Lady Gaga, You Are No Grace Jones

By Katie Byrne

Grace JonesHurricane tour stormed into the Hollywood Bowl last night, and one thought kept coming to mind: Lady Gaga wishes she were half as badass as Grace.

Let’s back up a second. It’s been awhile since the striking model/actress/musician/all-around performance artist has been in the public eye, so it’s safe to assume that JoBros fans and Twilighters aren’t familiar with her. But Grace has been working alongside big names for quite some time, like Eddie Murphy in “Boomerang,” James Bond in “A View to a Kill” and California’s governor in “Conan the Barbarian.” Her music has made just as big an impact, starting with three disco albums in the late ’70s and continuing through this year’s Hurricane.

Which brings us to now. When Jones appeared onstage last night, she looked like a 10-foot-tall, rectangular, silver ghost. She sang her first song, “This Is,” standing on a pedestal, covered in a silver sheet, and the crowd went insane. She removed the sheet to reveal a zebra bodysuit and a white headdress/mane that she whipped around like a wild animal. Her startling contralto voice perfectly matched her severe costumes and stage presence, and her larger-than-life presence filled up the massive Bowl.

And that was just the first two songs.

She went on to change costumes seven more times during her set, including a Jamaican-flag-colored getup for “My Jamaican Guy,” a red-and-black bodysuit with tentacles for “Devil in My Life,” silver padded culottes and a sequined hat for “Love Is the Drug” and the pièce de résistance a gigantic flower costume that turned out to be entirely backless (save for a thong) during “La Vie en Rose.” And those costume changes made for some of the show’s best moments. While she was changing, she kept her mic on and held a conversation with the crowd, chatting about everything from her “friend Michael, who just passed” to her teetotaling team, who apparently wouldn’t let her have a stiff drink backstage.

This is where Gaga comes in. Grace Jones is 61 years old, wearing little more than a thong in front of thousands of people — and owning it! Will Lady Gaga be rocking it that hard at 61? Is she rocking it that hard now? Beyond the over-the-top image, she’s only offered us frothy pop songs. Catchy? Yes. Complex? No. Everything about Jones is otherworldly, and that can’t be fabricated. Sure, Gaga wore a crazy mask in Malta and that Kermit shirt in Germany, but facewear and puppets alone will never replicate the mere presence of Miss Jones.

Do you think Lady Gaga can ever achieve the level of sheer insanity that Grace has mastered? Let us know!