in slices of cold meat? Nothing would help me blend into a crowd of madly-bopping Little Monsters like a bacon waistcoat and a couple of chipolatas worn as a fascinator (a la Gaga’s appearance in a dress fashioned out of raw beef at the 2010 MTV awards).