Lady Gaga, gig review: 'A proudly ridiculous self-creation'

3.00

Annabel’s, London: Gaga proves herself a master of the small club performance during this 150-capacity Christmas party

As it becomes increasingly tricky to grasp how the meaning behind Lady Gaga’s purportedly high concept, definitely hysterically funny media pantomime relates to her actual music, it’s nice to get a lucky chance to see her going back to basics.

Exclusive West End private members club Annabel’s might  seem an odd place to do it, but Gaga, “the little glam engine that could” as she describes herself this evening, cut her teeth doing burlesquey spots in New York nightclubs.

And you can hardly accuse one who plays so much on celebrity and commerciality in her lyrics of selling out for doing a 150-capacity Christmas party sponsored by the Belvedere vodka brand in the company of the likes of Adele, Emma Watson and Jessie J. (Plus, half the profits of  said vodka go to support the fight against HIV, a cause close to her heart.)

When the stars are finished their sit-down meal, Gaga materialises at a side door, tiny frame teetering on enormous gold glitter boots under a Sun King- style blonde curly wig, all sequins and taffeta. She pauses behind the door for a second, crossing herself before prowling out to the cosmic disco strains of ‘Artpop’.

The lush, low-key Goldfrappish glimmer is offset uncannily by Gaga’s marionette moves and deliberately hammy horror grimaces. The key line: “I try to sell myself, but I am really laughing/Because I just love the music not the bling”.

And she certainly has both sense of humour and serious musical chops. The four tracks played tonight are interspersed with camply catty banter that proves her master of this kind of club performance as well as all-singing all-dancing stadium extravaganzas. “Hello rich people, hello!” she coos. “It’s just a joke, I do that every time I come here. I will be passing around a hat, as I am extremely poor…  I need some more fucking feathers for my hat.”

She earns some hefty tips with a stripped-down jazzy piano version of ‘Poker Face’ similar to that on 2009’s ‘The Cherrytree Sessions’ EP. Laid bare, it’s clear what an astounding voice she has, and what a playfully confident reinterpreter of her own work she is - it’s the sort of moment that makes it impossible to ever quite write her off as the Emperor’s new meat dress, that Newsnight interview notwithstanding.

She stays on the piano for ‘Dope’ from the new album, describing it as a bit of a downer”. A powerfully emotional ballad of beating addiction for love, it’s heavy, dark and frankly personal. “Judging by all the booze in here tonight, I’m guessing one or two of you will relate to this song,”Gaga notes wryly. “Don’t cry, it will fuck up your makeup.”

She closes with a solo stomp through R Kelly duet ‘Do What You Want’, cracking out an impressive rock growl. Then, stopping only for a little chat with Sting on the way out, she is gone, a proudly ridiculous self-creation who’ll keep us on our toes for a while yet.

Setlist:

Artpop

Poker Face

Dope

Do What You Want

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions