When in Manila, this blogger found herself surrounded by a merry mix of Pinoy fans who bravely lined up for hours (some as early as 1pm) to watch Lady Gaga’s final sold-out performance at the newly built Mall of Asia Arena at the MOA complex in Pasay city.
Just why is Lady Gaga so popular here? For non-fans and observers, it would be easy to dismiss her as a manufactured freak show, but judging from last night’s performance, this blogger verified that she’s a true artist – as real and as human as the rest of us.
There are so many praiseworthy things about this tour stop. First, in terms of production, the central piece of her stage was the huge castle that opened and closed at certain segments of her show—like an adult version of the Poly Pocket toy houses that became popular in the 90s. Her so called “Kingdom of Fame” was fully usable from top to bottom and inside out. It became part of the show throughout the night because Lady Gaga and her dancers danced one each platform and window, and it even housed the band members throughout the show. With effective lighting, it also evoked different images and moods, perfectly complementing each song in the set list.
Of these, my favourite was the white ensemble she wore while singing Bloody Mary, which had butterfly sleeves that made it look like she was wearing a terno! Moreover, this costume covered a small moving platform that allowed her to glide ethereally across the stage, perfectly fitting the eery concept for the song. Of course, she wore her fair share of revealing outfits, but what I liked about it was that the vulgarity was not there, perhaps because she was using those costumes as part of her concept and not things to sell her sexuality. Aside from the costumes, who else can pull off having a keyboard welded onto a motorbike, a huge meat grinder, and pig carcasses on stage? She also had a Pinoy guitarist who played Dandansoy (a Visayan folk song) on his acoustic guitar! Awesome!
Meanwhile, in terms of sound and music, the acoustics at the new Arena enveloped the audience with this great wall of sound that heightened the experience, enabling the viewers to “sense” the show in all aspects of the word.
Finally, it was the artist herself who made the whole thing memorable. “Stage presence” is not even enough to describe how she holds your attention; commanding her little monsters to raise their “paws up” at one point and belting out her songs on another. I couldn’t tell how much of it had back tracks (or if there were any), but it was pretty obvious she was singing her heart out that night. If any other doubting Simons remained, however, one of her encore songs, Edge of Glory, had her singing with just a piano at the beginning. She.can.really.sing. And sing she did, to the delight of her fans—all the crowd favourites were included from her older albums, Poker Face, Paparazzi, Just Dance, Love Game, and Bad Romance; and from her recent album, like Judas, Edge of Glory, Marry the Night, Americano, Bloody Mary, Hair, Bad Kids, and the anthemic You and I and Born This Way.
I always say this about Lady Gaga—it is not easy to dismiss her as a pop fluff because first, she writes and produces her own songs; second, she plays the piano well; and third, she has the pipes to prove her worth as a singer.
In the end, When in Manila, and stripped down to just a piano, her voice, and her sincere words, these were all that her fans needed to bring the night to a joyful conclusion. To her critics, she has this to say: “They think they can use my name to spread hate, but I can spread even more positivity with my music.”
The Born This Way Ball Tour in Manila is brought to you by Ovation Productions and the Mall of Asia Arena.
To see the first night of the Lady Gaga concert and more videos, check out Vince’s post here – https://www.wheninmanila.com/lady-gaga-manila-concert-sheds-tears-on-philippine-protests-video/
Married the Night, Lady Gaga’s Second Sold Out Show in Manila