February 6, 2017

Gaga solo.

The visual balance of those 2 words has me sidetracking into my favorite song from the late George Michael: Wake me up before you gogo/Gaga/I'm not planning on going solo....

Why did Lady Gaga go solo at the Super Bowl last night?

We're used to seeing the big star surrounded by lots of other stars. Last year, Beyoncé got assistance from Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, Gustavo Dudamel, University of California Marching Band and Youth Orchestra L.A. The year before that Katy Perry had Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott, and Arizona State University Sun Devil Marching Band.

When Madonna performed in 2012, she had LMFAO, Cirque du Soleil, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green, Andy Lewis, Avon High School Drumline, Center Grove High School Drumline, Fishers High School Drumline, Franklin Central High School Drumline, Southern University Dancing Dolls, and a 200 Person Choir consisting of Indianapolis locals.

I was going to say that Madonna seems like the closest thing to Gaga, but in Super Bowl halftime terms, she's as far from Gaga as Gaga can get.

We haven't seen a fully solo halftime act since 2010, when The Who performed... and The Who are a group and hence not as fully solo as the solo performer Gaga. And The Who were the last in a line of old-school rock acts that came out and performed like a band in a stadium. The immediately preceding years, in reverse chronological order were Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Prince (who had support from the Florida A&M University Marching 100 Band), The Rolling Stones, and Paul McCartney.

If you take one step further back, you get the notorious halftime show of 2004 when Justin Timberlake ripped Janet Jackson's bodice and exposed one nipple-shielded breast. That show was also crowded with Jessica Simpson, P. Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock, and 2 different marching bands.

So why did Lady Gaga go it alone*? I think it was to show off the extreme energy and athleticism involved. She began perched on the rooftop, courageously dropped on a wire, powered through 13 minutes of song, and ended singing while running upstairs. It was a big brag: I'm stronger than everyone!

Was that about her or about all women? I heard someone assert that it was a "female empowerment" message. Maybe it was about Hillary Clinton. Lady Gaga was a high-visibility supporter of Hillary Clinton's failed run at the presidency. And Hillary Clinton tweeted her support for Gaga's Super Bowl "message."

The very last thing Lady Gaga did in her performance could be interpreted as a statement about Hillary: She fell off her platform.


_______________________________________

* She did have a gang of dancers with her some of the time. I was a bit puzzled by what they were supposed to be in their all-white costumes, which — with strips of fabric hanging off — seemed like bandages. They weren't behaving like mummies, and there were football helmets and shoulder pads, so I wondered if it was some sort of contribution to the football is so dangerous it should be abolished movement.

42 comments:

Larry J said...

I'm not a fan of Lady Gaga but she put on a terrific show.

dbp said...

As Gaga ran up the stairs, I too was hit by how much endurance her performance required. A fair amount of acrobatic and dance ability were evident as well. I don't normally watch the half-time show unless I am a fan of the act, but this one held my attention for the whole duration.

Michael K said...

I didn't watch but it is amusing to compare the left's anti-football message with the results of that game.

Sort of like the election.

Ann Althouse said...

If you watch closely, I bet there were many points where she was catching her breath, and I don't think the dancing was as elaborate as perhaps what we saw in other years -- from Beyonce and Madonna (performers who gave themselves rest periods by handing it off entirely to another performer).

Michael K said...

Now, if the super bowl had run these commercials I might have watched them, and maybe even next year.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

Almost all of my friends and acquaintances were wowed by what she did and grateful for what she didn't do. Just last year we had Beyonce and her inane tribute to the Black Panthers. There was a feeling that if Gaga went negative political it was going to be a last straw of some sort but she opened with a positive patriotic nod and then was simply the superstar that she is.

David said...

" I wondered if it was some sort of contribution to the football is so dangerous it should be abolished movement."

After the check clears though.

Curious George said...

She was gassed at the end. The jump at the end, my son and I laughed. We re-winded and laughed again.

Laslo Spatula said...

She is often compared to Madonna.

After that performance I would say Freddie Mercury is a better comparison.

I mean this as a compliment.

I am Laslo.

AprilApple said...

Crotch grabbing overly sexed garish synchronized dancing needs to fade into embarrassment.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Not a fan of superbowl halftime shows. Not a fan of Gaga. She didn't go political, so she did exceed my expectations. ( My expectations were not because I expected her specifically to be especially political, but because I expect that from entertainers in general. )

Titus said...

She was amazing last night.

Notice the rifles spinning in the back? Drum Corps kids spun them which was cool.

tits.

AprilApple said...

We were not treated to an anti-Trump /Meryl Streep whine/Ashley Judd screed.
America grateful.

Pathetic. We have to hold our breath and pray
the leftwingers who control everything are not going to ruin a half-time performance at at football game. And even as we praise gaga, the background to it all is.... Hillary.

The NFL needs to die.

MayBee said...

I loved it- I think she put on a great show.

I wonder how it felt to jump off the roof. Also, the drones were amazing.

DanTheMan said...

I thought the drones were the best part of the halftime show. Amazing.

Known Unknown said...

She was gassed at the end.

Actual singing (instead of lip synching) will do that to you.



MayBee said...

I'm also a big sap because I was personally happy for her- I think she did what she wanted to do, which was put on a great show that didn't dip the energy of the event.

Farmer said...

I watched about 30 seconds of it with the sound on, then another couple minutes with the sound off. I don't think I've ever heard her before. I was struck by how subpar she was. She's a poor singer, her dancing is labored and unnatural, and she's homely- dog-faced, really - with a gym-sculpted but badly-shaped, unsexy body. I have no problem understanding the popularity of pop stars I don't care for (like Beyonce) but I don't get Lady Gaga's popularity.

GRW3 said...

I loved it, Lady GaGa is a guilty pleasure. The drones were done previously as there was complete flight restriction around Reliant Stadium. So it was a combo thing, live action and recorded. Still, it's very impressive.

traditionalguy said...

The Secrets of Lady Gaga's Life must be really exciting. But the wife and I never saw anything exciting in that show. Her best is still secret. The 1930s Musicals done for MGM by Busby Berkeley were equal or better done.

But I suppose it shows she has guts to go out there and give all she had...whatever it is.

Gusty Winds said...

AprilApple said...

We were not treated to an anti-Trump /Meryl Streep whine/Ashley Judd screed.
America grateful.


By not going off on some over the top, condescending political rant she was actually....original. Something lacking in the current entertainment industry. Maybe she was aware that half the audience (at least American) were Trump voters and didn't want to hear it.

She gained a lot of fans by NOT ranting. It was great marketing for her. If she does want influence, she needs more fans than the fringe left.

She also actually sang, and didn't lip sync. That's original. Elton John was at last night's game. He must have been pleased.

rehajm said...

Maybe she was aware that half the audience (at least American) were Trump voters and didn't want to hear it.

I suspect she was stifle Edith'ed by contractual obligation.

Seeing Red said...

I saw her pre-bowl interview. She extended an olive branch. She basically said we are all Ameticans and I want everyone to enjoy the show.

I wish she had sung "Paparazzi" instead, tho.

William said...

There were some political messages, but they were subtle, almost subliminal. The jumping off the roof took physical courage. If she wasn't lip syncing while suspended by thin wires and doing back flips, then her medal deserves an oak leaf cluster. It was an impressive show. It was a long set, and she sprinted the whole way through it. It's fitting and proper for an entertainer to put on a display of endurance, courage, and physical grace during the Super Bowl. I wouldn't like to see a show like that at a small jazz club, however......I'm not a fan of her music, but she deserves a lot of respect for that show.

Scott McGlasson said...

I heard someone assert that it was a "female empowerment" message.

If it is, it was far, far more effective at projecting strength than Beyonce's FEMINIST sign.

Static Ping said...

I'm glad that the halftime show was good. Unfortunately, I missed it as I did not want to be irritated. My substitute was to watch the Puppy Bowl until football resumed. The Puppy Bowl has yet to let me down. As they say, if you want a friend in Washington you get a dog.

Static Ping said...

I have to agree with Scott McGlasson here. If you want to communicate female empowerment, the best way is to show, not tell. Unfortunately, our current situation is neither show nor tell but bullying demands.

sunsong said...

I love her performance. Wow!

Birches said...

Loved it and loved that it wasn't a menagerie of acts. She was fantastic and I am not a Gaga fan. Also loved that my kids could watch.

EDH said...

Gaga tried to fill the stage and screen with her "fierceness" rather than talent, hers or anyone else's.

FWBuff said...

It was an amazing performance that showcased her wide range of talent (singing, dancing, piano playing, song-writing, orchestrating, showmanship, fearlessness), yet she was respectful of the venue and the audience. She was more focused on entertaining than on grandstanding.

Professional lady said...

I'm not a Lady Gaga fan, but I had to admire her stamina, showmanship, and bravery in doing those acrobatics.

Amexpat said...

Didn't Prince do it solo?

Gaga's performance was very impressive from a physical stamina POV. Artistically it was too rushed and flashy, but I guess that happens with all SB halftimes.

Yancey Ward said...

Laslo wrote:

"She is often compared to Madonna.

After that performance I would say Freddie Mercury is a better comparison.

I mean this as a compliment.
"

Yes, this.

eddie willers said...

Until last year, I only knew her from the gossip pages as once wearing a dress made of meat.

However, I caught the end of a tribute show to Frank Sinatra and she closed the show (literally and figuratively) singing New York, New York.

She came up from beneath the stage wearing a tux and fedora and did a set that would make Judy Garland proud. I learned then that, unlike most "pop" stars, she actually had a set of pipes and a great style. While visually drawing you in, she complete the illusion with doing a straight, and great, version of New York, New York with none of the annoying melisma (warbling) that no one but Aretha Franklin should be allowed to do.

Lady Gaga - New York, New York (Live From Sinatra 100)

By seeing that, I knew she wouldn't mess up a very long career by pissing off half of a hundred million people. When my niece asked, "How was it?" I replied like traditionalguy's Busby Berkeley except I used The Rockettes and the June Taylor dancers instead.

320Busdriver said...

I was never really a fan of hers until I saw her 2015 Oscars tribute to the Sound of Music. That's when I realized just how talented she is.

So I watched her performance last night too. She did not disappoint.

richlb said...

I think you just illustrated why Gaga went solo. Last year Coldplay was the headliner, not Beyonce. Sharing the stage has its risks.

Big Mike said...

it was about Hillary Clinton. Lady Gaga was a high-visibility supporter of Hillary Clinton's failed run at the presidency.

Yes she was. She dressed like a SS storm trooper at one event near the end of the campaign. When called on it, she said something to the effect of "What's a storm trooper?"

Ann Althouse said...

"Didn't Prince do it solo?"

Yes, but what I said was ""We haven't seen a fully solo halftime act since 2010..."

Prince was before that.

"... when The Who performed... and The Who are a group and hence not as fully solo as the solo performer Gaga. And The Who were the last in a line of old-school rock acts that came out and performed like a band in a stadium. The immediately preceding years, in reverse chronological order were Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Prince (who had support from the Florida A&M University Marching 100 Band), The Rolling Stones, and Paul McCartney."

Ann Althouse said...

What Prince did was pretty simple and like a concert performance on the stage, but on the ground there was big Marching Band (strung up with lights in a way that added a lot of visual interest to the big space).

Amexpat said...

Yes, but what I said was ""We haven't seen a fully solo halftime act since 2010..."
Prince was before that.


I was positive it was just a couple of years ago. I checked online and it was 2007. Time is speeding up as I get older.

Jon Ericson said...

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/02/06/media-bash-lady-gaga-not-slamming-trump-super-bowl-halftime-show/