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Lady Gaga rocks out at Madison Square Garden

Lady Gaga performs onstage during her "artRave: The

Lady Gaga performs onstage during her "artRave: The Artpop Ball" at Consol Energy Center on May 8, 2014 in Pittsburgh City. Credit: Kevin Mazur

Lady Gaga's new "ArtRave: The Artpop Ball" isn't as make-or-break for her career as her detractors would suggest.

But please don't tell her that.

Gaga approached her sold-out show at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night like it was do-or-die for her career. She started with confetti cannons, had 12-foot space plants sprout in the middle of her sprawling runway-like set and screamed at the audience.

"I'm from New York," she said to start "Manicure." "Don't tell me I can't rock out."

Even though she already sold out seven shows at Roseland Ballroom last month, Gaga created a whole new extravaganza for the current tour, one more focused on "Artpop." After all, that material is clearly dearer to her heart now.

And her love for the material clearly showed.

Whether it was the goofiness of "Venus," the playfulness of "Donatella" or the throwback soul of "Do What U Want," which she crowned with an a cappella bit of gospel, she filled the songs with an intensity that was infectious.

T.I. even showed up to do his rapid-fire verse on "Jewels and Drugs" with Gaga, as even more confetti covered the crowd.

But even with all the partying, Gaga's "ArtRave" was still a lesson in esteem-building and contentment.

"Tonight, I want you to be 100 percent yourselves," she told the crowd. "Tonight, I want you to celebrate yourselves, your friends, everything you have and everything you don't."

Then she took her own advice and created one incredibly memorable party that ended with "Gypsy," her celebration of life on the road.

She altered the chorus to "I love my New York life," and then proceeded to take a victory lap as fans threw flowers, stuffed animals and signs at her.

After all, she's won.

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