Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kerygma, Kerygma, No You Kerygma Poker Face!

Despite my being a fan of several of her songs from her first album, I was not willing to shell out 5,000 pesos for a ticket to Lady Gaga’s concert at the MOA Arena. So when my boss decided to give her two 10,000+ peso tickets to me because she can’t go to the second night of the concert, I ditched all my Tuesday evening plans and called D. I knew he was still asleep, but this was worth waking him up.

“Yes?” From his voice I can see him rubbing the sleep off his eyes.

“Let’s go. Gaga. MOA. Free tickets. Lower box. Mamahaling tiket!” I think it’s the last one that convinced him, hahaha! But hey, at least we get bragging rights.

I was hoping to see protesters with their holier-than-thou placards and children-as-frontliners, but I guess the downpour the previous night discouraged them. Nothing like a wet blanket from heaven to cut their protest short.

The Mall of Asia Arena is SM’s answer to Araneta’s Big Dome. Like with most of SM properties, the place looks impressive outside, but inside it’s clear that they put more emphasis on function over form. The seat space is so small, my female officemate complained that when the guy behind her stood up, his crotch was touching the back of her head. (I told her we should have exchanged seats instead.) Still, the place was packed, even on her second night. So many devil-worshipers! So many sinners! Condemnation is more fun in the Philippines.

The concert started promptly at 8pm with the opening act DJ. Afterwards, there was a 30 minute lull until around 9pm, when the lights dimmed once more and the curtain dropped to reveal a castle. Ooh, nobody told me her theme was Enchanted Kingdom! After the prerequisite dramatic opening music, billowing smoke, and impressive light display, Lady Gaga comes out from stage right, chained and riding a mechanical horse, with her dancers marching in front and beside her. They cross the stage before disappearing behind another gate on stage left. Okay, so her peg isn’t EK but the C.O.D. Christmas pageant.

So she wore a Gaga-fied terno. And she took a Philippine flag, slid it on her crotch, before draping it on the sole of her shoe while her leg was raised up in the air. No cries of protest were heard, not even from the National Historical Institute. Only roars of approval were made, especially when she defiantly declared, “I’m not a creature of your government, Manila.” I guess everyone was waiting for the Devil himself to make an appearance onstage. No wait, isn’t she the Devil personified?

So She-Devil pauses from her frenetic dancing and gyrating to talk about freedom, respect, tolerance, and her intolerance for homophobia. Ah yes, the irony of it all; let’s be tolerant except for the intolerant. She turned emotional, building up to a plea on behalf of the gay community. And all the closeted gays in the crowd roared in approval, for the lights were dim. But her bombastic speech turned out to be a spiel to segue to “Hair,” a song apparently about freedom and loving yourself and not about split ends. At least she didn’t walk out after her dramatic speech, unlike other creatures of our government.

She sang, danced, and changed costumes for two hours. She showed her human side, leading the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to two of her dancers. And while her spiels and songs spoke of freedom and being yourself, her staging was a theatrical act about an alien creature that escaped. I don’t really buy her theatrics, not even for a minute. I bet even her die-hard fans know deep down inside that they’re not really “little monsters” any more than Gaga is a lie of the Devil. I don’t know why she bothers with the elaborate act, especially since Madonna seems to have the concert-as-theater act down pat. Oh well. At least she’s learning from the lola herself.

The gigantic speakers blared and pounded sound so loud, by the time D and I stepped out of the Arena, we were partially deaf. The first and only thing D asked me about the concert was, “What was your favorite costume of Gaga?”

Dear bishops and guardians of Catholic morality, you really have nothing to fear from Lady Gaga.


Ronnie said...

"...a spiel to segue to 'Hair,' a song apparently about freedom and loving yourself and not about split ends."

- WAHAHAHA. Natawa naman ako ng bonggs ditrax! Hair has to be one of her best songs sa BTW album.

Sayang wala akong pera to watch her concert. :/

rudeboy said...


So you were there, too.

Totes agree with your assessment of La Germanotta, McVie. Her impassioned prattlings sounded hollow, her "gay advocacy" empty.

And I liked her first album better, too.

And yeah, I will blaspheme and say that although I don't dislike her, I wasn't transfixed by Our Lady of Gaga and her Day-Glo Grotto. Throughout the night, the words "Madonna Lite" kept flashing in my head.

Oh, well.

Reductive schmeductive.

Twelth Curators said...

Two big questions: (a) Will there ever be a Madonna concert here? (Won't P10K tickets lure her or are they still cheap?)(b) I'm from the older, more traditional era, so her post apocalyptic, gothic mix of inspirations never really got me, but could she sing?

joelmcvie said...

@RUDEBOY: Ahahaha! That's the problem with us "more experienced" ones--been there, done that, bought the live soundtrack recording.