Within an eight-day period I had the absolute pleasure (or displeasure, depending on your taste in music) to see both Lady Gaga and Ke$ha perform in concert. I’ll get into more detail below, but I enthusiastically recommend getting tickets to see both of these artists perform live – I was extremely entertained and impressed on both occasions.
Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour – Amway Arena; Orlando, FL – April 15, 2011
Lady Gaga reflects the envelope-pushing, line-crossing aspect of Madonna, especially in the 90s. Like Madonna, she’s a champion for LGBT rights, and I love her extremely genuine encouragement of her fans to be who they are.
She’s also an extremely talented, classically trained musician who isn’t afraid to try new things, creatively, artistically, musically, and theatrically. If your only knowledge of her repertoire is “Bad Romance”, “Poker Face” and “Paparazzi”, you should check out some of her other pieces, like “Brown Eyes”, “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich”, “Speechless”, or “Teeth”.
Even though we had good seats, the video quality isn’t the greatest, but here’s Lady Gaga performing what I think is going to be a new song on her album “Born This Way”. I’m guessing it’s called “You and I”:
Overall, the concert was an amazing experience. The opening act, Semi-Precious Weapons, was extremely entertaining, even if I couldn’t get it out of my head that lead singer Justin Tranter looked like a younger Jim Carrey playing an effeminate singer.
The set was extremely elaborate, from the piano that shot flame to the ’50s-evocative cityscape to the final song when a giant monster that looked like a huge angler fish dominated the entire stage. It must have been about 25-30 feet tall.
The choreography was complex and the imagery was evocative and shocking. The entire event felt like a theatrical production, almost like a minor musical instead of a concert. The audience was really involved, as well, dressing up in hundreds of different costumes.
It was a fantastic experience, a great performance, and a wonderful time. The only downfall to the entire night were the prices. The new Amway Arena had a lot of nice perqs and benefits to it, but it wasn’t worth paying $22 for a double Smirnoff Vanilla and Diet Coke. Over all, I’d rate Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour with an A and the Amway Arena with a D.
Ke$ha’s Get $leazy Tour – House of Blues; Orlando, FL – April 23, 2011
In my opinion, Ke$ha represents the other side of Madonna – the overtly sexual rebel and bad girl who has fun and doesn’t give a shit what you think. For the most part, her music is light pop, with a definite focus on partying, having fun, and being a free spirit. Delve a little deeper, though, and you’ll see that some of her songs are actually not quite as shallow as they seem. Try “Animal”, “Harold’s Song”, or “Stephen”, for examples of good song writing, good production, and very little autotune.
At the center of all the glitter and sex and pop is a talented musician, and I’m convinced that over time, you’ll see her emerge and reinvent herself much like Madonna. That being said, I was a bit nervous about this show – how could it compare to the spectacle that was Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball?
I shouldn’t have been worried. The venue was smaller, so our seats were pretty amazing, in the very front orchestra overlooking the stage. I was close enough that I could have peed on her.
I did not pee on her, though. The show was vastly different from Gaga, both in the scale and in the theatricality of it. There were two things that struck me as I watched her perform. First, she was actively involved in setting up the beats and tracks on the computer and synthesizer, not just someone singing along. And second, she seemed to actually have a lot of fun.
You could tell that a lot of what happened on stage wasn’t choreographed tightly and was left open to the whims of Ke$ha and the other performers. In one case, she motioned for the bassist to move out of the way, and executed a terrible cartwheel with a huge grin on her face. Her enthusiasm for what she was doing was infectious and it really made the night even more entertaining.
Her opening act, Beardo, was terrible. As I watched him, all I could think was that this had to be some elaborate parody. He looked like a redneck version of Perry Farrell and Richard Simmons combined and sounded like Axl Rose, but without that growl that makes his voice passable.
After seeing Lady Gaga, my expectations were extremely high, and I’m happy to say that they were met in every way by Ke$ha. I would go see her again in an instant. It doesn’t hurt that she likes fat bearded guys, either.
Over all, I’d rate Ke$ha’s Get $leazy Tour with a B+, House of Blues with an A, and Beardo with an F-.