Lady Gaga  #ArtRave tour Pittsburgh, PA  Consol Energy Center May 8,2014

Lady Gaga
#ArtRave tour
Pittsburgh, PA
Consol Energy Center
May 8, 2014

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

Forget about U2, Madonna and The Police. That was all repeat business. Breaking an artist through to global superstardom in the digital age is one of music’s biggest challenges. But the industry found the perfect storm in Lady Gaga.  The pop juggernaut combines a flair for the unusual and a trademark  message of universal empowerment with  sheer talent. A whole lot of it. The result is a hyper energetic, wildly produced two-hour spectacle that mostly dazzles but can also be tedious. Most of the 22-song set showcased the new material from her latest “Art Pop.”  It did not sell anywhere near the units that “Born This Way” and “The Fame ” did. Some have dubbed the effort “Artflop.” That being said, the 28 year- old New Yorker still cranks out some mean pop as about 12,000 Little Monsters will attest. She opened with the title track, entering from a marshmallow cave with a wildly tinseled headdress followed by a streaming cavalcade of dancers. The first third of the set was heavy on the fashion theme as she gyrated and sizzled through “Donatella,” “Fashion,” and “Manicure.” The priceless production (in terms of price is no object) featured a stage that sprawled over half of the floor, the occasional palm trees rising from underneath and a sound system whose power could be mistaken for an earthquake.  This proved to be the root of the tedium.  “Artpop” is heavy on EDM tracks and short on finesse. Coupled with the lasers, dazzling lights and high energy, there was a feel of sensory overload and made an arena feel like a claustrophobic dance club at times.

She really cut her voice loose with a powerful “Do what you Want.”

acoustic "Born This Way"

acoustic “Born This Way”

The evening’s most touching moment occurred when where she read a note pulled from a stuffed unicorn thrown onstage that recounted the tale of a young girl’s father dying in combat. She invited the hysterical teen to meet her after the show.

A major disappointment was the omission of “Edge of Glory” from the set list. It is a moving highlight that Howard Stern once called, “The best performance ever in my studio.” In its place, she went solo acoustic on piano for “Born This Way.”


One constant in the countless wardrobe changes was that her perfect rear end was never fully covered and clearly a favorite of the cameramen. At one point, her handlers performed a full costume change onstage, removing all of her black leather to apply a day glo neon get up for the last third if the show.

Two seemingly designer drug fueled openers put on a psychotic display of marionette dancing and some hack EDM.

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