Well, that “Born This GMA” meme certainly didn’t go to waste!
Lady Gaga continued her whirlwind media blitz to promote Born This Way by kicking off Good Morning America’s summer concert series today. In front of thousands of screaming fans, some of whom had camped out for two days, she performed a five-song set from the heart of Central Park.
Needless to say, Rihanna purring “S&M” to open the Today show’s own concert series couldn’t compete with Gaga in the Grand Entrance department. With her bipolar Cruella DeVil hair and a red-riding hood ensemble — she looked like a caped crusader for glitter and grease — Her Ladyship ziplined her way over the heads of her cigarette-glasses-wearing audience to land more-or-less gracefully on stage. Admittedly, it seemed to take a bit longer than she’d anticipated — her spandexed backup dancers had carried most of “Bad Romance” by themselves before she made her arrival. And I couldn’t help but notice a rare look of fear on her face before taking her harnessed leap of faith. Had she learned nothing from Hugh Jackman’s zipline debacle on Oprah? Thankfully, though, Gaga is still without a Spinal Tap-style mishap, even if precious time to see her cat-scratch her way through “Bad Romance” was lost.
After her first song, she sat down with George Stephanopoulos — clearly out of his buttoned-down element — and Robin Roberts to field some typical morning-show questions, like, “What’s the most bizarre request you’ve ever received?” Gaga’s reply: “There is no request too bizarre… within reason. I do have a sense of reason.” Also, Roberts asked, “If you had one day to do anything you wanted, what would you do?” To which Her Gaganess responded with appropriate gods-coming-down from Olympus humility. “I would want to hang out with my fans and have it not be me.” She also showed two constants of her ensemble: her late Aunt Joanne’s miniaturized birth certificate on a necklace (but is it the long-form version?) and a ring from her grandfather who died last September and who inspired “The Edge of Glory.”
And that was the next song she performed, sporting a lace unitard and spiky, sea-urchin-like Captain EO jacket, perfect for reveling in the soaring ’80s excesses of her latest power ballad. Despite the early hour, Gaga’s voice sounded in top form, trilling emphatically behind the “In the most Biblical sense/I am beyond repentance” bridge of “Judas.” For her love-hate tribute to history’s most infamous backstabber, clad in another Michael Jackson-worthy get-up — a military-style jacket with gold epaulets — she retained most of Laurieann Gibson’s hand-waving video choreography and was audibly out of breath by the end, though her lung-power never wavered on that sky-high proclamation of “I want to love you/but something keeps on pulling me from you…”
For “Born This Way,” she donned gold Viking horns, as if Brunhilda from “What’s Opera, Doc?” Sadly, though, “Kill the Wabbit” didn’t replace “Don’t be a drag/Just be a queen.” Wagnerian excesses aside, “Born This Way” completely scored, with Gaga even taking a dip in her own Hot Tub Slime Machine, surely left over from a deleted Saturday Night Live skit, to assert our “same DNA.”
Finally, she rounded out her concert doing what she does best — stripping-down her own pop confections to piano-sized proportions — with an acoustic rendering of “Hair.” At a (unicorn-shaped) keyboard, Gaga’s never better at injecting enough passion and commitment to sell even the corniest lyrics about follicular empowerment.
All in all, pop’s reigning queen served up just the right combo of stunts and sincerity. You couldn’t ask for a better way to kick off the summer.
The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix
Read more from EW.com:
Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’: EW review
Lady Gaga visits ‘The View,’ talks plans to host ‘Saturday Night Live’
Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ again 99 cents, but how many albums will she sell?