Despite a staunch stand by South Africa’s Council of Churches for labeling her “a satanist” and “bad influence on our youth” as well as a whiplash by SANEF (South Africa National Editors’ Forum) for her refusal to have any media at her Born This Way Ball, Lady Gaga performed for an incredible two hours at the FNB Stadium on Friday night.
However, the stadium stood quite empty in comparison to Linkin Park, a few weeks ago. Many fans arrived later, missing out on the opening acts by Lady Starlight (Gaga’s good friend) and the Darkness, best known for their hit “I believe in a thing called love.”
She made her grand entrance on a puppet horse, wearing outrageous headgear, which some rumoured was the reason for her lip-syncing for most of the performance. Another reason could be the incredible stamina and moves she had to display while performing, with some fans calling her the best performer since Michael Jackson.
The stage was mostly taken up by a huge castle, filled with secret rooms and detail that Lady Gaga mastered with acrobatic ease, while being decorated in chains, sequin, lace, latex, etc. It was fascinating to watch her change into at least 30 different outfits in just a few minutes at a time. No wonder she needed six vans to transport her outfits and her rumoured 200-people entourage.
Big Concerts tweeted it was by far the most expensive concert they’ve ever held. By 6pm, “Lady Gaga” and “Gaga5” were trending on Twitter, with 5FM DJs like Rob Forbes and Poppy retweeting the best outfits and pics of the stadium.
The crowd gasped as a giant ball emerged from the castle, with legs on its sides. Yes, she emerged from a two-metre vagina, as the crowd sang in unison. She sang her most famous hits: “Born this Way,” “Pokerface,” “Just Dance,” “Paparazzi,” “Telephone,” amongst others. Some fans truly believed Beyoncé would make a surprise appearance for Telephone.
Jean Esterhuizen, a Lady Gaga and Beyoncé fan and celeb-connoisseur, claimed the show outlived all expectations:
“It was beyond epic. She’s such an inspiration. She even came back to do more after the final song, as if she didn’t want to leave. We laughed. We cried.”
She also appeared in what seemed to be that infamous egg from the music awards and also hung from a butcher’s rail as a piece of meat, for another song. She both fascinated and shocked the audience with her religious motifs: she often mentioned “black Jesus,” which happened to be one of her dancers, wearing a crown of thorns and tight top, which he later tore off. She appeared between two lumo crosses for another song and spoke to the crowd of coming to South Africa on a goat. Some Christian fans were offended by this: “She claims she arrived on a goat, the sign of the devil in Revelations. Christians know this is a mockery, as Jesus appeared on a donkey. She insisted we say her name many times, claiming we must rejoice her coming to South Africa and adore her forever. Very weird. Maybe those Christian protesters were right after all. We love her, but we don’t need to worship her.”
Dylan Jack van Vuuren, who queued up since early morning to be part of the Monster Pit, disagrees: “I really enjoyed the religious motifs. As someone who was an Evangelical Christian, along with the rest of the family, letting go of those unrealistic and unfounded religious expectations for yourself is the first step to being and accepting who you are.”
Lady Gaga made the crowd laugh with her safari tale of that morning (which, according to her tweets, looks like it may have taken place at the Lion Park), claiming she cut a hole through her hat to fit her pony-tail and wore fishnet stockings: “I feel bad for those animals… All day they get people staring at them, I wanted them to have something to look at!”
She made the crowd cry towards the end with her powerful a capella performance, singing her “Princess Di” which she claims was inspired by her dark past of being bullied and abused: “Some people write a diary, I write a song and keep all the pain there. Healing comes from being honest to who you are.”
She then grabbed a few fans from the Monster Pit and whisked them on stage. One fan shouted, with tears in his eyes: “That’s what I love about her. She remains true to us. She sees us as equal to her. Yet, she’s not human or mortal… She’s a goddess!”
Lady Gaga has become an inspiration to the LGBTI community, fighting for gay rights in the army and equality for all. In South Africa, her fans seemed to be a collection of all genders, sexual identity, races and religions. You saw children as young as five standing next to drag-queens and happily married couples. Lady Gaga even remarked upon this phenomenon: “That’s what I love about you, South Africa. We somehow speak the same language. You are all here, whatever your history or background. That means the world to me. I can’t speak South African, but I can if you want me to.”
Her “Don’t give a f*ck speech” was by far the highlight of the evening: “It doesn’t matter whether you’re gay, bi, straight… You are born this way. Don’t give a f*ck about what people think or say about you… It doesn’t matter if your parents don’t have a seat for you at their dining table, because they can’t accept you for who you are, you will always have a seat at my table.
Look around! You will have a seat at these little monsters’ tables too. What makes me so proud is watching you all grow… Some of you used to copy my style and fashion, now I watch you grow into who you are. You are finally born this way! Now, don’t give a f*ck anymore! Have an amazing evening… Go get drunk and vomit on your friends!”