Lady Gaga visits her Manila Monsters

The  Born This Way Ball Tour Starring Lady Gaga Concert Review

After the release of a new album, a worldwide tour, and much unquenchable drama, the time had come for Lady Gaga to return to the Manila stage.

The Born This Way Ball caused much uproar from religious and government groups who tried to thwart the show until the very day of the concert. Mother Monster, however, schooled all of Manila by being the embodiment of the saying “the show must go on”. Despite protests, anti-Gaga prayer vigils, and even threats of imprisonment, the doors of the MOA Arena opened to the vast crowd of Little Monsters.

Aside from being a star-studded audience, the crowd was a rainbow of personalities as loyal Little Monsters came all dressed up in everything from leather and lace to swirling silks with Gaga’s signature blonde hairstyles.

To get the crowd warmed up, front act DJ Zedd filled the Arena with his pulsating dance mixes (we didn’t fail to note his geeky side as he threw in samples from the Legend of Zelda soundtrack!) His short performance marked him in Manila history as the first DJ to play in the much-awaited MOA Arena.

After a short interval, the huge crowd let out a collective gasp before piercing the air with screams and applause as the curtain was drawn back to reveal a set that only Lady Gaga could pull off. The stage was dominated by a medieval castle, rigged to light up, open, and rearrange itself throughout the show. There was not much time however to marvel at the set design because the intro to Highway Unicorn  signified the entrance of Mother Monster herself.

It was immediately made clear that it was going to be a night of heavy theatrics. Dancers filed out of the castle bearing flags and dressed in full military attire, setting the theme that the night belonged to Lady Gaga taking over Manila. She soon emerged from her castle clad in her first out-of-this-world costume of the night to sing Government Hooker and Born This Way.

Gaga continued to whip out song after song, dance number after dance number, each costume wilder and more fantastic than the last. Black Jesus + Amen Fashion brought us on a tour of the BTW castle, Bloody Mary had Lady Gaga on wheels (literally!), and Bad Romance got everyone dancing those signature moves we know so well.

A true highlight of the night was when Gaga took a minute for a short spiel, stating “I am not a creature of your government, Manila.” before launching into one of her latest controversial hits, Judas. By this point the Philippine Concerts Twitter page was aflame with retweets and favorites as word spread of her brave move to sing the song that officials had threatened to arrest her for singing.

Lady Gaga seemed to be a limitless source of energy throughout her set, even pumping up the audience when they grew tired from all the dancing and screaming. Taking things down a notch, Gaga sat down at her piano (which was mounted on a motorcycle, no less!) to sing Hair and talk about her journey she and the fans live everyday. Her speech soon moved men, women, and Gaga herself to tears.

The rest of the night was a whirlwind of costumes, props, and set changes. Oh, did we mention she had a meat couch?

Overall, we can’t help saying that the Born This Way Ball in Manila was nothing short of flawless. The production team was a well-oiled machine that kept any glitches and delays at bay, the sold-out venue (after a bit of practice) was able to control the massive crowd, and of course Mother Monster did not fail to deliver a stunning performance.

“I’d give it all back, the money, the clothes..” said Gaga during her encore set “…if it meant I could keep you forever!”
Needless to say, Lady Gaga captured the hearts of thousands during her two-day stay, ensuring even more Little Monsters will have their paws up the next time she’s in town.

The Born This Way Ball was made possible by Ovation Productions.

Upcoming concerts from Ovation Productions

Tears For Fears Philippine Tour  – August 10 & 12

American Idol Live Tour 2012 – September 21

Big Bang Alive Tour (Together with Pulp Magazine) – October 24

Review by Carla Barretto

Photos by Cen Sulit


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