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"The freaks are outside, and we've locked the doors!" whoops Lady Gaga during Monster Ball, the show created as a safe place for her “little monsters,” as she refers to her fans who displayed a splendid array of tribute outfits reflecting her own many costume changes.

Though there are only two albums, Lady Gaga has plenty of crowd-pleasing hits. “Paparazzi,” “Love Game,” and “Just Dance” set the scene but are outshone by sparkling tracks from new album The Fame Monster. “Alejandro” is a catchy dose of Latin pop, while “Teeth” celebrates bad girls with burlesque bump and grind.

Mid-set, Gaga took to the piano, showcasing her spectacular vocal range with an unplugged rendition of “Speechless” and radio hit “Poker Face,” which was reprised later in the show in its disco splendor.

Gaga's pop opera, dazzling set, and haute-couture wardrobe are ambitious, and the show didn't suffer following Kid Cudi's departure from the tour. During Gaga’s costume changes, striking and sometimes discomforting video footage that mimicked high-fashion photography with scenes of Gaga being slapped, donning gimp masks and angel wings, and even being vomited on -- all in slow motion.

With a jet-setting schedule and stratospheric career rise in two years, mistaking San Diego for San Jose is perhaps understandable. (She graciously apologized.) As Gaga took to the stage in a giant gyroscope to perform current hit, “Bad Romance,” all was forgiven, and all the “little monsters” rose for a rousing ovation.

  • Concert: Lady Gaga
  • Show date: December 19, 2009
  • Venue: San Diego Sports Arena
  • Seats: Center/tiered seating
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