Her songwriting is better than you'd think

Houston brought into Lady Gaga's world — buckle up for the spectacle

Houston brought into Lady Gaga's world — buckle up for the spectacle

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Lady Gaga brings her "Monster Ball Tour" to Houston on Sunday and Monday at the Toyota Center.
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It's Lady Gaga's world and Houston is living it for the next two nights. From the video "Telephone," directed by Jonas Aklerlund
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The Lady is a natural-born performer.
News_Michael D. Clark_concert pick_Lady Gaga_Monster Ball Tour
News_Lady Gaga_Telphone_dance
News_Dog butts_March 10

Lady Gaga ... Lady Gaga. .. the name rings a bell, but I just can't put my finger on it.

Oh wait, isn't she the lady shaking her ridiculously fashioned money-maker on MTV, VH1, E, TMZ and a couple other television acronyms I can't immediately recall every time I flip through the channels? And isn't she the heavily-produced, reverb-drenched voice I hear every time I get into my car and turn on the radio?

This Gaga-mania has gotten out of control, but it has made Houston the nexus of the pop culture world for the next couple days.

Those looking to absorb a true rock n' roll icon, whose name and songs will live forever in annals of  music history, headed down to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on Saturday to catch former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant.

But if you want to be part of the zeitgeist when the most popular, stylish, flamboyant and overtly-sexual diva of this millennium comes to Houston ... Gaga is your girl and this Sunday and Monday at the Toyota Center will be hotter and sassier than Hollywood and Miami Beach combined. 

Two years ago nobody knew what a Lady Gaga was. The little girl born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta wasn't known far beyond the New York City club scene.

(As a fellow Italian-American, I have to say that it's a crime that she dumped that beautiful, vowel-filled moniker in favor of a title consisting of baby speak. Somewhere in Manhattan her old school Italian-American father is crying in his cannoli about that choice).

That all changed in August of 2008 when Gaga's debut album, The Fame, raced to the top of the charts around Europe, Canada and the United States (it actually peaked at No. 2 on Billboard 200 here in the U.S.) on the strength of electric pop singles "Just Dance" and "Poker Face."

Her first national tour cemented her as Madonna 2.0.

Gaga's mix of catchy singles, avant-garde fashion and penchant for straddling the line between provocative and pornographic in her videos and magazine shoots made her a tabloid sensation.

More importantly, last year's follow-up album, The Fame Monster, demonstrated that Ms. Gaga has some musical and songwriting chops hidden underneath her selectively-placed feathers and sequins. Top-charting aerobic club-hops like  "Bad Romance" are balanced with piano ballads like the strangely exotic and Latin-leaning "Alejandro."

For the moment it seems that Gaga will draw a throng wherever she goes while every song she releases climbs over the back of her last single to get to No. 1.

In other words, it's Gaga's world at the moment.

But for two night's she's inviting us to visit it. It might be worth the price of admission just to catch the spectacle of it all.


Sunday & Monday

Lady Gaga, 8 p.m. at Toyota Center

Tickets: $49.50-$175