Crowds unlike those ever seen for a "Today" show summer concert swarmed the plaza Friday to see pop princess Lady Gaga perform.
Screaming, excited Gaga look-alikes draped in caution tape filled sidewalks and streets from 48th Street to 50th Street and from 5th Avenue to 6th Avenue.
Mass hysteria shook the plaza as fans basked in Gaga's charm -- and the rain. It downpoured at various points during the performance, leaving a sopping wet Fame Monster on stage shaking her dripping blonde hair. But the erratic weather only seemed to enhance an already electric performance.
Overwhelmed by the support of the massive crowd, Gaga even broke down and cried after the show, grasping the hands of her dancers and giving someone who may have been a fan a huge hug offstage.
The heat and rain didn't complement the show for everyone, though. Three fans passed out and had to be taken away by emergency medical services. Another woman had a seizure. One EMS worker, Norma Aviles, said she and her partner treated 20 people, primarily for heat exhaustion, since they arrived in the area at 5 a.m.
Lady Gaga first stepped out at about 6:40 a.m. Friday amid roaring applause for a quick rehearsal. Donning a Madonna-esque black corsette with black fishnet stockings and her trademark shoes, the 24-year-old sensation rose above the crowd in an elevated machine surrounded by smoke and gave thrilled Gaga-ites one of her best renditions of "Bad Romance."
While they didn't have an exact headcount, security guards said hands down, Gaga's concert brought the biggest crowds the plaza has ever seen. Authorities later estimated about 20,000 people flooded the streets. Even Dean & Deluca, the cafe adjoining the plaza, got in on the action, renting out their place for a private party to watch Gaga's unconventionality and vivacity transform the stage.
Some fans waited days to see the eccentric pop star perform.
Kevin Acevedo, 17, trekked in from Clifton, N.J., with his cousin, brother and his brother’s girlfriend to get the first spot in the line at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to watch the Fame Monster perform on the TODAY Show’s summer concert series. Acevedo and his posse didn’t sleep all night.
“Too much excitement,” said Acevedo.
When the pop singer got word that fans were camping out for her, she indicated she'd be sending them relief on Twitter.
"My little monster sweeties are already camped outside today show! I love u! Will be sending u pizza and water all day! And a suprise 2moro!X"
True to her word, Gaga sent her fans pizza and water at about 11 p.m. last night. This morning, 19-year-old Eric Intriago, who got in line at about 1 p.m. Thursday, still had a pizza box -- an empty, yet powerful momento that says "Thank you" with a photo of Lady Gaga -- in his hand. Acevedo and his group brought blankets, water, Fruit Loops and chips as reinforcements.
When it started raining yesterday, another Lady Gaga camper, Amadeo Mangan, had his brother who works in Times Square bring garbage bags for them to create a tent-like set up. The 20-year-old Brooklyn resident is braving it alone because he couldn’t recruit anyone else to line up.
Still, it’s worth it to Mangan to brave the elements for his first Lady Gaga concert. Watching Lady Gaga is, “like visual art,” said Mangan. “She doesn’t think outside the box; she thinks outside the triangle.”
The ever-growing line of Gaga aficionados is expected to wrap around 48th Street to Fifth Avenue. Because there is no assigned seating, first-comers will have to wrangle for an upfront spot even when they do let the floodgates down.
Tom Gay, 19, isn’t worried, though. He said Lady Gaga inspires people and that’s why he drove seven hours from Cleveland Ohio with his friend, Bryan Mesick, to see the artist perform.
The only other artist people have lined up for on a Wednesday this summer is Justin Bieber, said Rockefeller Center security guard Walter Blazevic, who is usually an arm’s length away from the performers when they come out on stage. In the five years he has worked security for the TODAY Show Summer Concert Series, Blazevic said fans only scope out a spot early for the big names.
“She’s like the new Madonna,” said Bharati Carmona, 15, who came in from Valley Stream, N.Y.
At noon on Friday Lady Gaga enthusiasts were scheduled to hold a look-alike contest in Union Square -- with more free pizza.