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Review: Lady Gaga @ Nassau Coliseum, 4.23.11

Lady Gaga performs during The Monster Ball Tour

Lady Gaga performs during The Monster Ball Tour at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia on April 18, 2011. Credit: Getty Images / Rick Diamond

The best thing about Lady Gaga's “Monster Ball” is the heavy breathing.

It's a testament to her hard work. In a time when so many singers lip synch at their concerts, claiming it's too hard to dance and sing properly at the same time, Gaga proves them wrong. Sure, it's incredibly hard to belt out “Born This Way” in the midst of strenuous and technical choreography, but she does it night after night incredibly well and she did it last night for nearly two hours at Nassau Coliseum.

The heavy breathing also comes with her passion. Many of Ga's speeches have become rote at this stage, 17 months into the “Monster Ball” tour. But she still gets riled up and she can still go off on a rant, usually of the “You can do anything, Little Monsters, look at me!” variety.

Last night, she talked of a painful memory where, during high school, some friends of friends threw her in the trash “where she belonged.” She said how many people don't understand her tactics or her anger. “Maybe it's because they've never been bullied,” she told her screaming fans. “Maybe they've never had to fight.”

One thing you can say for Lady Gaga, she doesn't shy away from a fight. There's a bit of manufactured controversy over her new single “Judas” – which she didn't perform, but did play over the loudspeakers as the crowd exited. Some Catholic groups are outraged over its content – which uses imagery from Mary Magdalene's point of view and invokes Jesus and his betrayer Judas' name – even though it's essentially a retelling of “Bad Romance.”

Gaga isn't backing off of it. She introduced her guitarist as “Jesus Christ” before adding, “Happy Easter, Long Island.” Then, during the techno-stomping “Teeth,” dressed in a bra-and-panties set and covered in fake blood, she railed, while on her knees, about how some religious groups were preaching hate. “From what I was taught,” she screamed, “Jesus loves everybody!”

Gaga then kicked into a higher gear to wrap up her show with a string of Top 10 hits – the Latin-tinged “Alejandro,” dance anthems “Poker Face,” “Paparazzi” and “Bad Romance,” and her No. 1 smash “Born This Way.”

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Sure, she was breathing hard by the end of it. That only shows how badly she wants it.
“People ask why don't I take a break,” she said, before the new ballad “You and I.” “I've been waiting my whole life to be too busy.”

SETLIST: Dance in the Dark / Glitter and Grease / Just Dance / Beautiful Dirty Rich / The Fame / LoveGame / Boys, Boys, Boys / Money Honey / Telephone / Born This Way (Piano Version) / You and I / Monster / Teeth / Alejandro / Poker Face / Paparazzi // ENCORE: Bad Romance / Born This Way

MORELady Gaga strong, intense at Coliseum

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