So, I went to see Lady Gaga in Malmö.
That’s about how I felt.
It was everything I expected and dreamed of AND MORE. It was so amazing. There were a million costume changes, and the backup dancers were out of control, and the set was beyond incredible, and I love Gaga’s music OF COURSE and there were political speeches and heart-to-hearts and inspiration and a bodice that had fireworks coming out of the bra I MEAN SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE. SHE HAD FIREWORKS COMING OUT OF HER BREASTS. More or less.
This is how the show started out. I was with two of Simon’s friends, Frida and Alexandra, and Alexandra’s boyfriend, Simon. We decided to get to the show a little late to skip the crowds and the horrendous opening band, and so we were just inside the doors and outside the seating area having a beer when we heard what sounded like explosions and the opening chords to a Gaga song. We ditched the beers, grabbed our coats, and ran down a series of stairs to the standing area below, where we could see Gaga’s silhouette behind a screen. AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO. MUCH. EXCITEMENT.
“But Kate, I thought you were a cash-strapped immigrant with no job, no future, and ever-dwindling savings!”
“Ahh, but I am. I am!!“
[editorial note: sort of.]
MUUUU WAH HAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
A little while before this, my boyfriend had gone out for drinks with Frida and Alex to catch up, and when he came back, he told me that I had to keep Friday, November 19th free because Frida and Alex were going to take me out. I had been having a little bit of a rough patch in Sweden and was feeling really down (it’s all part of the process, it’s over now), so I figured that he had told Frida and Alex how sad I was and they were taking me out for a pity date. I was excited anyway because they’re both a lot of fun, and I figured I would get to meet new people and discover some new places in Malmö. As the day got closer and closer, I got more and more curious about what we were doing, but Simon wouldn’t say a word. Then, two days ahead of time, he accidentally let it slip. We were looking at the news together and I asked if we could take the interactive Lady Gaga quiz. (In case you’re the kind of serious news reader who wonders WHO ON EARTH CLICKS ON THOSE STUPID LINKS TO SEE PHOTOS OF KATY PERRY’S WEDDING IN INDIA or WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO TAKE A LADY GAGA QUIZ, now you have your answers. I would click on those links. And I took that quiz because I love me some Lady Gaga.)
So anyway, the last question on the Lady Gaga quiz was something along the lines of whether she was coming to Malmö, Copenhagen, or Gothenberg on Friday, and OF COURSE I knew it was Malmö, and then Simon got all awkward and was like, “Well, I guess you know what you’re doing on Friday with Frida and Alex, then.” To which I responded with a) confusion b) disbelief c) high-pitched squeals or d) all of the above. (Answers below.) Then Simon revealed the full extent of the Friday plans, which included an extreme hair and make-up session before the show at The Studio, a professional photography studio where Alex is the manager. We decided to go totally crazy with the hair and makeup because after all, it’s GAGA. I think the makeup artist assigned to me was a little hesitant to go overboard at first, but I just told her that I trusted her and I wanted to be Gaga-extreme, at which point she just smiled and prepped the fake eyelashes, which had rhinestones on them. Just sayin’.
Then we opened some champagne, went to Alex’s new apartment, where we met up with her boyfriend, had some delicious Max for dinner, listened to music, and drank. One thing that I thought was totally hilarious and simultaneously wonderful was that Alex had thought to book a taxi driver more or less for the whole night. I don’t know if she just happened to know her, or if it was a taxi driver that had been particularly nice in the past, or really what the relationship was, but basically she set it up so that this delightful middle-aged woman who looked like she was in her mid-thirties but told us she was really 58 years old came to take us to and from the concert at specific times so that we would have a guaranteed ride home but she could take other passengers during the peak times. It worked amazingly well and was really a terrific idea, but it was pretty funny nonetheless. I could really get used to having a driver all of my own.
Another totally hilarious item: the Jagermeister dispenser.
I’m really not sure if you can even get Jagermeister at a sporting event or concert in the United States, but here in le Europe they have obviously pioneered a machine that will measure out pre-sized drinks of Jager for those who just need a little special something to start their night off right. I mean, seriously. That’s three upside-down bottles of Jager that you see in that photo, and there were more stacked underneath the machine. What on Earth??
Anyway. Back to LADY GAGA.
Remember how I said the set was beyond incredible? Well. I had a hard time capturing it all on my point-and-shoot, but hopefully you will get the idea.
It was just all so big, so lavish, so in-your-face… so unbelievable.
Lady Gaga, Motivational Speaker
One thing I didn’t expect from Lady Gaga was for her to be some sort of motivational speaker, but she was. In between her songs, she spoke a lot about how important it is to love yourself and to be yourself. She related a lot of her message to her own life as well as her opinions on a few select political and religious issues, most of which also related to acceptance, tolerance, love for all, and leaving behind hatred and discrimination. One thing that really impressed me was how real she seemed—she seemed totally self-aware, and she wasn’t afraid to say things that bordered on cheesy. She talked about how she was picked on in school and bullied for being strange, which no doubt she was, but she also offered in herself a clearly redemptive image of success and self-realization. Her personal commentaries tied into the theme of her tour, “The Monster Ball,” as well as the staging, and very early on, she said something along the lines of ”For all of those who have felt out of place, weird, strange, like you’ll never fit in… tonight, at this concert, in Malmö, you’re where you belong, and the freaks are the ones outside!” When the camera panned the crowd after one of these speeches, there would invariably be a group of teenage girls with a couple of them fist-pumping and screaming and a couple of them with tears streaming down their faces. I’ve never felt so loved and affirmed at a concert before.
Oh yeah, and the music.
The music was awesome. All the other parts of the performance were amazing: the dancers, the staging, the heart-to-hearts with Gaga, but let’s be serious… Gaga is an incredible musician. She sang, she played piano, she did a capella, she played an unreleased song from her forthcoming album, Born This Way, and her finale was an all-hits extravaganza that included Paparazzi, Bad Romance, and Alejandro, one after another. INCREDIBLE.
In one of my favorite moments of the entire concert, she sang an alternate ending to one of the songs, unaccompanied. It was so strong and so awesome, and when she was finally done with the whole thing, she looked out at the audience and said, “Oh yeah, and I. DON’T. *&^%. LIP-SYNC.” AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! So awesome.
To see more photos (and, bonus!, taken by professional photographers), check out the Lady Gaga slideshow on Afton Bladet.
Click here for my blog post in May about the newest trendy phrase in China, OH MY LADY GAGA. (Not so new anymore, but hey.)
*The correct answer to the quiz question above was d) all of the above.