The network announced that Gaga’s Feb. 21 and 22 shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden will be packaged into a special, airing Saturday, May 7.
This may seem like a natural step for the Grammy-winning, 15-million-record-selling singer, but HBO doesn’t just hand these things out. Gaga enters an elite fraternity including Madonna, Michael Jackson and Britney Spears.
And, yes, the days of event television may be behind us, but the spectacle of a well-produced concert is timeless. So here are five of the more iconic performances to ever grace pay cable:
Michael Jackson, The Dangerous Tour, 1993
Reported at the time as the “largest financial deal for a concert performance” in TV history, MJ’s show in Bucharest, Romania, landed on HBO during a period when the artist was distancing himself from public appearances in the USA. In hindsight, Jackson’s moves and command of the stage endure. His billowing kimono and guitarist dressed as the Tree of Life from “Avatar…” not so much.
Madonna, Drowned World Tour, 2001
Her third HBO special — a follow-up to 1990’s Blond Ambition and 1993’s Girlie Show — was sort of a coup for the singer, who’d all but abandoned her singles from the ’80s. But the Material Girl returned to her home in
Britney Spears, Live From Las Vegas, 2001
Can you believe Britney Spears was three years and three albums deep into her career before she had televised concert? It may have something to do with the fact that singing live has never really been her thing, but this show proved she can writhe in simulated rain with the best of them. Nobody else has, or will, ever look this good in a transparent cowboy hat.
Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveShow, 2007
Justin Timberlake may be considering a career solely devoted to acting, but it’s probably just been too long since he last popped in the Blu-ray of his 2007 show at Madison Square Garden. It puts his work in “The Social Network” to shame. And clocking in at just under 2 hours, it also holds the unofficial record for longest consecutive period of time one mortal human being has literally oozed sex.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concert, 2009
If god were to make a concert line-up, it would probably look a lot like the 25th anniversary show for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Legends like Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and B.B. King played with a host of other guests, culminating in a Springsteen/Billy Joel medley. They close the night with “Born To Run,” and it’s arguably one of the greatest things to ever happen. Ever.
Top that, Gaga.