There were no slip-ups for Lady Gaga as she launched the U.S. leg of her new tour at Boston's Wang Theatre on Tuesday night with the first of two sold-out shows.
After a fall on stage in Montreal a week earlier and the October cancellation of her Fame Kills tour with Kanye West -- which she promptly replaced in the calendar with this jaunt, dubbed the Monster's Ball -- Gaga was likely in need of an error-free evening. She delivered that -- and, for better or worse, so much more.
Or did she? The stage set's startling video and 3-D projections often blurred reality, as a gauzy screen between Gaga and the audience made it hard to tell if it was her or merely an image of her that was singing the opening number, "Dance in the Dark."
The 23-year-old continued to play with perception throughout the course of the show.
In one video image Gaga wore a white pleated dress, echoing Marilyn Monroe's famous attire in The Seven Year Itch; then, the sight of a sickly young girl sticking her fingers down her throat and vomiting was superimposed across the singer. It was a disturbing moment, one that was followed by a string of by now ubiquitous high gloss electro-pop hits: "Just Dance," "LoveGame," "Monster," "Teeth," "Paparazzi."
Even a toned down Gaga was a spectacle. She started off performing the reflective ballad "Speechless" alone at the piano, but it wasn't long before she was writhing across the instrument, much to the delight of the sequined darlings in the audience.
Of course, no discussion of Lady Gaga can be complete without a fashion roundup. She spent the show popping in and out of skimpy, strappy, sparkly corsets and barely-there thongs, a pair of stilettos the only constant. Her live band, mostly hidden behind the video screens, offered little visual competition. Neither did her troupe of dancers, who were nimble but mundane in their choreographed motions. (Unfortunately, Lady Gaga's management didn't allow SPIN.com to take photos during the show, but take a look at our Gaga gallery from earlier this year.)
By comparison, when Gaga pumped her hips and kicked her legs, the vigorous movements seemed much more a statement of intent, which, in this case, may be another word for star power.