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Lady Gaga, centre, is bringing her tour to the Rogers Arena Friday and Saturday.

Carlo Allegri/REUTERS

She was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta – but when she kicks off the North American leg of her Born This Way Ball tour with two nights at Rogers Arena, she will be the larger-than-life Lady Gaga.

At just 26 years old, the New York pop icon has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide, attracted more than 32 million Twitter followers, drawn 2.2 billion video views, raked in five Grammy Awards, performed with greats from Tony Bennett to the Rolling Stones, and was named one of Forbes's most powerful women. She even had a new genus of fern named after her. This month, SoundScan reported that her albums The Fame and Born This Way were the fourth and fifth top-selling digital albums to date. As she tweeted, "Hold your head up girl and you'll go far."

Known for her head-turning outfits and progressive views, the star has also become an outspoken advocate for gay rights and a champion for the underdog – to the point where she introduced the Born Brave Bus, a concert area where fans can access professional private or group chats about mental health, depression, bullying and relationships.

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But when the lights go up – all 864,614 watts of them – it will be all about the spectacle. "The Born This Way Ball is an Electro-Metal Pop-Opera; the tale of the Beginning, the genesis of the Kingdom of Fame. How we were birthed and how we will die celebrating," Lady Gaga said of the tour, which uses more than 800 pounds of liquid CO2 for fog nightly, and has dancers donning 50 different pairs of shoes taken from 40 massive wardrobe cases.

"If only Fame came in IV form could I bare[sic] being away from you," tweeted Lady Gaga, whose new album ARTPOP is due out later this year, in the lead-up to the Vancouver tour launch. "I live for the way that you cheer and scream for me. The Applause."

Lady Gaga plays Rogers Arena Friday and Saturday (ticketmaster.ca).

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