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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Concert Review: Katy Perry, November 14, 2009; MOA

I was not an instant Katy Perry fan. I actually did not even like her first hit, "I Kissed A Girl". Tell a gay man that and he would say "Bwehhh!!" However, like many others, I was instantly hooked to "Hot 'N Cold", and her fourth released single, "Waking Up In Vegas". When word got around that she'd be in Manila to perform, I decided to get a copy of her CD and what it contained surprised me immensely! It was full of songs of heartache and break-ups and falling in love with the wrong sort of guy - a gay man in a woman's body!! No surprise thatthere were a lot of young gay men in the audience - around high school age. By the way, that pic above is with one of the FABE models, Abby, who nicely took the place of my brother Vic, whose heart was not really into watching the show.

The show was more than I expected! I loved it, I loved it, I loved it!! Katy was so irreverent, playful, and coy, all the same time!!! The place was full, the weather cooperated, there was a balmy breeze as MOA is very near the sea! Of course, the only dyahe thing was that there were no chairs. Anyhow, who needed chairs???

There were two very talented front acts - Jed Madela and Arnel Pineda. This was the first time I heard Jed Madela sing and he is quite a revelation! I would be interested to see this guy live!! - in his own show!! As for Arnel, whom, I had seen a few months back with his band, Journey, was as energetic as ever and I only realized now how high his voice is, as I couldn't sing along with him properly, especially when he did a personal favorite of ours, "Don't Stop Believen" I just looooovvvvveeee that song!

She opened the show with "Fingerprints", which is one of my favorite songs from her CD. Then, her first major gimmick was to get someone from the audience to help her in her hit "Hot N Cold". She chose a young guy, obviously gay, whom she asked to jump while she was doing the song. The guy, who said he was from the Ateneo, gamely jumped throughout the song and was rewarded by a quick kiss from Katy!! Lucky devil!!

Katy also sang one of my favorite 80s songs - "Your Love" by the Outfield, which she retitled as "Use Your Love". This was just one of the songs that I shamelessly sang along with her, maybe much to the consternation of the guys in front of me. Sorry dudes, I just know the lyrics, so fuck off!

Katy had so many gimmicks that night - a giant inflateable cat called Kitty Purry! - huge strawberries which she threw also to the audience, and the coup de grace would be the big cherry chapstick which she carried almost to our part of the audience. That was the cherry chapstick she was weating too

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

CONCERT REVIEW: Lady Gaga Lives Up To Her Name

Nothing actually prepared us for what we saw tonight. Yes, she has several solid hits which had huge airplays on local and international radio! Yes, her videos have crazy plots! Yes, she has #1 songs in most continents of the world! And yes, she has that weird 80s disco look which has greatly cemented her image and her music to everyone who was curious. However, to see her perform live, just elevates your experience of her music and she, without an iota of doubt, stamps on her audience, that she is indeed, gaga!!

It was but fitting that she chose to be "Candy Warhol" in her introductory video montage, because like the legendary icon, who was also an artist and photographer, Andy Warhol painted and photographed images in different shades and hues, and converted everyday mundane things into vivid pop icon imagery. His lookalike was even there in her video montage, but unfortunately, we could barely hear the audio, as the audience was already furiously screaming her name as it was airing. I could just hear snippets of it.

She definitely did not disappoint in the fashion department, as her several costume changes, throughout her show, brought us back to the days when rock stars were very adventurous, fashion-wise. She had a costume where you could actually see her butt - her two round butts. And she was traipsing on the stage in that bathing suit like thing with just a T-back like string on her backside. Then, another costume had shoulder sleeves very much like our terno - but this time, a terno that an alien would wear, or if maybe the Philippines was a country in Mars. The sleeves where spiky shaped and in metallic grey, and as usually, she didn't bother much to cover herself from the waist below. Finally, for her last song, Poker Face, she wore this outrageous balloon costume which could trick the eyes of the audience through the use of proper lighting. At first glance, she would appear to be naked, only covered by these transparent bubble-like balloons all attached to her body, from the waist up, covering the more important parts. However, she takes it off to reveal a two-piece bathing suit like piece which has almost the same color as her skin. It actually reminded me of how Madonna would be in some stages of undress during her concerts, but the difference lay on the comic wit of Lady Gaga - of her ability to use illusion in the name of fun.

She did look a bit tired but I could forgive her for that. Since August 7, she's had had 4 shows in 4 different cities in Asia, and today, she will be singing in Singapore, no rest day. What's great is that she gave it her all, because for sure, she's really exhausted and I congratulate her for that. Her handlers though should have made some considerations.

Her choreography was also very crazy. It was neither here - nor there. It was just random 80s style dancing, with arms flailing, and cute kooky movements of the hip and the butt - of course all done in synchronicity! There'll be running man here, and some Michael Jackson type of fist pumping, crotch grabbing movements, sleek it was not, but it looked like she was really having a lot of fun doing that. She loved to head bang too, so you could see her blonde hair swishing all over the place. This lady knows her 80s history very very well. (If you don't know this then ask your kuya or ate for a picture of Jon Bon Jovi, or Poison, or Axl Rose, in the 80s and check out the hair!!)

Finally, she was also very very very funny in her repartees with the audience! "Someone asked me a crazy question" "Lady Gaga, do you have a dick?" And she said, "Yes, and it's bigger than yours!" She also had this piano with a protruding microphone and she stoops down on the opposite of the microphone to the point where her butt touches the you know what. Maybe it was only me who noticed, but the sexual innuendos were very reminiscent of Madonna's early days. The "fuck you signs", the shouts of "motherfucker" - and all that body exposure. Cheeky!! Cheeky!! Cheeky!! That's the perfect word for all the crazy antics she did on stage tonight!!

My favorite part of the show - would be Poker Face - where in the first part - she does it ballad style - with the audience helping her out. Here, she's playing the piano and puts both her feet on the piano. So you see her, spread-eagled, on the piano (in a very sexual position), while playing the piano, and singing Poker Face. Not only that, she puts one of her legs on the piano stool and opens herself up facing the audience, while her fingers remain on the piano. (A very cheeky position, I should say, because this time, she was only wearing that skin tone two-piece ensemble. And was it only me, or did she touch herself several times in the show. I could count five I think. Because we were so near her. Very Madonna-like during the Blonde Ambition tour.)

Another interesting thing I noticed tonight was that her band looked like drugged out, rock band musicians, like Poison when they were in high school. It actually looked cool!! And all the back up dancers were black!! And she also said, her best friend was a Filipino. I hope she does not say that in every show as she changes the nationality. But I think not. She spoke sincerely of it and that she was happy to be finally here and perform before us. (Sweet, but for a veteran concert goer like me, all I could say was, Chika!!!)

The concert was sold out, much to our horror! We bought our tickets 7 hours before the show, and our only choices were General Admission or VIP. It was a no contest so we had to shell out P16T bucks today just to see her, because we did not buy the tickets much much earlier. Only Madonna, or Kylie, or Mariah, or Janet, can make us do that - spend US$333 to watch a one hour show. Was it worth it? Hell yeahh!!! It's as if I've finally met my next concert queen after Madonna. Yes, the show wass not as sleek, but it's her first tour ever, and she definitely performs much much better than Kanye West or Norah Jones, who were also first time tourers when I saw them. Even Alanis Morrissette looked boring at her peak, when she was still new. I would really be excited to see her DVD of this show.

There were a lot of celebrities tonight, Tessa Prieto, Quark Henares, the family of Francis Magalona who was a row behind us, Keren Pascual who was a few rows in front of us, Bruce Quebral, Jolo Revilla, Brent Javier, Angel Locsin (I wonder what they saw since they were like 10 rows behind us, on the other column, and in their column, many taller guys were practically standing on their seats in front of them.)

By the way, thank you Lord, for giving Vic and I the BEST BEST seats in the house - and we just bought the tickets today!! I say the best seats because, on our column, only the row before us was standing and the first up to tenth row, stood on the ground, while the rows behind, including us, were standing on our seats. Also, Lady Gaga performed all of her act, on our side of the stage. On the left side, facing her. EVERYTHING! As she entered in a motorcycle for "Just Dance", her weird metallic piano bubble for "Poker Face", her "Candy Warhol" sequences, so if you're buying tickets, buy on the left side facing the stage. It was as if she was singing just for us because I could have thrown a baseball straight and it could hit her on her face. That's how in front of us, she was. And the height of the Araneta stage, unlike outdoor shows, is not very high. So if a tall guy like me stood up on the chair, I could practically kiss her, if my chair was moved 12 rows to the front.

The crowd was ALIVE and there were so many girls who made up their faces just like her, who wore crazy high heels, just like her, and wore metallic dresses and tops with crazy asymmetrical cuts, just like her!! Gay boys, yes, there were groups of them in their tightest fitting shirts or their crazy colored prints. Daddies and Mommies with their little daughters (or gay sons - the one beside us, and I love her for it, brought her young gay son to watch the show!) Talk about acceptance!! And of course, straight boyfriends (I really hope so) with their dressed-to-kill dates!!

It took us one hour to reach Araneta (15 minutes usually from our house) and another hour just to get out. We were all like fireflies attracted to the light, flickering from a galaxy that only Lady Gaga can call her own!