Lady Gaga brings “Artpop” flop to the Joe Louis Arena

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Lady Gaga brought her Artpop Ball tour to the Joe Louis Arena on Saturday May 17th and a passing fan nailed it by declaring it an “artflop.”

The night started on a low note with a Japanese hologram performer/synthesizer, Hatsune Miku, and it went lower when it was followed by a near hour-long continuous beat played by Gaga’s long-time friend, Lady Starlight.

After hours of waiting in line, standing through less-than- rave-able opening acts, Lady Gaga took the stage promptly at 9:30 and dropped the ball, the Artpop Ball.

The basis of any show is a setlist, and Gaga’s simply did not bring it. Its focus was entirely on her newest album, Artpop, coincidentally, her least successful record.

She opened with title track “Artpop” in a gold leotard and a crystal orb protruding from her chest. She then worked her way through the much too similar “Donatella” and “Fashion!” followed by one of Artpop’s stronger tracks, “Venus.” She then finished the first act with another sub-par song, “MANiCURE.”

She followed the first set with a quick change and a short monologue in which she told the audience that ArtRAVE stands for.

“Be you. Tonight’s about love. Tonight’s about acceptance and celebrating your talent,” Gaga said overlooking an arena full of Little Monsters.

The crowd roared and raised their paws to their Mother Monster.

The second act brought much hope when she debuted a new song “Cake like Lady Gaga,” a danceable beat with quick and catchy raps to go with it.

Half an hour in, it was starting to feel like a rave once the retro-Gaga jam “Just Dance” began booming. However, it fizzled after it was only a short medley of her musical foundation which included two of her bigger hits, “Poker Face” and “Telephone.”

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Through “Do What U Want” and “Paparazzi” it was clear that Gaga’s dance moves were on point, however it began to feel like a room with a CD player. Performances near matched their studio versions, and without any visible back-up singers, it seemed vocal tracks held her throughout the show.

The show then took a 180-degree turn from rave when she sat at a piano and performed a toned-down solo of self-empowerment anthem, “Born This Way.”

While it was now clear she was truly singing, the song seemed anti-climactic. This also begged the question: where was “Dope,” arguably Artpop’s most substantial song on the setlist?

Following some audience interaction and a couple back-stage invitations to adoring fans, she danced her way through more Artpop fluff in costumes to wow the audience. The most noteworthy being a squid suit, completely with a medusa-esque headpiece.

Finally, she performed a quick change on stage, yet another shock element of the show. She finished the set with “Bad Romance,” Artpop’s lead single “Applause” and the less than finale-worthy “Swine.”

She closed with a single-song encore of “Gypsy,”  the best performance of the entire night. She powered through vocally and it seemed the most real moment of the evening.

After the show, the true meaning of “artpop” still seems a mystery. It was a spectacle to see, however it lacked in substance, focusing on wowing audience members instead of showcasing Lady Gaga’s best work.