By Michelle Corbett
Emergency stations at Radio 1’s Big Weekend as Fearne Cotton is forced to waffle on more than usual thanks to a delayed entry from headliner Lady Gaga.
Will she drop in by helicopter? Abseil down a zip-wire? Emerge from pregnant Posh Spice’s nether-regions? Or – more shockingly of all – stroll on in jeans and T-Shirt?
It’s not a giant egg a la the Grammys but a coffin will do as Stefani Germanotta finally ”Ërises from the dead’ to a rapturous welcome from the crowds at Carlisle.
Sporting a headband and rocking up a good 40 minutes late, one can’t help but wonder if Gaga is the new Axl Rose but, as with the Guns n’ Roses frontman it’s well worth the wait as she launches straight into ÃÂ ”ËBorn This Way’.
Cupping a prosthetic baby bump (as you do), which was no doubt fashioned by the Haus of Gaga, New York’s finest export stalked round the stage like a woman who is an expert at delivering just what the doctor ordered.
From there it was a smooth run into ”ËBad Romance’ followed by a medley of bona fide hits including ”ËTelephone’, ”ËPoker Face’ and ”ËAlejandro’.
I’m thrilled to see however that with ”ËOrange Colored Sky’ Gaga has proven herself as a slutty jazz mistress ”â draped across her piano legs akimbo and giving her vocals a Jack Daniels makeover. And with her UK ”Ëmonsters’ in mind there’s even a royal makeover to the lyrics in homage to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s recent nuptials.
From there we are catapulted straight into ”ËSpeechless’ which, quite frankly left this reviewer more than a little teary-eyed. It’s a big phat ballad demanding a powerhouse performance from a tiny tattooed pop strumpet. No wonder then that after following it with ”ËEdge of Love’ ”â a tribute to her grandfather – Gaga’s breathing like Dot Cotton after 20 Benson and Hedges.
And with the Queen-esque ”ËYou And I’ following straight afterward there’s no time for this Lady to recover. All too soon the closing number ”ËJust Dance’ is rounding off a set that ”Ëpops’ with perfection and hints at great things to come from her second album: ”ËBorn This Way’ ”â scheduled for release on May 23.
In an ocean of chart dross Gaga can be counted upon to toss us a lifeline with her on-the-money lyrics, infectious beats and Daily Mail-bothering fashion sensibilities – plus her propensity to take the piss out of Catholicism at every turn.
Tonight, aside from a few dodgy wardrobe changeover moments that will no doubt result in some summary executions from this consummate professional, it’s an A-plus set which those in the lucky crowd will no doubt dine out on for years to come.