While Lady Gaga didn’t quite go as far as taking the stage in a stained blue dress while smoking a cigar, she did let the sexual energy fly former President Bill Clinton’s way when she performed for him Sunday night at the star-studded “A Decade of Difference: A Concert Celebrating 10 Years of the William J. Clinton Foundation” at the Hollywood Bowl, making the former president blush while wife Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea laughed on.
“Bill, I’m having my first real Marilyn moment,” Gaga said to Clinton, referring to when Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy. “I always wanted to have one and I was hoping that it didn’t involve an accident with some pills and a strand of pearls, but here we are.” A visibly embarrassed but obviously amused Clinton looked to his wife on his right then to his beaming daughter on his left (a big Gaga fan, we hear), who were both smiling and laughing as Clinton’s face turned red. “Tonight, I’m on the edge with you,” Gaga said to Clinton before launching into “The Edge of Glory.”
Gaga (whom Ellen Degeneres introduced by saying, “This next performer needs no introduction” and then literally walked off the stage with no further introduction) made the Clintons squirm further in their box seats down front when she turned her hit “Bad Romance” into “Bill Romance.” The provocateur took the flirtatious set even further when she got in his face and sang the lyric, “I don’t want to be friends!”
Many in the sold-out crowd of 18,000 thought Gaga would have a real “Mr. President” moment, however, when she popped behind her piano and said, “I do have one more surprise.” Naturally, we all thought she’d sing “Happy Birthday” to our 42nd president since, well, that’s the real Marilyn Moment, Gaga was donning a blond Monroe-esque wig, and it in part a belated birthday celebration for Clinton. But instead, the pop star went into “You and I” instead.
The audience went nuts when Gaga changed the lyrics to, “So Hillary or Bill, sit back down where you belong in the oval office with those high heels on… Sit down on a couch while we watched you charm the whole world in the country.” The crowd cooed with every lyric nod to the Clintons, which also included, “Something about a cool Arkansas guy…. something about Billary [Laughs] Billary? That’s your celebrity name [Laughs].”
Gaga’s squirm-worthy set aside, the show was about showing some love (and raising some funds) to the Clinton Foundation for its work in helping fight AIDS, alleviate poverty, and improving global health. On hand to deliver speeches were Ashton Kutcher (sans Demi Moore), Colin Farrell, Maria Bello, Jason Segel, and Laura Ling.
Other highlights of the event included:
-U2’s Bono and the Edge closed the near four-hour show with an acoustic take on such hits as “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Desire,” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Stevie Wonder opened the show with hits “For Once In My Life,” “Overjoyed,” and “Superstitious,” while Grace Potter joined Kenny Chesney onstage, Bono dueted with Somalian artist K’naan, and Juanes entertained in Spanish.
-Usher impressed the crowd with his vocal prowess, rather than relying on his fancy-dancy stage moves, in a moving rendition of the Beatles’ “A Little Help From My Friends” with a horn section and gospel singers backing him up. Oh, and, he split his pants too. “I work hard!” he said, laughing at his wardrobe malfunction.
-A slew of celebrities pre-taped a Funny or Die sketch in which Clinton’s foundation sets up a celebrity division, featuring such celebrities as Sean Penn, Matt Damon, Ben Stiller, Ted Danson, Jack Black, and Kristen Wiig brainstorming awful ideas, while Kevin Spacey played a great Clinton.
-And of course the crowd was littered with celebrities, including Maria Shriver, Barbra Streisand and James Brolin, Petra Nemcova, Portia DeRossi, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Trachtenberg, Zach Galifinakis, David Spade, and others. But who got to sit with the Clintons? Bonnie Raitt was to Hillary’s right and Jane Fonda was right behind her.