Greetings New Music Mix Readers. You may have noticed I took a brief hiatus from my bi-weekly roundups. Well this past month I participated in a show on MTV that will be airing this summer. Check back on AfterElton.com once it airs as I’ll be recapping my experience and filling you all in on the inside gossip.
On February 28th, I had the chance to catch Lady Gaga and Scissor Sisters in Chicago at the United Center on Gaga’s second North American leg of her Monster Ball Tour. I must say that if you have the chance to go see her perform, take it. She is undoubtedly one of the best entertainers of our time.
While this was my second time catching a Lady Gaga performance it was my first Scissor Sisters one. In the last year I’ve become an ever-increasing fan of the sexiness that is Jake Shears and his NYC-based glam-band the Scissor Sisters and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Mr. Shears performs in nothing but black underwear and leather chaps during his entire show.
The group noticeably (and somewhat disappointingly) did not perform their recent (and my personal favorite) hits “Fire With Fire” or “Invisible Light” during the show, instead sticking to older fan favorites like “Filthy Gorgeous,” “Take Your Mama Out,” and “Don’t Feel Like Dancing.” Oddly the one new song they performed (and opened with) was “Any Which Way”… a song I’ve yet to fully embrace. One thing I could embrace though was Jake Shears’ half (sometimes fully) naked body during his performance. The man has a great set of abs and chest and shows them off throughout the show. He definitely knows how to keep a gay man’s attention.
The best part of the night (and I’m kicking myself for not having my camera ready for this part, as it was entirely unexpected) was during the Scissor Sisters’ final song as the show reaches its finale, Jake turns his back to the crowd, drops his chaps to the ground, and reveals his bare ass to everyone. Screaming of course ensues.
As for Gaga, this was my second time attending one of her shows. My first was at her second appearance at Lollapalooza in the summer of 2010 when she headlined the entire festival. Her first Lollapalooza show was in 2007 at a minor side stage when she was a yet-known artist and critics called the performance “a train wreck”. So it was quite exciting to see how far this gal had come and you could tell she relished in the fact that she was now the headlining artist.
It’s really not fair to compare two Lady Gaga shows because they’re all exceptional and light years ahead of what many artists are doing in the form of entertainment these days. But alas because I’ve been to two I can’t help but compare one to the other. Now maybe it was because I was in a crowd of thousands of young energetic concertgoers, or because it was my first time seeing her live, (or probably because my friend got me high right before the show), but I felt like I had an all around better time at her show at Lollapalooza. I felt like that show was as close to a religious experience as anything I could remember for a long time and I honestly think that if Lady Gaga had asked me to come up on stage and ask her to come into my heart that day as my Lord and Savior, I would have probably said “yes.”
Now this go round I found myself sitting in an indoor arena next to moms with their kids and a group of middle aged men with the smallest bladders on the planet that seriously got up to go to the bathroom during EVERY song. And I was sober. My experience was just not the same.
But regardless of whether I’m in a jam packed field surrounded by thousands of exhausted sweaty concert goers in the middle of summer or in a dark arena sitting next to middle aged men with their daughters, I still have an amazing experience at her shows. And boy does that girl know how to put on a show. She does so with so much heart and energy that you can’t help but be impressed and taken in by the whole experience. She changes outfits between each and every song performance allowing the audience to relive her famous televised award-show performances of her various hits. And to top it all off she does so completely with her own vocals, no lip-synching! She deserves all the success she has today.
The best part of a Gaga show is the opening number, a remixed version of her Fame Monster hit “Dance In the Dark” that gets you so pumped you can’t wait for her to appear on stage. During the entire song you can kind of see the artist behind a veiled drape and it appears as though she’s mimicking the act of fingering herself. The raunchiness has only begun. From biting off naked Barbie doll heads to asking the audience to get their “dicks out,” declaring she’s heard Chicago is a city that has really big dicks (I wonder if she says that in every city?), the moments of hilarity and shock are constant and well worth the price of a ticket.
It was extra special to be at Gaga’s show the same day that her video was released for “Born This Way”, which in my opinion, is quite brilliant. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I feel that Gaga’s effort to make such fascinating other-wordly videos far outshines her competition (Britney Spears’ “Hold It Against Me” was basically a non-stop commercial for PlentyofFish.com and while Ke$ha’s new video for “Blow” had it’s cute parts with a Dawson’s Creek cameo and unicorn wars, there’s just nothing like a Gaga video). Watch my footage of her performance of “Born This Way” here.
I think the biggest takeaway as a gay man from Gaga’s show is how vocal she is about helping the LGBT community. Before her show begins an infommercial plays informing the audience (of primarily straight people I assume) that over 40% of runaway youth are kicked out because of their sexuality and they were born that way. Recently Gaga urged concert-goers at her Buffalo, New York show to contact their senator and urge him to vote for marriage equality in the state of New York. I’m not even sure I’ve heard openly gay artists be as vocal at their own shows about LGBT rights issues as Gaga is. And I wonder where her angle is in all this? I’m glad she’s doing it though because she’s having an enormous impact on people who come to her shows just to dance. (Watch Gaga’s “Just Dance” performance here)
Speaking of which I still have “fame, fame doing it for the fame” stuck in my head and likely will all week. Which is fine by me.
Next Page– Must See Summer Tours!