Oh boy, where to begin. I expected to have a relatively relaxing and fun trip, being able to see BABYMETAL perform again and then to enjoy a (hopefully) exciting Lady Gaga concert. Keep in mind, while I have enjoyed the couple of songs of hers that I’ve heard, I’ve never really been a fan. Not because I don’t like her, but merely because I never took the time to really check her out. So let me tell you the story of my journey to Las Vegas with my friends, and how The ARTPOP Ball instantly made me a fan.
The trip started out simple enough. I headed to my friend’s house, and picked the two guys up. I started out about an hour late, but was still far ahead of schedule. We headed out, enjoying a bunch of music together as we all (mostly) sang together and had a good time chatting it up. Even with there being a decent stretch of time with a heavy amount of traffic, we managed to make good time. We got to Las Vegas at about 6pm, which gave us time to shower and change at our hotel. Upon arriving at the MGM Grand, one friend parted ways since he was going to go see Weezer perform at the Cosmopolitan, the rest of us two headed for the Grand Garden Arena. The ticket said that the concert would start at 8pm, so we figured we would have plenty of time to make it to the Arena (it was 7pm when we arrived at the MGM Grand). Even though we had assigned seats, I had a feeling that it would still be a good idea to arrive at least somewhat early. Keep in mind, while I was there for both Lady Gaga and BABYMETAL, my friend was primarily there for BABYMETAL. The stage was really nice too, set up as a giant catwalk with some neat designs.
When we arrived at our seats, at about 7:30pm, BABYMETAL began almost immediately. It was really disappointing how bad the timing of the event was off. There were still people arriving, since the ticket said 8pm, which was really irritating, as we were trying to enjoy BABYMETAL’s opening. I have a distinct feeling that they started early due to the fact that they are minors, and that they were in Las Vegas, but I’m not exactly sure. That being said, we enjoyed the heck out of their performance. They performed Megitsune, Doki Doki Morning, Gimme Chocolate!! and Ijime Dame Zettai. This time, since I had fully enjoyed the last concert, I recorded the whole thing for you guys. After a warm reception, they departed with all of our love.
My friend was completely satisfied and enjoyed himself thoroughly. I was glad that he got to experience BABYMETAL after all the trouble we went through to assure he could go. We sat back down and waited for Lady Gaga to come out. At about 8:15pm, a lady came out (I honestly didn’t recognize her, I couldn’t make her out.) and DJed some music (mostly Dubstep) until about 8:45pm. She then went off stage and we continued to wait for Lady Gaga. Don’t get me wrong, the lady did a decent job, but not only did BABYMETAL start early (I feel REALLY bad for those people who showed up JUST on time, and missed BABYMETAL thanks to the last minute change to timing), the main concert was already 45 minutes late. Considering neither of us were really fans of Lady Gaga, we got really impatient, irritated and frustrated with the long wait. All of Vegas was waiting for us and we were sitting around pretty much doing absolutely nothing. Time continued to flow, all the way to 9:30pm. It wasn’t until then, that the concert started.
Now, you already know we are irritated, so you can imagine how happy we feel when the four guys in front of us were being completely inconsiderate. They immediately stood up. They were the only ones in our section to do this. Not even the hardcore fans dressed up in Gaga garb were standing up. This meant that my friend and I missed the beginning of the concert due to these guys blocking our view. After a few seconds though, we stood up, as everybody in our section stood up. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand them being excited for a star that they absolutely adore, but why buy tickets to a seated area (there WERE tickets for a standing area available) if you are just going to stand and make EVERYBODY around you uncomfortable? This fiasco continued throughout the whole concert. Still, we dealt with it, stood, and made sure we could see everything and thoroughly enjoy the concert.
Once we got past the initial frustration and annoyance, thoroughly enjoy the concert is exactly what we did. Now forgive me Gaga fans, for I am extremely new to her stuff. As a result, I don’t know the names of most of the songs she performed. That being said, she started off strong. I was immediately enjoying her music. I noticed a few things though, regarding the performance, which really caught me as positive points. The first is that she used a live band. The whole concert was performed live and that added a high level of energy and authenticity to the performance. The second thing I noticed was how excitingly the stage was being used (more on that later). The final thing I noticed was how she had a lot of support dancers. It was a really effective way of assuring that the focus stay on her, and that she stand out, while also keeping a high sense of balance to the concert as a whole. Considering the way concerts I normally go to are handled, this was a very fresh change for me, which helped make sure that I enjoy everything even more.
The biggest songs that I remember her performing were Artpop, Venus, Just Dance, Poker Face, Judas, Sexxx Dreams, Bad Romance, Applause, Swine and Gypsy. As expected, she had some very fun and unique outfits for the concert. Venus particularly stood out to me though. Not because of what she was wearing, but the fact that these alien-looking plants came out of parts of the stage and the whole theme of the stage changed on the spot. That was really neat, creative and engaging. There were other things, such as creative use of lights and confetti that helped keep everybody interested and engaged as well. Knowing little about Lady Gaga, I was also highly impressed by the fact that despite her dancing and singing, she also played guitar for a couple of pieces and she played piano for some of the songs too. She is definitely talented, and she puts that talent to good use, without wasting a drop of it. Going back to the outfits, she actually did something I had never seen before. She changed into one of her outfits on stage, in front of everybody. Keep in mind she was facing away from the audience, and that the dancers/staff were changing her as she randomly turned slightly around to take a look at the crowd. While I’m sure many people were more excited to see her topless (she did ‘accidentally’ turn too far one time so that the crowd could actually see her once), I was actually very intrigued with the whole process. The way they set up a pseudo changing station on stage. The way they stylized her changing through the use of the dancers (and staff). The way she presented herself during the changing. It was a very interesting approach and I rather liked it. The performance itself, in its entirety, was absolutely amazing.
Despite the fact that everything about the performance was phenomenal, that wasn’t what finally reeled me into her group of fans. It was actually her genuine and loving interaction with the fans that caught me completely off guard. Fans continually threw items at her (all safe items such as stuffed animals and fluffy…sex items). She took it like a trooper. In fact, for as much as she could, she actually picked up stuff that landed and integrated it into her performance. One person handed her a LGBT flag and she actually wrapped herself in it as she was performing. For others, she would pick up stuffed animals and integrate them into her performance. She also would throw the giant balls back to the audience (these were floating around during the beginning of the concert). She kneeled down a few times to touch the fans. She even jumped down to the crowd level, allow the fans to hug her as she had the crew take some pictures of her with the crowd. All of this is awesome, but this is still not what grabbed me. There was one particular event that won my heart.
One fan managed to throw a Stitch (from Lillo & Stitch) stuffed animal at her (we couldn’t make out what exactly it was, but Gaga thought it was an armband and used it as such). Attached to it was a letter. She opened it up, sat down on the couch that was on stage for that part of the performance, and began to read the whole thing out loud. It was a very touching display. The fan (who called himself Jupiter, I thought that was cute) in question had the spotlight put on him as Gaga asked for him so she could talk to him real quick. In the letter, he talked about how he wants to be an artist and how Gaga inspires him. He also said that he wishes more than anything that he could just sit down for some tea with Gaga and also have his arm signed by her, stating that nothing would make him happier than that wish. Gaga first gave him an immense amount of encouragement regarding his choice in career, and in turn encouraged the whole crowd as well. What comes next surprised me the most. She told him that he’s invited back stage, and that she will have that cup of tea with him. The look of pure glee on his face was absolutely priceless. It is possible that this whole thing was staged, and that the fan already knew about going backstage prior to this event, but it felt completely genuine and was a touching display.
After this, I decided that she just made a new fan out of me. The amount of support she gives to everybody. The amount of interaction she has with her fans. The amount of energy and uniqueness she brings. The high level of ‘I don’t care what you think of me’ attitude that she brings. The really catchy music and well-done performance. All of this slid into place together beautifully. After the concert finally closed out, I was absolutely stunned by how impressed and satisfied I was. All my complaints and frustrations from earlier were meaningless.
After the concert, we managed to make it over to the merchandise booth. Since I like to have something from every concert I go to, I bought the shirt I liked the best (with the Artpop album art on it). My friend and I noticed that there was a really cool surprise BABYMETAL item there too, which he bought for himself, I bought for myself and I also bought for Laura. We were about to leave, when my friend decided to ask if there was any other BABYMETAL stuff, just to be safe. It was a really good decision, because there was actually ONE shirt left (which happened to be the design I wanted from the solo concert that was sold out in my size). With absolute delight, he purchased it. The immense look of happiness he had reminded me of two things: the look that fan had when Gaga invited him backstage, and the look I had on my face after I met Reina Tanaka and Lovendor. We left completely and entirely satisfied.
We then proceeded to 800 Degrees Pizzeria, where we met up with our third friend after his concert. We picked up some (delightfully) tasty pizza, then went to bed. The next day, us two BABYMETAL fans donned our BABYMETAL gear and went to Mon Ami Gabi at Paris (along with our awesome Weezer fan). This was something I particularly wanted to do, because my family and I made a tradition of going there for Crème Brulee since I Paris opened up. I hadn’t been to Vegas in 9 years though, and was looking forward to it immensely. While the place was a little pricier then Yelp let on, we still went anyway. I ordered Onion Soup Au Gratin (aka French Onion Soup), Melted Brie Cheese and Crème Brule. My Weezer friend ordered Chicken Liver Pate and Crème Brulee as well. Finally, my BABYMETAL friend ordered a Cheeseburger with Steak Frites. ALL of the items were absolutely amazing, and we enjoyed every bite. From there, they gambled a little (my BABYMETAL friend lost a little more than he should have, no thanks to our ‘encouragement’) and then we headed home. The trips back was fun as well, even with us having to stop a ton of times to accommodate my aching stomach and my low capacity bladder.
I sit here at my computer now, after a long drive back from Las Vegas, looking back at the last 48 hours with absolute endearment. Every single part of the trip: from the terrible traffic to the great concert and from the absolutely amazing food to the immense stomach problems. It all was fantastic, to the max. I’m going to say this with complete honesty: if you haven’t seen Lady Gaga perform, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
She’s got a fan out of me, and anybody that knows me knows that I will make a good addition into her ranks.
With that, keep an eye out for my video uploads in the next 48 hours or so. I hope you enjoyed my coverage, and I love you all! Good night!