Lady Gaga paid Los Angeles a visit Sunday night to perform at the Staples Center for her seemingly endless world tour promoting her 2011 album Born This Way. Dubbed the Born This Way Ball World Tour, the two-and-a-half-hour show was complete with mind-boggling production, special effects, countless costume changes, an army of dancers and one recurring theme throughout the night: unity.
Before the show even started, the level of excitement could be heard outside of the venue, where fans who arrived early were invited to take part in the Born Brave Bus experience. As part of Lady Gaga and her mother's Born This Way Foundation, a collection of tents was set up, offering entertainment, snacks, services and support for the LGBT community in order to inspire and empower youth. Protestors stood nearby outside with signs that read "Homo Sex Is Sin" while verbally insulting any concertgoers who were proudly showing off their freakish sides. But the disapproval didn't stop Gaga's followers from continuing on with the night and taking part in what the performer described as "art pop."
Taking the stage shortly after 8:30 p.m., Gaga, a.k.a. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, opened the show with "Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)" while riding a large black mechanical horse around the stage. Dancers marched alongside her, holding flags that read "G.O.A.T." — Government Owned Alien Territory — an imaginary place where humans exist free of prejudice. The backdrop consisted of an enormous three-story medieval castle containing numerous windows, which displayed the musicians and various rooms inside throughout the show.
Located in the center of the stage was the Monster Pit, an area for all her VIP fans. True to Lady Gaga's following, these "little monsters" were dressed in flamboyant outfits including Coke-can roller hairdos, masked faces, outrageous wigs, bare midriffs, platform shoes and lace leggings. But these people were only a handful of the thousands throughout the venue who took the opportunity to dress without fear of discrimination or bullying. One woman was even seen topless when Gaga encouraged the people around her to lift her up for everyone to see.
As the night went on, Gaga continued to entertain the crowd with tunes from her latest album, including "Bloody Mary," "Judas," "Hair," "Americano" and "You and I." In addition, Gaga pleased everyone with past staples such as "Just Dance," "Paparazzi," "Telephone" and "Love Game."
And while the medieval castle was stationed as the backdrop for the entire show, it wasn't the only bold creation to come from the 26-year-old singer's imagination. Other props included a giant inflatable torso with legs that gave "birth" to Gaga during her performance of "Born This Way," a giant egg from which she emerged while singing "Bad Romance" (think 2011 Grammy Awards), multiple slabs of oversized raw meat hanging from the stage as she and her dancers danced to "Poker Face" and an animated replica of her face that delivered speeches to the audience while floating from a diamond-shaped box high above the stage.
But what really added to the nonstop theatrical ride was the New York native's constant, sincere interaction with her fans. She continuously expressed her undying love for them, encouraged them "to be free" and at times invited them onstage with her. She even called a winning fan's cell phone from the stage and asked him to come backstage after the show to have a drink with her.
As the clock reached 11 p.m., Gaga finished off the night with the powerful anthem "Edge of Glory" and an acoustic rendition of "Marry the Night," a song that tells the story of Gaga's rise to fame and the struggles she endured.
"Thank you for letting me feel like the cool kid in Hollywood," Gaga gushed to the audience. "I'm a lucky girl. ... Everybody raise your glasses to a brand-new album, a brand-new tour and a brand-new year." With those final words she exited the stage, leaving anyone who felt discouraged and alone beforehand ready to take on the world.