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Review: Lady Gaga

NOT since Michael Jackson's days cuddling a chimpanzee in an oxygen tent has there been a pop star so gleefully out there as Lady Gaga (below).

Bringing her Monster's Ball tour back to Dublin, she teeters around in a skimpy nun outfit, simulates a sex act with a bald German named Michael (both spattered in fake blood), and plays heavy rock guitar dressed as an S&M Dalek.

Such shock and awe exhibitionism might reek of desperation if Gaga didn't have the songs to back up her pretensions.

However, over a debut album and a follow-up EP, she has demonstrated uncanny gifts as a pop writer: the lyrics to 'Bad Romance' may read like Emily Dickinson by way of Marilyn Manson, yet it's got one of those choruses that demands to be blared at maximum volume when you're popping out to the supermarket with the kids.

At the O2, she saves this, her biggest hit, for the very end. By then she has already bashed out an ode to self-love in a Tinkerbell dress from a platform high above the audience, writhed around the floor in a leather bikini, compared herself to Jesus, cowered before a huge tentacled sea demon, and cavorted in a Honey Monster outfit.

And that's without even mentioning the short movies interspersing the evening -- each a minor, if often stomach churning, work of art in itself.

Like any global pop icon worthy of the name, Gaga believes her music has world-changing properties.

A self-proclaimed freak, she imagines herself a lightning rod for the outcasts and damaged souls who don't fit in.

Hardcore fans are certainly legion at the O2, waving banners and reaching out, marauding zombie style, whenever she steps on to the ramp extending into the crowd.

Wielding what looks like a flashlight at the end of a witch's broom, she reads several of the most eye-grabbing banners aloud: most contain references to her upcoming second album 'Born This Way' which, judging by the Gaga sales pitch, will be a cross between Madonna's 'Like A Virgin', Nine Inch Nails' 'Downward Spiral' and the New Testament. Frankly, we can't wait.

Irish Independent