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September 21, 2017

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Lady Gaga concert draws thousands

American pop sensation Lady Gaga held a mini-concert to promote her new album at the Taichung Arena, yesterday, attracting thousands of fans, some of whom dressed up in unique "Gaga" fashion, queuing up and camping out at the venue from as early as yesterday midnight.

After spending one day in Taipei, Lady Gaga arrived yesterday at 3 p.m. in Taichung, where celebrations for the newly designated "Lady Gaga Day" were already in full swing: streets were lined with flags welcoming Lady Gaga's visit, youths walked around in the Gaga-style that causes heads to turn, traffic around the concert venue had been packed since early morning, and those who dress up Gaga-like or provide Gaga-related products (albums, posters, and concert tickets alike) will receive special lodging offers at local hotels.

Taichung Mayor Jason Hu warmly welcomed Lady Gaga and presented her with a key to the city, an ink and wash portrait of Lady Gaga in a cheongsam, and an aboriginal wood sculpture, explaining that in the Atayal tribal tongue, "Gaga" means love and respect between nature, human beings, and spirits.

Lady Gaga appeared touched and appreciative when a group of Atayal children danced and sang one of her songs — dropping to her knees and hugging the children.

Only 50 seats were available at the welcome party, and were awarded to the most elaborately dressed Lady Gaga fans. Strutting on a catwalk in front of a screaming and cheering audience, the "little monsters," as Lady Gaga fondly calls her fans, displayed costumes that ranged from a meat-themed bikini to a dress made from "ghost money."

While some contestants wore 25 cm-high heels and exaggerated eye makeup, one diehard fan went out of his way and included a pig's head as part of his costume, reminding people of the raw beef outfit Lady Gaga once wore in a concert.

Another impressive costume was a combination of a white mask with an outfit made out of "ghost money" — paper money traditionally burned in religious events in memory of the deceased in Taiwan. This fan explained his creativity was inspired by Lady Gaga — to stay courageous even in the face of death. Children are not immune to Lady Gaga's charisma, either; quite a few of them were seen dressed up fancily, accompanied by their parents.

When fans questioned when she would hold a full-blown concert in Taiwan, Lady Gaga promised that she would add Taiwan to her world tour list, as she was deeply impressed by how friendly and passionate her fans, and Taiwanese people in general, have been, she said.

At 8 p.m. last night, 4,000 lucky fans entered the Taichung Arena for the mini-concert, which expanded from the original set of four songs to nine, during which Lady Gaga changed through three sets of outfits. Over 40,000 fans crowded outside the venue to view a live broadcast screen, with children standing on parents' shoulders to watch the concert unfold, while teenagers brought ladders and climbed high, craning their necks.

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