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Lady Gaga
Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, TN
April 19, 2011
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Story and photos by Kate Seesholtz

Lady Gaga brought her Monster Ball tour to Nashville's Bridgestone Arena last Tuesday evening. Her fans, or "Little Monsters" were out in full force, dressed in outfits inspired by some of the pop queen's own flamboyant frocks and inside the arena it felt like Halloween. Concert goers of every age clamored for a spot close to the elaborate stage, and as Lady Gaga appeared, the house erupted in applause. She coyly asked the crowd what the Monster Ball was all about. "Well," she announced, "the Monster Ball will set you free." She explained that she created this tour so that fans would have a place to go. She added that here, "you can be whoever it is that you want to be."

The concept of "coming as you are" seemed to be the overarching theme for the evening. Gaga continually addressed her fans to encourage them to embrace their true self. Though, throughout the night Lady Gaga showed many sides of herself, from dressing up as an ex nun, to videos portraying her eating a heart and getting tattooed. Her back up dancers played just as large a role in the performance as she did. Clad mostly in underwear, they gyrated their bodies for the crowd and carried the pop performer on their shoulders.

While most of the evening was a visual spectacle, the moments where Lady Gaga was left to just her piano were the most revealing of her talent. In a toned down version of her most recent hit, "Born This Way," Gaga connected with the crowd on a deeper level. After all the glamour is stripped away, it is hard to ignore the fact that Lady Gaga is overall an extremely talented performer. Her vocals were spot on, and as she told the crowd, she never once lip-synched.

In between energetic hits including "Boys Boys Boys" and "Just Dance," Lady Gaga addressed the controversy she has been experiencing recently. In regards to her most recent single release, "Judas," Gaga questioned why everyone was "getting their panties in a twist." "God," she added, "it's just a pop song... Sort of..." She received raucous applause when she explained that she can deal with such polarizing views from people because "(I) dig my heels into the ground and, I don't fucking move."

Not all of the show is to be applauded, though. At one point in the evening Lady Gaga laid down on the stage and told her eager little monsters that she was like tinkerbell and she needed applause to survive. She then commanded the crowd to yell for her as she lay motionless, taking it all in. The act came off as more conceited than appreciative of the people that got her to where she is. Lady Gaga also told a story of how she went to see British heavy metal band Iron Maiden recently. She was amazed at how unique their fan base was even after 30 plus years on the music scene. She told the gathered fans that that is how they will be as well, "a pure love and revelation, so much bigger than the music." Even though Lady Gaga has managed to amass a huge national and international following after only three years, to compare herself to a legendary band such as Iron Maiden was a little presumptuous.

As the night came to close Lady Gaga showcased her biggest hits, including "Paparazzi," in the midst of the "monster" from the Monster Ball, a terrifying deep-sea fish with large tentacles and glowing eyes appeared. In a spectacular end to the show she treated the crowd to not only her biggest hit "Bad Romance," but also the radio version of "Born This Way." The entire arena erupted into a giant dance party, with everyone losing themselves in the music, just the way Lady Gaga intended.

Related articles:

Lady Gaga (Lollapalooza 2010) - Festival review - Chicago, IL - Aug. 2010
Lady Gaga - Concert review - Rosemont, IL - Jan. 2010
Lady GaGa - The Fame Album review

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