She crooned, she rocked, she sparkled, she crawled on the stage in the rain. And when she was done, the largest crowd ever to pack Rockefeller Plaza for a concert screamed and chanted her name.
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“Ga-ga! Ga-ga! Ga-ga!”
Since erupting from the New York City music scene three years ago, the flamboyant Lady Gaga has sold 25 million single songs and put out two triple-platinum albums. She has 5 million followers on Twitter and 10 million on Facebook — the most of any person on earth. She holds the record for most YouTube views.
But success has not appeared to spoil the 24-year-old gigastar. She sent pizzas to fans who waited overnight on the sidewalks of New York to get good positions at the concert. During her last number, a summer squall, as if on cue, drenched her, her backup group and the crowd. And Lady Gaga, in the finest tradition of rock ’n’ roll, embraced the rain as if it was a gift from heaven.
“Let it rain. Let it pour. You can’t stop us,” she interjected into her last song, “Teeth.” At the number’s end, she rolled on the sodden stage and bellowed into her mic:
“Thank you, New York. I love you. Thank you for changing my life and making my dreams come true.”
An estimated 20,000 spangle-eyed fans screeched their approval. They had started lining up more than 33 hours earlier, some coming from as far as Ireland and South Africa to see their idol. Two people in the crowd were taken to Bellevue Hospital with minor cases of heat exhaustion, The New York Times reported.
A special song
The former Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta showed her range and versatility with a performance that began with her crooning the Gershwin standard “Someone to Watch Over Me” as she descended from a fog-shrouded platform onto a blindingly white stage highlighted with electric blue.
In addition to the Gershwins, her performance paid homage to Madonna’s costuming, Elton John’s eccentric eyewear, John Lennon’s songwriting and Jerry Lee Lewis’ penchant for playing the piano with his foot.
And as a special treat she had promised her legions of “little monsters,” she sang a new song, “You and I,” that she’s performed in concert in the past several weeks but won’t release on an album until the end of the year.
“ ‘You and I’ was written about the most important person that I ever met,” Gaga told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira and Ann Curry. She didn’t say who that person was, but it has been reported in People magazine and elsewhere that it’s Luc Carl, the boyfriend she has recently reconciled with.
Love for the fans
Just a few years ago, before she hit it big, the flamboyant performer was living in a cheap apartment in New York, experimenting with drugs and writing songs. Now she is a bona fide pop icon. Vieira asked if she had absorbed it all yet.
“No, I haven’t, but I love and cherish my friends so much. I just want to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the television and radio people and the underground clubs and the gay community for supporting me the past three years, and all the records you guys bought. I love you and I just cherish you forever,” she said.
Lady Gaga sat at a pure-white grand piano as she spoke, delicately sipping tea from a china cup on a saucer — no clunky water bottles for her. It was all part of the colorful stage persona she’s created. But, she said, outside of her performances, she rarely goes out.
“I stay in my hotel room and I write music,” she said.
She then put on a pair of rhinestone glasses that resembled enormous insect eyes and launched into “You and I.” As it came to a close, she stood and banged on the keys with her foot, and then vaulted on top of the piano to sing and play the final chords.
Then, in what seemed like seconds, she changed from an all-white outfit to a Madonna-esque black costume. As she launched into her hit “Alejandro,” she addressed her fans by her pet name for them.
“This one’s for you, little monsters!”
© 2013 NBCNews.com Reprints