Concert Reviews

Lady Gaga at the American Airlines Center, 1/29/13: Review, Photos and Setlist

The Lady Gaga show at American Airlines Center offers a narrative, as these sorts of productions often do: We are somewhere in space. There is a procession. An evil authority figure rides a horse made of humans in costume. Sexy men wield flags saying, "G.O.A.T." which we will later learn stands for Government Occupied Alien Territory. We will also learn that Dallas, Texas is under the jurisdiction of this occupying government. But that will not last. Tonight, we break free.

What, specifically, we break free from is the sort of meddlesome detail that does not burden a Lady Gaga show. She offers generic triumph and fist-pumping rage against the machine of your choosing. Whether you're the victim of bullies at school or stuck in a dead-end job or forced to live in a society that doesn't think your love is the same as other people's love, Lady Gaga offers you a gathering place. All this is set to songs that could be the (mostly pretty excellent) soundtrack for a Broadway musical about the development of pop music over the last 30 years.

See also: -Lady Gaga Doesn't Make Promised Appearance at Round-Up Saloon


A disembodied face (Gaga's, basically, but with Madonna's teeth and enormous eyes) appears in a prism made of LED lights. She announces that the prisoner has escaped. The face announces the plan of action. It is, precisely, "Kill the bitch."

Gaga emerges from the front door of the castle, enormous inflatable nether region first. Her enormous inflatable legs, in fishnet stocks, are splayed and her enormous, inflatable womb is full to bursting. The array looks exactly like a plucked turkey. This is not the last time that a woman=meat metaphor will be employed.

Dancers in nude spandex tumble from somewhere near her ankles. There is a zipper where her vagina would be. She herself is sticking out the other end, ribcage up, so as to ensure that you get who is giving birth here. She recedes within her own stomach and comes out through the zipper.

That takes us through 2.5 songs: "Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)," "Government Hooker" and the intro of "Born This Way." The spectacle continues, unabated, through the rest of the set. The narrative gets a little muddled, but here's my version of the CliffNotes:

-Gaga dances around with her new progeny.

-The disembodied face emerges to tell us the womb has multiplied and that the burst was not small but infinitely big, and this is the beginning of a new race within humanity.

-Gaga gives her Sermon on the Mount. She clears up her role thusly: "I am not an alien. I am not a woman. I am not a man. I am not a human. I am not a creature of your Government, United States! When they ask, 'Who is Gaga?' I want you to tell them, 'I am you.'" It is unclear whether we are supposed to tell them that we are Gaga or that Gaga is them. Perhaps, given that she has already given birth to herself, we are supposed to imagine her as basically omnipotent.

-Gaga explains why she's here: To extract as much "love, inspiration and fashion" from us as possible before sucking the life out of every monster in Dallas, Texas. Then, she will invade the Earth with our presumably lifeless husks as our Texas pop star. "Some of you will have to decide," she says. "Will you stand by me forever?"

-Judas betrays her.

-She is taken to the top of the castle/stage set and is about to be strung up on what appears to be some sort of demonic flagpole, but she and her dancers/disciples usurp the aliens/Romans.

-Gaga sets up a comfortable living room in the second floor of the castle. The walls are adorned with a painting of her as Marilyn Monroe and she's holding another one where she's dressed as Bruce Springsteen. A Gaga-esque mannequin sits on the toilet.