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Posts tagged ‘Staples Center’

Katy Perry: Pop Perfection

Katy Perry in Concert
Friday, November 10, 2017
Staples Center

Witness — The Tour 2017

Special guest: Purity Ring

Merchandise purchased: T-Shirt

Songs performed: Heartsigh, Repetition, Obedear, Push Pull, Asido, Bodyache, Flood on the Floor, Fineshrine, Begin Again (Purity Ring); Act I “In The Space” (Video Introduction), Witness, Roulette, Dark Horse, Chained to the Rhythm (Hot Chip Remix outro), Act II Act My Age (Video Interlude), Teenage Dream, Hot N Cold, Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.), California Gurls, I Kissed a Girl, Act III “Celestial Body” (Video Interlude) Déjà Vu, Tsunami, E.T., Bon Appétit (Contains elements of “What Have You Done for Me Lately”), Act IV Mind Maze (Video Interlude), Thinking of You, Power, Act V “Motorcyclist” (Video Interlude), Hey Hey Hey, Part of Me, Swish Swish, Roar (Contains elements of “Hard Knock Life”), Firework

katy-perry-witness-ticketsComments: Katy Perry brought her latest pop spectacle to the Los Angeles area — Witness: The Tour. It was behind her 4th album of the same name from earlier this year. Coming off huge previous albums and tours, expectations were high for the new project. Then the first single came out “Chained to the Rhythm” — billed by Katy herself as “purposeful pop.” Despite the sunny exterior of the song, it was really about disillusionment about the 2016 Presidential election. The album came out, and people were underwhelmed by it (myself included). Had Katy lost her edge or at least the public’s attention?

When I heard about the tour, I definitely wanted to go. Her last tour “Prismatic” was fantastic! Would she top herself on this tour? The answer is no she didn’t. But she did give us a high-energy, hit-packed evening that showed she is still going strong.

The show was broken into 5 different segments or Acts. And each act had different costumes, staging and choreography. The back of the stage was a giant video screen in the shape of an eye. In fact, before she came on, a eye was projected on the screen moving around and blinking. She got the crowd revved up by playing a bunch of songs from the 1980’s including INXS and Michael Jackson.

The first song of the night was the title track off of “Witness.” Katy came on stage atop a lighted futuristic vehicle, and she was dressed as a golden warrior. The bulk of the show was songs from the new album, 9 in all. And I have to admit that some of them are finally starting to grow on me. I think they sounded better live than on record.

She was aided by a top-notch backing band, and a troupe of mostly female dancers. There were a few men who came out and acted more as acrobats than dancers during a few select numbers.

Katy gave her fans the spectacle that they wanted. There were lights, lasers, dancers, acrobats, large puppets, crazy and sexy costumes, set changes with giant inflatable set-pieces (like a lion’s head for “Roar”) and more. The stage had one large catwalk that went out into the arena, as well as small stage that looked like a teardrop.

Some of the most memorable moments for me were the choreography during “Dark Horse,” the whole segment of songs from “Teenage Dream”; A large alien-like creature crawling across the stage during “E.T.”; Katy soaring above the crowd on a planet across the arena (with other planets hanging down) on “Thinking of You”; the addition of Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately” to the end of “Bon Appetit”; the staging of “Swish Swish” with large basketball hoop and a dance routine on some trampolines; the sexy male acrobat doing a pole dance during “Tsunami;” and the anthemic 1-2 punch of “Roar” and “Firework” for the finale.

Katy had definitely put on a fun and energetic set reminding us of how great an entertainer she is. And I can’t forget the vocals too, she sounds as good live as on record.

Opening act Purity Ring was an electronic dance duo of 1 guy and 1 girl. The guy played percussion in a lighted igloo of sorts, while the woman sang and moved about. They had a very nice light show, with lights flipping all around the stage. I actually liked their music, though I am not so sure about their commercial prospects. The female reminded me some of Elle Goulding.

Thanks to Katy and her crew for another fun concert. I look forward to her next project.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.


Keith Urban: Rockin the Country

Keith Urban in Concert
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Staples Center

Ripcord Tour 2016

Special guests: Maren Morris and Brett Eldredge

Songs performed: Gone Tomorrow (Here Today), Long Hot Summer, Break on Me, Where the Blacktop Ends, Making Memories of Us, Gimme Shelter, Somewhere in My Car, Blue Ain’t Your Color, Gettin’ in the Way, You Gonna Fly, Days Go By, We Were Us (with Maren Morris), Cop Car, Sun Don’t Let Me Down (With Nile Rodgers), The Fighter, You Look Good in My Shirt, Somebody Like You (with Brett Eldredge), John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 (Jack & Diane, No Woman, No Cry), Wasted Time, But for the Grace of God, Stupid Boy, Raise ‘Em Up

keith-urban-ripcord-2016-tour-dates-tickets-infoComments: Keith Urban brought his Ripcord World Tour to the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The tour is named after his 9th studio album of the same name. He performed 7 songs from that album, plus a lot of his hits from throughout his career.

What’s cool about Keith is what a showman he is. He’s got the rock star good looks and tattoos. He is an excellent guitar player and banjo player too.

The stage had large video screens on the back of the stage. Plus there was a small stage on the other side of the arena that they used for a few numbers also.

He pulled one girl from the audience to duet with him. She had a sign that read “I need to sing with you to pass my final.” Keith asked her what song she wanted to sing and she said the Rolling Stone’s song “Gimme Shelter” (which Keith recorded with Alicia Keys). She was really going for it, even though her voice was just OK.

Both opening acts showed up in the show too. Maren Morris dueted with him on “We Were Us”; and Brett Eldredge came out with Keith on the small stage and sang “Somebody Like You.” Keith and his band actually made their way across the floor to the small stage, shaking hands and hi-fives when they could.

Keith’s music has gotten much more pop leaning in recent years. Not that there is anything wrong with that, cause that’s what’s popular on country radio. One of the highlights of the night was the encore, when Keith came out and did 2 songs with just him and his guitar: But for the Grace of God and Stupid Boy. He should do a whole concert unplugged!

The first opening act of the evening was Maren Morris. She broke through big time this year with her hit “My Church.” She definitely has a good voice. But she hasn’t developed her stage presence yet. I am sure she will develop it with more touring.

The second opening act was Brett Eldredge. I was impressed with him. He is touring behind his 2nd album “Illinois”. The crowd seemed to dig him as much as I do. This is probably the last time he’s an opener. He’s got a nice voice and a bunch of catchy songs — so don’t be surprised to be hearing more from him.

Thanks to Keith and his band for a great evening.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Kelly Clarkson — Still Our “Idol”

Kelly Clarkson in Concert
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Staples Center

Special guests: Abi Ann, Eric Hutchinson, Pentatonix

Piece by Piece Tour 2015

Merchandise purchased: T-Shirt

Songs performed: Problem, Telephone, Cheerleader, Rather Be, Can’t Sleep Love, Aha!, Michael Jackson, On My Way Home, Daft Punk (Pentatonix); Dance with Me, My Live Would Suck Without You, Catch My Breath, Nostalgic, Mr. Know It All, Invincible, Piece by Piece, Tightrope, Take You High, Behind These Hazel Eyes, Because of You, Breakaway, My Funny Valentine, Cool for the Summer, Sober, Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You), Heartbeat Song, Walk Away/Uptown Funk, Bang Bang, Miss Independent, Since U Been Gone (Kelly)

Comments: American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson made a triumphant return to the Los Angeles concert scene at the Staples Center the other night. She is touring behind her 6th studio album “Piece by Piece.” She had taken a few years off to get married and have a baby.Kelly Clarkson

Kelly is one of those artists that can sign just about anything in my opinion: rock, pop, soul, country, ballads, dance, etc. “Dance with Me” was the opening number, most recently featured in ads for this past season of “Dancing with the Stars.” It was the first of 7 songs off her most recent album.

The stage itself had a cool accordion partition that surrounded it, that could either be open, or closed with smaller video screens on it. And it was used to show supplemental footage during the show. So the backdrop was basically a wall of lights and colors. This was not a show big on special effects or stunts… when you have a voice like Kelly’s you don’t need them! Her voice is the special effect! Not many people have the range or power of her voice.

Besides the new album, the show contained all 5 singles off her landmark 2nd album “Breakaway,” as well as songs off of every one of her regular studio albums. What is remarkable is how many anthems the girl has in her song catalog at this point: Miss Independent, Stronger, Behind These Hazel Eyes, Because of You and more.

During the middle part of the show, she sang a few songs in stripped down arrangements, with just her and a piano accompanist. One of these was the title track “Piece by Piece.” She broke down and missed some of the lyrics as she sang it… and then said… I am so totally pregnant! What? Congratulations to Kelly and her husband… nice that she felt comfortable to share that with her fans in such a big way.

“Sober” was the Kelly Clarkson classic for the night…. those songs that might not have been hits, but are still good songs. She chose to cover her friend, Demi Lovato’s new single, “Cool for the Summer” as her cover song for the night. A tall guy with fuschia colored hair was previous chosen to come on stage for the open mic spot and he sang “My Funny Valentine.” Good vocals, if not the best song choice in my opinion.

She brought back Pentatonix to sing “Heartbeat Song” with her. The highlight for the evening for me had to be the mashup of “Walk Way” and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk.” I just thought that was incredible. “Walk Away” is such a fun and sassy song, and to put it with one of the biggest hits of the year was genius.

Kelly has so many great songs, you know some had to be left out… the most shocking omission for me was ‘Don’t You Wanna Stay” her duet with Jason Aldean.

Abi Ann was the first opening act. A country pop girl with a decent voice. She sang 3 cover songs (Taylor Swift, the Band Perry, Miranda Lambert) in her set of 5 songs. He single was her answer to the bro country movement, how she didn’t want to be “Truck Candy.” Next up was Eric Hutchinson. He was very good, and reminded me of a pop-rock singer songwriter type like Gavin DeGraw or Andy Grammer. He had a very soulful and powerful voice. He played both keyboards and guitar in his set. I definitely want to hear more from this guy. I liked that fact that his stage banner read “Eric Hutichinson is pretty good”… he was more than that to me.

The final opening act was the acapella group Pentatonix. They are the group that came to fame off “The Sing Off” as well as their YouTube videos. They added a staircase on the stage, which they sat and sang on in their set. Their vocals were excellent… the 4 guys and one girl, add up to one satisfying sound mix. It seems like 2 of them do mostly the backgrounds, with the 3 others taking turns as leads. The crowd was really into them and gave them a lot of love. I can only see bigger things happening for them.

I would have dropped Abi Ann in my opinion… she came across as not quite sure of herself still as to what type of artist she wants to be.

Kelly let her backup singers do most of the leads on “Bang Bang” — the Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj song. She came out in the last verse and sang some of it. Then it was the 1-2 punch of “Miss Independent” and “Since U Been Gone” to close out the night! Kelly had wowed us with her voice, as well as endeared us with her relatibility too… she is one of us, and she seems like a really nice person too. Thanks to Kelly and her band for a fun night!

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Katy Perry Shines on Prismatic Tour

Katy Perry in Concert
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Staples Center

Special guests: Ferras, Tegan and Sara

Prismatic World Tour 2014

Merchandise purchased: T-shirt, program

Songs performed: Roar, Part of Me, Wide Awake, This Moment, Love Me, Dark Horse, E.T., Legendary Lovers, I Kissed a Girl, Hot N Cold, International Smile, Vogue, By the Grace of God, The One That Got Away/Thinking of You, Legends Never Die (with Ferras), Unconditionally, Walking on Air, It Takes Two, This Is How We Do/Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.), Teenage Dream, California Gurls, Birthday, Firework 

Comments: Katy Perry showed all the facets in her prism in a fantastic show at the Staples Center this past weekend. You name it this show had it… great staging and lighting, outrageous costumes, dancing, fireworks, acrobatics and more! Did I mention that she sang hit after hit after hit? In 6 short years, she has racked up an amazing 13 Top Ten hits, including 7 number ones.

Katy came on around 9:15 PM. She emerged from a pyramid near the front of the stage. She launched into her #1 smash “Roar”. Her dancers were dressed as pseudo Mayan warriors in neon colors with lighted mohawks and lighted spears. There was a huge screen at the back of the stage, and 2 video screens on the sides. The front of the stage formed a “V” which went to about the middle of the arena. People were standing in the party pit, like at other recent tours by Lady GaGa and Madonna. She was dressed in a short party dress, with a crop top — it reminded me a little of Sporty Spice from the Spice Girls. She even had a jump rope break down, where the lights went done and you just had the accents in color on the costumes.

“Part of Me” and “Wide Awake” quickly followed the opening number. The version of “Wide Awake” was a dance remix of the original. She fit in 12 songs from her most recent album “Prism” into the night. During “Part of Me” she used the sides of the V — which had moving platforms on it. So she looked like she was running in place.

There was an elevated triangular platform that Katy performed on during “Wide Awake.” Two new songs “This Moment” and “Love Me” closed out the first portion of the show. The band was hidden for the first few numbers, but then was shown near the back of the stage later on.

The next segment had her adopting an Egyptian look and feel for “Dark Horse”— another of her #1 songs. She came out riding a mechanical horse operated by 2 people. The video screen showed Juicy J doing the rap for the song. “E.T.” from “Teenage Dream” was up next. There were 3 of the dancers, 2 women, and 1 man, doing some acrobatics in a rotating apparatus over the stage. It looked very cool. And Katy ended up being suspended and rotated under near the end of the song (like she was being abducted by an alien spacecraft). Some of the songs on the “Prism” CD definitely have world music influences. One of these “Legendary Lovers” had her considering some hot male dancers (one black and one white) who were dressed in Roman skirts with bondage inspired harnesses. She definitely had quite a choice between those 2 beautiful men. “I Kissed a Girl”, her first hit, closed out this segment of the show. She did a dance routine with a bunch of women dressed as mummies with exaggerated butts and breasts. The guitar players flew over the stage on wires near the end of the song shooting fireworks from the ends of their guitars.

Kitty Purry… had the lead on the next segment. We were treated to a video of cats doing interesting things… and then Katy and her crew came out in cat costumes (reminiscent of “Cats”) for a Broadway style version of “Hot N Cold.” There was a giant ball of yarn and scratching posts on the sides. Another new song “International Smile” got combined with Madonna’s “Vogue” with Katy and the dancers having costumes on top of their cat costumes… strutting the runway back and forth down the V. Madonna has clearly inspired her among others, so it was cool that she had that in her show.


Finally taking a break from all the uptempo numbers, Katy came down front for a stripped down segment. She talked about her early days performing at Hotel Café. She also talked about her love of music, and seeing other shows at Staples over the years and sitting in the cheap seats. She performed “By the Grace of God” which talks about going through a tough time in life and getting past it. She was accompanied by one keyboard player. A few more of her ballads followed: “The One That Got Away” and ‘Thinking of You.”

Ferras, one of her opening acts, came out and performed one of his songs with Katy — “Legends Never Die.” He is the first act signed to Katy’s new record label. He has a nice voice and they sounded good together. For “Unconditionally”, Katy put on a hat with a butterfly opening and closing its sings on it. The dress she was wearing become very large, and had her elevated above the stage. It had a ying yang pattern to the dress. Crew members came out and were flying colorful butterfly kites on wires as she sang the song. It made for a beautiful visual.

To get us into the home stretch of the show, she had a DJ spin some classic 90’s dance tunes (Everbody Everybody, Gonna Make You Sweat, Pump Up the Jam, Finally and more). Audience members were encouraged to get up and dance for the dance cam that focused in on various crowds and individuals that were having a good time. The song she came back with was “Walking on Air” — her tribute to 90’s dance songs. She even did a little walking on air too , with Katy rising over the party pit on wires, while the dancers waved a big sheet of fabric over the crowd. She also had the dancers wrap sheets of fabric around her body, as large fans helped to create interesting shapes with the fabric. The costumes were all sort of day-glo and funky during this number.

For “This is How We Do,” the latest single off of “Prism”, she had an inflatable car that carried her and her posse around the perimeter of the V. Large balloons (6 in total: dookie, lipstick, taco, purse, and 2 others) were shown around the arena for added flavor. A small portion of “Last Friday Night (T.G.I. F.)” got mixed in the middle of the song.

It was all hits all the way to the end… “Teenage Dream” followed by “California Gurls”. The crowd was singing and dancing along the whole time. The letters of the Hollywood sign were used as part of the stage decoration for “California Gurls”.

“Birthday” off of “Prism” was the first encore. Another high-energy number, that had Katy pulling one lucky fan out of the audience whose birthday was this month, and having her sit on top of a huge birthday cake. The dancers had large candle sticks, that they were doing acrobatic moves on. Then, Katy flew all around the arena holding a handful of balloons — it was an excellent visual trick. Balloons fell down from the ceiling near the end of the song. What a fun number this was!

I can’t believe the song wasn’t a bigger hit. I have a theory why she has had only 2 #1’s off of “Prism” versus the 5 from “Teenage Dream.” Radio is still playing hits from “Teenage Dream”! I hear “Firework, “Teenage Dream” and “California Gurls” all the time still… and there is only room for so many Katy songs with radio’s tight playlists these days!

“Firework” was the finale song. I am thinking she wants this to be her signature song, and what a good choice for one. I love this song and what it says, and it has touched so many people’s lives who didn’t fit in growing up. It was presented in “Prism-Vision”… you were given some special glasses when you came in. They gave you an extra sparkle or starburst as you were watching all the lights and fireworks. I tried them during some other numbers and it worked then too. Katy went back in the pyramid and it closed back up on her… signaling the end of the show.

Katy had 2 opening acts: Ferras and Tegan & Sara. Both LGBT recording artists. Ferras is the first act signed to Katy’s imprint label on Capitol Records. I missed most of his set, but thought he had a nice voice. Interesting personal style w/ his haircut and clothes. Tegan & Sara have had a couple of hits this past year, “Everything is Awesome” (from “The Lego Movie”) and “Closer.” I look forward to hearing more from both acts.

Of all the recording artists from the last 10 years, Katy is the one I probably identify with the most and feel an emotional connection with. (I still love Lady GaGa and Rihanna, but I can’t say I feel the same connection to them as I do Katy). Thanks to Katy, her band and dancers for a fun, fantastic and memorable evening. I know this is the show of the year… I can’t see anyone topping this event.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

The BET Experience (Day 3)

The BET Experience (Day 3)
Starring: R. Kelly, New Edition, the Jacksons
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Staples Center

Songs performed: Bump & Grind, Fiesta, When a Woman’s Fed Up, Ignition, I Believe I Can Fly, Step in the Name of Love (R. Kelly); If It Isn’t Love, You’re Not My Kind of Girl, Hit Me Off, Jealous Girl, Is This the End, Popcorn Love, Candy Girl, Mr. Telephone Man, My My My, Roni, When Will I See You Smile Again, Sensitivity, Can You Stand the Rain, Boys to Men, My Prerogative, Do Me/Poison (New Edition); Can You Feel It, Blame It on the Boogie, I Wanna Be Where You Are, Rock With You, Show You the Way to Go, Lovely One, I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save, Never Can Say Goodbye, All I Do Is Think Of You, I’ll Be There (the Jacksons)BET Experience

Comments: The LA Live Complex in downtown Los Angeles was the home of the inaugural BET Experience: a music, arts and cultural festival (plus awards show) that took over the Nokia Theatre, Club Nokia and the Staples Center.

The show time on the ticket was 7:00 PM; but the show didn’t start until 8:50 PM. Up first was R. Kelly.  Celebrating 25 years in the business, he was a favorite of many in the crowd that night. He was definitely the artist I was least familiar with on this evening. I know the big pop hits like “I Believe I Can Fly” and “I am Your Angel” but not too much of his R&B slow jams. So, I can’t say he made me a fan that night. His music is much more sexual than I realized. He was pretty foul-mouthed too when talking to the crowd. While some of his songs may not be my cup of tea, I appreciate that he is a good performer. Many of his songs were put into medleys in order to fit as many as possible into his set. I did hear his recent retro-inspired album ”Write Me Back” and enjoyed it. But that didn’t make the show. He saved my 2 favorites from him for the finales: “I Believe I Can Fly,” and “Step in the Name of Love.” I missed having the choir on “I Believe I Can Fly” but it is still a great song — it even won him a few Grammys.

The stage rotated around, and revealed the set-up for the next band. There was a DJ to warm up the crowd for New Edition. They came on in a few minutes. They were all dressed in tuxes. New Edition came out of Boston in the 1980’s — they were the “new edition” of the Jacksons. Would Bobby Brown be there? Turns out yes. He had to get a separate entrance, after the first number — “If It Isn’t Love.” They then took us through group and solo hits from the last 30 years (Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill solo songs, plus Bell Div Devoe songs too). They commented on how it was a honor to be on the same bill as their heroes — The Jacksons. The guys still have some good moves and vocal chops too. Bobby is lucky that he has the other guys to fill in his vocals (He was never the best vocalist in the group anyway). The too biggest surprises in their set were “When Will I See You Smile Again” with Ricky Bell on lead vocals for a BBD track and “Roni” from Bobby’s break-through “Don’t Be Cruel” album. I would definitely see them in their own show.

It was 11:15 PM by the time the Jacksons took the stage. The surviving members of the Jackson 5: Marlon, Tito, Jackie and Jermaine. They were decent actually, pretty good overall. But, there was something missing, and we all know it. No matter how hard they try, they can’t fill in for Michael. I felt a bit sad watching them, because I had seen them back in the day. And now here they were playing at the same place Michael was rehearsing for the “This Is It” shows and where they had his funeral. “Rock with You” was the only solo Michael number that was featured in their set. They even seem to have appropriated some of Michael’s moves in the show.

I question who arranged the order of the acts for the night. To me, it should have been the opposite of what it was. I would have put the Jacksons first, followed by New Edition and then R. Kelly. The Jacksons may have almost 50 years together, but to me they are rebuilding themselves as a foursome. They need to record some new music and not rely so heavily on the past. The crowd actually got smaller as the evening went on. Based on the audience, most people were there for R. Kelly. Some stayed for New Edition, others left. Even more left after New Edition, as well as during the Jacksons set (But that could have been due to the late show, and Monday being a work day for most). Don’t get why we had to wait 1 hour and 50 minutes for the show to start to begin with. And wouldn’t it have been cool for the acts to interact with one another? Imagine the Jacksons and New Edition doing “Dancing Machine” or all the acts at the end together for “Man in the Mirror.”

I am used to being at Staples Center shows with bigger production values. Some dancers, moving stages, pyrotechnics, etc. We got none of that on this night. Considering this was a one-off performance for all the acts, it was not surprising though.

Thanks to all for an enjoyable evening of urban entertainment. Hopefully the BET Experience producers will take notes on what worked and what didn’t and improve the weekend for next year’s version.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Weird, Wonderful Lady GaGa

Lady GaGa in Concert
Monday, January 21, 2013
Staples Center

Born This Way Ball

Special guests: Lady Starlight, Madeon

Songs performed: Highway Unicorn (Road to Love), Government Hooker, Born This Way, Black Jesus + Amen Fashion, Bloody Mary, Bad Romance, Judas, Fashion of His Love, Just Dance, Love Game, Telephone, Hair, Electric Chapel, Heavy Metal Lover, Bad Kids, The Queen, You and I, Born This Way (reprise), Americano, Poker Face, Alejandro, Paparazzi, Scheiße, The Edge of Glory, Marry the Night

Comments: Lady GaGa brought her weird, wonderful and energetic show to the Staples Center the other night. The evening was part of her year-long world tour in support of her 2nd full-length album “Born This Way.” She may have taken a few hits in the media and on the charts, but her little monsters were out in full force and ate up every minute of it.Lady GaGa

The show lasted almost 2.5 hours, and the crowd was standing/dancing for most of it. Not as many costumes in the audience as when I first saw her, there was still a good amount of people dressed up. As well as people of all ages too. GaGa herself had somewhere between 14-17 outfits in this show, but did not include the gun bra that was reported at some tour stops.

The lights went down and revealed the stage set — a Medieval castle with turrets, stairways, walkways and different levels. Some of the band members were up high playing their instruments. A parade proceeded to come from back stage, out to the main stage and down the walkway around the party pit. Lady GaGa entered on a large horse, that was moved along by 2 people inside it. Band members and dancers were also in this parade as well as people carrying flags. The first song was “Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)”. From the first sung words, it was obvious the crowd was going to really be into it.

One of the early highlights of the show was “Born This Way.” Her song of self-acceptance that has become an anthem for many: gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, or just plain different. She appeared atop a large pregnant belly, with a women’s legs and private parts shooting out the dancers, as if they were being born. After everyone was ‘born’, she took the front of the stage to lead her troupe through one of many high-energy and video-ready performances of the night.

Religious imagery played a big part in the next segment of the show. “Black Jesus + Amen Fashion” had one of her dancers playing black Jesus with a crown of thorns.  For “Bloody Mary” she and 2 of her backup singers, were seen riding on motorized platforms of sorts, with her standing very tall. These platforms maneuvered the walkway too. For “Bad Romance” she brought back the egg entrance that she used on the Grammy Awards. The crowd was dancing along with their paws in the air.

During “Fashion of His Love” she played the keytar, and she also played the guitar and the piano during the show too. The castle set actually could open up, and you could see inside parts of it. This is where the other band members were on the first floor. She used the 2nd floor as sort of a bedroom/vanity area.

Some of the best vocals of the night came during “Hair” and “Electric Chapel.” It was just GaGa in a leather outfit rocking out with the band. Not to mention the ballad segment of “You and I” and “Born This Way (Reprise).” Before the reprise, she was on the phone talking to a contest winner from Virgin Mobile, one of the tour sponsors. It was a gay man, who was engaged to another man. She invited them back stage, and donated to a gay homeless shelter in his honor. This Lady puts her money where her mouth is.

“Americano” had GaGa hanging from a meat hook, along with slabs of beef. This was another high-energy dance routine, that even had her lounging on a meat sofa. For “Poker Face” there were meat grinders on stage, with legs sticking out. So the dancers could go into and out of them.

During costume changes, there was a talking face, sort of a stylized alien version of GaGa. It was housed in a neon diamond shape. The face actually “sang” the first half of “Paparazzi” before GaGa herself appeared.

The story line of this show didn’t quite make sense to me. Lady GaGa had a long speech about being an alien, not a man, not a woman. “I am you, and you are me. I am the best part and worst part of who you are. She wanted to strive to become the pop star that we deserved.” And with the talking face and G.O.A.T., I was a little bit like huh?

But considering how elaborate each number was, it was like every song had it’s own little music video: different sets, costumes, etc. The band was very tight, and the dancers were all amazing including Mark from “So You Think You Can Dance.” Some of the memorable costumes included something that looked like the alien from “Alien” for “Government Hooker” as well when she came out as the motorcycle from the “Born This Way” album cover.

I identified much more with her speech about self-acceptance. She started by saying that she was waiting tables just 5 years ago. And then she took to stripping to pay the bills. She said isn’t it ironic — I’m the highest paid stripper in the world now? She emphasized that you need to follow your dream and go for it. How when you stop giving a fuck, that is when your life soars. I couldn’t agree more.

“Scheiße” was the last big production number, with GaGa and the dancers executing a fantastic dance number. For the encores, things were dialed down some. “The Edge of Glory” was sung as a ballad first, then the regular uptempo version with GaGa walking around the different parts of the castle. For “Marry the Night” she was down front on the walkway, and pulled 7 fans out of the crowd to share the stage with her. Telling them this was there night too and she wouldn’t be her without them. It was a quieter version of the song too, not like the album version.

Opening acts for the evening were Lady Starlight and Madeon. Lady Starlight was a strange drag queen that played keyboards and electronic noise as far as I was concerned. Madeon was a DJ who had some interesting Euro-techno songs.

Thanks to Lady GaGa, the band, the dancers and the crew for a great evening. It was quite a spectacle for the senses.

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Hiking in the Spirit and the Kilt Man line. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Madonna: Still Wowing Us

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Staples Center

MDNA Tour 2012

Special guest: Martin Solveig

Songs performed: Gregorian Chant Virgin Mary Intro, Girl Gone Wild, Revolver, Gang Bang, Papa Don’t Preach, Hung Up, I Don’t Give A, Best Friend/Heartbeat 
(interlude), Express Yourself/Born This Way/She’s Not Me, Give Me All Your Luvin’, Turning Up the Hits 
(interlude), Turn Up the Radio, Open Your Heart, Holiday, Masterpiece, Justify My Love (interlude), Vogue, Candy Shop/Erotica, Human Nature, Like a Virgin, Love Spent, Nobody Knows Me 
(interlude), I’m Addicted, I’m a Sinner, Like a Prayer, Celebration

Comments: Madonna brought her 9th tour, in support of her 12th studio album “MDNA”, to Staples Center last night for a 2-night engagement on a world tour.  Madonna’s shows are much more than a  typical rock concert. They engage, confront and entertain you as the night goes on. The different segments of the show are Transgression, Prophecy, Masculine/Feminine and Celebration.Madonna MDNA Tour

Thirty years into her career, Madonna shows no signs of slowing down or playing to the masses. She is a superstar and the queen of pop. She definitely gives her fans a big bang for their bucks. You will be wowed/enthralled by one of the consummate entertainers of our generation.

Starting late at 10:15 PM, the lights finally went down and the show began.  From where I was sitting, you could see Madonna walking up to the stage from the back of the arena.  Monks came out and started ringing a bell. Then a giant incense burner was raised and swung out over the crowd. Three men dressed as high priests were raised up on stage and began chanting. Madonna’s voice intro from “Girl Gone Wild” was played, leading into the song itself. She was shown in silhouette, and then she broke the glass she was behind with a  rifle , and marched out in a black suit. As the song kicked into high gear, the monks began to show more skin revealing chiseled male dancers, in tights and high heels like in the video.


J Lo and Enrique: Latin Pop Royalty

Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias in Concert
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Staples Center

Special guest: Frankie J

Songs performed: Tonight (I’m Loving You), I Like How it Feels, Dirty Dancer, No Me Digas Que No, Bailamos, Stand By Me, Ring My Bells, Hero, Be with You, Escape, I Like It, Tonight (I’m Fucking You)  (Enrique Iglesias); Get Right, Love Don’t Cost a Thing, I’m into You, Waiting for Tonight, Goin’ In, I’m Real/All I Have/Ain’t It Funny, Jenny from the Block, Baby I Love You (video), Hold It Don’t Drop It, If You Had My Love, Until it Beats No More, Let’s Get Loud, Papi, On the Floor, Dance Again, Follow the Leader (w/ Wisin & Yandel) (Jennifer Lopez)

Comments: Latin pop royalty Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez played to a packed house at Staples Center. Both are coming off good years as far as their careers are concerned. This is definitely one of the hottest shows you will see this year.J Lo and Enrique Tour 2012

Opening act Frankie J was decent. He replaced previously announced act, Wisin & Yandel, who backed out of the tour due to concerns about set length. He did a cover of Extreme’s “More Than Words.” And sang a new song in Spanish.

Enrique Iglesias was up next. I had seen Enrique before back on the “Escape” tour as well as meeting him at an autograph signing. He has improved his stage presence since I last saw him. He was running around the stage and working the crowd. He picked a guy out of the crowd and sang with and to him on Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” He said it was the first song he loved to sing when he was a kid. Turns out the guy was gay and liked another guy in the audience. They also took a shot of rum before the song (the brand that Enrique shills for “Atlantico”). “I Like How it Feels” another recent collaboration with Pibull was played as well as the album track “Ring My Bells” from his flop “Insomniac” album. He must like Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” because they played an extended intro to “Be With You” that featured that song. For “Hero”, he was on a small stage on the opposite side of the main stage. He pulled a girl out of the crowd to sing to her. Turns out she was married, but she had  a ”Hall Pass” for the night, and kept hugging him. Enrique wanted the crowd to surround the stage more, but Staples security was not letting that happen, despite a few pleas from Enrique. They had the disco ball overhand for lighting. Behind the main stage were 3 large horizontal video screens, which displayed graphic elements to highlight the songs. There were a lot of lasers and smoke effects during his show. He shot off confetti cannons during the “Escape” number. I wish he had done “Rhythm Divine,“ but he didn’t that night. Usher was shown on video for the duet of “Dirty Dancer.” “I Like It” was the highlight of his set.  And they launched a bunch of big balloons for the crowd to bounce around during “I Like It.” I am glad that he sang the dirty version of ‘Tonight (I’m Loving You).” That is the version I am more familiar with. I had to laugh when I saw a little girl with a homemade sign coming into the venue that had “Enrique” in a big heart, with the words on the outside of the sign saying “Tonight, I’m Loving You.” Did the parents not know about the dirty version? He is a solid entertainer for sure…. But he’s got nothing on Jennifer. Remember how Enrique was going to tour with Britney Spears in 2011, but said he didn’t want to be anyone’s opening act? He was this time for Jennifer.


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