NEW YORK — Oh. My. Gaga.
I'm still dancing, sparkling and "showing my teeth" after Lady Gaga's epic show at Madison Square Garden last night. My friend Liz and I went in full "glitter and grease" attire to Lady Gaga's Monster Ball. After accumulating Gaga garb for months, the time had come for us to finally unleash our inner monsters.
We went to Lady Gaga's Monster Ball at Radio City Music Hall back in January, where I'd worn leggings, a conservative leotard and clip-on bangs. Compared to the racy getups of her other fans, I was totally tame and felt a tad underdressed! For this show, I wanted to go in a full costume of Gaga-inspired glory.
I started with a simple, black leotard. (We're in the midst of a heat wave here in NYC, and honestly, who wears pants to see Lady Gaga?!) At the hardware store, I insisted on trying on 9 feet of chains, which I would wrap around my body and safety-pin into place. (I was going for that whole prisoner look Gaga rocks in her "Telephone" video.) A partial weave would not suffice for Gagaloo round two, so I searched high and low for a bright, Mother Monster-inspired, canary-yellow wig. Fishnets and bejeweled, fingerless gloves were a given. Liz wore glitter-covered high heels and a provocative mesh leotard, dyed the tips of her hair hot pink and drew on a "Just Dance"-inspired lightning bolt underneath her right eye. A girl can never be too sparkly.
Liz and I got ready for the show in my small, sweltering apartment, spending extra time on our dramatic makeup that would undoubtedly melt off our faces before the night's end. We clonked down six flights of stairs from my walkup to the street wearing 5-inch heels, and definitely got some confused stares from passersby. Our giddy anticipation and adrenaline escalated as we cabbed to the arena, belting out "Alejandro" and dancing in the backseat.
The moment we stepped out of the taxi and into the crowd of Little Monsters waiting to enter MSG, we instantly fit in. Confused stares and questioning side-glances were replaced with celebration and camaraderie among new friends. There were men in S&M getups, women with lacy headdresses and sequin gowns, young kids in pleather and everything in between. An indescribable, excited energy united us all. Gender, race, sexual orientation and class truly disappeared, and on this night, we each felt like the guest of honor at a giant, judgment-free party.
Liz and I made it to our seats just in time to see Gaga take the stage. The crowd screamed wildly for the iconic woman who proudly "brings all the freaks together." She defies convention not only with her wardrobe, but with her unapologetic attitude.
The costume changes, dancing, piano-playing and sheer talent are an amazing, theatrical spectacle to watch, but the real genius of the Monster Ball is Gaga's ability to make her audience feel like an integral part of the show. In a sold-out arena of thousands, Gaga is able to make every person feel an intimate connection to her and to each other. Her message is inspiring and uplifting, adamantly telling her beloved Little Monsters to believe in themselves. It's not the cliché, Hollywood "follow your dreams" that artists often halfheartedly spit out to their fans. It's a sincere command for us to banish our self-doubt and love each other and ourselves just the way we are. And as I sang and danced in my costume with Liz and my newfound friends, I experienced something much deeper than the flashing lights and falling glitter: Gaga's message is to have faith in yourself and live with love.
Gaga finished the night with an encore performance of "Bad Romance." For me, it was the highlight of the entire show, as all of us together sang the words and danced without inhibition. I love that the song conjures up different memories and emotions for every fan — probably a lot of negative ones, but together with Gaga, we turn it into something empowering.
As we left the show, we talked to some other Little Monsters about their favorite parts of the night. Everyone loved the costumes, the hype and the glam, but underneath it all, people loved Gaga's message of freedom and unapologetic self-expression the most.
So thank you, Lady Gaga, and thank you Little Monsters all over the world. I walked away one strong, happy "free bitch."
Would you get dolled up for a Lady Gaga concert? Let us know what your costume would be in the comments!