Last night Lady Gaga played a sold-out show at Radio City Music Hall in New York, her hometown (and mine). I was there.

So were seven-year-old girls, fifty-something men, Donald Trump, and all ages and types in between. A gaggle of teenage girls were wearing fishnet tights with leotard bottoms, embracing the no-pants look. Men and women wore glitter, feathers, hats that looked like spider webs, wings and false lashes. Her fans are known as Little Monsters, and no one seemed shy about letting their freak flag fly. The energy level was high; and the excitement was heightened since she'd canceled her last three shows.

And Lady Gaga was great. Even without all the bells and whistles — video screens, smoke machines, costumes and dancers — she would have captivated the crowd. Her voice was strong, even while dancing; she didn't lip sync; and her banter between numbers was alternately funny and touching. She mentioned her personal "monsters," fame, alcohol and sex. "I'm like Tinkerbell," she said at one point while lying down on the stage. "If you don't clap for me I'll die. Do you want me to die?!?!?!" She talked about being the outcast underdog weirdo, and bizarre videos in which her face and body were distorted and warped underscored the theme. (At one point she insisted that the real freaks were on the outside: "Lock the doors!") One song, "Boys," was dedicated to all the gays in the audience, and she also promoted her fund for LGBT homeless youth. While the uptempo dance tracks were powerful and dazzling, she was best when she was alone, at a deconstructed piano, belting out her ballad, "Speechless." At the end of that song, she raised her hand in the air, and 6,000 hands reached for her. Then, slowly, she curled her hand into a claw; and all the Little Monsters made claw-hands, too. She and all the other freaks were home.

Lavish Worlds, And The Headwear to Match [NY Times]
Lady Gaga delivers With 'Monster Ball' Show At Radio City Music Hall [NY Daily News]