All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

Lady Gaga takes Oklahoma City

Chelsea Copeland / Red Dirt Report
Lady Gaga in action at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

OKLAHOMA CITY - Once again, I found myself barreling down the Turner Turnpike towards Oklahoma City for a concert. This time, I was in a Mazda with only one of my dearest friends, Nicole, beside me. We were heading to Lady Gaga.

It was special for us. We saw Gaga in Tulsa for the Monster Ball Tour our first semester of college together and had tickets to her ill-fated Born This Way Ball Tour. Gaga ended up breaking her hip in Montreal and had to cancel all of her remain shows, including ours, and her last stop, Tulsa.

Our seats were terrible. I didn’t mind that we were high up. What I did mind was that our seats were at a precarious incline with the shape of the Chesapeake Energy Arena and were partially obscured by a sound bar and video screen. Nicole and I had a very in-depth and morbid conversation in our seats about just how far you would fall if you tripped. I reached out to Chesapeake Energy Arena about the safety of those seats but they did not respond.

We were in luck. Just before the show was due to start, the attendant working our section waved us down.

“I’m revoking your tickets,” he said.

My mind was mired in the thoughts that we were getting kicked out for some reason, that I didn’t even hear him say that he was moving us closer. Our new seats were only a handful of rows from the floor and we had a great view. Gaga herself may have even looked at us during the show. We never found out why we moved but audience members behind us speculated that the arena management was trying to fill the lower seats and we were one of many lucky groups to be moved. Why Nicole and I were chosen? Probably because we were the first in our section and the attendant simply remembered us and we were friendly.

View from our new, upgraded seats. (Chelsea Copeland / Red Dirt Report) 

A Lady Gaga concert is on the same level as a ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ showing; you dress up and better be ready to participate. You don’t throw your hands up, you throw your paws up, where you contort your fingers into a monster like claw. Gaga is very anti bullying (Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta are founders of the Born This Way Foundation, a nonprofit that strives to empower young people and sets a hardline against bullying) and urges her audience to at least be nice and respectful to each other until the end of the show; no fighting, no fat shaming. It was easy to see who were the newcomers to the Gaga Fandom as the people next to us were teasing anyone they deemed weird or unattractive. The guy behind us had an obnoxious cheer that was a dead ringer for Goofy.

People of all ages where there, from little kids to grandparents. People were dressed in Gaga’s infamous costumes (no meat dresses, sadly), sequins, leather, studs and killer heels. You had Millennials like Nicole and I there, to cowboy’s in pearl snap shirts and Stetsons.

While the Joanne album and tour are much more stripped down (for Gaga, at least), all of her unique elements are there. She still climbed all over her piano, had a highly stylized stage and wore insane outfits. Her piano was made of a clear, opalescent material and lasers shot from the piano in sync with the movements of her fingers on the keys. I lost count after five costume changes.

All of Gaga’s shows have a level of sinister to them. She refers to herself as Mother Monster and her fans, Little Monsters. Usually, her shows have a plotline to them. The Monster Ball revolved around her and her audience running through a fictionalized New York City to get to the Monster Ball in time, but have to defeat the ‘Fame Monster’ (a physical manifestation of the cons and lethality of fame) that stands in the way. With the Born This Way Ball, Gaga must escape the Kingdom of Fame in space to save her Little Monsters, while fighting with its tyrannical matriarch. The Joanne Tour did not have a plotline, though Gaga did pretend to be kidnapped by one of her dancers, poised as a maniacal fan, before Paparazzi as ambulance sirens wailed over the speakers and the screens seeped with blood.

Gaga played a well-rounded mix of all her songs, from her earliest songs to her latest. Neither she nor her band, made a misstep during the performance. You truly get showmanship and artistry from a Lady Gaga show.

During ‘Edge of Glory,’ a song about moments of truth, personal success and life and death, she dedicated it to the victims of the California wildfires and implored the audience to pray for them.

One of those most profound and heartbreaking things she has ever said was before she sang, ‘Joanne.’ Joanne is almost an ethereal being in the Gaga Fandom and the Germanotta family. She was Gaga’s aunt who died of lupus before Gaga was born. Gaga believes her aunt Joanne is always with her and looks to her spirit for guidance and inspiration. While she was singing, she wanted us in the audience to go back to our most traumatic times in our lives and think about the person we were before it happened, how pain and trauma can change a person. The song, written about her aunt, makes her wonder about her father.

“I wonder if I have ever truly known my father because the pain of losing Joanne changed him,” she said.

The night rounded out by a fan throwing a heartfelt letter to Gaga, who read it. Gaga did not try to hide the catch in her voice as she read aloud. With the help of security guards, she jumped off the stage and gave the fan and her friend tearful hugs.

If you ever get the chance to see Lady Gaga, I highly recommend, just be ready for some weirdness. I’ll let you see what kind for yourself. 

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Chelsea Copeland

Chelsea Copeland is a native Oklahoman, born in Tulsa and raised in Coweta. She graduated from...

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd
Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK