ATLANTIC CITY — Maybe, the mayor and the governor could call pop superstar Lady Gaga and ask her to accept the title as the official ambassador of the resort.
It was apparent from the opening night show of the 2011 North American leg of Lady Gaga’s “Monster Ball Tour” that she loves it here, and the more than 13,500 people who sold-out the arena in Boardwalk Hall adore her right back.
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“I love this town. I love casinos. I love gambling with good-looking men,” said Lady Gaga, 24, who added that her father is from this state.
Lady Gaga also mentioned from the stage that she visited Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern and smeared lipstick all over the manager’s face.
The singer-pianist-songwriter is only the fourth artist since the renovated hall reopened in 2001 to be able to sell out two separate visits within a year’s time. Only Cher, Britney Spears and Bette Midler have been able to do it previously. Lady Gaga made her headlining debut here on July 4 in the hall.
Lady Gaga has been off the road for almost two months, and it seemed like she actually missed the fans and performing in front of people — it didn’t seem like show biz shtick.
All of the major songs from her catalog were in the show, but she might have cut out or shortened one or two lesser songs to give her more time to talk and stay within a two-hour running time.
As theatrical as a Lady Gaga’s concert is, she made the opening night of this leg very personal.
Even though Lady Gaga was standing on an arena with bright lights in her face, she could see a girl’s sign that asked her to slap her on the chest to prove that she was not dreaming. The singer said she didn’t know if she could reach the girl, or how old she was, so she slapped herself in the chest repeatedly instead.
The pop provocateur also called another girl in the audience and thanked her for making donation to help the homeless. She told the girl she would meet her after the show and take a picture with her. This was captured on two video screens within the hall.
“My religion is you, my little monsters (her slang for her fans). My religion is Atlantic (expletive) City,” Lady Gaga said.
Sometimes, all of the over-the-top outfits and extravagant videos obscure something that it is undeniable in concert.
For all her shenanigans, Lady Gaga is at the top when it comes to delivering a combination of singing, dancing, theatricality and ability to play an instrument all in one show.
Lady Gaga even made a point from the stage that she does not lip sync — and never did — for those who were wondering.
The New York native sat at the piano and performed the song “Speechless” from eight-song EP from 2009 called “The Fame Monster” to show that she did not need all the glitz and glam to entertain. She also sang “You and I,” which will be appearing on her next CD, “Born This Way,” to be released on May 23, but she also sang that song the last time she appeared in the hall.
The dance troupe of six men and four women didn’t leave Lady Gaga in the dust as she kept up with them during the synchronized dance segments of the show even though she was in high heels.
Lady Gaga played prominent bass riff on the song “The Fame” on instrument that looked like an acoustic bass melded into a synthesizer. She also broke out the keytar — a keyboard that can be played standing up like a guitar — for her song “Money Honey” from her debut CD “The Fame” from 2008.
This show will be remembered for theatricality, with all the elements that will go down in history.
The giant Fame Monster showed up on stage, and it looked like it swallowed her up during her single “Paparazzi.” She disappeared underneath the stage during the song “Monster” and popped back up with red blood/paint on her neck, arms, hands and stomach, and they stayed there for the rest of the show.
Lady Gaga alerted her fans to stick around after the traditional end of her show, which is her performance of her hit “Bad Romance,” and she would give them a surprise. She kept her word and closed her show by performing her newest single and the No. 1 song in the country this week, the danceable, equality anthem, “Born This Way” into a sound system that did a great job of reproducing bass, drums and synthesizer sounds played by her musicians.
The crowd was dancing throughout the show, and part of the reason was the sound reproduced by Lady Gaga’s and the hall’s audio crews.
For people who want to check out Lady Gaga live, but haven’t been able to obtain tickets to any of her shows, the concerts she performs on Monday and Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York will be taped and will air on HBO on May 7 after the “Monster Ball Tour” ends May 6 in Mexico City. Parents should be careful. Her show is for mature audiences with its language and sexuality.
From the stage, Lady Gaga said that she will be back next year with the “Born This Way Ball.”
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