Truth be told, Lady Gaga is a bit eerie. Maybe it's the hysteria in tonight's audience at the Marquee in Cork, but there's a storm-trooperish feel to the 23-year-old New Yorker's Fame Machine tour.
Before the newly minted star performs, a billowing curtain covers the stage with a picture of Gaga in angelic flight imprinted on it. A disconnected voiceover, punctuated by futuristic samples, counts down cinematically to the pop star's arrival. Then the platinum-haired one appears in celluloid, styled as a self-appointed Candy Warhol in a short film that is aired throughout tonight's show.
When the curtain finally lifts, the stage is in darkness save for a perma-tanned Gaga sporting silver shoulder pads twice the width of her petite frame.
She is encased in a mirrored car-cum-dress that hides her dancers beneath. Behind her, the stage is black. The screams from her fans are deafening.
Lady Gaga aka Stefani Germanotta is Christina Aguilera on acid. Between songs, she addresses the crowd in breathy Marilyn Monroe tones, pouring out her love, in a voice curiously devoid of emotion. "I love you, I love you all so much," she whispers dramatically. After each of her five costume changes she returns in her signature bodysuits, cut high in the back, writhing in self-adoration.
Despite the S&M styled dancers and death metal guitarist, every tune she belts out from her album 'The Fame' is pure pop. Her songs -- 'Love Game', 'Paparazzi', 'Brown Eyes' and 'Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)' -- may be Euro anthems but Gaga gives it her all in this hour-long set.
Ms Germanotta has the lungs of Barbra Streisand and the attitude of Johnny Rotten. Each song is packed with a fervent energy that borders on aggression. When she sings, she's outraged; when she dances, she's furious.
During an acoustic version of 'Poker Face' she climbs on her plastic bubble-filled piano, white stilettos on the keys and bends over shaking her barely concealed buttocks in the audience's face, all the while singing "My my my poker face, my my poker face". As Gaga admits herself, this is "soulless electronic pop", but what a sight it is.