Wednesday, August 20
REVIEW ROSS McRAE
Pop stars should know better than to try to flog a dead horse. But when you have experienced such meteoric fame as Lady Gaga, it might be hard to listen to common sense.
Gaga is on a world tour in support of her fourth album Artpop, which has experienced the worst sales of her career.
When the Australian leg of artRave - The Artpop Ball - kicked off in Perth this week, Gaga was quick to point out to the audience that if they weren't there to enjoy hearing Artpop live, they should "f... off."
"For those who didn't come for Artpop or didn't like the album, grab a drink or a glow stick or get the f... out," Gaga threatened the crowd five songs in, all from said album.
The New York native preached to the audience as if Artpop was some form of biblical revelation - the fusing of art and pop that brings together "the straights and the gays" and the disenfranchised.
But in reality, Artpop is a by-the-numbers pop album that suffers in concert from over- production and Gaga's refusal to use back-up singers instead of a backing tape straight out of a Britney Spears concert.
For a woman with pipes like Gaga it is a shame.
It wasn't until halfway through the 100-minute spectacle that Gaga finally allowed her voice to shine on the powerful Do What U Want, which bizarrely merged into Whitney Houston's version of I Will Always Love You.
An impassioned performance of Dope followed, with just Gaga on the piano in fine voice - yet it seemed so forced, with the singer telling the crowd the song was about everything from addiction to those living with AIDS, before pointing out the surviving members of Queen were in the audience ahead of their Perth Arena show tonight.
"I would like to point out that the rock'n'roll band Queen have come to my show," she said.
"I can feel it, f...ing Freddie (Mercury) is here too."
Gaga later posted a photo on her Instagram backstage with Queen guitarist Brian May, with the caption: "Me and Brian May from QUEEN. They came tonight to the artRAVE and I'm so PROUD of Adam Lambert singing with them. Made me cry during Dope when I saw them all sitting there. I thought about Freddie."
The majority of the crowd seemingly didn't know how to respond to the shambolic production that exploded onstage, except when they were given brief reprieves with the sprinkling of hits that actually made them listen to Gaga in the first place.
The 28-year-old told the audience, who appeared to fill half of the 15,000-capacity venue, that her promoters had asked her to bring a smaller-sized production Down Under because of flagging sales and interest but said: "I think my Australian fans deserve the whole show."
But really, given the half-baked concert that was delivered on Wednesday night, she shouldn't have bothered.