June 14, 2004

Review: Madonna's Re-Invention concert

So I have just come from seeing Madonna’s show where we were a part of what she called the best crowd of the tour so far. Sadly, we had CRAP seats up high on the side of the stage, so I missed much of the show as it was intended to be seen. We were the mizzies up there - les miserables – who got half a show. Missed the whole opening segment. Thank God for the video screen.

My favorites: "Vogue" was the opener, a Dangerous Liaisons version with impossible looking yoga poses. Very bendy! Her costume was great (Lacroix sweetie?) and she looked really beautiful on the screen. Not sure about up close!

"Mother and Father" is an 80's electroclash song on the new record, but it’s turned into a big mid-tempo centerpiece in this show. Great singing on this one, despite the fact she didn’t cut the ridiculous rap bit, which includes such genius rhymes as: "My father had to go to work / I used to think he was a jerk."

"Crazy For You” was one of the most emotional songs, at least for anyone who is old enough to remember when that song came out. She was alone a lot more on the stage this tour, perhaps b/c she is damn old and cannot do the constant dancing. The result was more of a connection with the audience. I suppose “Imagine” (yes, that one) was supposed to be the emotional centerpiece, but - as always - the gears do show. People admire Madonna's work ethic because you can SEE it - see her working. That’s not really the way it should be, but it's part of her charm. On "Imagine" she did a good job, but she was trying too hard and the song lost something for me (aside from the fact it's just an overheard song). “Crazy For You” was more about her singing to the audience without appearing to think about it so much.

GREAT version of “American Life,” a song I dislike. Very heavy metal, but we weren’t able to really get the full effect of the visuals from our seats. It was silly and serious at the same time.

Not so great: I totally disliked the whole circus part of the show, which was Vegas kitschy and too Janet Jackson for my taste. She did the AWFUL ”Hanky Panky” and a strange, jazzy version of "Deeper And Deeper" The oddest part here was how she performed “Die Another Day” in this circus costume - didn’t work.

The finale was "Music:" and "Holiday" with both changed a little bit, but neither quite as the Drowned World Tour versions. Why do the same finale on this tour?

Fave dance moves: one of the songs had a momentary tango with Madonna and 5 men, but they were all attached: she danced with one and the others gripped each other's arms. It probably looked strange at eye level, but was really clever form the nosebleeds (ah-ha!). “Papa Don’t Preach” had a sort of ring-around-the-rosie bit that finished the song with them holding hands and spinning as the lights went down. V good.

The dancers in this show are athletes who have to do amazing feats: scary extreme skateboarding, drum'n'bugle-esque gun twirling, breakdancing, dancing with sticks, scary trapeze work. On "Into The Groove" they had the num chuck things but nobody knocked out their own teeth. How they live through each night I don't know. From our seats we could also see that the floor was constantly opening and sinking and rising, which must be another hazard. An onstage conveyor belt made for some cool moves (borrowed from her '87 tour) and the bagpiper’s dancing was a surprise.

On her last tour, my favorite song was La Isla Bonita because a) it was an oldie and b) it was sweet and she seemed to be enjoying herself. This WHOLE show is like that. Much more smiling and much less pretension. email me

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