SXSW: Lady Gaga performs as festival continues after tragedy
SXSW: Lady Gaga took the stage at the festival after a driver fleeing police went through a street barricade on March 13. The SXSW, or South by Southwest, Festival is held in Austin, Texas.
Jay Janner/Austin-American Statesman/AP
The Texas music festival South by Southwest continues after a driver fleeing police gunned a gray Honda Civic through a street barricade and into a crowd of South By Southwest festival attendees early Thursday.
Roland Swenson, the festival's managing director, had said events would continue "through this tragic time” ("I think it would probably cause more problems for everyone to show up and be turned away from a show than to just move ahead,” Swenson said) and Lady Gaga kicked off 24 hours in the spotlight at the festival on Thursday night in typically memorable fashion.
The pop provocateur began her appearance at Stubb's BBQ on Thursday night during the annual music festival and conference by roasting herself on a spit like a gutted pig as her dancers basted her with barbecue brushes — and then things got really weird.
The show sponsored by Doritos to benefit her Born This Way Foundation included moments meant to provoke and others meant to inspire.
Gaga began the evening by taping a segment on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in which she wore a puffy white dress complete with a huge hat that mostly obscured her face. By the time she hit Stubb's a little after 10, she wore long blonde dreadlock extensions.
During her show, Gaga told the crowd,"I love my fans because they always let me be myself and they don't care what anybody says.”
A little while later she set up her somber song "Dope" with a self-reflective moment.
"It's so much easier to be yourself than it is to be somebody else," she told the crowd as she played melancholy notes on the piano. "Because then you have to pretend to be someone else and like things that you don't like and do stuff that you don't want to do."
Earlier in the week, Samsung got its money's worth from Jay Z and Kanye West when two of rap's top stars combined for a powerful, hit-filled two-hour show Wednesday night and Thursday morning, allowing Samsung to steal some of iTunes' luster at the annual music conference and festival.
Samsung scheduled the pair at the same time as the iTunes Festival's hip-hop night that featured Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q at the very nearby ACL Moody Theater. The performance came a few weeks after West called out Apple CEO Tim Cook at a New Jersey concert, telling him to "stop trying to get performers to play your festival for free, you are rich as (expletive)."
Chances are West and Jay Z didn't play the show for free, but the return on investment wasn't marginal. The show was one of the most anticipated surrounding the annual buzz-building gathering and fans with Samsung devices with the company's new streaming music service, Milk Music, were granted free entry.
Fans lined up several hundred yards around the block before the show with most having little hope of getting in. Those who did – including Odd Future's Tyler, The Creator, who forced his way to the front row to the delight of selfie-snapping fans and spent some of the show crowd surfing – were treated to an energetic performance from two of hip-hop's biggest stars.
The two played selections from their "Watch the Throne" collaboration throughout, including "No Church in the Wild," ''... in Paris," ''Who Gon Stop Me" and "Otis" as images of Doberman pinschers, lions and tigers, great white sharks and gazelle-killing cheetahs flashed across a screen that wrapped around the stagebound box.
The pair each also played hits from their own lengthy catalogs. West performed songs from his latest album "Yeezus" along with older hits like "Jesus Walks" and "Runaway."
What they didn't offer was any clues about a sequel to their collaborative album "Watch the Throne," which is anticipated later this year.