Lady Gaga packed the Tacoma Dome Saturday night to the delight of her fans, numbering 20-some thousand.

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Lady Gaga lived up to the hype.

As one of the most anticipated touring acts of the year, she stimulated the crowd’s senses on Saturday night in a way few artists can.

She brought spectacle and backed it up with soul.

The popstress will earn an estimated $200 million from her worldwide tour, according to Billboard, and her Tacoma Dome stop demonstrated why.

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Only two years ago, Lady Gaga performed at Seattle’s Nathan Hale High School. A few months later, she opened for the New Kids On The Block at the Dome.

“Not even a third of the Dome was filled,” recalled the 24 year-old singer during Saturday night’s show, dubbed “Monster Ball.”

“Everyone stared at us like this,” she said, with her mouth gaping wide.

But she sold out the Showbox at the Market in 10 minutes last March. And this time, she packed the Tacoma Dome, filling the arena with 20-some thousand of her fans, whom she calls “little monsters.”

They flooded in, paying tribute to the star’s quirky looks with blond bobs, body suits and bows made out of hair. It was like Halloween in August as fans of all shapes and sizes, women and men, took liberties with their outfits, baring skin and donning Viking horns, fairy wings and top hats.

They were fearless, like their leader, “mother monster.” During the show, Lady Gaga changed a lot, at times wearing nothing but a bejeweled bra, panties and stiletto boots. Other outfits included a purple animal-print body suit paired with a jacket with padded shoulders; a plastic see-through dress; a red cloak; a spiky ice-queen dress with translucent wings; a puffy, sea-green dress with cubes; and a get-up made entirely of blond hair. At times, she resembled a villain out of a Tim Burton movie. How she changed so fast from each complicated outfit to the next is a mystery.

There were shades of Madonna, David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Cher in her work — a lot of glam along with shock and awe. There were crosses on her set and jacket, a fire burning atop her grand piano and fake blood everywhere. She spoke of Jesus loving everybody, just like one of her dancers, who is bisexual. And, to top it off, she shot sparks from her top and bottom.

The show depicted a journey to the “Monster Ball,” starting with a set patterned on the gritty streets of New York, complete with metal railings and neon signs. A rickety cab opened its hood, revealing a keyboard. Next up was a subway set, then a circular screen enclosed the star, placing her in a simulated twister. Trees popped up on stage and a giant, glowing angler fish with tentacles threatened to eat her alive. Dancers moved the enormous fish like a puppet, wiggling its tentacles around her.

But it was not all spectacle. Lady Gaga may juice up her show with lots of eye candy, but the main attraction is still her voice. She could scream, then follow up with gospel-style belting. For the bulk of her show, fans danced joyfully to her No. 1 hits, like “Alejandro,” “Bad Romance,” “Just Dance” and” Paparazzi.” And unlike many pop stars, she was singing and dancing, heavily panting at the end of each — obviously not lip-syncing.

And while her song “Speechless” was the least favorite for some, turning into a chance for a bathroom break during the two-hour show, it was also a chance for her to just sing — she was literally stripped down to her skivvies, baring her soul at the microphone, thanking her fans for their loyalty.

“Tonight, I don’t want you to leave loving me more,” said Lady Gaga. “I want you to leave loving yourself more.”

Marian Liu: 206-464-3825 or

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