The Music Box

I find it hard to write an unbiased review of this show to be honest. If you know anything about me, you’ll know how big a fan of Lady Gaga I am, and how absolutely ecstatic I was to score a ticket to The Monster Ball at Radio City Music Hall last night. I had jitters before the concert; I haven’t felt that since I was about eighteen.

And, despite the recent health problems and regrettably canceled shows, Lady Gaga definitely gave the good time I was expecting. She’s such a petite young woman, but her personality and presence onstage are certainly bigger than life, and she has no problem filling up the large screens that play such a big part of her stage show.

But, before I wax ridiculous on Lady Gaga anymore, let me take a moment to express my pleasure at another young artist that opened for her. I’m sure most of you have heard the song Whatcha Say on your local radio station – that song that combines Imogen Heap and autotune and adds a whole lot of pop sensibility. It’s sung by the twenty-year old newcomer Jason Derülo, who has also taken part in The Monster Ball. I found him very likable and entertaining. The sincerity with which he said “Thank you so much” between each song when he received a good reception was positively endearing. I also ran into him on the street outside Radio City before doors opened and he was so incredibly polite and soft-spoken.

The first opening act was Semi Precious Weapons. I think that the band was the perfect way to start the night and get everyone paying attention – or at least talking. Loud, proud and incredibly vulgarly blunt, Justin woke the audience up right as they walked into Radio City. He provided a healthy dose of profanity, sexuality, nudity, and alcohol consumption. Which is, quite possibly, everything a good Little Monster (as Lady Gaga’s fans are called) expects from a concert.

Sadly, there are only a few dates left to catch The Monster Ball. I’m sure they’ll all be back on the road fairly soon, however, so go out and catch them if you can!

Lady Gaga’s Setlist
01. Dance in the Dark
02. Just Dance
03. Love Game
04. Alejandro
05. Monster
06. Teeth
07. Speechless
08. MC -interlude- (Pokerface acoustic)
09. The Fame
10. Money Honey
11. Beautiful, Dirty, Rich
12. Boys, Boys, Boys
13. Pokerface
14. Paparazzi
15. Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)
16. Bad Romance

Semi Precious Weapons Official Website
Jason Derülo Official Website
Lady Gaga Official Website

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The last of the shows I saw while I was abroad. I was hesitant to post these because I didn’t get tremendously good pictures, but here are some of the better ones.

Here is the synopsis of the play:

The prince of Salzburg, the employer and protector of Mozart, dies and the Archbishop Colloredo succeeds him. But the new head of Salzburg is an austere authoritarian that hates Mozart and his music. [song: Penser l’Impossible]  Léopold, Mozart’s father, decides to send his son out to conquer Europe, accompanied by his mother.

On the Munich scene, Mozart goes to a tavern where the customers make fun of him and his passion for music. [song: Le trublion] At Mannheim, Mozart meets the Weber sisters. Hypnotized by the voice and the beauty of Aloysia [song: Bim bam boum], he pays little attention to her younger sister Constance, who will later become his wife. But the composer’s sentiments for Aloysia are not returned. Mozart and his mother leave Mannheim to go to Paris. [song: Tatoue-moi] But the Paris scene will be the most cruel of this long and exhausting journal. Mozart suffers failures and humiliations and finally must bury his mother, taken by illness, in the most miserable conditions. Moreover, he learns that Aloysia is about to marry the man she loves.

Upon returning to Salzburg, Mozart encounters boredom day after day following the death of the Empress of Austria. Colloredo, the prince-archbishop of Salzburg, must go to Vienna in order to pay homage to the new emperor Joseph II. He brings with him luggage, servants and… Mozart. Exhausted by the Colloredo’s endless bullying, Mozart resigns and finds himself free in Vienna. He learns that the Weber family is in town and goes to their house for shelter. Aloysia lives off with her husband, and Mozart is finally ready to pay attention to her sister, the beautiful and sensual Constance. [song: Si je défaille] He marries the young girl against the advice of his father [song: Les solos sous les draps] and at the same time writes his first German opera that will command great popular success. But the meteoric rise of Mozart creates much jealousy. Salieri, the court composer, becomes his main rival [song: L’assassymphonie]: he has great admiration for Mozart’s music, but hates his personality. [song: Le bien qui fait mal]

Terrible news will finally sound the death knell for Mozart’s happiness. A letter from Nannerl informs him that his father is about to die. [song: Dors mon ange] Mozart feels guilty and becomes obsessed with his father’s image. Present in the form of the commander in his new opera “Don Giovanni” [song: Quand le rideau tombe], he is also seen as the mysterious stranger who commissioned “Requiem.”

Bit by bit, Mozart loses the favor of the Viennese public and sadly sinks into sickness and poverty at the same time that Salieri, himself, is at the peak of his glory. [song: Victime de ma victoire] But for Salieri the victory is bitter. Full of remorse, he is reproached by Mozart and Constance for offering aid. [song: Vivre à en crever] Mozart enters the pantheon of Eternity still leaving his Requiem unfinished and his last opera “The Magic Flute” brings him once and for all success and recognition.

(taken and translated from the Mozart soundtrack pamphlet)

I would definitely recommend all those who enjoyed the American musical “Rent” to check this out. Also, if you like guys in eyeliner and pink sequin jackets definitely look into it. They’ve been taking down their videos on YouTube for copyright, but check out “Vivre à en crever” from their MySpace here. You can see other videos at their MySpace channel.

(n.b.: I also updated my up-coming concert schedule. Open to change on a whim, as always.)

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