Lady Gaga’s artRave (the ARTPOP Ball) The SSE Hydro, Glasgow 19/10/2014
Lady Gaga’s return to Glasgow for “the artRave tour” was nothing short of spectacular. This woman has carved out a reputation for dazzling live performances, elaborate if somewhat bizarre costumes and stunning stage sets and this tour proved to be no exception. The “Artpop” album was met with lukewarm critical response and poor sales when it was released over a year ago and it was clear from the beginning of the show, Gaga was a woman somewhat irked by the misunderstanding towards what she regards to be, one of her most personal pieces of work. It would be fair to say that “the artRave tour” was her very public statement of defiance to the critics who’ve mauled the album and her celebration of damn fine music with her hardcore adoring fanbase of monsters.
The setlist consists mainly of songs from the Artpop album with the classic hits thrown in. Although I am a big fan of the new album, I think the live show could have benefited from one or two of the weaker songs been dropped and a couple of old favourites from previous albums been thrown in to please the crowd. I always think when artists play large venues like the SSE Hydro, they need to be more inclusive in their setlist and I think most of the crowd would have preferred “Love Game” or “Marry the Night” to “MANiCURE” or “GUY” but that’s just personal opinion. My other grumble with the otherwise excellent concert, was the long monologues in-between songs which sailed dangerously close to Bono territory and could possibly have bored the crowd.
These are minor grumbles about, from an otherwise outstanding night of entertainment. From the moment Gaga walked on stage, she enchanted the audience with her conviction and magnetism. Powering her way through a high voltage set of new songs and hits, she sang, danced and played the piano and boy that woman can sing. From start to finish, Gaga worked the crowd feeding of the adoration of a Hydro packed with little monsters who loved every minute of this showbiz fantasy, fashion and glamour.
All the songs took a life of their own and came alive particularly the material from “Artpop” seemed much more vibrant. Songs like “Artpop”, “Venus” and “Swine” were outstanding and every bit as worthy of inclusion in the live show as the classic hits like “Judas”, “You and I” or “Paparazzi”.
Leaving the concert, I got the feeling Gaga is an artist on the cusp of change. The diversity of material in the show was outstanding and maybe the artistic and commercial success of the “Cheek to Cheek” album with Tony Bennett has given her new found confidence in her ability to experiment, but it will be fascinating to see where she goes next. I for one, will be first in the queue for a ticket to the next “Monster Ball”.