The music industry has been contracting quite a bit in recent years, with compact disc and concert ticket sales dropping. But there is still room for the occasional over-the-top spectacle - and spectacles don't get much more over the top than Lady Gaga.
Somehow, Gaga is making that old-school model work, the way Madonna used to. She's still moving multi-platinum numbers of CDs, thanks to lavish videos for hits such as "Just Dance." And she's drawing huge throngs to arenas with a roadshow that, by all accounts, has to be seen to be believed. "The Fame," indeed.
Yet Gaga is no puppet. As she demonstrated this year at the Grammy Awards (when she performed a spare, restrained duet with Elton John), she can sit at a piano and win audiences over with no props, just her voice.
Count on lots of props (and costume changes) Sunday night, however, when Ms. Gaga takes her extravaganza to Raleigh's RBC Center. Showtime is 8 p.m., and tickets are $49.50-$175. For details, see rbccenter.com.