LOS ANGELES — Fresh from her headlining gig at Lollapalooza, Lady Gaga rolled her Monster Ball into L.A. on Wednesday night for the first of two shows at the Staples Center. Hours before the concert started, Gaga's little monsters marauded around the venue decked out in Gaga gear. The theme for the ball may as well have been a "no pants party," with fans of both sexes parading in just fishnets and leotards.
It wasn't just Mother Monster's kin in attendance — Perez Hilton tweeted that Britney Spears was on hand for the show, though he said she left after a few songs. With the pop princess watching, Gaga took the stage just after 9 p.m. It was everything you would expect from a Gaga production — the sets! the costumes! the lights! — but what can't be overlooked is the energy. Gaga and her dancers gave it their all for two hours and change.
With four major set changes, 19 songs (not including the interstitial tunes) and an arching narrative throughout the show, the Monster Ball seems less of a concert than a Broadway musical at times.
The set kicked off with "Dance in the Dark," "Glitter and Grease" and "Just Dance" (the opening notes of which were played on a keyboard that was hidden under the hood of a broken-down car). Gaga's first wardrobe choice of the night was a pair of oversize purple shades, a giant shoulder-padded purple jacket and a purple leopard-print leotard underneath.
After the first few songs, Gaga addressed her adoring crowd. "The Monster Ball is sexual freedom," she declared. "Tonight in Los Angeles we'll be super freaks and monsters."
And she continued her conversation with the audience throughout the night. With fans on their feet during a rousing rendition of "LoveGame" (encouraged by Gaga's "Now dance, mother----ers!), she thanked them for buying tickets and supporting her. "Tonight, I want you to free yourselves, forget your insecurities."
Next up was "Boys Boys Boys," followed by a brief exit. She returned from beneath the stage on a riser to perform "Money Honey." She then took time to call a fan in the cheap seats and surprise him with tickets closer to the stage. It was a perfect segue to "Telephone," which was one of the most elaborate dance routines and biggest sing-alongs of the night.
But Gaga had to settle the crowd for at least a few minutes during the night. With her piano rising from the beneath the stage, she launched into "Speechless" — which she dedicated to her dad, who was also in attendance. Next was new tune "You and I," proving that all she really needs is her voice and a piano.
The new song was a tease of what's yet to come. Gaga announced that she had been on a 72-hour bender of writing and recording new music. "I want to put it out tomorrow," she said, "but I can't!"
"So Happy I Could Die," "Monster" and "Teeth" kept the show moving until the climactic "Alejandro," "Poker Face" and Paparazzi." At one point, Gaga emerged in a bra and panty set that sprayed sparks from her unmentionable regions.
But the crowd's biggest eruption occurred during the encore. With the curtain still down, Gaga's familiar "oh, oh, oh-oh-oooh" broke over the speakers, and fans instantly recognized "Bad Romance." As fans roared, the curtain lifted to reveal her in a rotating sphere wearing a mirrored angular outfit. It was her 19th song of the concert — with almost as many wardrobe changes — and it was finally time for Gaga to call it a night as her monsters exited the ball sweaty and satisfied.
Have you been to see Lady Gaga in concert? Share your favorite moments in the comments!