It's not often I go to a concert these days: it's expensive, usually out of town and not my kind of music.
Last night was TOTALLY DIFFERENT !! I was at the M.E.N. Arena (Manchester Evening News) in downtown Manchester. It is built into and above Victoria Station and couldn't be easier to get to. I was guest of the first lady of pop and settled into my comfortable seat within touching distance of the stage.
Quite a contrast from last Saturday's visit to Oakwell, home of Barnsley FC with sausage rolls and Barnsley Best Bitter Ale. I have been to some great venues, from Maracana, to Stadio Olympico, Allianz Arena, Estadio Azteca, San Siro, Soccer City, Amsterdam Arena and more. This was a pleasant change. With my comp. tickets from the artiste, I found that my neigbbours had paid £200 a seat, so I got value for money as it were. I thought they might refuse me admission due to my age. EVERYONE was younger, most 20 somethings,(except for a local former crime boss maybe buried in the concrete foundations?
We started with Semi-Precious Weapons, a Glam-Rock group from NYC and their six foot bisexual lead singer Justin Tranter. Following was Alphabeat, described by my neighbours, Tom and Bradley as Europop. The group are from Silkeborg in Denmark. I had been backstage with cast and crew before the start. Matt, my soccer friend who is Art Directo, and lives with Lady Gaga in a Hollywood Hills mansion, gave me ear plugs which I took back to my seat and was grateful for. There are about 100 in the travelling crew, mostly tech.staff and straight after the show they were in buses and vans to Holyhead in N.W. Wales for the overnight ferry to Dublin, for their next two gigs on Saturday and Sunday.
There was in fact PANIC backstage, and the start of the show delayed half an hour. The £1 million sets had been designed in a warehouse in Wakefield in West Yorkshire, and a rehearsal there on Valentines Day. Sets and props were still arriveing at the M.E.N. at 6.00pm and some are still lost, along with some of her costumes. She continued to rehearse back stage until 6 minutes prior to going on stage-after sending out for some Lancashire cheese(one of MY favourites) and real chips from a local fish & chips shop.
The Lady Gaga was SIMPLY AMAZING, and I loved every minute- almost 4 hours of action, glamour, excitement and PURE THEATRE ! She said that most girls like glass slippers, but that she preferred a glass catwalk. She is NO CINDERELLA ! The catwalk reached 100 feet or more into the standing room part of the audience that added its own part in the drama. Gaga must have changed into at least 15 outfits, from the minimalist to the outgrageous, and was attended by her Gay Boy troupe in mostly jock staps and leotards.
The sets changed frequently and we had everything from a New York City subway car to a gigantic mechanical monster, with the head of an Amazonian Paranha. (I have actually eaten fried paranha when I camped on the banks of the Amazon), but this one had mechanical tentacles. There were hidden lifts that came from the ceiling at the end of the catwalk to transport her into the air, and also similar on stage.
She sang, she danced, she strutted, she played a piano that was on fire, and other instruments. If the show comes to a city near you, in Australasia, Asia, Germany, wherever - YOU GOTTA GO SEE IT, and tell The Lady Gaga that I sent you.
Finally, Happy Birthday to Old Trafford in Manchester, 100 years old today! The first match at the stadium was vs Liverpool on February 19th, 1910 , and has since been called The Theatre of Dreams, by Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the many truly great players to have graced the pitch.