Lady Gaga at the Arena Birmingham - 31/01/2018

You guys have no idea how proud I am of my little self. Not only did I manage to organise a whole entire trip to a place that I've never been to before, but it all went so smoothly without any problems, which is so unlike me. Yes, J and I travelled for over 3 hours down to Birmingham to see the one and only queen, Lady Gaga. I had tickets for this show for almost a year, so as you can imagine, I was beside myself with excitement when the day finally came around, and I just couldn't wait to get into the city! P.S. I'm sorry about these awful quality photos - it's so difficult to get good pictures in concert lighting on a little digi camera instead of my DSLR.

When the tickets were released last year, there were only a few UK dates announced. I had my heart set on Manchester because it was the closest to my home and I just love the city, so there I was at 9AM on ticket day, ready and waiting to hand over my money. I managed to get 2 tickets and then spent the rest of the day on a high, only to realise later that I'd bought tickets to the Birmingham show... oops! Not only is that twice the distance away that Manchester is, but it's also somewhere that I'd never been in my life. However, I'm thanking my lucky stars that I bought the wrong tickets because as I'm writing this, I've just found out that she's cancelled her remaining European tour dates due to her fibromyalgia, which includes the Manchester date. To whoever is looking out for me up there, thank you!

Her fibromyalgia is actually the reason why I've had these tickets for so long. The show was originally meant to be in October last year, but was rescheduled to January after medical professionals advised that she took some time off to rest her body. It all came out around September-time that she had the chronic illness and at that point, I hadn't booked any train tickets, and I held off doing so just in case anything came about because of the illness. Lo and behold, all her remaining dates were rescheduled. Again, thank you to that person that's looking out for me!

Once I knew when the rescheduled date was, I booked train tickets and a hotel through Superbreak. This has become a bit of a go to website for me when I'm looking at overnight stays, because they find it combines the price of the train and hotel into one, making it simple to shop for a good deal. I'm rubbish at booking trains and understanding all the "off-peak" and "any route" jargon, so it's brilliant for me! And no, this isn't an ad, I just love the site! I also booked tickets to the Sea Life Centre for the day after Gaga because why the heck not. I can't think of anything better than seeing Lady Gaga, followed by a trip to the aquarium.
So we hopped on our train on Wednesday morning, managing a change which I've also never done before, and arrived in Birmingham Grand Central in the afternoon. I was in awe of this train station and we made a loose plan to go back after we'd dropped our bags off at the hotel. That didn't happen because we got lost, but we did go back the following day and I did a little bit of damage to my bank balance. Anyway, we arrived at our hotel and ended up just chilling out after our ordeal of trying to find it and I started getting ready early so that I could beat my face to perfection for the gig. After having tea, we headed off to the Arena Birmingham, arriving at about 6:45, so we were let in straight away. I was so impressed with the amount of security - it made being there feel very safe, which was very much appreciated!

What was weird was that there was no support act. That's something I tend to look forward to when going to a gig, as you can usually find really great artists that way, but instead, her Netflix documentary, Five Foot Two, was played. It was a little odd to watch it on the big screen, to say the least, but I guess it's good for those that don't have access to it. For me though, I was a bit like 'meh'. I liked the documentary, but I would've rather had a band or artist to watch, but that's just personal preference. After what felt like a super long time, the pink countdown clock appeared on the screens around the arena. It wasn't long before the lights went out, the stage filled with dry ice and she appeared, belting out Diamond Heart.

Setlist
(Countdown)
(Car film)
Scheisse (re-performed because of stage malfunctions)
(Rhino film)
(Transformation film)
(Trapped film)
(Ambulance)
(Drippy face film)
(Encore)

Despite her chronic illness and all of the press that had been surrounding her about it, she was utterly incredible. Her energy was on point, even though I've now heard that she had to have medical attention behind the scenes, so I'm very impressed that she managed to keep that spirit up. She truly is a performer, through and through.
As you can see from my interactive setlist (yup, each song is a link, so you can listen along and feel as though you were there or reminisce about the night), she performed Scheisse, a fabulous song from Born This Way, twice. This is because there was an issue with the stage, which meant that the choreography for the rest of the show would have been thrown off. Because this gig was being recorded, she had to start again to make the show flow how it should. It was a bit strange to watch her start from the exact same position and do all the same dance moves again, but I'm very interested to see if the production company keeps any of the malfunction in. I can't wait until it's aired - you know that I'm gonna be sat there, looking for J and I (we were on the barrier of the B stage, see if any of you can spot us).

Despite the mishap, everything was flawless - her voice, her outfits, the dancers - everything! Even J commented on how powerful her voice is and how he can understand the size of her fan base. She's so interactive with the audience, especially with the help of her floating walkways, islands in the middle of the crowd and B stage. She absolutely commands the space and knows how to get everyone going. It truly was a joy to watch and be a part of! What was also cool, from a nerdy point of view, was that we were stood so that we could see what the director of the cameramen was seeing. As J and I are both media geeks, this was suuuuper interesting!

A highlight for me was definitely the Angel Down and Joanne section of the show. It was so lovely to see her stripped back and in a more mellow mood. Yes, her crazy party songs are fab, but there's something about seeing her belting out more slow, emotional songs. It means that she really gets to flaunt her versatility.

Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel, bubbling with post-show excitement and happiness, then jumped into bed for a gorgeously comfy sleep. It's made me so much more excited for the new music she releases, and while I know that her next shows may be few and far between due to her health, I sincerely hope that I get to see her live again!

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