Let me start off by saying how much I enjoy attending any event at Verizon Center. In the heart of DC, the center is expansive and clean with plenty of bathrooms, and there is no such thing as a bad seat. Even those sitting in the 400's can see well.
And the Verizon Center is always buzzing with life, even blocks away, whenever a concert, sporting event or other happening is taking place. It was no different for The Monster Ball, and as my fiance Matt and I grabbed a couple of drinks and dinner at The Greene Turtle right next to the venue (we had a "Paparazzi" and "Alejandro" specially made by the bartender for the show), we found ourselves surrounded by fellow monsters:
We were approached by a lady who was in attendance with her nieces and nephews who didn't think she was hip enough, so she asked Matt if he would paint a lightning bolt on her face that looked like his. He happily complied:
My vote for best-dressed fan of the night went to Kira Peasley of Kira Peasley Designs:
Kira designs Lady Gaga costumes professionally and was featured on Virgin Mobile's "LadyVirgin.com" site (2.25.11). She even got a shot out from Gaga herself as Gaga uttered, "Nice meat dress!" while performing "Telephone." Youtube user David526 caught it on video here:
As Matt and I made our way back to Verizon Center, we had to stop for a photo next to Virgin Mobile's HUGE tour bus:
We then stopped by Virgin Mobile's photo stop, one of many within the center, and had fun taking a few shots:
We missed the opening act (Scissor Sisters) and by the time we took our seats, the center was already packed! We had a great view of the stage as well as the thrust:
The crowd grew more and more anxious as we awaited the star of the show, but finally at 9:25, Lady Gaga's silhouette appeared behind a white scrim. She did various Vogue poses to "Dance in the Dark" and her "there but not quite all the way yet" stint made the crowd even hungry for more:
She finally made her way down a steel staircase to the floor in the midst of a New York City street-scene:
The ongoing theme through the show was Lady Gaga trying to get to the Monster Ball. After her beat-up, green car (which doubled as a piano) broke down, she hit the New York subway to one of my favorite songs..."Lovegame:"
As if the sets, costumes, designs and dancers weren't enough, Lady Gaga showed what she was made of by singing every song live. "I don't lip sync," she shouted. "I will never waste your damn time or your money!"
Gaga often quipped throughout the show, causing the crowd to erupt in cheers and applause. She inspired everyone to love themselves, celebrate who they are, and to always follow their dreams.
"We're gonna be super free, little monsters! This is a place where all the freaks are outside!"
And as if we needed any coaxing, we all obeyed when she told us, "Paws up, little monsters!" (which we were obviously doing even before the show started!)
She also preached about religion, stating that Jesus loves everyone, and, "My religion is you, little monsters...tonight, my religion is D.C.!"
At one point during the show, Lady Gaga made a call to a fan in the crowd. Matt and I had given our number to Virgin Mobile when we took our picture at the photo stop, and we waited anxiously hoping my cell would ring.
But it was another attendee who got the call and her jubilation could be felt throughout the entire center. Lady Gaga spoke with her briefly, then invited her backstage to meet her as the crowd "oooh'd and ahhh'd" with both awe and jealousy.
After the call, Gaga announced that another call was coming in. She answered and said, "Oh...it's Beyonce," then went into her beloved song "Telephone."
Gaga also performed a couple of ballads, including a new song, "You and I," performed while playing a piano with flames bursting from it.
The piano wasn't the only pyrotechnic prop. For one number, Gaga wore a costume complete with "boob sparklers" as I like to call them. But she did Katy Perry one better and had fireworks shooting from her crotch as well.
To thicken the "let's get to the Monster Ball on time" plot even further, Gaga and her dancers were swallowed up by a "tornado" that descended upon them from the ceiling.
She emerged as an angel with moving wings, but I thought she looked more like Glenda the Good Witch from "The Wizard of Oz."
That look was in sharp contrast to her dark, "bloody" monster set and costume, where spooky spiked trees dotted the stage and a creepy mist rose in the air.
And what Monster Ball would be complete without a monster? A creature reminiscent of the angler fish featured in "Finding Nemo" appeared on stage as Lady Gaga inched closer and closer before lying on the ground and being swallowed up by it.
For the finale, Gaga did a breathtaking, acapella performance of her new hit, "Born This Way." With she and her backup singers wearing long, flowing robes, it was like watching a Southern Baptist choir, Gaga-style.
It was the perfect ending to a perfect show. And the next day, Matt and I created another little monster as his daughter Kendall found my Gaga mask and wore it better than I did.
For more pics from the show, check out my Flickr page here. (Many thanks to Matt for taking many of the photos!)
Gaga's full set list from the DC show is as follows:
Dance in the Dark
Glitter and Grease
Beautiful, Dirty, Rich
Boys Boys Boys
You and I (New song)
So Happy I Could Die
Born This Way
If you're planning on attending an upcoming Monster Ball show, be prepared for Gaga's brand new "monsterlook," as tweeted by Lady Gaga herself here! Though with Gaga, you never know what look she might pull next. What you can expect though is a stellar performance by a talented woman who is one of a kind!
Disclosure: I received two, complimentary press passes from Verizon Center to faciliate this review.