Lady Gaga’s Born this Way Ball stormed the Xcel Energy Center last night. Don’t believe the critics. Here’s what really happened.

Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball took over the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul last night and I was lucky enough to be part of the 15 thousand plus crowd and I had a great time. Many compare Lady Gaga to Madonna and let me tell you, there are similarities, but one glaring difference between the two is that Lady Gaga respects her fans. The opening act was set to hit the stage at 7:30 and it began…wait for it…on time!

The curtain dropped to reveal a three story medieval castle stage setting and the place went nuts.

Lady Gaga hit the stage shortly after 8 and of course made a spectacle, riding out on a horse with her dancers accompanying her as she did Highway Unicorn, followed up by Government Hooker. There was a weird Wizard of Oz like Gaga head that came floating down from the ceiling in a cage and was speaking about giving birth to a new race and a new society and then Gaga came out and gave birth to herself and busted into Born This Way.

There were more songs off The Fame and The Fame Monster than I thought there would be so I was pleasantly surprised when she did Bad Romance. She also did Just Dance, Love Game and Telephone, much to the delight of this Little Monster.

She then launched into Hair, Electric Chapel, Bad Kids, The Queen and You and I and even gave Minnesota a shout out when she sang the line, “My Daddy, Minnesota and Jesus Christ”. After five such high energy dance numbers, she did a little stop down and sat at her piano. She talked about her family and her grandpa and how much she missed them. She talked about growing up in New York and being very close with her Mom and Dad and told the story about how Edge of Glory came to be and gave a very heartfelt and soulful solo piano version of the song and then she called a lucky fan named Chelsea and invited her to come back stage after the show and have tea with her. She also played Born This Way on the piano and sang to Chelsea. She thanked her for picking up the phone because Gaga’s tour sponsor, Virgin Mobile just donated five thousand dollars to a homeless youth shelter in St. Paul by her picking up the phone. Very cool. The bit with the phone call did seem a tad disjointed and would have made more sense if she had done it before Telephone like she did last time she was here in 2010, but still great they donated the money and cool for lucky young Chelsea.

The show picked up again with her guitar player who did an acoustic latin infused solo to keep us entertained as there was no doubt a costume change coming and sure enough, there was the meat dress as she launched into Americano. Of course, it resembles something like beef jerky now, but it was the meat dress! Gaga jumped into a meat grinder during the number and then did Poker Face before another costume change, the appearance of a meat couch and then Alejandro, another costume change, Paparazzi and then Scheisse. She wished us all well and goodnight, but we knew that wasn’t it. She hadn’t done Marry the Night yet! That was her encore and seven super lucky fans got to dance with Gaga on stage and then the show really was over.

Being lucky enough to have been to her Monster Ball Show in 2010 so I have something to compare it to, I thought that the 2010 show may have been a little bit better. There was a story to it as her and her friends needed to make their way to the Monster Ball so there were theatrics involved with that show and you became invested in it more.

Don’t get me wrong, she has proven why she is one of the biggest pop stars in the world and she does know how to put on a show, but she may have been more energetic last time around. There was more to look at during the costume changes this time, but sometimes I felt like she leaned a little too heavily on her backing track. She is a talented piano player, and she also picked up the keytar and guitar for this one, but the piano is definitely her favorite instrument.

Overall, it was fun. She talked a lot to the audience about being brave and not listening to other people when they talk badly about you and to just ignore the haters. Love yourself, love your friends and love your family. It was a very positive message.

Her new album ARTPOP is slated to come out later this year.