Forget Lady Luck, Las Vegas is all about Lady Gaga! Her residency at the Park Theater at Park MGM gets lots of headlines for her Enigma show, featuring a mega-robot and all the high energy pop antics we know and love. But the show that’s truly amazing occurs only a few times, is toned down, and gives us Mother Monster at her most vulnerable.
Her Jazz & Piano show is old-skool Vegas at its most modern and hip interpretation. Featuring a huge brass section, percussion, and a grand piano you could just as easily be there to see Frank Sinatra circa 1962.
Elegance & Attitude
Lady Gaga comes out in an elegant and stunning evening gown but is oozing attitude from the beginning. She opens with Old Blue Eyes’ Luck Be A Lady, but makes it clear that she’s the Lady of the house. After the song, Gaga talks to the audience about how the American Songbook was her first musical love, and when she proposed doing this show, casino bosses were hesitant, and wanted her to stick to the robot-filled Enigma music.
She then points out that these shows sold out first and faster than Enigma. Take that you automaton-loving casino bosses. Stick to running the craps tables, leave the music to Gaga.
From there she does some more standards, and ends the first set with a fun, piano-only version of Poker Face.
Cher & Cher Alike?
After Poker Face, and two more times during the show, Lady Gaga disappears for about five minutes. A video vignette plays with her describing her love of music, her history with this type of music, etc. Then she reemerges in a fabulous outfit and stunning headgear. It has the feel of a Cher concert. Especially when she opens a set with Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).
It doesn’t feel like a ripoff, it could be an homage. But it definitely isn’t a coincidence. And I’m fine with it. I love Cher and I love Gaga. And believe me, I can be picky with my Divas.
Venerable & Vulnerable
But the heart of this show is Lady Gaga pouring her heart out. As she prepared to sing Someone To Watch Over Me, she addressed her ringless hand. This was the first time she’s publicly mentioned her breakup with former fiancee Christian Carino.
Gaga also talks about her love and admiration for the LGBTQ community before launching into an emotional version of Born This Way for Pride month.
And she closes out the main show with an incredible version of Lush Life and Bad Romance. All her contemporary pop songs are stripped down versions that fit the tone of the show.
This is my fourth Gaga concert, and by far the best of the bunch. Lady Gaga knows who she is, and how she wants the world to see her. 10+ years ago she vowed never to let her fans see her without bizarre costumes and makeup.
But she is at her best now with the mask off, the wounds open, and the heart spilling out. I think it’s good she doesn’t do this show too often, because this kind of emotional vulnerability takes a toll.
If you want to see highlights of her more outrageous days, come early and check out Haus of Gaga. In addition to pimping overpriced (but pretty cool) merchandise, there are also lots of her outfits, including the famous meat dress.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Whiskey. Because that’s what she likes you to taste like when you kiss her. Pucker up!