Wednesday 24 January 2018

More Gaga than ever!

Lady Gaga was snapped out and about in Australia this week wearing a see-through dress and large pair of pants. But the singer, real name Stefani Germanotta, could well afford to dress herself in more substantial clothing.

It's just been revealed that since her Born This Way Ball tour began, just eight weeks ago, she's raked in a whopping $50m (€39.4m) -- putting it on course to be one of history's most lucrative tours.

Just another step in world domination for the 26-year-old, who was last year named Forbes magazine's most influential female celebrity and has more than 25 million Twitter devotees following her every move.

This September, Gaga's tour touches down in Dublin. But having already forked out some €50 to see her less than two years ago, is there much more the singer can do to wow her 'little monster' fans?

After comparing the two tours and chatting exclusively to Gaga's new visual director, Richard Jackson, it sounds like 'yes she can', thanks to a show that sees the Lady back bigger, better and more Gaga than ever.

THE NUMBERS

Monster Ball (MB) tour: Starting November 27, 2009, and running until May 6, 2011, the world tour took in 201 shows and generated $227.4m (€179m) making it the 16th highest grossing tour of all time and the highest grossing tour for a debut headline artist.

Born This Way Ball (BTWB) tour: Starting April 27, 2012, and running until 2013, 64 dates have been confirmed, expected to eventually total 110.

THE THEATRICS

MB: In five acts, the show told the tale of Gaga and pals making their way from New York City to the Monster's Ball with Gaga taking on a tornado and defeating a massive Fame Monster en route.

Some 28 trucks were needed to ferry the stage, props and costumes from city to city.

BTWB: Where to start. . . The stage is a three-storey gothic castle and, according to James Fairorth of staging design company Tait Towers, "the largest scenic structure that's ever been built to tour".

It took four months to build and was designed by architect extraordinaire Mark Fisher, the brains behind U2's 360-degree tour stage.

With 30 moving doors and windows, it stands 50ft tall and rotates. But Gaga's people are remaining tight-lipped on its cost, saying "some things should be left to the imagination".

Over two hours and 23 songs, Gaga is chased by Mother GOAT (the head of Government Owned Alien Territory) before proving to be indestructible.

Richard Jackson explains: "It's about embodying the scope of the Born This Way album and visually exploring the evolution and story of Lady Gaga.

"The theme of the ball came out of wanting to illustrate and define how Lady Gaga came to be."

WHAT IS SHE WEARING?

MB: Out of some 15 costume changes in a two-and-a-half hour gig, highlights included a gown made of blonde hair and a flame throwing brassiere.

BTWB: The meat dress is back and so is Giorgio Armani, who loves designing wacky clothing for the singer.

He recently confessed: "Collaborating with Lady Gaga is always an exciting experience for me . . . she is an artist of many talents."

Jackson explains: "Everything Lady Gaga wears has meaning. She's an artist that allows every outfit to tell a story."

FLAG FAUX PAS

MB: Gaga failed to pick up on cultural divisions in Belfast when she brandished an Irish tricolour during her Odyssey Arena gig in November 2010.

BTWB: The singer reportedly "hurt the feelings of the Thai people" after donning a bikini and riding a motorbike draped in the Thai flag during her recent Bangkok performance, a move the country's culture ministry deemed "not appropriate" and complained about to police.

THE MOVES

MB: Until last year, Gaga's choreography was headed up by Laurieann Gibson, who crafted some of the singer's best-known moves.

Now a judge on Canada Sings, Gibson left after claiming Gaga's ideas had got "a little dark" for her.

BTWB: The Ball sees Richard Jackson step into lead role as choreographer and visual designer.

He says: "There's obviously pressure making sure I've helped create the best show on the planet, but at the same time, it was a perfect vessel to let my imagination, alongside Lady Gaga's, venture to areas most artists would not allow.

"The trust Lady Gaga and I have between one another is a bond that lends itself to always being able to push the creative bar and dance into the unknown."

Jackson has also promised a raft of new signature moves.

THE 'EWWW, THAT'S GROSS' BIT

MB: Gaga oozed fake blood and had her heart 'eaten' by dancers during the song 'Monster'.

BTWB: Gaga and a dancer both end up in a meat grinder.

SOMETHING FOR THE FANS

MB: Fans were able to submit video footage that was then used in the show, beamed on to a super-size screen at the end of the gig.

BTWB: Gaga's taken fan interaction to the next level by incorporating a 'Monster Pit' at the foot of the stage for fans who dress up and arrive early.

One lucky little monster that makes it to first in line gets a necklace 'Monster Pit key' and between five and 20 hand-picked fans get backstage.

"The 'Monster Pit' idea was purely Lady Gaga's," reveals Jackson. "She thought it would be great to give the little monsters a place where they can feel even more up close and personal.

"Attendance is first come, first served, and super-fans usually wait in line the morning of each show starting at 8am."

THE SUPPORTING CAST

Heading up team Gaga is her manager since 2007, Troy Carter. When it comes to touring, Carter picks up tips from the best and credits U2 tour manager Paul McGuinness with sharing his wisdom for how to create an eye-popping stage show.

He says: "Paul is a legend. . . you can't be a manager and want to build a touring act and not respect what Paul has done with U2."

Other key players in the creative team, known as the Haus of Gaga, are Tara Savelo, Gaga's make-up artist, and photographer Terry Richardson, who captures behind-the-scenes tour images.

THE BIT YOU WON'T WANT YOUR NAN TO SEE

MB: Neither the see-through perspex nun's outfit nor the simulated group masturbation would have impressed older viewers.

BTWB: Simulated sex, simulated oral sex, giving birth to herself via a zip-up womb. . . the list goes on. The South Koreans were so outraged they made the gig over-18s only.

Lady Gaga appears at Dublin's Aviva stadium on September 15. Ticket prices: €54.65 to €96. See ticketmaster.ie

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