Lady Gaga: The Monster Ball Tour 2011 at Madison Square Garden (Concert Review)

Last night marked Lady Gaga‘s final sold-out performance at Madison Square Garden on The Monster Ball Tour 2011.

The show, the second of two nights taped for Gaga’s upcoming HBO special in May, was a nearly two and a half-hour extravaganza, as Lady Gaga and her friends traversed the gritty, ghoulish streets of an imagined New York City in an attempt to get to the greatest party in the world: The Monster Ball–all while battling car breakdowns in Brooklyn, bad reception and giant tentacle monster attacks (totes hate when that happens) along the way.

As this would be my third time attending The Monster Ball Tour (once per year, as the bitch has toured for three years straight and Lord knows I’ve got nothing better to do with my time), little has changed since my last experience at Madison Square Garden back in July. Therefore, you’ll want to read that review for a more thorough song-by-song analysis of the show as much of last night’s show was exactly the same.

Along with the reliably spirited crowd (I saw at least one meat dress, an EggGa and several Coca-Cola can curlers!), a few starlets peppered the audience last night, including Lady Bunny (whose gigantic cotton-candy shaped wig could be spotted from even the highest nosebleed sections), actress Marisa Tomei, and yes–the legendary Liza Minnelli.

Throughout the night, the flawless 64-year-old diva sat gleefully waving to starstruck audience members while clearly pretending not to hear my impassioned cries of “SING ‘DON’T DROP BOMBS’!!!” from across the arena. Bitch.

And so the Monster Ball began, as Gaga worked her way through the incredible set of tight, top-notch choreography and stellar vocal delivery: From the opening vogue of “Dance In The Dark” to “Just Dance,” to a keytar solo, to the Vomi-Gaga video interlude, to the rave-ready “LoveGame” dance breakdown, to the arena rock balladry of “Speechless and “You & I,” to the Living Dress performance of “So Happy I Could Die,” to the Fame Monster showdown with “Paparazzi,” to “Bad Romance” and all the way down to her current hit, “Born This Way.”

During the piano ballad section of the night (you know, when she wasn’t standing on the keyboard while playing her guitarist’s guitar with the other heel and simultaneously pulling his hair), Gaga took the opportunity to call out Minnelli and Tomei between the verses of “You & I” to regale the audience with stories about their influence on her upbringing while studying at theater school. She went to Tisch, you know!

“They’d say to me, ‘Well, your voice is too pop for theater, but too theatrical for pop,'” Gaga recalled using her thickest New York accent. “So I’d say, ‘Well, what about Liza?'” The crowd roared back with their approval.

Despite none of the rumored collaborations (no Beyoncé during “Telephone,” nor Elton, and much to my chagrin, no iconic Madonna “Express Yourself”/”Born This Way” wig snatching mash-up that I envisioned in my pop dreams), Gaga still managed to deliver 110% of the time–the energy, the dancing, and most definitely the vocals.

“I’m not going to waste your fucking time. I never lip-synch,” Gaga growled at one point during “Teeth,” “…especially when Liza’s watching.” I have no fucking idea what she’s going on about, I thought to myself as I looked down and stroked my Blackberry’s screen; Britney prominently displayed as my wallpaper.

Of course, new to this year’s Monster Ball set was her latest anthem, “Born This Way”–a song unquestionably best served live. “I hope this song and this record will bring us to you this year,” Gaga proclaimed before launching into a very loud, fairly indulgent acoustic rendition of the song backed by three soul singers.

The gospel moment didn’t last long (somewhat mercifully, as it really was a bit too loud), Gaga’s stage was soon swarming with a dozen latex-wrapped back-up dancers; the “Born This Way” ’90’s booming house beat echoing through the stadium. “It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M,” the singer began before launching into the same stomping, hi-NRG performance as the one delivered during this year’s Grammy Awards–from the dramatic death organ solo to the clenched monster paw finale.

Thus concluded Gaga’s first-ever taped concert special, which is set to air on HBO on May 7.

As a performer, no one comes close to touching Gaga right now. She dominates as both the epitome of a pop star and the quintessential rock star, and The Monster Ball is the culmination of both her talent and pure passion as a singer, musician, actress, dancer, activist and pop culture phenomenon.

For those who’ve yet to experience The Monster Ball in the flesh, you’re in luck: Within just a few months, you’ll finally get to see why this New York City-bred girl’s gone from Stefani Germanotta playing at The Bitter End in 2006 to Lady Gaga, internationally renowned superstar, in just five year’s time.

Her detractors are quick to dismiss her as a tiring, fleeting copycat. Her little monsters are quick to dub her as the new Queen of Pop. Yet no matter where she ultimately comes to be placed in the overall spectrum of pop royalty, The Monster Ball Tour is concrete proof that Lady Gaga is one of, if not the most talented, hard-working and entertaining pop star of today…and there’s no doubt in my mind that she was born that way.

And now some pictures, all courtesy of MuuMuse’s Professional Monster Ball Tour Accompanier, Parker F. Enjoy!

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