Lady Gaga performs at the Boardwalk Hall Arena in Atlantic...

Lady Gaga performs at the Boardwalk Hall Arena in Atlantic City, New Jersey on July 4, 2010. Credit: Getty Images

    Maybe Lady Gaga should replace Oprah Winfrey as The Queen of Talk Shows next year.
    Sure, there’s a whole lot of elaborate props and costuming and choregraphy going on, but at the heart of her Monster Ball Tour, which continues at Madison Square Garden tonight and Friday, is Gaga’s desire to inspire people like her to excel.
    “We did it, little monsters!” she said, as she returned for the encore “Bad Romance.” “We did it!”
    For the New York native, who grew up watching concerts from Madonna, Cher, Rolling Stones and Elton John at The Garden from the nosebleed seats, being centerstage under the spotlight was clearly a triumph for her. “Thank you for making my dream come true,” she said as she took her final bows.
    But what made her success story all the more effective is how hard she works for it onstage. You can hear her catching her breath after the straining, off-kilter dance numbers. You can see her working it for nearly every minute of the 70-minute show. She even continues the Tinkerbell analogy from her last tour, seeking applause to get her to go on. “Do you want me to die?” she asks, laying on the stage.
    If there’s a problem in the show, it’s that the videotaped pieces that run during her costume changes sap some of her momentum, especially during “Poker Face” and “Paparazzi” at the end. When she’s onstage, she’s a pantsless whirl of inspirational quotes and well-choreographed strength.

Full review: Plenty of spectacle, substance at Lady Gaga's NYC show

SETLIST: Dance in the Dark / Glitter and Grease / Just Dance / Beautiful Dirty Rich / Vanity / The Fame / LoveGame / Boys, Boys, Boys / Money Honey / Telephone / Speechless / You and I / So Happy I Could Die / Monster / Teeth / Alejandro / Poker Face / Paparazzi // ENCORE: Bad Romance


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