Lady Gaga Closes Roseland Ballroom: Concert Review

Lady Gaga Performing at Roseland Ballroom Late Night - P 2014
Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Lady Gaga Performing at Roseland Ballroom Late Night - P 2014

A seven-day residency by the consummate show-woman proved a fitting end to the famed venue's 95-year legacy.

Seated at a piano adorned in sky-high blonde hair, sunglasses, and an outfit that would rival Jane Fonda's iconic Barbarella ensemble, Lady Gaga took a moment to honor her co-star for the evening: the Roseland Ballroom.

"I love my life; I love this Roseland," she sang, as she turned her anthem "Born This Way" into a quiet celebration of the famed New York City venue which accepted music as art forms in every genre -- be it rock, rap, big-band balladeers or pop stars -- into its storied halls for 95 years.

"Before I came out here, I was sitting in my dressing room, and I had tears coming down my face," Gaga told the crowd. "I had those tears because this city makes me feel so strong. New York makes you tough as nails."

Gaga, a proud local until the end, was in a way the perfect artist to give the ballroom -- which hosted legendary artists as diverse as Fred AstaireGene KellyFrank Sinatra, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Nirvana,  Phish, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Flaming Lips, Beyonce, Tool and Radiohead -- the send-off it deserves. That's because Gaga encapsulates the spirit of the room in more ways than one. Part dance artist, part rockstar, part vaudeville and all-entertainer, Gaga's too short one-hour set -- a truncated preview of her forthcoming tour -- was more of a celebration than the week long funeral she was presiding over.

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Said Gaga: "Look how beautiful this is tonight. Everybody here for one reason: to say goodbye to such a special place. This beautiful fantasy. This Roseland."

Even her staging and costumes honored the room, as costumes and even the keytar were adorned in roses. "All my roses are in bloom for you tonight," Gaga cooed in her best Marilyn Monroe. "Everybody wants to know what ARTPOP is all about," she continued "I want you to feel free to be artistic and creative."

Gaga closed out her seven-day residency in front of a sold-out crowd of 3,500 fans -- including Bravo host Andy Cohen, actress Rita Wilson, and a fabulous array of her little Monsters decked in curly blonde wigs, colorful clothing, and their own creations. One fan proudly displayed her own handmade butterfly throat chakra inspired by the artist and her ARTPOP campaign symbolizing how the singer raised her out of one of the "lowest moments of my life."

Gaga stayed on message with self-help affirmations, advising the audience to always "know who you are." Through it all, she sang with passion and conviction, gliding between two solo pianos and the keytar with confidence and command you would expect of a seasoned entertainer.

She hammered home her theme of unity and said goodbye with a muscular and commanding version of her biggest hit, "Bad Romance."  Starting on a spinning stage, Gaga eventually made her way up a rose-covered ladder to give fans -- including her mother and father in the VIP area -- a true thrill.

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The personal touches didn't end there. The entertainer made it over to a side stage decorated with a replica of an F-train subway car and New York signage (including a nod to her old apartment at 176 Stanton Street, which was aglow in neon lights) as she delivered the most striking set of songs, accompanied by a lone piano. Gaga opened up with a confessional about a low moment in her life when she thought she would never sing again, and dedicated the song "Dope" to those who have "snorted a little cocaine." She concluded by allowing a fan to briefly fondle her cleavage.

"I could keep it clean, but it wouldn’t be right to say goodbye to Roseland that way, you dirty bitch," she cracked. "So raise your glasses, and let's say goodbye to the last time Roseland gets high."

Gaga then switched gears when she realized she was getting a bit too Debbie Downer to pump up the crowd, launching into her Elton John inspired anthem, "You and I," before breaking into the home stretch with "Just Dance," a beautiful re-imaging of her hit "Poker Face" (where the 28-year old channeled Ethel Merman in spots, transforming the song into a show tune), and a splashy segue into "Applause" and her new single, "G.U.Y."

While the lights dimmed on Roseland, the curtain for Gaga's next chapter rose in its final moments, as the singer departed the stage ready for her next act -- the artRAVE: the ARTPOP Ball tour, which kicks off in May.

Although her ARTPOP album is so far her least commercially successful record, Gaga didn’t seem concerned about her future, addressing it comically after she performed "Just Dance."

"Will she be here next year?” she pondered. "If I'm not going to be here next year you better enjoy me while I last. Just like this venue, someday it will be over."

Set List:

Born This Way
Black Jesus + Amen Fashion
Bad Romance
Sexxx Dreams
You and I
Just Dance
Poker Face
Artpop (Interlude)

Twitter: @MicheleAmabile