Madonna is on tour in the US and she kicked off her US season by playing the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia Tuesday August 28th. For anyone that hasn’t been to a Madonna show you are missing out on a scene surely to only last the next 10 or so years. You’ll see plenty of girls (and guys) dressed up like Madonna from the 80’s, lots of drag and some awesomely bad outfits. Her shows are fun, overly produced and high energy. There was no opening act but a pretty loud but tame and at times boring DJ (Nero) who barely got the audience moving.
The show in Philadelphia started out in pure diva fashion…very very late. After the crowd booed Madonna twice the show finally started at 10:30pm. She opened with a really mysterious cathedral scene with caped men chanting prayers and a huge cross bearing the name of her tour “MDNA”. She quickly started into a bloody and violent show of “Girl Gone Wild” followed by “Revolver” and “Gang Bang”. Given the recent shootings in the US and the fact that everyone on the stage had massive revolvers, this took me out of my happy place and somewhere dark Madonna wanted me to go with her. I did not love the openers and seeing Madonna wielding a huge rifle shooting the audience and shirtless men on stage while choreographed blood splashes on the big screen above the stage was not what I expected. After starting at 10:30 and this opening with the blood bath I was crankier than I thought I’d be but that soon changed.
Between sets, giving Madonna time to change, there were dance performances playing short clips of her old classics and amazing video graphics to complement the stage. After “Express Yourself” Madonna gave us a little taste of what may be bringing her to the dark side and hitting her trigger finger.
“This is the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed. We are in the land of democracy. We started the word, motherfuckers. Well, actually, some Greeks did, but in my country we have freedom of speech, freedom of expression, even though it’s far from perfect. But in Moscow, there are three girls in jail. Yes, free Pussy Riot. In St. Petersburg, there are gay men in jail for exhibiting that they are gay. How fucked up is that? Never forget how lucky you are to live where you live. Don’t get fat and lazy and take that freedom for granted, or your fat, lazy gay ass will land in jail.”
Whether you are in the camp that thinks that Lady Gaga rips off Madonna’s music or not there are people talking about it. In a humorous and confusing way to address this, during “Express Yourself” Madonna sang Lady Gaga’s chorus to “Born This Way” and followed it by “She’s Not Me”. Other than thinking that was funny, the mash up was not all that impressive.
Madonna has the body most people can only dream of and she still rocks the leg kicks above her head and the moments on stage where she plays the part of a musician, wielding an electric guitar. She sang a sappy, slow and somewhat sad version of “Like a Virgin” that ended with her laying on the floor dramatically singing into the microphone in a slow tone, almost a whisper. The woman is still a bad ass and clearly still loves herself. Dramatic poses as if to give the cell phone photographers a clear shot were a way to remind us that she’s still here. In an effort to almost do a strip tease, Madonna ripped off her white blouse exposing a hot black top, turned around and pulled down her black pants exposing her perfect ass and bold letters on her back “NO FEAR”.
Madonna’s son Rocco joined his mom like a pro during “Open Your Heart”, busting out his dance moves and sharing the stage during the “Like a Prayer”. Madonna introduce the Basque trio, “Kalakan” that added an earthy vibe to the song.
The show had me remembering Madonna’s age and amazed at the energy and sex appeal she still has. She did end up apologizing for being late, but of course it was really all about her “It’s so good to be back home and I want to apologize for being late. We had many changes to make from Europe to America, and I wanted the show to be perfect for you because my fans deserve it and quite frankly I deserve it.”
You can catch Madonna in New York at Yankee Stadium Thursday September 6 and Saturday September 8th. The Atlantic City Show is on September 15th. She’ll return to play Madison Square Garden on November 12.
A tip for anyone looking for a move to the pit. Dress up like Madonna from the 80’s. Right before the show a scout comes out pulling people from the audience to join the pit. Skip the DJ he’s kind of lame. Instead enjoy the people or continue your tailgate. She is usually slated to start at 9:30pm.