Lady Gaga's artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball Tour danced into the United Center July 11and she brought the goods. Her loyal following dressed for the occasion in outfits complete with plastic bubbles, neon and wigs. It was a safe place for many gay followers of Gaga's style to be themselves. The artist has taken up for the underdog and tackled the bullying issue better than many of her peers.
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She began the night with the title track from ARTPOP that led into "G.U.Y," during which she stated, "It's been a long time coming, Chicago!" ( Gaga was referring to her concert cancelation last year because of hip surgery. ) She was ready to cut loose in the city where she has spent a lot time over the years.
Her much-revealed backside was the focus, thanks to a seashell bikini during "Venus," although when she sat down to play her voice was in the spotlight. The stage was designed with long runways and at the end of the catwalk there was a large piano where she could quiet things down. She even brought one lucky listener to sit on the bench next to her.
Gaga prodded for the gay kids to scream, then added, "This is for the lesbians, too." Items were tossed onstage at the queen's feet from stuffed Kermit the Frogs to personal notes.
The padded squid costume for "Paparazzi" showed she hasn't lost her fashion sense and she even did a quick change onstage exposing a lot of skin for a club kid outfit.
Over 20 songs were performed that night covering most of her catalogue. The New York City native ended with "Gypsy" donning a long white hairpiece and fading out at the piano as the Monsters crawled home.
Visit www.ladygaga.com/artrave-the-artpop-ball more upcoming shows.
Text and photos by Jerry Nunn