Organizer: Nothing vulgar in Lady Gaga concert


11:30 PM May 20th, 2012

By: Pocholo Concepcion, May 20th, 2012 11:30 PM

Members of a religious group stand in front of a sign promoting the concert of Lady Gaga as they hold a protest near the venue in suburban Pasay, south of Manila on Sunday, May 20, 2012. Renen de Guia, head of Ovation Productions, which organized the concert as part of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way Ball” tour, said the concert had nothing to do with the music video of “Judas,” the Lady Gaga song which had drawn the most outrage. Lady Gaga will perform on May 21 and 22 in Manila as part of her Asian tour. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MANILA, Philippines—The hullabaloo on whether the Manila concert of American pop superstar Lady Gaga would corrupt the morals of the Filipino youth has made it to the pages of international publications like The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

But the very center of the controversy has reportedly chosen to ignore the issue as she prepares for the shows, which open Monday night and continue Tuesday at the newly constructed 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

“She is holed up in her hotel suite,” said Renen de Guia, head of Ovation Productions, which organized the concert as part of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way Ball” tour.

The controversial singer-songwriter is billeted at Makati Shangri-La hotel, where fans awaited her arrival on Saturday night.

Asked why the artist had not talked to the media since her arrival, De Guia told the Inquirer: “Her feeling is that she has gone past the stage where she has to explain herself to the press.”

Days before the concert, religious groups including the Catholic Church rose in protest against what they considered to be morally offensive images and lyrics in Lady Gaga’s music videos and songs.

De Guia on Sunday said he was summoned to the Pasay City Mayor’s Office on Friday as a result of the protests.

He said he had to explain to Mayor Antonino Calixto and a number of city officials that the concert had nothing to do with the music video of “Judas,” the Lady Gaga song which had drawn the most outrage.

It was a good thing, De Guia added, that Craig David, who works in Lady Gaga’s management, had flown in a day earlier to check on the venue.

Lady Gaga arrives at Makati Shangri-la in Makati City Saturday night for her Manila leg of ‘Born This Way.’ ARNOLD ALMACEN/INQUIRER

“He assured me that there would be nothing vulgar or offensive in the show. I brought him along to Pasay City Hall,” said De Guia.

As to the possibility of protesters watching the show, De Guia said he expected a number of them “to see for themselves what they have been crowing about.”

He said complimentary tickets were given to Pasay City hall officials and their representatives so they could also see for themselves whether the show would violate laws against indecency in public places.

Regarding “Judas,” a track from Lady Gaga’s third album released last year, De Guia admitted that he himself “Googled the lyrics” to find out what the fuss was all about, and that he found nothing wrong with it.

The song’s music video features a stylized depiction of Biblical characters, with Lady Gaga portraying a modern-day Mary Magdalene caught between her devotion to Jesus Christ and an attraction to Judas Iscariot.

Lady Gaga has been quoted on the Internet service provider MSN Canada as having explained:

“Judas is a metaphor and an analogy about forgiveness and betrayal, and things that haunt you in your life, and how I believe that it’s the darkness in your life that ultimately shines and illuminates the greater light that you have upon you.”

She also admitted that she wrote the song to look back on a bad relationship, which was also the subject of “Bad Romance,” one of the tracks from her 2009 album “The Fame Monster.”

To all the harsh critics of Lady Gaga, De Guia said: “Don’t be so believing of your leaders. Understand what you’re protesting about. Read the lyrics of her songs carefully and see if there’s really anything evil about them.”

The Monday and Tuesday concerts mark Lady Gaga’s second visit to the Philippines. She first performed in Manila at Smart Araneta Coliseum in August 2009.

Originally posted: May 20, 2012 | 7:56 pm

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