Lady Gaga’s S. Korean Concert- Exclusive Fan Pics and Review
This is a cool little treat we have for you! So, if you remember, Lady Gaga played South Korea last month and since I couldn’t be there to review it I contacted a friend of mine who is teaching over there and asked if she was going. She was, so I asked if she could take some pics and do a little guest blog and talk about it since there was a lot of controversy surrounding Gaga’s presence in Korea. Side note, I was informed there were going to be more pictures but her batteries died, stupid technology. With out further adieu, here is the guest blog written by Carina Grainey.
In my nearly four years living in Seoul, South Korea, I have seen it all: Garfield break dancing down the street, Tom from the popular cartoon Tom and Jerry passed out in a park, nachos covered in mustard instead of cheese, a man jumping out of a fabric egg in a loincloth. However, none of this comes close to the spectacle I witnessed on April 27th as the crowd outside of the Olympic Stadium awaited the kickoff concert for Lady Gaga’s eagerly anticipated year-long world tour. Although I enjoy her music, I have to confess that part of my motivation for attending the concert was to see how the usually conservative country of South Korea would react to the arrival of the woman famous for wearing carnage as evening wear.
The weeks leading up to the concert were ripe with controversy. The Korean government banned the show for those under eighteen due to concern that her music would spread “homosexuality and pornography” throughout the nation, and protests broke out around the city. On the day of the show, however, these opposing forces remained nowhere in sight and the atmosphere was one of near-tangible anticipation. Persuaded by persistent and enthusiastic friends, I arrived at the stadium at 8:30 in the morning, eleven and a half hours before the concert was due to begin, in the hopes of gaining a place in the coveted “monster pit” an area in the center of the circular stage designed to hold the most dedicated fans. We came prepared for our day of waiting bringing along food, drinks, books, card games, and even song lyrics to help pass the time.
Shortly after our arrival, however, we realized that our pre-planned activities were unnecessary: There was nothing more entertaining than watching the people around us. Surrounded by boys and girls in black leather, chains, fishnets, blond wigs, and homemade facial horns, I was finally able to understand why Lady Gaga refers to her fans as “little monsters.” My cut up tights and shirt were no match for the innovative costumes surrounding me. The first major shock of the day came when a Korean girl wearing nothing but caution tape and a very small thong strolled through the crowd. In a country where it is considered risqué to wear a bikini on the beach, this was the very definition of rule-breaking. Despite the bizarre and sometimes disturbing sights I saw throughout the day (including a guy with a headband of bloody Barbie heads), it was refreshing to see so many people daring to be different in a place where conformity is so highly prized.
At around 4:30 in the afternoon, our dedication finally paid off and we were officially awarded wristbands that won us entry into the coveted “monster pit.” A few short hours later we found ourselves standing so close to the stage we could almost touch it. After a short opening performance by a DJ named Zed, the Lady herself finally made her grand appearance, and she did not disappoint. Appearing on a unicorn, the pop star briefly acknowledged the controversy leading up to her Seoul debut stating simply, “I heard your government determined my show should be eighteen and over. So I will make sure it will be.” She then threw herself into two hours of nonstop dancing and singing, wielding fake guns and jumping from room to room in her set, which was transformed into everything from a castle to a butcher shop through the duration of the show.
Although I am sure that she was not able to win over all of her critics, in the days following the performance every newspaper in Seoul had headlines featuring pictures and articles about the concert, which drew the largest crowd of any show in South Korea since Michael Jackson. Although the show itself was certainly awe-inspiring (at at moments so strange that I found myself border-line uncomfortable), the most striking part of the experience was bearing firsthand witness to the power of pop culture. This artist was able to breeze into a country literally a world away from her own and in a few short days challenge centuries of social conventions, giving thousands of young people the courage to embrace the weird within them and let their freak flags fly.