The Mother Monster Returns

Lady Gaga Revives Concert Tour with Stop in South Florida

By Lynn Peithman Stock

Lady Gaga, the chameleon performer who has more abstract costume changes than Cher, another diva coming to South Florida this year, reboots her concert tour that got sidelined last year when the Mother Monster’s hip gave out during a performance.

This go round, Lady Gaga plans to appear at the BB&T Center on May 4 in Sunrise. And her Little Monsters — her adoring fans — are thrilled. Followers call her Mother Monster after her 2009 EP, “Fame Monster.”

Lady Gaga cancelled her Born This Way Ball concert tour last February, and South Florida’s stop is one of many to make up for last year’s cancelled dates. After her February 2013 performance in Canada, Lady Gaga’s doctors recommended she cancel the rest of the tour. “I barely know what to say,” she wrote on her Facebook page at the time. “I’ve been hiding a show injury and chronic pain for some time now, [and] over the past month it has worsened. I’ve been praying it would heal. I hid it from my staff. I didn’t want to disappoint my amazing fans. However, after last night’s performance I could not walk and still can’t.”

At the time, the hip injury was worse than she thought. She told Women’s Wear Daily: “Before I went to surgery there were giant craters, a hole in my hip the size of a quarter, and the cartilage was just hanging out the other side of my hip. I had a tear on the inside of my joint and a huge breakage. The surgeon told me that if I had done another show I might have needed a full hip replacement. I would have been out at least a year, maybe longer.”

To deal with the pain, she reportedly smoked 15 joints a day. She also tooled around in a gold-plated wheelchair during recovery. Her latest album, ARTPOP, came out last November, so this tour is also named ARTPOP. The 35-city tour (so far) starts in New York and ends in July in Los Angeles.


Reaching Out


In spite of all the meat dresses, neon-colored hair and attention-getting outfits, Lady Gaga knows what it’s like to feel alone, to feel ostracized, to be bullied for her differences. Granted, now those oddities have added to her pop star status and helped form her creative aura surrounding her No. 1 hits, gold albums and mega concert tours two years in a row. But she hasn’t forgotten what it felt like as a young teenager to be bullied.

So during last year’s concert tour, she attached Born Brave Bus, a pre-concert tailgate experience open to everyone, ticket holder or not. Lady Gaga and her Born This Way Foundation created a special place for young people to visit before the show and share their own experiences. Targeted at 13- to 25-year-olds, “The bus tour provides a safe space for young people to connect with on-site local, community resources including behavioral and mental health services, school psychologists, mentoring, volunteering opportunities and bullying and suicide prevention resources.”

Led by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, the Born This Way Foundation was founded in 2011 to foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated. The foundation is dedicated to creating a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a kinder, braver world.

During its brief tour, the Born Drave Bus did its job of reaching out to teens and young adults who have felt disenfranchised, said Stephen Powell, executive director of Mentoring USA. Powell attended the Born Brave Bus in Houston and found the experience “very heart-touching. Everybody has a unique gift that we come to this planet with.

In Houston, “I talked to a young lady who was in tears. She said Lady Gaga makes her feel like she can be herself.” What really touched me about the moment was it was a moment of listening — to empower and say, ‘Tell me how you feel.’”

This winter, with Russia’s anti-gay stance and acting as a world stage while hosting the Olympics, Lady Gaga has not kept quiet. “To be honest, I don’t think we should be going to the Olympics at all,” Gaga said on a British talk show last December. “I don’t know if my opinion is not highly regarded, in terms of the amazing champions and people that are rehearsing and training for the event… I mean I would never take anything away from their hard work, I just think it is absolutely wrong for so many countries to give money and economy in the way of a country that doesn’t support gays.”

In the past, she has had harsh words for the Russia and its anti-gay legislation, and she’s offered support to the its LGBT community. In August, she tweeted: “The Russian government is criminal. Oppression will be met with revolution. Russian LGBTs you are not alone. We will fight for your freedom.” She followed that with this tweet: “Sending bravery to LGBTs in Russia. The rise in government abuse is archaic. Hosing teenagers with pepper spray? Beatings? Mother Russia?”


New Beginnings


While Lady Gaga did not perform at this year’s Grammy Awards, Billboard Magazine did choose her 2010 Grammy performance with Elton John as the No. 6 best in the past 14 years. “Lady Gaga’s performance at the 52nd Grammy Awards was classic not only for its over-the-top theatrics, but for Elton John’s appearance on ‘Speechless’ and the duo’s duet on Elton’s classic ‘Your Song,’” Billboard noted on its website. “The best part? The conjoined mega-piano Gaga and Elton played on, not to mention the pair’s matching rhinestone glasses.”

A recent award bestowed on Lady Gaga may not make it to her trophy case. In mid-January, she received a Razzie nomination for Worst Supporting Actress for “Machete Kills,” an action film that also starred Sofía Vergara, Charlie Sheen, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Mel Gibson. Her esteemed colleagues in this Razzies category include Salma Hayek for “Grown Ups 2,” Katherine Heigl for “The Big Wedding,” Kim Kardashian for “Tyler Perry’s Temptation” and Lindsay Lohan for not one, but two movies, “InAPPropriate Comedy” and “Scary Movie 5.”

We didn’t even know the Lady acted in a film last year. For 34 years, the Razzies, also known as the Golden Raspberries Awards, have bestowed “worst” performance nominations and awards in film.

Concert tours seem to be more of her strength. Lady Gaga last appeared in South Florida in April 2012 during a concert in Sunrise. This tour highlights her ARTPOP album.

According to her website, Lady Gaga came to prominence following the release of her debut studio album The Fame (2008), which included the hits “Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” “Bad Romance” and sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. The album earned her six Grammy nominations and two wins as well as a slew of other awards recognition, including a record setting thirteen MTV Video Music Award nominations.

Gaga is the first artist in history to claim four No. 1 hits from a debut album (“Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” “LoveGame” and “Paparazzi”).

 She is also the only artist in the digital era to top the five million sales mark with her first two hits. Gaga broke the record when her single “Poker Face” reached five million in sales after her debut single “Just Dance” accomplished the same feat the year before. She has over 1.3 billion combined views of all her videos online. She is also a staple in the social networking world. She has more than 62 million likes on Facebook and more than 41 million followers on Twitter.

In mid-January, she commented on Facebook, “5 years today I had my 1st #1 Song with Just Dance. I can’t believe I’m even here. Still making music I believe in. In my big shoes. Paws up.”