GAGA TOUR BOMBS IN SAN JOSE, CA. (Daily News, Los Angeles, CA. 1/18/2013) **** Editor's note: Lady Gaga will be appearing live at the Staples Center for two shows, Sunday and Monday night, Jan. 20 and 21. Tickets are available starting at $13.00. This review covers her tour stop in San Jose on Thursday, Jan. 17. ****
Lady Gaga had an ambitious game plan. "I will be everything you love tonight," she promised to the thin crowd on Thursday at HP Pavilion in San Jose. "And I will also be everything you hate."
That's a lot of ground to cover, even for Gaga. Yet, she seemed determined to blanket it all, through the dizzying array of wild props and bizarre theatrics found on her current "Born This Way Ball Tour." She gave the fans too much -- and then she gave them some more.
The result was a convoluted, disjointed exercise in excess that was far less enjoyable than Gaga's previous road show, the "Monster Ball Tour."
What a major disappointment.
Just when it appears that Lady Gaga has surpassed her competitors in controversy -- Madonna, Britney Spears, etc. -- she takes a major step backward with a tour that delivers much flash and little else. I love a good pop spectacle, which was exactly what fans got with the Monster Ball Tour, but this current production is so over-the-top that it completely buries the music.
Even the 13,000-or-so fans, who were ecstatic at the start of the show, seemed to tire of the onslaught on the senses as the night progressed. The level of enthusiasm definitely seemed to peak early in the concert.
One problem was that the show was too long -- nearly 2 ½ hours. That's probably a good hour longer than what Gaga's current songbook warrants. An even bigger problem, ironically, was that she just tried to shoehorn too much into that time span.
She went through costume changes, storylines, theatrics, dance routines and special effects at breakneck speed, to the point where the only constant was change itself.
The stage was designed to look like a three-story medieval castle, a setting that, to be honest, fit this high-profile Obama supporter about as well as a "Vote Republican" T-shirt. She made an initial effort to tie together the pieces, with a unicorn and some knights in armor paraded about, but then quickly launched into an outer-space theme, as a floating disembodied head announced that Gaga was some alien fugitive who should be killed.
Then came the birth scene -- this tour's big shocker moment, which is every bit as bizarre as the last trek's pivotal scene, when Gaga battled a monstrous fish by shooting flames from her undergarments. This time around, a giant inflatable torso gives "birth" to Gaga in a disturbingly anatomically correct fashion. The newborn pops out and sings, appropriately enough, "Born This Way" - truly a case of "too much information," if you ask me.
From there, she'd continue to flip through bad theatrics at a ridiculous pace. She'd jump on a motorcycle, wearing garb apparently bought during her last vacation in Sturgis, SD, and rev into "Heavy Metal Lover" (from her third and most recent release, 2011's "Born This Way"). She then donned a really bad '80 s glam-metal suit on "Electric Chapel" -- which made her look like a member of Motley Crue. She even "played" a cheesy electric guitar solo -- which made her sound like a member of Motley Crue.
Her voice, on the other hand, sounded fairly strong throughout the evening. One wishes, however, that she'd use it more for singing and less for talking - especially about herself. I can't think of any other performers who chat as much about themselves onstage. Indeed, if I was to summarize and paraphrase everything Gaga said to the crowd during the course of the evening, it would go something like this, "Me, me, me, me. I'm special. Very special. Me, me, me. Look at me."
Not surprisingly, Gaga's final words of the night were about her favorite subject.