NEW YORK CITY – October 6 – FAN Reports, LUCKY STAR!!!!!!!
Very nice review from DyeAnotherDay at MTribe.
I got my ticket at 4:56 p.m. Literally. My stomach jumped, and I barely remember my actions after that.
After nearly giving up, Section 4, Row C popped up. I couldn’t turn it down. It was getting close to showtime… I grabbed my phone, a camera (whose battery died immediately), some Listermints, and dashed up to Madison Square Garden.
The main lobby was pretty filled with people at around seven — a good opening night crowd. Mostly men, but lots of girls, tourists. They opened the gates at seven, and people flooded in.
I had a big smile as I entered the arena and laid eyes on the stage — my 17th Madonna concert there. Maybe my 24th Madonna show.
People were shrieking as they streamed in and got a glimpse of the stage.
The catwalk seemed a little shorter — but I would say it stopped around Row 22. It is circular and has two little runways that jut out to either side.
Onstage were gigantic stainless steel blocks.
My little hand shook when I handed the usher my ticket. This CAN’T be happening. But it is. The gentleman lead me to my ROW C seat. I was quickly joined by this REALLY HOT guy who was as amped as I was.
As the arena filled, the security was REALLY relaxed! I didn’t see them move a single person. I casually walked up to the metal railing — and there I remained for the rest of the evening. My Front Row at last! (Why do I suddently want to text tonybecks?)
Tick tock, the time passed nine o’clock — which was when Confessions started. 9:05, 9:10. Later and later. Then… lights out, around maybe 9:20.
There was a loud opening night shriek from the crowd, Madonna fans one and all.
The metal blocks are now video screens, which are projecting something that might resemble a video game, or possibly the virtual reality of someone’s brain.
Suddenly, and without much ado, there is a giant throne — and Guess Who is sitting in it.
The people around me go nuts.
I am studying the busy, busy activity of her crew — who alternately seem busy, bored, or, often into it!
Madonna descends the stairs, tosses her cane, and delivers a glowing “Candy Shop,” on this, the second night of the U.S. leg of her tour, and the second indoor tour she’s done on S&S.
She had a very devoted front row, people who never sat down, stopped clapping.
This is a tightly choreographed routine that seems to evaporate in an instant. There seem to be dancers everywhere. I know they change wigs and outfits, but she seems to have about 30 people with her this time.
Her body is ridiculous. My only complaint is that her hair often covered her face.
Now in a sheer top with teeny hot pants, Madonna cries, “I love New York! It’s good to be home!” The crowd roars. She begins to strut down the runway, which is mobbed by smiling fans, signs, hands. A gorgeous white Rolls joins her, and Madonna is all over it, much the way she worked the disco ball for Confessions.
This is a nice upbeat number — I didn’t notice a single glitch all night.
Madonna seems to be having a good time.
Now in a top hat with a guitar at the center stage, Madonna goes into “Human Nature” — which is surprisingly good!
There is no mistaking it — she is in the mood to rock and roll this year. I’m actually surprised there isn’t more rock on the album.
The song works extremely well, as Madonna continues to expertly inject her persona into her every move: “I’m not sorry, motherfuckahs!”
The unveiling of Ms. Spears gets a huge, loud reaction from the crowd.
Now at the center stage, this seems to be the time when the concert is going to take a serious turn.
And it does.
In the slot often held by “Like a Virgin,” “Frozen,” the audience hears the opening chords to “4 Minutes.”
A small platform rises out of the center stage, and Madonna is atop it, a bit like her opening for RIT. The dancers join her in EXTREMELY PG-13 outfits!
And the audience realizes they are being treated to Madonna’s mash-up… of “Vogue.”
It really is genius, and her body seems to be on some sort of wonderdrug. I go to a gym, and her flexibility and strength are astounding.
She rocks the stadium with this satisfying number, and vanishes. At all times, there is a team of people with a flashlight in black outfits always ready to do SOMETHING. Water, new shoes, touch-ups.
But now she’s gone, and Madonna veterans know it’s time for an interlude.
The interlude will knock you OUT, no pun intended.
She has re-interpreted “Die Another Day” to fit the boxing theme of “Hard Candy,” and she is simply magnificent. It’s as good as seeing her in person. She is gigantic, writhing in sweat, while two dancers box it out in a ring that has appeared at the center stage.
Suddenly, colorful Keith Haring images take over the screens, and a
DJ BOOTH RISES ABOUT TWO FEET IN FRONT OF ME.
Madonna skips onstage and looks like a little girl.
Now sporting a black hoodie and red shorts (her whole look thus far is reminiscent of her promo tour) Madonna begins jumping rope.
What I LOVE about Madonna is that she delivers. So many people just phone it in, and Madonna really exerts herself. Anyone who has jumped rope for five minutes will tell you it is extremely demanding.
And… here she comes! We have waited about four songs, but Madonna is now at the edge of the stage in front of us, our arms outstretched “I LOVE YOU MADONNA!” I can see her sinewy arms, the bulging veins in her neck. She does a playful spin on the pole — turning a pole dance into a schoolgirl’s romp, and the number really rocks. It has a great beat, and visually it’s seamless with this section of the show.
She lies down on the stage and humps it.
Two assistants rush out to meet her and they remove her shoes and put on new ones.
She crawls over back to my side of the stage, where we once again jump and scream. This time, she lies on the stage, humps it, stares at us in the front row, smiles, and skips away. Every time she’s near you, it’s like being in a hurricane!
She continues crawling out on the catwalk, and delivers a really special, astounding “Hearbeat.” This turns out to be a highlight in a show of highlights!
Monte Pittman is there — I am at his feet — and he is really in his element with this show that features so much guitar.
Madonna races back to the main stage to grab a guitar, and performs “Borderline.” This is really magnificent. New York goes crazy — this is her first big hit here, the first time I personally became aware of her. This whole section resonates so strongly.
And now it’s time for Madonna’s past to bite her in the ass.
I am against the railing and see people draped in black race past me. They finally are elevated to the stage, and represent just a FEW of the characters that Madonna has played: the Virgin, the Material Girl, Express Yourself, and Open Your Heart.
Madonna pushes them around, and once again, sings “She’s Not Me!” Nobody knows me!
Onstage, a subway rises from the stage, and, Madonna and Co. perform a “Music” that strongly resembles the promo tour version, although it is much more musical. She is joined by her entire troupe, who work the gigantic stage.
The show is only half over, and Madonna has played three of her biggest hits, and one cherished oldie.
And with “Borderline,” Madonna has played virtually all of The Immaculate Collection on her last three tours. Only Open Your Heart remains the absentee.
Madonna disappears for a costume change.
The extremely bizarre, and some would say downright puzzling, “Rain” is now onstage. I can only barely make out Madonna’s “Rain” against the Eurythmics, but it seems to hypnonize the crowd.
I have turned around to survey the crowd a number of times, and I would not say I saw many people sitting.
A piano and hooded figure rise from the center stage, and there is Madonna, completely draped in black, singing “The Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You.”
I wonder who THIS is for.
Trotting back to the main stage, Madonna joins her dancers for “Spanish Lesson,” which is surprisingly effective and much better than the album!
Her energy level is astounding, and I would say that Madonna has remained connected with the crowd for the entire night. I’ve seen her attention wander sometimes — sometimes to Stuart, sometimes to Cloud. Sometimes she seems in her own world, but tonight she always seems to be very aware of the front rows.
Grabbing a guitar, Madonna now belts out “Miles Away,” which gets a very positive reaction from the crowd.
The main stage has turned into a movie set — and I get the biggest surprise ever! I thought I had had enough of “La Isla Bonita,” but it is AWESOME. Madonna dances around deliciously, and this is one of the her best staged pieces ever. Less obvious than some of her others, but really a treat.
The crowd seems to go crazy for it.
And, closing the section, Madonna grabs her guitar and delivers “You Must Love Me,” a totally genius choice. It is SO good, I’m amazed she hasn’t thrown it into a previous tour. She sings it beautifully, and it is THAT MOMENT in a Madonna concert that seems to define her — and it is her best ever.
In other tours, it’s been “it’s not my time to go.” Or, “don’t ever tell me to stop.” But when Madonna smiled and said, “you must LOVE me,” I got the chills.
Great, great show.
And, of course, what would a Madonna concert be without a political education? The Get Stupid interlude is actually a lot more fun than her previous attempts — like “Sorry” or “Imagine.” In this election year, I think the crowd was ready for it.
And then, there is that deep rumble that is “4 Minutes.”
Madonna is now sporting bangs, and some sort of Warrior Queen top. Several assistants are in black, behind the pillars and pushing them around. Up front, we have managed to get their attention very often, and try to make them laugh. Monte Pittman is ignoring us, but the dancers are always fun.
Next up is that driving rave beat, the dizzying video screens and club lights, and Madonna begins “Like a Prayer,” which the crowd ADORES. She has turned the Garden into a giant club, and has reinvisioned this song — who many believe is the greatest single ever recorded.
Surprisingly it has real meaning. Sometime surreal and otherworldly, it does take you to that place you go to on the dance floor.
After, Madonna straps on her guitar. “Do you wanna hear some more?”
She trots out to the center stage and delivers “Ray of Light,” which I think has kind of turned into “Frozen” or “Don’t Tell Me.” It’s too similar to the her last tour — but she’s certainly gotten good at it, and it is the definition of the New Madonna — her new life after her child, yoga, etc.
She returns to the stage and says, “You know, it’s like you guys are at my party! C’mon, let me hear you scream. My ego needs it. But Sarah Palin is not invited to my party! Sarah Palin is not invited to ANY of my shows!”
This goes over with what appears to be a largely Democratic crowd.
Madonna now tells us that this is the part of the show when she takes requests. I see her look at a sign and say “Lucky Star? Well, I don’t remember the words, so you sing half.”
Actually, it wasn’t bad! She sang half of it, and the crowd were very good sports and delivered the other half.
Next up was the rock and roll “Hung Up,” which she has ironed out just fine. When I saw this at Roseland, it was a disaster, but it worked nicely and bookended “Borderline” very well. The crowd sings along loudly.
As the opening chords of “Give it 2 Me” start up, Madonna rushes to my EXACT spot against the railing.
She LAYS DOWN in front of my. My arm is outstretched, I am immediately surrounded by bodies and other arms thrust into the air.
She is shocking me, getting even closer, and sticks her hand into the crowd. I am trying to take this moment in, even though I feel my eyeballs are popping out of my head.
I study her hair, her eyelashes, her pupils, her lips, the gap in her teeth. She is high fiving the people around me. Did she touch me? Or was it someone else’s hand that brushed against mine. The moment is pure frenzy. Why do I suddenly look at the Kaballah string around her wrist? It really looks like thread.
This is probably the closest I have ever been to Madonna — really inches from her.
For the rest of “Give it 2 Me,” I am a waste. Madonna dances like mad.
The dancers gather at either end of the stage and are lowered into it.
Paul is near me, and I should “Paul you are so hot!” He looks at me and smiles.
And they are gone.
The lights come up — they are playing the single of “Holiday.” I look down and see a sign for “Cherish.” The room seems to be very quiet, but I shuffle out with my water.
I walk about six blocks, catch a cab, enter my New York apartment, go to my computer, and type what you just read.
It is 12:58 a.m. And my body is still sticky and I think I have experienced permanent ear damage.