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Strong songs, over the top attitude signal the
arrival of this generation's pop princess

Lady Gaga
Rosemont Theatre
Rosemont, IL
Jan. 8, 2010
Lady Gaga Lady Gaga

Story by Andy Argyrakis
Publicity photos

The parallels between Lady Gaga and Madonna are literally endless, though the relative newcomer has one leg up on good old Madge at the moment. Whereas her "Material Girl" hero ruled the world throughout the 1980s and '90s, the 23-year-old modern pop starlet is red hot right here and now, so much so that she's sold out three months worth of tour dates, including a trio in Chicago that required an upgrade to a venue with higher capacity.

As for the show itself, "The Monster Ball" was packed with plenty of the main protocols as far as naughty divas tours go. There was the reflecting disco ball (worn as a shirt rather than spinning from the ceiling), plenty of twirling hydraulic platforms, countless costume changes, a few mimed self-stimulation scenes and tons of gothic glam topped off with crazy camp. A freak show perhaps as Lady Gaga so proudly proclaimed, but one that's swarmed the mainstream masses to the point that the program literally read like a greatest hits set, even though the singer/songwriter technically only released one full-length CD.

From the throbbing "Dance In the Dark" to the perky "Just Dance" and the Latin-infused "Alejandro," Gaga and her over the top cast were energy personified, posing every so perfectly with every strut and saunter, but interjecting just enough attitude to be taken as pop art instead of pop tart. Even though she wore the showmanship persona throughout the entire 90-minute set, the superstar in the making frequently thanked the fans and acknowledged her humble roots. A story of scraping by just a few years ago while playing a Lollapalooza side stage in broad daylight was inspirational when considering she's since become an international sensation.

And much of the reason for that success can be attributed to the songs themselves, which are delectable bits of ear candy packed with sass, unabashed sex appeal and some of the slickest synths to appear since the new wave era. "The Fame" and "Money Honey" were fueled by pure excess, while "Boys, Boys, Boys" was reminiscent of Gwen Stefani channeled through Blondie. Add in "Poker Face" (both as a solo piano rendition and later in its full out club glory), plus "Paparazzi" or "Bad Romance," and there's no denying Lady Gaga's current "it" factor could translate far into the future.

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