Madonna’s last album, American Life, was one of her worst-selling. Her last film, Swept Away, was a resounding flop. Her makeover as the world’s most famous Kabbalist and honorary English countrywoman is typically bold, but does not promise much in terms of great pop music. The vultures may not be circling the most successful female singer yet, but they are beginning to take an interest in her career.
Her “Re-Invention” tour answers doubters with a hi-tech spectacle and a set drawn from more than 20 years of hits (unlike the last time she toured in 2001, when she played mainly new material).
Having begun the tour in the US, she launched the European leg in her adopted homeland at the weekend, when she showed a flattering appreciation for the finer points of Britishness, such as wearing a T-shirt reading “Brits Do It Better”. “It’s true, I should know,” she added, in Mrs Guy Ritchie mode, perhaps hoping no one present had seen her wearing an “Italians Do It Better” T-shirt during her American shows.
The tour’s theme of reinvention refers to her incessant changes in image, the most recent being her announcement that she had changed her name to Esther as a result of her growing interest in Jewish mysticism. At 45, she has left behind the extrovert Catholic iconoclasm of her youth and replaced it with a new emphasis on inner life and occult spirituality a point underscored by the start of her concert which opened with a tape of Madonna (or Esther) sententiously reciting verses from the Book of Revelation. For those of us who don’t go to see Madonna to be enlightened about the end of the world, this was an ill omen. But suddenly Esther’s spectre vanished as the singer emerged on stage wearing a diamante slip and thigh-high black boots, contorting her body to the beats of ‘Vogue”. The lyrics about artifice and striking a pose neatly inverted the show’s apocalyptic opening, proof that her self-projection as a performer is as astute and brilliantly choreographed as ever.
The concert ran as smoothly as a Broadway show. During costume breaks we were kept entertained by a fire juggler, a skateboarder and frenetic break-dancers. Madonna’s outfits were more muted than on previous tours no conical bras), but the staging of her songs was imaginative, sometimes eccentrically so. Why she sang a syrupy ballad from Evita strapped in an electric chair was unclear, while the use of a kilted bagpiper and Highland drummers on “Into The Groove” was even more curious. By giving one of the key hits of the 1980s an unsettling Brigadoon vibe, she provided a compelling argument against pop stars getting married in Scottish castles.
Her most arresting piece of choreography came when she and her dancers dressed up as soldiers to perform a hyper-charged version of “American Life” in front of pictures of injured civilians in Iraq and Vietnam. The polemic was crude but bold. It was as if Madonna and her well-regimented dance troupe were trying to reclaim pop from the US military, which has been known to use loud rock songs as a psy-ops tactic. (It is ironic that there has been so little prominent anti-war pop music during the Iraq conflict, yet such widespread use of it as an instrument of war.) A mawkish version of “Imagine” took the gloss from her politics, and seeing her sing piously about imagining a world without possessions while charging “20 for a tour programme was disgraceful.
But other attempts to inject seriousness and maturity into her music had more success. “Like A Prayer” was given a gospel backing that preserved the song’s exuberance yet added a fresh sense of tuneful sanctity, and “Material Girl” took on added weight with Madonna playing guitar, looking every inch the principled singer-songwriter. She ended with a trio of songs that emphasised how full of life and relevant her music continues to be. “Papa Don’t Preach” bounced along, “Music” juddered past and segued into her finale, a cleverly updated, techno version of “Holiday”. Escapist and fun, it also struck conscientious notes with lyrics such as “Come together people in every nation”.
Madonna’s desire to tackle big themes can lead her down some dubious musical byways into some trite sentiments but it has also freed her and given new impetus to her work.
source : ft.com
Madonna and her husband, filmmaker Guy Ritchie, will spend Rosh Hashana in Israel, it was confirmed Monday by Rabbi Yehuda Berg, co-director of the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles.
The couple will spend two days, primarily at the associated Kabbalah Centre in Tel Aviv, Berg said.
However, he denied Israeli press reports that Madonna and Ritchie would meet with Kabbalah sage Rabbi Yitzhak Kadouri while in Israel to seek spiritual guidance.
Madonna, who recently adopted the Jewish name of Esther, has been a frequent visitor at the Los Angeles Kabbalah Centre and has taken courses there. Her series of children’s books, the latest of which was published last month, claims the Kabbalah and Judaism as inspiration.
Britney Spears, Demi Moore, and Paris Hilton have also taken classes, Berg confirmed.
source : jpost.com
As Madonna begins her latest British tour, her fans, who last time offered four-figure sums for a pair of seats, are proving less enthusiastic.
The pop diva kicked off her previous British tour at the peak of her powers, but years on, she seems to have lost some of her sparkle.
Tickets were failing to meet even their face value as sellers cut their losses to take what they could as they traded on the online auction site eBay.
A pair of seats for her London shows on the Reinvention Tour later this month, which had originally cost more than GBP300 ($831), raised just GBP140 at the close of bidding, and some tickets for the show failed to attract a single bid.
Some sellers had posted messages on the website to say they were resigned to making a loss on someone who was once one of the world’s biggest box-office draws.
Tickets were still available at the box office for some of her shows. However, a spokeswoman for Madonna said that was due to extra capacity becoming available as the venues finalised their staging requirements.
Sales for the pop queen’s shows got off to a good start, although it is thought many buyers simply may have been snapping up tickets for re-sale following the clamour to see her Drowned World tour in 2001 for which tickets were changing hands for GBP600 each.
The shows – like all Madonna performances, more of a visual spectacular than a gig – were her first major dates for eight years and followed two acclaimed albums, Ray of Light and Music, which once again made her one of the coolest stars on the planet. Her latest dates are on the back of a flop, the critically panned American Life album.
Shows outside Manchester and London were expected to get far less than the actual cost of GBP75 to GBP160 for seats.
Radio 2 presenter Paul Gambaccini believed the poor reception for last year’s album was the root cause of the lack of interest.
“In popular music no one is as dead as someone who is recently dead, and Madonna has just had her first stiff album. It might have had a high chart entry but it disappeared quickly.
“There will come a time when she will sell out quickly again but that is because people will be viewing her in the context of her historic career achievements. They are currently viewing her in the light of the album’s failure.
“I’m not bothering to see her. I saw her on the Vogue tour. I know I’ve seen her at her peak so why see her flogging a dead horse?”
source : nzherald.co.nz
Madonna is reportedly splashing out 3,000GBP on a day of pampering for her best friends to help celebrate her birthday.
The Queen of Pop, who is currently on the British leg of her ‘re-Invention’ tour, turns 46 today (16.08.04) and wants to treat her friends to the luxurious health treatments at some of her favourite London spas.
A source told Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper: “She is really generous and just figured that as she has been on tour she fancied a relaxing birthday.
“And what better way to do that than to have a real ‘Sex and the City’-style day out with her best friends.”
The mother-of-two has reportedly booked several different places, including Covent Garden’s Sanderson Hotel and the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Knightsbridge to have the treatments, as she wants to be able to relax in peace.
source : femalefirst.co.uk
Madonna kicked off the European leg of her “Re-Invention” tour Saturday with a crowd-pleasing show for 14,000 British fans.
Wearing black hot pants, a sequined silver top and knee-high black boots, the material girl mixed classics like “Holiday” and “Vogue” with tracks from her recent album “American Life” during the show at the Manchester Evening News Arena.
Tickets for Madonna’s two Manchester dates the first in Britain since 2001 sold out within an hour of going on sale in May.
Madonna is due to perform again in Manchester on Sunday, followed by five nights in London and shows in Dublin, Paris, the Dutch city of Arnheim and Lisbon, Portugal, where the tour ends Sept. 14.
source : abcnews.com
Madonna wowed thousands of fans with a dance spectacular tonight as she kicked off the European leg of her Reinvention Tour.
The star was at the Manchester Evening News Arena in the city for the first UK date of the tour – a mix of classic songs like Holiday from her early days with recent tracks from her American Life album.
Madonna, 45, has thrown off her bullet bras in favour of a more grown-up show.
It was lit with moving LED screens showing the singer in heavy costume as she spoke a passage called The Beast Within.
Thousands of fans stood clapping and screaming as she came up through the floor on a moving stage to sing her hit Vogue.
Wearing black hotpants, a sequinned silver top and knee-high black boots, Madonna belted out the songs surrounded by backing singers and dancers.
She then took to a moving conveyor belt at the front of the stage to perform Nobody Knows Me.
Madonna is set to play tonight and tomorrow in Manchester before taking the tour to London, Ireland, The Netherlands and Portugal.
Manchester last welcomed the singer in 1984 when she played at the Hacienda Club, but she has not been in the north of England since 1987 when she performed at Roundhay Park in Leeds as part of the 1987 Who’s That Girl Tour.
source : scotsman.com
Madonna fans have hit out at the superstar after she turned down the air conditioning at shows during her Reinvention tour.
The Material Girl has received numerous complaints from members of the audience, who say her gigs were too hot to enjoy the performance.
But it’s not just the fans that are feeling the heat – her dancers have also complained about their sweaty working conditions.
But John Page, director of Wachovia Centre – where Madonna played on the 4th and 5th of July – insists that, hot or not, the fans still had a fantastic time.
He says, “We limited the air conditioning during the show and it warmed up a bit, but everyone got Into The Groove and enjoyed the Holiday”.
source : teenmusic.com
Madonna will kick off the European leg of her world tour later in Manchester.
All 14,000 tickets for the Material Girl’s first UK performance as part of her Re-Invention Tour sold out within an hour of going on sale in May.
Madge will perform two shows in the city’s MEN Arena before playing five in London and one in Dublin. She will then move on to play the remaining dates in mainland Europe.
Ticket prices for the Manchester gigs started at GBP75 and ranged up to GBP150.
The last time the queen of pop performed in the city was in 1984 at the legendary Hacienda night spot, which has since closed down.
Fans will undoubtedly hope to hear a few of her classic hits such as Vogue, Material Girl, Like A Prayer and Poppa Don’t Preach, mixed in with her latest songs.
Only one Manchester date was originally planned but a second was added following huge public demand for tickets, bringing the total number of performances in the tour to 56.
source : itv.com