How Lady GaGa Got Us to ‘Just Dance’
Written by Steve Weinstein
It wasn’t that long after a shy former New York University student named Stefani Germanotta had reinvented herself as Lady GaGa that she became noticed on the gay club scene. Her first big breakthrough came at the Sunday Pool Party at the annual mega-Circuit party, the Palm Springs White Party, where, on April 20, 2008, she performed “Just Dance” for the first time before a live audience.
Shortly after that, she performed at the Size Sundays@Here Lounge party in West Hollywood. “The first time she performed at Size, she was a complete unknown,” recalls Promoter-Producer Tom Whitman. “But I thought she was so talented, as both a performer and as a songwriter, I asked her to perform at Wonderland,” the mammoth party that caps L.A.’s Gay Pride celebrations. She had 14 dancers on a huge stage. People were talking about her distinctive musical abilities and showbiz know-how — not all positively: “A couple of people would say to me, ‘Tom, what’s the deal? Why are you trying to make Lady GaGa happen?’ Well, I had the last laugh. By the time she performed at Cherry Pop [Aug. 23, 2008], she had blown up. Everyone knew her first single and she was on her way to becoming a megastar.”
Another major L.A. figure on the gay scene, Jeffrey Sanker, meanwhile, was impressed enough with her performance at his White Party that he booked her for White Party Las Vegas. By the time she performed there, on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008, she had had chart-topping hits off her landmark album The Fame. Although she had become an international sensation, GaGa didn’t forget Sanker’s initial faith in her, and she performed again for him, at the White Party’s 20th year anniversary on Saturday, April 11, 2009. According to Sanker’s spokesperson, “One week before the event, Jeffrey was informed she might cancel because Saturday Night Live wanted her to host on April 11th; 24 hours later she turned down SNL, saying ‘They will ask me to host SNL again’ — then followed up with her entire 75-minute ‘The Fame Ball Tour’ performance at the Saturday White Party.”
The last time she would play for Sanker would be later that year, when she made a special appearance at his Sundays at Voyeur party. This was the very first “official” release party of her follow-up album, The Fame Monster. She arrived with her mother and Paris Hilton, and sang “Speechless” a capella.
Perhaps the most “Gagaesque” of her early performances occurred — where else? — on Fire Island, when she performed at Daniel Nardicio’s notorious Underwear Party at the Ice Palace in Cherry Grove. It was Nardicio’s birthday, August 8, 2008, and it may be the only gig where Lady GaGa was overdressed compared to her audience.
Thnx for the detailed info. We are very happy to provide laser FX for a few of her concerts! Lady Gaga was great to work with
By Kyle Garner LASERONICS on 08-31-2011