"Talent borrows, genius steals," said Oscar Wilde.
Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Wednesday, June 13
"Talent borrows, genius steals," said Oscar Wilde, the Irish playwright, incorrigible drunkard, convicted homosexual and alleged plagiarist.
New York pop star Stefani Germanotti, aka Lady Gaga, has been found guilty of none of these supposed crimes, although she stands accused of the last charge. The plaintiff, Madonna, has made a point of blending her hit, Express Yourself, with Gaga's suspected facsimile, Born This Way, at the start of her current world tour.
If she's fair dinkum, Madge should launch a class action with Queen, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen and the late Whitney Houston's estate as Gaga pilfers something from all of them — and others besides.
But the 26-year-old musical magpie, who burst on to the international scene with her presciently titled 2008 debut The Fame, stirs a healthy dose of pure, unadulterated crazy into her heady homage to those 80s superstars.
Then she adds a dash of fan interaction that very few acts, especially in the pop realm, get close to matching. Gaga calls them her "little monsters" and genuinely feeds off their adulation, talking directly to members of the audience throughout her shows.
All this, and much, much more, was on display on Wednesday night in Brisbane as Lady Gaga unleashed her 14-date Born This Way tour of Australia, which reaches Perth early next month. The tour not only takes its name from her second album, released last year, it features all 14 songs.
This show is her best, and nuttiest, yet — and it's got nothing to do with the knock on the noggin she sustained in Auckland. While the crazy antics seemed to pad out the show on previous visits, this time they are part of the songs.
In Brissie, a giant robotic Gaga head floated above the 12,000-strong capacity crowd, the star crawled out of a chicken’s nether regions and she simulated oral sex. That was just the first two songs, performed in front of a moving medieval setting that was reminiscent of Castle Grayskull.
The hits are sprinkled evenly through the set, with Born This Way, Bad Romance and her first Australian No.(1 Just Dance coming third, sixth and ninth, respectively.
After Bad Romance, a puffing-and-panting Gaga declared that she would "infiltrate your government one little monster at a time", before exploring the castle to the strains of Judas.
Telephone was a highlight, as Gaga and her androgynous dancers left Grayskull to work the catwalks that extended well out into the pumped-up kids.
Gaga can do crazy, but she can also do poignant. And, damn her hair extensions, there wasn't a dry eye in the house when she played her motorcycle/piano (don't ask) for the anti-bullying ballad, Hair.
This and the rock ballad You and I were the highlights as Gaga showed off one thing Madonna never had — supreme pipes.
The home stretch of the gig experienced an unexpected dip during the Latin flavoured songs, Americano and Alejandro.
The show thankfully returned from Spain to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest territory.
Another Oscar Wilde bon mot is: "One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art." Let's just say that Lady Gaga does both on this tour, where madness is her method and medium.
Lady Gaga plays Burswood Dome on July 7 and 8. Tickets from Ticketek outlets.