Monday, August 27, 2012

The Coming of Madonna...This Girl Gone Wild!

This week marks, the millennium’s Mercurial Girl – Madonna’s return to the states when the infamously girl gone wild (who has been living up to her reputation) hits our shores with her globe trotting MDNA World Tour. It’s her ninth tour in a career that has spanned more than 3 decades, and her most ambitious. This from a pop-star that dared to title her 1990 tour Blond Ambition. And now into her 50’s, and still blond (but more brassy) the icon is still pushing buttons, raising eyebrows and pissing the shit out of Sir Elton John.

The tour started almost immediately after the release of her 12th original, studio album MDNA. The tour launched at the beginning of summer in May, from the Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv. Although MDNA, a darkly compelling, modern dance floor romp that reunited Madonna with William Orbit (her co-conspirator on the ground-breaking Ray Of Light) and brought in the equally talented, but relative newbies Martin Solveig, and the DJ remix producing dynamo Benny Benassi, it received a critically tepid reception. Fans of Madonna’s were clearly very excited that she had delivered an album that was more appropriately suited for underground circuit club scene.

It’s no mystery that the title of MDNA is an allusion to the party-drug MDMA, or ecstasy as it is more commonly called on the music festival circuit. It did not bode well for Madonna when she arrived at Miami’s International Ultra Music Festival and announced on stage during super DJ AVICCI’s set: “Has anyone seen Molly?” – which is a code term used among club kids in order to secure the drug of choice, but the crowd reveled in her appropriation of the term and danced to the premiere remix of her new single “Girl Gone Wild”.

After debuting MDNA’s first single, the declaratively obscure “Give Me All Your Luvin’” that united Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and LMFAO, at the Super Bowl along with a medley of some of her greatest hits, it was clear that Madonna was intending on hitting the road to promote this album. A week later the MDNA World Tour was in full-effect.

Madonna doesn't do anything half-assed.

In traditional Madonna-style she would mount an excursion of nearly epic proportions in order to realize the set list of hits and new songs from MDNA. If Madonna is anything she is most certainly relevant and not prone to repeating herself, though the themes she would be exploring would be familiar and demons that the artist was still working on exorcising. The MDNA Tour would also shake-up her creative team, injecting the Madonna factory with younger, ambitiously wild and tempestuous talent. It was widely reported that the tour was getting off to a very “angry” start and that the usual organization expected from a production under the watchful eye of the world’s most scrutinized artist, was coming together by spit and gum.

By the time the tour hit the road running, it met every expectation that the fans had come to enjoy from their idol. Madonna emerged from a church-like cathedral, and with guns blazing proved she was still a rebel. The overall tone of MDNA as an album is dark and full of rage – Madonna having just come off of her highly publicized divorce to film director Guy Ritchie  was obviously dealing with those issues during this creative phase. That bitterness has somewhat translated to the stage, but like every show that Madonna has ever staged it’s a journey, and most often one of revelation. This tour is no less different, ending in a literally celebration amid the laser-lights of a futuristic club.

So elated it appeared the artist was by the audience’s reception that when in France Madonna decidedly scaled down the show’s blockbuster feel for an “intimate” performance at the famous Olympic. This gave her the opportunity to switch things up, try new tunes, and introduce some covers. As is expected, Madonna releases herself to the rhythm when she performs “Like A Prayer”. Even in popular columnist Tony Phillips less than favorable review of the show’s stop in Paris, he relents at Madge’s performance of this classic hit, saying: “After all the gunplay and the myopic travelogue through world religion, maybe this is the kind of ecstasy she was hoping to find. She drops to both knees, whipping her hair back and forth with abandon.” 

Madonna strips on this show. A shameless plug endorsing her new line of lingerie and worships at an alter surrounded with demonic representations – lustfully throwing herself in every direction and on any able sweaty body male or female. If the MDNA Tour is revealing anything it’s the chemical make-up the DNA of celebrity as experienced by Madonna. Perhaps this self-exploitation is what is ticking off fellow pop-star Elton John.

The other Queen of Pop has taken to lambasting Madonna in 2012, continuously calling her “talentless” and claiming that her career is “over”. Madonna beat out Sir Elton at this past year’s Golden Globes – the two were nominated in the “Best Song” category which went to Madonna for her song “Masterpiece”. Madonna has also gone onto to poke fun at Lady Gaga during her tour, which may also not be settling well with John who considers Gaga “the real deal” and is the god mother of his baby boy. Madonna has little acknowledged John’s attacks but before leaving Europe dedicated her last performance of “Masterpiece” in Nice to the rock star. Take that!

Madonna has perfected the art of pop concert as an event – she refers to her live concerts as “installations”. They are like pop-music blockbusters that come on with the fervor of any big studio picture, except that Madonna is the biggest special effect!

Her next stop...the US of A (and Canada, and Mexico, and so on...)

Poised now for her US invasion which begins at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Madonna has not confirmed rumors that the US setlist may be revamped some. Certain imagery that was deemed too controversial was recently dropped from the show’s video backdrops. Will some of those images return, or will they be replaced to reflect the politically heated season we’re now entering – Madonna after all doesn’t shy from controversy. Perhaps that’s just what American needs at the moment – a healthy dose of MDNA.

JC Alvarez is the Nightlife Editor for EDGE On The Net and a pop-culture columnist. He is the voice behind the nationally syndicated Internet Radio Show "Out Loud & Live!" broadcasting on 

No comments:

Post a Comment