Kylie Northover June 28, 2012
Reviewer rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reader rating: 5 out of 5 stars (173 votes)
Performer: Lady Gaga
Rod Laver Arena
LADY Gaga last night raised the stadium show bar with her Born This Way Ball tour - and that included her audiences, hundreds of whom wore garish Gaga-esque costumes and make-up to her first Melbourne show.
In the first of five shows, the pop superstar managed not one, but two spectacular entrances - the first atop an elaborate ''horse'', worthy of the multimillion-dollar War Horse production, as she opened with Highway Unicorn, and the second when she was ''birthed'' via a giant inflatable vagina as she launched into her mega-hit Born This Way.
Oh, and in between she elicited squeals from the rapturous crowd as she sang Government Hooker while a back-up dancer simulated a sex act on her prone body. Perhaps it was three entrances?
The lavishly executed show, which features a four-storey Masters of the Universe-style castle set piece, is the live equivalent of a concept album, described by Gaga as an ''electro-metal-pop-opera''. It's mostly unclear exactly what that concept is, but it certainly looks impressive - even if Gaga's asides and swearing feel stage-managed to the syllable.
Atmospheric music, dry ice and a baffling floating ''head'' filled the occasional gaps as the singer changed into increasingly twisted costumes, part Grace Jones, part HR Giger. The mostly high-powered set included hits Just Dance, Judas, Black Jesus, Bad Romance and Paparazzi, peppered with exhortations to ''sing it, Melbourne'', ''get up'', and assurances from arguably the biggest name in pop that ''she's just like us''.