Lady Gaga takes on the Turkish monsters

Lady Gaga takes on the Turkish monsters

Emrah Güler
Lady Gaga takes on the Turkish monsters

The ARTPOP Ball tour brought the 'little monsters' out to play in Istanbul on Sept. 16. AA Photo

Surprisingly little has been written in the Turkish media about the Istanbul leg of Lady Gaga’s artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball tour, in support of her latest album Artpop, which brought fans and the simply Gaga-curious together on Sept. 16.

Yes, a few words on Gaga's boat trip before the concert, or her impromptu visits to touristic places, appeared occasionally on the web, while the obligatory sensationalist headlines accompanied the amateur shots of Lady Gaga’s back when she changed outfits on stage. But still, even “Gaga naked on stage” was no big news.

Having taken her daughter to the concert, famous journalist Ayşe Arman was one of the few who wrote about Lady Gaga, and one of the few who was not impressed with Ms. Germanotta. While she deemed the show, the stage, the music, the voice, the dancers, all a “big disappointment,” Arman was confused enough to end her article, “Maybe I didn’t really get all the brouhaha.”

If anything, Lady Gaga’s concert in Istanbul was another testament to "Mother Monster's" solid connection with her "little monster" fans, her uncanny insight into the dynamics of social media, and a showcase of the existence of an impressive amount of Turkish monsters ready to bear their adoration, love and stretch out their little monster claws in hunger and true fandom.

Since the early days of her stardom, Lady Gaga has been a savvy social media player, always in tune with the comings and goings of social media, its tools, and its ever-changing dynamics. Her official Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts, with a growing number of followers from across the globe, have always displayed the right mixture of marketing, personal disclosure, and dialogue with her little monster fans.

Sultana Gaga takes to social media

Lady Gaga even has her own social networking site,, which she calls “home,” “a place for all monsters to gather, to create, to share, and to inspire” and a place to “be yourself.” Little monsters have always been more than mere fans, always aware that they are part of something a little more than a one-sided adoration. Her tongue-in-cheek humor, candid shots of herself without any makeup or without the extravaganza that constitutes her public persona and directly addressing her fans have all been part of her social media identity.

The moment she arrived in Istanbul, her social media accounts buzzed with her impressions on the new leg of her tour. “My suite in Istanbul is simply sensational. Incredible space, design, views and luxury. Look at this chocolate wheel, grand piano and flowers,” she wrote under a photo of the welcome chocolate that bore the words, “Welcome Sultana Gaga!” She also added the usual touch of personal revelation: “I’ll be writing some songs while I’m here!”

Later, she shared a note from the hotel to her dog, Miss Asia: “They even left a sweet note for Miss Asia, next to a beautiful puppy bed, food and silver bowls. Ultimate elegance, a million thank yous – I feel like a princess.” Turkish monsters also got their kudos from the Mother Monster, when Lady Gaga shouted out praise for the ultimate crowd of fans waiting to catch a glimpse of their idol: “They broke the steel barricades, don’t mess with monsters.”

Mother Monster made sure that she added a personal touch to every stop she visited. Photos from a boat trip in Istanbul, dubbed “YACHT Party with Haus of Gaga” were specific to her brief trip to Turkey. Beforehand, she posted photos of herself strolling in the desert in Dubai, the tour leg before Istanbul, and experimenting with hookah and henna. She also posted photos of “Aphrodite Lady Shower Greekini, feeling frisky” in Greece, after Istanbul, with Lady Gaga looking clean and sexy lying over a marble bath. 

#artRAVEIstanbul, ‘what an incredible crowd’

Even if opinions may differ about the quality, inspiration and sparkle of her concerts (especially artRAVE), the views are almost always unanimous that Lady Gaga always finds ways to include little monsters in her shows. In Istanbul, in her familiar concert demeanor, she invited one monster on stage with her.

With her Gaga make-up smeared with tears, the little monster sat next to her at the piano while she played and sang an acoustic version of “Born This Way.”

Lady Gaga informed the audience that the monster was from Iran, and self-proclaimed Persian monsters then had a field day in social media. Later, she read aloud a fan letter, a love letter from a little monster to his mother monster, written in nearly perfect English. Later, Lady Gaga found the monster among the crowd and invited him and his friends backstage after the concert. The audience cheered after a shot of the shocked monster’s face appeared on the giant screens.

Lady Gaga sang mostly from her new album, threw in an occasional song from her early hits, reminded us that we were in Istanbul every now and then (even incorporating Istanbul into the lyrics of You and I), and - as usual in her concerts - talked about acceptance, tolerance, and self-love.

When the concert was over, Lady Gaga shared a photo of the cheering audience with their smartphones directed at her on stage, a rainbow flag in the center, saying goodbye to the Turkish monsters: “Tonight we turned all our pain into a rave. Make art of your sadness, and your whole life will be a party of the future. ‪#‎artRAVEIstanbul‬ what an incredible crowd.”