Monday, July 9, 2012

Evidence of Her Brilliance

Amsterdam, yesterday evening. After a very good day in town we headed to the newly built Ziggo Dome. A new concert hall with a very special guest; Madonna (duh!). Her second performance in The Netherlands and we had tickets.

The Ziggo Dome is a VERY good place to see a concert. Small floor, so always close to the stage. We arrived an hour too late on purpose, because the bitch has no watch on her wrist and always starts too late. 

But even an hour after Martin Solveig should have started his warming up there was nothing happening at all. So we drank a beer and explored this beautiful building.

At 20.45 Martin Solveig played a very good set, warming up the crowd. Then the light went on again. Tick Tock. Time goes by so slowly for those who wait. But we waited. And waited. Untill 22.00 when the lights went out and the big thurible started swinging.

Madonna has become a star in opening her shows. And this time no exception. Projections of a church interior, monks and Madonna in a confession booth praying Oh my God. Then she came out, wearing a vail, a crown and a gun. The first segment had started! Violence and Religion.

After dancing her way through Girl Gone Wild and Revolver her mobile motel room hit the stage and she performed a beautifull violent version of Gang Bang. Tarantino didn't have time to shoot a video for this song, but Madonna's team knew how to built up that same atmosphere with bloody Dexterian backdrops and Madonna shooting all her dancers dead. In the head. Definately one of the highlights in the show to me.

This was also the moment the press had to leave the venue, so no more pictures from now on.

After a snippet of Papa Don't Preach (way too short) she got kidnapped by her dancers and got Hung Up on the ropes, like we saw at her Superbowl performance. I think they should have skipped Hung Up and played the complete version of Papa Don't Preach.

After all the dancing and violence it was time to grab her guitar and sing I Don't Give A. Looked like she learned a new chord! Her fifth since she started playing that thing in 2001! But I have to admit, despite the fact that no one around us seemed to recognize this song, it was beautifully done, with a stunning end which already became an iconic image.

Time for the first interlude. A really cool mash up between My Best Friend and Heartbeat. Dancers dressed in mime-costumes (why? WHY?) and a black and white backdrop of graveyard imagery.

After this brief interlude, Madonna came back on stage in her majorette outfit. Bursting into Express Yourself along with her back-up dancers wearing the same outfits. The song, as we all know by now, easily blends into Gaga's version of this 1989 classic Born This Way so it was an easy choice to focus on the similarities between the two songs. And she did it in a good way, ending the song with her lines from the Hard Candy track She's Not Me. Which is true. And she never will be.

Time for the song that was supposed to have carried the MDNA album to the masses but failed to do so; Give me All Your Luvin'. Thank god they used a remix for this song, which helped making it another higlight in the show. Madonna and dancers still as majorettes and a complete schoolband floathing into the air, going left, right, down and up again. Amazing to see! 
When we all stared at the band, Madonna sneaked off to get dressed for her next segment and came back with single #3 Turn Up The Radio. Another poppy summertune which just doesn't do the trick for me. Peter went out to fetch us another beer, which says enough.

Time to introduce a new addition to the musicians. Basque based Kalakan Trio joined Madonna on stage to give us a really new version of Open Your Heart. The song blended into a piece by The Kalakan Trio themselves and Madonna's son Rocco joined the dancers on stage. What a cute little showstopper! 
After a brief speech on love and not taking things for granted, she paid attention to a young couple in front row. The woman proposed to the man and he said yes. In front of 70.000 people. Cool way to propose! She then rambled on about love and sang Masterpiece. She sings it very well live, but this song is not even in my MDNA playlist.

Time for another interlude. The beautiful Justify My Love video with Madonna looking as sexy as can be. Black & White, nice new remix for the song and just long enough for Madonna to get dressed in Gaultier.

Funny how those first tones of Vogue can let an audience explode! One of the few classics she performs on this tour and received very well. It's a feast on both ears and eyes, as a complete Gaultier fashionshow walks down the catwalk. Strong performance with the return of the classic coned bra.

When she's finished the bra comes off, the set changes into a nightclub and she performs a slow version of Candy Shop combined with some elements of Erotica. It all looks hot as hell and the choreography is amazing and close to perfection. When she's done in the nightclub we get a simple performance of Human Nature. Madonna dancing with mirrors and more clothes coming off.

When she's almost completely undressed it's time for another highlight in the show. Madonna, a piano player, a dancer and her alltime classic Like A Virgin. She has done this song in so many tours and in so many ways, but never as beautiful as this performance. Goosebumbs and adoration here!

The last interlude is the one with the most political message of this show. Nobody Knows Me portrays Madonna composed with a lot of different elements of people. From good to bad, from happy to sad. In the end the names of children who died because of bullying were shown. Strong message, beautifull portrayed.

A personal highlight for me is I'm Addicted. Love the song on the album and it really works out very well when performed live. It has a lot of energy and it would have been a great last song. But we're not even near the end! First she is doing I'm A Sinner, with Indian backdrops and acrobatic dancers. It's one of the few songs that I wouldn't have really missed if they didn't make it into the show.

I had rather seen I'm Addicted blend right into Like A Prayer, which has the same amount of energy and would have built up to a climax way easier. Like A Prayer is always a succes. Same on this tour. Everyone knows the words, everybody sings and it's one big party.

And speaking of parties, it's time for the last song. Celebration was chosen to be the last song and that's not a bad choice at all. Energetic performance with optimal use of both backdrops as well as stage elements. With all the dancers on stage it's a beautiful way to end this show. Which she did, after 2 hour of performing. And left us alone... breathless.

I can conlude that I find this show the best since Re-Invention in 2004. I found The Confessions Tour meh and I found the Sticky & Sweet tour bleh. This one was the perfect combination of new and old songs, clever use of backdrops, a very interesting stage and the right amount of energy. No political views forced into my throath, but also not shallow. It's all very subjective ofcourse, but yeah, I was amazed and blown away. For all you people who still have to go (why are you even reading this???) have a wonderfull show and don't blame her for being on stage too late. It's worth the wait.


KDNA said...

great review!
i can't wait to see for myself!

J@v@JuNKo said...

I'm not reading it but it looks like an awesome review from quickly peeking at it! Sweeeeeet! I can't wait till September!