Two weeks ago @MahlerMad and I went to see Lady Gaga at Twickenham stadium. Having been to the Last Night of the Proms the night before and thus not going to bed till 2am, we were in a pretty sorry state on waking at 5.30am a few hours later. The reason for rising at this unearthly hour was that we had information from a reliable source suggesting that arrival at the stadium around 8-8.30am would mean possible entry into the Monster Pit.
This is an area of the stadium within the outer ring of the stage which can hold between 200 and 4000 (depending on the size of the venue) of the keenest and most obsessive Little Monsters who are prepared to queue for hours, even days beforehand.
Up until this point, I had not thought of myself as being particularly obsessive about Lady Gaga, however, the chance to be that close to what I knew would be an epic performance, whilst not queuing for much longer than a popular Proms concert meant that it seemed worthwhile to arrive at this obscenely early hour.
We just made the first train of the day and arrived at the stadium around 8.30am. Unsurprisingly, many of the people in the queue were in full Gaga-mode, with dyed hair, body glitter, coke-can hairstyles, yellow police tape encircling random areas of the body and various types of funky outfits, including one guy who appeared to be wearing a sleeveless jacket made of fake grass!
We hadn’t been there long before a security man came along to shove us all up to make room for new people joining the queue. He asked us to refrain from pushing or shouting, informing us it would be unnecessary because we were all going in the Monster Pit. Cue screams of excitement and grins of delight at knowing that waking at such an excruciatingly early hour had been worth it.
We sat in the queue for about eight hours, soaking up the sunshine, reading, playing cards and talking to others in the queue about Gaga and whether they’d seen her before (the girls behind us had actually been the previous day too – as had several others).
At 4.30pm they started moving us into the stadium. The first act was Gaga’s friend Lady Starlight. Now I understand them wanting to make sure that Starlight didn’t upstage Gaga, but I think perhaps they could have pushed the boat out a *little* bit further. She was, in a word, awful. She didn’t even sing (although in hindsight that may have been a blessing in disguise). It was just weird posed movements to fairly dull music, accompanied by increasingly bizarre costume changes. We had been warned of this by those who had been the day before, but hadn’t realised just how pants she was going to be.
The Darkness were much better, Justin Hawkins bounced around the stage and swapped guitars every five minutes, the music was suitably loud and rocky for such a large venue and I think the crowd were also profoundly grateful by that point for anything that wasn’t Lady Starlight.
There was then a reasonable gap between the end of The Darkness’ act and Lady Gaga’s performance whilst the stadium filled up with those fans who were slightly less obsessive and the stage was prepared.
At this point I started feeling rather ill and decided to visit to the First Aid tent. Having been told that Gaga had been 40 minutes late on stage the day before I was not too worried about missing anything. You can imagine how enraged I was when I heard her come on stage a few minutes later to hysterical screams from the crowd, only to be told by the First Aiders that they wouldn’t let me leave until I felt better.
“I’mfinenowthankyou” I gabbled, but it was another ten minutes before I actually made it back out into the Monster Pit again.
For the next two hours we were involved in the most incredible show I’ve ever seen. Gaga was amazing, the set was superb, the dancers were brilliant and the music was so loud you weren’t sure which would split first, the ground or your skull. She must have done pretty much every single song on the Born This Way album, plus a couple from The Fame as well. I knew it was going to be pretty epic, but I hadn’t expected it to be quite that awesome – I think the Monster Pit was a big factor in that. Being surrounded by several hundred Gaga fans all crying and screaming with joy and excitement at seeing their idol, their role model, their inspiration, being fuck-off fabulous and giving them what was probably the best night of their lives was just incredible.
There were a couple of particularly awesome moments which I shall endeavour to describe as well as I can remember them. The first (probably not in the order they actually happened, but oh well) was Gaga riding round the stage on a motorbike (which later changed into a piano, obviously!) whilst being dry-humped by a female dancer.
The second was her performance of Hair on the aforementioned piano – prior to starting this, she pulled a female fan out of the audience who then came and sat next to her at the piano looking completely dazed and bewildered, like she couldn’t believe this was really actually happening.
The third was when Gaga disappeared off stage and a second later a figure in a wedding dress appeared accompanied by a guy dressed as a groom. Just as we had decided it couldn’t possibly be Gaga in the dress – even she couldn’t have got changed that quickly – someone behind said, “It’s a man!”. And it was. I knew that Gaga was a big supporter of LGBT rights, but I hadn’t expected anything quite as overt as a gay wedding on stage – it was fantastic.
The fourth actually happened earlier in the show when someone right the front shouted that it was her birthday, so Gaga (and the entire stadium) sang Happy Birthday to her, which must have been the most amazing present!
The fifth was the penultimate song Edge of Glory, a) because it’s a cracking song and b) because the words could so easily be applied to her and the audience, all of whom, of course, were screaming the words at her: “I’m on the edge of glory and I’m hanging on a moment with you, I’m on the edge with you”.
The last song was Marry the Night and Gaga again pulled fans out of the audience to join her on stage – this time it was about half a dozen men, who all danced round the stage with her during the song. One guy in particular looked like he’d just been hit over the head with a blunt instrument, he was in so much shock he didn’t know what to do with himself!
And then it was all over and we had to start making our way home, exhausted and elated in about equal measure. I felt like death by this point and did NOT enjoy the journey home, but by god it was worth it. If and when she goes on tour again I will probably be one of the first in line for tickets.
RAH RAH AH AH AH, ROMA ROMA MA GAGA OOH LA LA, WANT YOUR BAD ROMANCE.