Photos by G.
Oh Madge! Madonna is wrapping up her MDNA world tour with 2 nights at New York’s Madison Square Garden. I attended the first night on November 12, 2012. Luckily I’d gotten the memo that she goes on EXTRA late, so I wasn’t one of the bitter concert goers who arrived when the doors opened at 7 pm, only to have to wait for Madonna to take the stage nearly FOUR hours later. Madonna hit the stage around 10:45 and finished 2 hours later at 12:45 am! I’ve never seen anything end that late at an arena show, but I guess there’s a first time for everything.
I enjoyed the Madonna show, but not for the reasons I usually enjoy concerts. Madonna’s show is less of a concert and more of a Broadway-esque spectacle where they just happen to be dancing to Madonna tunes all night. At 54 years old, you’ve got to respect that she’s taken care of her body and she looks great. I am not entirely sure if that’s a reason to strip down to your bra and panties in front of 20,000 people (and with your children present), but I digress.
The Madonna show was filled with great dancing, and she seems to have doubled the number of dancers she usually has on stage with her. During any given song, there were great acrobatics and every move was choreographed with precision. There were the usual Madonna-esque “look at how shocking I can be” moments as she toted a fake machine gun, dry humped a bed, the stage floor and many of her dancers, did a strip tease and had visuals of dying babies, poverty and memorials of some people who’ve
died of AIDS killed themselves from being bullied playing on screens behind her.
There was even a section where Madonna turned her microphone on and talked to the crowd about the recent US Presidential election (and she advised “regardless of your political views, we all need to work together”), the victims of Hurricane Sandy (as she was wearing very little and told the crowd that rather than just stare at her ass when she’s dressed this way, they should throw money at her so she can donate it) and she mentioned that we should be grateful for our freedom because artists like Pussy Riot are not allowed to freely express their opinions. Speaking of Pussy Riot, Madonna was selling “Free Pussy Riot” T-shirts at the concert and I sure hope the moneys from those shirts go to help them instead of going to help the Madonna fund.
As Madonna was telling the crowd to be nicer people and to come together as one, I found it hard to keep a straight face (and found it hard to believe SHE could keep a straight face during this segment) because if you’ve ever tried to meet Madonna in person, she’s one of the nastiest celebrities you could ever encounter! Although I’ve been a fan of her since she started (yes, I am THAT old), her “do as I say, not as I do” rhetoric has left me cold and because of all the great experiences I have with so many people who rock my world, I’d rather devote my time, energy and money into the plethora of talented artists who haven’t lost all touch with reality.
She performed truncated dance remixes of a lot of her more recent material including “Hung Up” and “Give it 2 Me” as well as a large section of her most recent album MDNA with tracks such as “Gang Bang,” “Gimmie All Your Luvin’,” “Girl Gone Wild,” “Masterpiece,” “Turn up The Radio,” “Love Spent,” “I’m Addicted,” and “I’m A Sinner.” She also revisited a few (literally) of her classic songs in the form of reworked versions of “Like A Virgin” (which sounded like a funeral waltz), “Vogue,” “Open Your Heart,” “Like A Prayer” and “Express Yourself,” which she took her well publicized jab at Lady Gaga by singing the chorus of Gaga’s “Born This Way” over the music of her own track since the two songs sound quite similar.
Although she did some serious dancing, Madonna sat down on the job for a nice chunk of the show. She sat on the stage (or laid down on the stage) for many songs and she took some extra breathers as she played her guitar for a couple of tracks. There were the usual multiple outfit changes as her show was divided into sections where they’d play 4 or 5 tracks and the as she was off changing clothes, the show focused on a dancing sequence and video screens showed off new versions of her songs (such as “Justify My Love,” “Nobody Knows Me” and a hits medley).
Madonna strutted around a triangle shaped stage and it makes you wonder how many people she has on her crew setting up and tearing down the stage night after night and transporting it to different cities. No matter my opinion of the show, I can’t deny that the logistics are pretty impressive. As Madonna is approaching her mid-50s, it will be interesting to see the next incarnation of her career because you can say a lot of bad things about her, but you cannot deny that she is definitely the Queen of Reinvention.
The setlist was:
Gregorian Chant Intro / Girl Gone Wild / Revolver / Gang Bang / Papa Don’t Preach / Hung Up / I Don’t Give A / Best Friend (video segment) / Express Yourself – Born This Way / Gimmie All Your Luvin’ / Hits Medley (video segment) / Turn Up The Radio / Open Your Heart / Masterpiece / Justify My Love (video segment) / Vogue / Candy Shop / Human Nature / Love Spent / Nobody Knows Me (video segment) / I’m Addicted / I’m A Sinner / Like A Prayer / Celebration / Give It 2 Me