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Totally GaGa in Dublin

At the Monster Ball, "you can be whoever you want to be". For Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, that apparently involves wearing a giant lampshade and proclaiming to an audience of thousands the sheer "tremendousness" of her, erm, genitalia. And I ain't talking about any part of the female anatomy, either.

Yep, it really is a scary place to find yourself in; a "post-apocalyptic" shindig where music, fashion, and freakishly captivating imagery combine to create a disturbing and somewhat hallucinogenic effect in the minds of its participants.

Is this what pop music has come to? Are we really supposed to sit there and bask in the self-indulgent weirdness of a girl who carries a tea cup and saucer with her everywhere? If so, then you'll be glad to know that at least it's good. Very, very good.

Indeed, this was never going to be an ordinary pop show -- which, in turn, might have something to do with the fact that Lady Gaga is in no way an ordinary performer. Confident, daring, and never-less-than captivating, Gaga doesn't do circus rings or innocently seductive numbers.

The girl barely even smiles. Instead, what clearly drives this 23-year-old New Yorker is the need to provide a keen and watchful public with a theatrical and almost cinematic live experience that will shock and entertain in equal measure.

Visually, what her fans get to look at for the course of two hours is just as, if not more, important than the otherwise impressive tunes on offer.

We're on a journey with Gaga. Basically, it's The Wizard of Oz, only, instead of lions, scarecrows, and yellow brick roads, we have "gayboy" dancers, extravagant costume changes, a car that also happens to be a piano, and a giant, mechanically operated monster. Oh, and this Dorothy is one deeply disturbed and downright crazy bitch.

Take for example the videos that break up the various acts of the story. One segment has Gaga willingly allowing for herself to be the target of another girl's green vomit. Another shows the singer ferociously ingesting a heart. Indeed, it's bizarre stuff but, for some strange reason, it all somewhat ... fits. Maybe it's because we know that Gaga is putting on a show and that this is as much an off-the-wall exhibition of art as it is a music concert.

Perhaps it's because we've come to expect a little madness from her throughout the last year. However, it may just have more to do with the powerful yet similarly peculiar narrative holding together this "pop-electro opera"; the songs.

As a singer, Gaga excels in hitting each note and displaying a seemingly genuine truth behind every lyric, whether it involves commenting on the lunacy that is showbiz (Paparazzi, The Fame) or just simply making the most of a drunken haze (the incredibly infectious Just Dance). It helps that she's also accompanied by a live band whose unruly and spontaneous backing power further strengthens the crunchy musicianship on offer. She's also a dab hand at the piano, too, stripping down to her diamond-encrusted underwear and perching herself behind the keys.

A superbly orchestrated and wonderfully executed display of just how good modern pop can be, 'The Monster Ball' was created to entertain. And that it most certainly did.

What the Lady wore...

Sister Act: A huge veil -- covering up those bright yellow locks of hers -- allowed us a sneak peek at what might have been had Gaga become a nun. A very funky nun ...

Pad-Attack: Some of us actually began to worry that Gaga's shoulderpads may just take out of one of her dancer's eyes. Thankfully, she's a professional, even if the outfits are a little top-heavy.

Lady Dracula: A gigantic red robe, complete with a huge bow -- it looked like she might have left the hanger on, too. Still, this was a personal favourite.

The Fame Queen: Like something out of Alice In Wonderland, Gaga really did look like a queen as she ascended from a rising platform in this extravagant gown. That is, until she removed the skirt to reveal some torn panties ...

Boobs on Fire: Pretty self-explanatory, really ...


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