Lady Gaga, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in real life, is a well-known performer and singer-songwriter. She first performed in Manila last August 2009. This year, I got lucky and spent my birthday watching Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball here in Manila at the newest concert venue, Mall of Asia Arena!
It was great considering I felt I was part of history as Lady Gaga was the first show to be featured in the newly opened venue.
The Born This Way Ball by Lady Gaga is very controversial here in Asia. Several religious groups in Manila called for the cancellation of the concert saying that some of Gaga’s songs carried demonic undertones. I was partly expecting to see protesters last May 21 but didn’t see any. I later found out that riot police stopped the protesters carrying placards saying ‘Stop Lady Gaga, the Mother Monster’ about one kilometer away from the concert venue.
I’m glad that the Philippine government granted Lady Gaga to perform here or else, they would have disappointed thousands of Filipino fans (including me). I’m a Christian but I don’t believe that Lady Gaga is demonic or anti-Christian. We don’t have to take her songs literally. As Lady Gaga explained, the song ‘Judas’, which protesters have problems with is just a metaphor (more about this at the latter part of this blog entry).
My friends and I arrived at the Mosh Pit around 7PM, an hour early. The place was already half-full…
After 1 hour, the MOA Arena was already jam-packed with Lady Gaga fans. I super loved the audience! Everyone was so game! I guess with set list like this, who wouldn’t be excited?
- Highway Unicorn
- Government Hooker
- Born This Way
- Black Jesus Amen Fashion
- Bloody Mary
- Bad Romance
- Fashion of His Love
- Just Dance
- Love Game
- Heavy Metal Lover
- Bad Kids
- You and I
- Electric Chapel
- Poker Face
- Encore: Edge of Glory
- Encore: Marry the Night
The front act was perfect! The young DJ played some of the popular songs of today and everyone was already on the party mode!
After the front act, the beautiful stage setup was revealed – a big medieval castle! We were all waiting excitedly as Lady Gaga entered the stage aboard a real horse! Everyone screamed in delight as Lady Gaga performed her first song, Highway Unicorn.
I was surprised when I saw Lady Gaga singing on top of what looked like a naked body with spread out legs. Then I saw her disappear and suddenly came out at the bottom. Certainly a shocking and provocative way of performing the song ‘Born This Way’.
“Tonight’s not a statement, tonight’s us coming together because we believe we were all born this way.”
A lot of Filipinos appreciated Lady Gaga’s yellow dress as it seemed to be inspired by our country’s national costume. I, however, was still shocked with Lady Gaga coming out of the big fake naked body
Lady Gaga definitely has a unique way to entertain and provide shock and awe to fans worldwide.
All the Lady Gaga songs I have grown to love were performed during the Born This Way Ball. One of those songs was Bad Romance in which I couldn’t stop dancing with!
You see, Gaga had these things to say:
“I’m not an alien, I’m not a woman, I’m not a man, and I’m not a creature of your government, Manila. I’m all you dreams and I’m all your potential. Let me be all your insecurities and your fears. I’m your future, everything that makes you sad and angry. I’m you, little monsters. Tonight’s not a statement, tonight’s us coming together because we believe we were all born this way. Some people say I stand for things that are bad. The truth is, I want the best for every sing like one of you. My lifestyle is like one whole performance of liberation. For those of you who aren’t free, take this opportunity to free yourself”
then she went directly with singing the song ‘Judas’. That was really a bold and brave move!
Lady Gaga, however, took the time to explain what Judas was about, “Judas’ is a metaphor and an analogy about forgiveness and betrayal and things that haunt you in your life and how I believe that it’s the darkness in your life that ultimately shines and illuminates the greater light that you have upon you. Someone once said to me, ‘If you have no shadows then you’re not standing in the light.’ So the song is about washing the feet of both good and evil and understanding and forgiving the demons from your past in order to move into the greatness of your future. I just like really aggressive metaphors—harder, thicker, darker—and my fans do as well. So it is a very challenging and aggressive metaphor, but it is a metaphor“.
Apart from Lady Gaga’s oozing talent being showcased in the concert, I also like the costumes that she wore. Some are plain cute and girly like the origami dress below.
Another is the statue of liberty-like costume that she wore. I find it really astonishing that it took her such a short amount of time to change clothes, I actually didn’t notice the time as the performances just went on and on. It seemed that she was singing while changing clothes… Everything from the production, costumes, speeches, dances were planned very well. Bravo Lady Gaga and team!
The appearance of the hologram was scary and cool at the same time. I wonder how they did it but at the last appearance of this creepy hologram, blood fell from those eyes as Lady Gaga sang the song ‘Paparazzi’. As I understood it, the image signified the defeat of the paparazzi/stalker.
Every single performance was just amazing! Never have I imagined that Lady Gaga would ride on a motorcycle with the Philippine flag at the back of her seat. What I also didn’t expect is that she became emotional at this point. She addressed the protests and cried while she talked about it.
Playing the song ‘Hair’ on the keyboard, she spoke the ff. words:
“I just feel like, you know, so many people have been protesting and it really doesn’t bother me truly because I know that there has to be change, but for all those kids all over the world that take their lives when they’re so young because they feel bullied or they’re afraid because they’re gay and they don’t want to tell anybody, don’t you think that some of us should f*cking stand up and say the go*damn truth?”
“And it’s not that I don’t respect their culture or yours, I respect you, I do. Everything that you believe in, everything that you stand for, even the things that I sing about that you don’t agree with, I totally respect that because everybody’s allowed to have their own opinions. But I cannot respect homophobia. I cannot respect hatred to the gay community.”
Lady Gaga took the chance to introduce one of his guitarists who is actually a Filipino. Ricky Tillo had quite a moment performing side by side with Gaga. Apparently, Tillo has been performing with Gaga for 3 years already.
We got to see Lady Gaga’s famous meat dress but the one that we saw was a new version of it. The first time she wore a meat dress was at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards designed by Franc Fernandez and styled by Nicola Formichetti. The dress was condemned by several groups particularly animal rights groups. Lady Gaga later on explained that she wore the dress to protest on U.S. military’s ‘don’t-ask-don’t tell’ policy.
Here’s what Lady Gaga had to say as she sang Americano. “If we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones.”
I feel blessed that I was able to see Lady Gaga perform live. What struck me the most was that she’s not just a great performer but she also has a nice and strong character. Lady Gaga stands for what she thinks is right. Her wisdom is admirable and I learned to respect her more.
I have to thank my colleague Kriska for trusting me with the photos and video she took from the second day of Lady Gaga’s concert. I attended the first one but I wasn’t able to take any videos or photos as I left my camera in the car. I was also busy dancing, jumping, singing and watching Lady Gaga perform that I totally forgot about needing those things in order to write my Lady Gaga experience more effectively. So thank you Kriska! I owe you one!
Here’s a video Kriska took (this was the last song Lady Gaga sang during the concert – Marry the Night):
I wouldn’t be able to write this entry if it wasn’t for Smart who gave me the chance to watch Lady Gaga on my birthday! Thanks Smart!
Smart is truly living up to its campaign: Live More. With Lady Gaga’s concert, if we checked in via foursquare at the SM Mall of Asia Arena from 6PM to 2AM last May 21 & 22, we got to unlock the Live More badge which is actually the first ever Philippine badge on Foursquare! It didn’t stop there – two lucky Live More badge owners will get a chance to win Samsung Galaxy Nexus! I wish I get to win it! We’ll know next week.. Pray for me?
I really had a GREAT time! Lady Gaga – The Born This Way Ball was the best concert I watched so far! I was jumping, singing, dancing and chanting Gaga’s name all throughout the show! If I may add, it was actually the first time that I let myself go, enjoy a concert and not worry about how crazy I looked.
All the best of luck Lady Gaga with the rest of your Born This Way Ball tour! As you said, don’t mind the protesters. We love you!