Lady Gaga wraps up #ArtRave Tour

Lady Gaga – Rogers Arena – August 7, 2014

This weekend, Lady Gaga brought her North American ArtRave: The Artpop Ball tour to a close in Vancouver.  A rescheduled show, the original May date was cancelled due to illness, the anticipation was definitely palpable in the room as Lady Starlight kept the early audience dancing with a DJ set. The hour long gap between Lady Starlight and Lady Gaga coming on-stage created a bit of a lull in the energy but once the curtain dropped to reveal a Botticelli’s Venus inspired set the wave of excitement engulfed the room.

Rising out from centre-stage wearing a bodysuit with wings, the ‘Mother Monster’ drew the applause of her ‘Little Monsters’ as she danced her way around the serpentine stage, backed by a dozen dancers and 5 band members.  The excitement continued for the next 90 minutes, countless costume and wig changes (many happening onstage on the fly), and 22 songs. Starting off with ArtPop and running through a selection of songs from “ArtPop”, plus favourites from her other albums, “The Fame” and “Born This Way”, only slowing down for a couple of stripped down piano versions of Dope and Born This Way.  The concert appeared to go off without any glitches, if there can be one fault of a Lady Gaga show is that it’s too rehearsed, even the spontaneous moments are scripted and planned with precision.  Much credit goes to the artist and her crew to make sure that props and people are perfectly placed on cue.  With such a heavy workload; singing, dancing with taking just a few short breaks during the set, Lady Gaga fed off the energy from the wildly diverse crown as much as they fed off the vibrant performance before them.  Although they had to wait an extra 3 months to see the superstar, I’m sure most everyone felt ArtRave: The ArtPop Ball was worth the wait.

With North America wrapped, the tour takes a short break to regroup and start off again on the European leg in September.

Follow more from The ArtPop Ball on Twitter @LadyGaga or #ArtRave 

Picks of the Week – August 6, 2014

After a busy long weekend, you might like a break but, no chance, there’s still a lot happening in my picks of the week to keep your summer moving along

Harmony: West Vancouver’s waterfront is alive with activity; free concerts, visual arts, family fun and food are on deck at The Harmony Arts Festival until Aug 10th 

Country: Julian Austin, Terry Clark and Rascal Flatts headline the Rockin’ River Country Musicfest, August 7th,8th & 9th in Mission BC

Squamish: Join thousands of others making the trek up the Sea-to-Sky highway to the 2014 Squamish Valley Music Festival headlined by Bruno Mars, Eminem and Arcade Fire

Bard: The Bard on the Beach season continues at Vanier Park, with the 4 plays Midsomer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Equivocation and Cymbeline, running on alternating nights,  also this month learn a bit more about each of the plays at Bard…Explored, the talks run before each Saturday matinee 

Roar: Get your orange on and show your Lion’s pride as the BC Lions take on the Hamilton Ti-cats at BC Place on Friday Aug 8th

Chinatown: The 15th Annual TD Chinatown Festival brings thousands of people to explore the shops, squares, streets and alleys of Chinatown

Gaga: Rescheduled from an earlier date, Lady Gaga brings all her ‘Little Monsters’ to Rogers Arena when she performs on Saturday night.

AfterParty: After the Lady Gaga show, head to Heaven’s Door to keep the party going with Monroe: Gaga Afterparty

Kicks: Will a return to BC Place break Whitecaps FC winless streak? Find out when they host Sporting Kansas City on Sunday afternoon.

Top Grossing Concert Tours of 2012

Jay-Z & Kanye WestAs 2012 draws to a close, it’s time to tally up the totals from the year’s big headlining concert tours. As one would expect, the top tours are those names that can pack in the stadiums.  Coincidentally the top 3 tours all held the same number of shows, 72, with each of them having a similar ticket price point it came to the number of sell-outs to determine the #1.

The Top Ten Grossing Tours of 2012 as compiled by Billboard Magazine are:

#1 Madonna
Total Gross: $228,406,085      Number of Shows: 72
Total Attendance: 1,635,176    Number of Sell-Outs: 72

#2 Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Total Gross: $199,371,791      Number of Shows: 72
Total Attendance: 2,165,925    Number of Sell-Outs: 54

#3 Roger Waters
Total Gross: $186,466,703      Number of Shows: 72
Total Attendance: 1,680,042    Number of Sell-Outs: 51

#4 Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil
Total Gross: $147,310,505      Number of Shows: 183
Total Attendance: 1,374,482    Number of Sell-Outs: 9

#5 Coldplay
Total Gross: $147,188,828      Number of Shows: 67
Total Attendance: 1,811,787    Number of Sell-Outs: 56

#6 Lady Gaga
Total Gross: $124,879,545      Number of Shows: 65
Total Attendance: 1,111,099    Number of Sell-Outs: 65

#7 Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw
Total Gross: $96,458,890       Number of Shows: 23
Total Attendance: 1,085,382    Number of Sell-Outs: 9

#8 Van Halen
Total Gross: $54,425,548       Number of Shows: 46
Total Attendance: 522,296      Number of Sell-Outs: 9

#9 Jay-Z & Kanye West (pictured)
Total Gross: $46,986,464       Number of Shows: 31
Total Attendance: 371,777      Number of Sell-Outs: 15

#10 Andre Rieu
Total Gross: $46,785,717       Number of Shows: 99
Total Attendance: 490,165      Number of Sell-Outs: 2

To read about more top tours, see Billboard’s Top 25 List

Akon – Supporting Usher

Akon – Rogers Arena – May 25, 2011

Although he could easily headline his own bill, supporting Usher seems a natural fit for Akon.  As an often collaborator/write/producer, Akon has supported and kick-started many careers, including Lady Gaga, Pitbull and T-Pain.
Dressed in all white, Akon took to the Rogers Arena in front of an already excited crowd and proceeded to push them up another level with his fun, energetic, R&B tracks.
The multiple-Grammy nominated star is often a featured singer on other artist songs it was easy to forget just how many great singles Akon has under his belt.  Dangerous, Sexy Bitch, I Just Had Sex were all in

Akon shows off his Canucks Jersey

collaboration with other artists but stood up well as Akon sang them solo alongside his own hits.  To boost up the crowd’s excitement level Akon donned a Vancouver Canucks hockey jersey, in celebration of the team’s advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals the night before in the same venue, which brought a huge cheer!  By the time Akon finished his nearly 60 minute set he had the crowd more than ready to welcome the headliner and continue the good times of the evening!

YouTube Star of the Month – April 2011

With the recent meteoric viral take-off of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” video it got some friends and I discussing how and why do some singers make it and others (more worthy) do not.
YouTube is full of amazing (often un-signed) singers putting themselves out there for the public to see and hear while they hope for their big break. Eventually some ‘make it’ while I’m sure there are dozens left behind.
Technology is making it even easier to produce you own uber-professional video and audio plus with the iTunes store one can earn revenue from these singles and videos.  It makes us wonder if we even need the big labels anymore?
As a regular feature we’re going to highlight some of these great YouTube performers.
Starting off with the brilliant team of Kurt Schneider and Sam Tsui, Kurt Schneider is a musician, producer and filmmaker who along with the amazing vocals of Sam Tsui have produced some amazing video singles.  Mostly they perform new arrangements of current chart hits but they have begun to produce their own original material. The first song that really gained a lot of attention was an amazing cover of “Don’t Stop Believing” in which Sam performs with himself, most recently they re-arranged Lady Gaga’s hit “Born This Way” into a track that I personally like even better than the original!
Having already appeared on Oprah and The Ellen Show it’s only a matter of time before these two YouTube stars break out of the internet and into the stratosphere of stardom!

Sam Tsui / Kurt Schneider – Don’t Stop Believing

Lady Gaga – Don’t Believe The Hype?

Lady Gaga – Rogers Arena – August 24, 2010

Perhaps one of the most anticipated concert events of the year blew through Vancouver for two shows.  Unfortunately anticipation was the downfall of this concert for me. After reading and hearing about so many great things about Lady Gaga’s shows in other cities I had huge expectations for an amazing show. 
Of course being Lady Gaga there was a huge elaborate stage, astounding costumes, a legion of dancers and scores of screaming fans (many also in costumes).  During the costume/set changes there were some great video montages and vignettes played on the massive screen covering the stage. The staging itself was excellent and the sound was great. 
All the ingredients of an epic concert but something seemed to be missing on this night.  In hindsight it was the energy that was lacking to push this into the ”amazing show” category.  Often Gaga stopped to discuss issues, talk to her fans or set up the next song, these breaks tended to only keep the lower bowl and floor seats engaged but failed to ‘reach’ the higher levels.  With each chat, any energy built up from the previous song would just stop as the crowd around us sat back down.  I’m happy to have an artist chat and engage the audience but these long spells of talk just fell flat in this case.  If the music had have flowed from one song to the next, the audience wouldn’t have settled down and had to revive for the next song.  You could see that the audience standing (and dancing) on the floor had energy that fed off of each person, where we were there was none.

It felt like an actor in the middle of Phantom of the Opera suddenly stopped at the end of a scene and started talking to someone in the front row, a total break from the production.I guess too high of expectations can sometimes make the disappointment that much greater.  Friends who didn’t know anything about what to expect had a great time and were thoroughly entertained.  Oh well, all in all it was good to check Lady Gaga off of ’the list’ but possibly this might be the last time I see her live.