Lady Gaga Toyota Center April 8, 2011
See pics of Mama Monster and her minions in our slideshow.
Lady Gaga fell off her piano stool Friday night at the Toyota Center, during her newish "You And I," a sweetly nostalgic and classic AM radio cut from her upcoming Born This Way. To be clear, she had just been bending the keys with the heel of her stiletto boots while pounding out the notes, so she was already testing gravity.
She got up and promptly finished the song in front of the elegantly burned-out shamble of keys and wires, with just her voice.
"You will never see me lip-sync. You will never see some rich bitch limping through a set," she screamed five minutes later, after a costume and scenery change. She howled it with force during a moment of introspection in front of her pit of Monsters.
Welcome to Lady Gaga Country.
Friday night's Gaga was Rocks Off's second in less than a year, and of the two, this was probably the best, or at least the most thrilling. From the piano drop to the slip-up after a fan threw a glow-stick at her, which made her lose her footing during "Poker Face," the show was the same but completely different than the one we saw last July.
The opening was the same, with Gaga climbing down a stairway bathed in purple light, to the Virgin Mobile telephone call to a lucky fan in the mezzanine. OK, the merch was different, but that's a quibble.
Overall, what was different was her marked increase in viciousness. Gaga seemed leaner and hungrier than last year's show. She was on the prowl, not just traipsing through a set of columns and meeting dance and lighting cues.
She's been living this "Monster's Ball" tour for almost two years now, so it's like walking into your house every night, reassembled from the ground up in a new arena every day in another city.
And yeah, the whole storyline running through the show is corny, with a band of lithe, toned, and sweatily-attired misfits trying to get to this mythical "ball," but on this leg of the tour the plot has been largely abandoned for Gaga to take us to dominatrix church in between songs. She likes to scream.
The night's closer, "Born This Way", got a piano rendition earlier in the show, as we told you, stripping off the radio bite and bark off to its skeletal structure. We are inclined to like the piano-pop version more now, but the amped single you hear all over the radio was the hell-raiser we were expecting it to be live.
During the song, Gaga took a turn on an creepy, mirrored organ with what looked to be her own "death" masks littering the top, hinting at what you can expect from the next round of touring, once she moves past the "Monster Ball" tour.
Personal Bias: We don't even know anymore.
The Crowd: Girls, girls, girls, boys, boys, boys. Oh, and tons of older gals who were seen spilling out of limos and countless cabs in front of Toyota Center, spilling their road drinks and adjusting various levels of cleavage.
Overheard In the Crowd: "ZZZZZZZZZZZ" - the guy in front of Aftermath and company who ate a metric ton of chili-cheese fries during the piano portion of the show and promptly passed out.
Random Notebook Dump: You know how awesome the post-baby Gaga piano tour will be in a few years, after she has a kid and does a huge arena club tour just on piano and with a band? Ah screw it, Mama Monster would probably dance three days after the kid popped out. Respect.
Dance in the Dark Glitter and Grease Just Dance Beautiful, Dirty, Rich The Fame LoveGame Boys Boys Boys Money Honey Telephone
Born This Way (Piano) You and I (Piano)
Monster Teeth Alejandro Poker Face Paparazzi
Bad Romance Born This Way
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.