The problem with extremely creative people finding large scale success early in their careers is that nine times out of ten they are unable to maintain that level of fame for very long. That thing called fame is a monster, you see, and recently it got the best of Lady Gaga.
Last night, Lady Gaga was brought on stage for her highly publicized SXSW appearance while strapped to a spit over an active grill. While leather-clad men spun the ARTPOP singer, she worked through her opening number as her dreads lapped the grill below and flames danced just a few short feet away. People were surprised, but not necessarily shocked. It was a Lady Gaga performance, after all.
A bit later in the show things went from weird to downright disgusting when, just before diving into the track “Swine,” Gaga welcomed a woman on stage who could be seen drinking an odd colored substance from an oversized water bottle. As the track began to play, the woman crept closer to Gaga and eventually began to vomit on her. Then again. And again. And again.
The woman vomited on Lady Gaga almost ten times before “Swine” was complete, and in the midst of doing so also joined the “Paparazzi” singer in riding a giant mechanical bull while Gaga shouted “Fuck pop music!” from atop the Doritos Bold Stage.
I cannot make stuff like this up. I wish I could, but my creativity stops before people start showering in vomit.
You can view a video of Gaga’s “Swine” performance below. It’s extremely NSFW, but I should not have to tell you that.
SXSW is supposedly a place for the music business to gather, network, discover, plan, and build the future of the industry, but everyone knows that in recent years the festival has become a hot spot for big name stars to make headlines with crazy, often spontaneous small-scale performances. It’s a marketing trick that to date has worked for everyone from Metallica, to Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, and as recently as Sunday afternoon, even Justin Bieber. It will not, however, work for Lady Gaga.
If you’re reading this, Gaga, please know that I still think your music is pretty special. I don’t know what kind of creative wall you have hit with your live performance to drive you to stunts like those shown to the crowd at SXSW last night, but you can and have done better. Maybe it’s time to take a step back and collect your thoughts.