|So keep it up, keep it up. Don't be afraid, Madonna...
||[Aug. 24th, 2008|11:00 pm]
So this time 24 hours ago myself and galactic_jack were leaving Cardiff's Millennium Stadium which is 243 miles from our front door. Quite a trek but worth it for one reason only. It was Madonna's opening night of her new Sticky & Sweet world tour.|
We joined the queue outside at around 4:45pm. The gates were due to open at 5:30pm. As we joined the queue the rain started to fall. Not prepared for this we got wet. But spirits were generally high because we had sacred Golden Circle tickets. This meant we were in the select few of 4000 out of 40,000 who had access to the area surrounding the front of the stage, we would breathe the same air as her. I was excited.
We made it into the venue at around 6pm. People were going crazy running ahead and screaming, we're a bit too cool for that kind of behaviour, I mean, she is merely another human being right? (Secretly I wanted to run and scream like a girl, but we shall not speak of that). We pitched up in our desired spot to the right of the long stage runway. It was then I realised that when she was at the end of that runway she would be merely metres away. I hadn't been that close since the Girlie Show, 15 years previously. We waited, and waited and waited. Where the hell was that bitch???!!!!
The crowd started to get tetchy, 3 hours had passed of just starring at an empty stage. No support act to ease the wait, nothing. Just other peoples body odour and, and baring in mind the audience was mostly men who would hold hands, over powering aftershave.
Suddenly it was as though the last three hours was merely a limbo stage. It's almost like she wanted to completely numb our senses to make sure we paid full attention. The lights went down and came up and revealed upon her throne there she was. The crowd were immediately won over, she had us where she wanted us. She opened with the obligatory Candy Shop followed by Beat Goes On which had a great sequence with a car coming down the middle of the runway. Then she grabbed her guitar for a front performance of Human Nature. I was torn between watching her and watching the video screens because Britney Spears had recorded a special video to accompany the song where she sings the "Express Yourself, Don't Repress Yourself" bit, finishing the song with the now immortal words "It's Britney Bitch".
After a, dare I say it, mediocre version of Vogue and a video interlude of Die Another Day she returns to the stage to do a fantastic rendition of Into The Groove. With a Keith Haring backdrop and skipping ropes galore. God that woman can skip (even though she did fuck up a bit). It was her energy that made us all breathless. Heartbeat followed as did a 'rock' version of Borderline. For the song She's Not Me her female dances adorned Madonna looks of the past (Like a Virgin wedding dress, Material Girl 'Marilyn' outfit, Open Your Heart basque and Express Yourself Gaultier power suit). Madonna proceeded to sing "she's not me" by stripping them of items of clothing and wigs. Denouncing impersonators, or turning her back on the past? She finishes this section with a streetwise rendition of Music.
After a video interlude she returned on top of a piano dressed in a long black cape for new song The Devil Wouldn't recognise You, followed by other new tracks Spanish Lesson and Miles Away. Then things got even more Latino with a version of La Isla Bonita. The tone was mellowed with the Evita track You Must Love me, a girl behind us got hysterical and was crying like a child. Weird. Great performance though, Madonna that is, not the screaming baby-woman. Then came the party political broadcast for the democrats. In a video interlude Madonna warns us that the planet is dying, people, and it's our job to stop that. Bad images were shown on the screen, bad people, in that line up were Hitler, Mugabe and McCain (bad McCain). In the good images, Bob Geldoff, Bono, Michael Moore and Obama. I think this sequence will cause more of a stir in her native country, the Cardiff audience were up for whooping at a shot of Mother Theresa whilst hoping she comes back on stage to perform one of the oldies.
Final section now, fast paced. 4 Minutes, Like a Prayer (which I loved) and Ray of Light. The guitar was back on for a rock rendition of Hung Up and then practically straight into the 'encore' Give It To Me. The last had the whole stadium jumping. She disappears into her video cube backdrop with the words GAME OVER flashing on the massive screens.
My God, the 50 year old has energy. And she looks fantastic, which is contrary to recent paparazzi pictures I have seen. I couldn't tell it was opening night. So well rehearsed, and it seemed she was really enjoying it. Poking fun at herself. This was Madonna's way of communicating with her audience. Apart from "Are You Ready, Cardiff?" and a few muttering she didn't really address us much. But she smiled lots and her rapport with her dancers was clear. I loved it, and being close enough to see the whites of her eyes made it all the more enjoyable for me. Apparently Guy and the three kids were there to, but they didn't hang near us (bitches). I hope people enjoy the show. I fucking did.