Chris Lamb, the Tour Director for the eagerly-awaited Madonna: The Re-Invention Tour, has worked for the superstar for nearly twenty years, virtually since she burst onto the worldwide scene with Holiday. He believes that the current show is “probably her best ever. It’s a genuinely amazing show.”
Chris, who also works with Rod Stewart, The Eagles and Roger Waters on their tours, remembers that he began working on this with Madonna, her manager and tour director, Jamie King back in January.
“Madonna herself and the tour director come up with the concept and the ideas. My job is to figure out how to do it! We’re doing things that people have never done before with this show.
“It’s a show,” he emphasises, “people aren’t coming here to a rock concert. This is more like a theatre show, with different acts to it. You don’t even have to be a Madonna fan to enjoy this show.
“There’s a whole world happening, with hundreds of elements,” he says of the over two-hour performance, in which the world’s biggest-selling female solo artist ever will be performing over twenty of her greatest hits, including Vogue, Into The Groove, Holiday, Like A Prayer, Material Girl, Music, Express Yourself and Papa Don’t Preach.
It’s so fantastically eleborate that Chris and his crew began setting up on Wednesday for the shows. Nonetheless, despite the fact that almost all of the show’s staging, including state-of-the-art video technology, has been custom-built at a cost which, Chris hints, runs into the millions, it will never be seen again after the last European date in Lisbon on September 14.
“Madonna’s probably the most tirelessly inventive person I’ve ever known, and she has absolutely no interest in repeating herself. I suspect you might be seeing some parts of our show in other people’s shows for a while, though,” chuckles Chris, who has worked in the rock world for more than thirty years, since starting out with Leon Russell “back in the days when things were really wild.”
The show, which now involves 110 people travelling on the road including 12 dancers, 5 musicians, 2 backing singers, a bagpipe player, a skateboarder, and Cirque du Soleil swingers, was rehearsed for six weeks solidly before the public was allowed to see it.
The stage itself, weighing 40 tons on its own, can revolve in all sorts of directions (at up to sixteen miles an hour, which would surely test the balance of the most skilled dancers!) and there are all manner of high-tech contraptions which can raise – or even spring! – performers into the air.
“Madonna is on stage the whole time, this is not one of those shows where the performer vanishes all the time to change their costume. If you can’t actually see her, she’s quick-changing for a different scene,” he discloses.
“It’s a very artistic show. If you asked me to pick a favourite of all her tours, and I’ve worked on pretty much all of them, I’d say this one for sure. The other show which I personally thought was the only one which came close to this one is the Blonde Ambition tour.
“People keep saying that she’s re-inventing herself, but she also re-invents the show. She shows people things they’ve never seen before and it’s been that way over the years, that’s why people are fascinated and excited by what she does. Every one of her shows really has been a kind of reflection of her, it’s pretty much where she is in her life.”
But can she keep on topping the last tour, as she apparently does with this show, certainly if the preparations I saw are anything to go by?
“I don’t know,” Chris admits. “She’s so creative and she’s such a perfectionist that she always comes up with something fresh and different.
“When she’s on that stage, even though there’s a hundred things happening, she’ll know just what a dancer has been doing, which is amazing.
“She’s a hard-working lady who has astounding powers of concentration and puts herself heart and soul into whatever she’s doing.”
source : manchesteronline.co.uk