I was lucky enough to see Lady Gaga in Birmingham just before she was forced to cancel the rest of her current tour because of chronic pain.The Birmingham event I was at was supposed to have taken place last year, but illness forced her to cancel on that occasion as well.
The concert was full of energy, but I confess that in my opinion there was also some tension in the air. Before Lady Gaga came on stage, a 90 minute documentary about her life was projected onto three screens in the arena, which had the effect of subduing me a bit – and therefore probably a lot of the audience.
We are talking about a celebrity who tries her best to represent the LGBT community, victims of rape, and those who suffer from mental illness. She sings about the things that concern her, in songs such as Till It Happens To You, but she does so with personal knowledge, because Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (real name) suffers from depression and anxiety, and was a victim of rape herself.
Gaga asked the audience to call her Joanne several times. Joanne was the name of her father’s sister, who died at the age of 19 from Lupus, a chronic disease of the immune system, and whose life inspired Gaga’s latest album, Joanne.
In several of her introductions Gaga asked how many of her audience belonged to the LGBT community. She wanted to know how many of us were in favour of equality, and gently mocked anyone who was only there to accompany a more committed fan. “For those who are not for equality, we should not say boo, as the concert is already very strange for them,” she said laughing.
Gaga walked between three different stages, making sure that the whole arena was able to see her. At one point she stopped the show to read out a letter that had been sent to the stage by a fan. The writer was a male who spoke of having no friends, but also of the way that Gaga’s music had given him the strength to carry on. She made her way towards him with tears in her eyes and hugged him.
The concert was indeed thrilling, and that’s even without the audience being aware that they would be the last fans to see her on this tour. Because only days into it, Gaga had to cancel:
As a Gaga fan I am overwhelmed by her ability to affect the lives of so many people, and I think that she now deserves a break so that she can recover. After all that she has given to us, it’s only fair that we support her now.
For some glimpses of her live performance taken on my phone, click on the link below: