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Madonna News - May 2006

Madonna delivers shock, awe at HP Pavilion

As the only pop mega-show this summer — Britney Spears is pregnant again, Christina Aguilera is going retro to revive her career, and Justin Timberlake is reportedly taking voice lessons — Madonna did what was expected Tuesday night and delivered a multi-dimensional concert with healthy doses of shock and awe.
You have to give Madge credit — the 47-year-old mother of two still has it, looking good and sounding good at the packed show in San Jose’s HP Pavilion. She performs there again at 8 tonight.
With bulging biceps, a 24-inch waist, and a behind that women half her age would envy, Madonna commanded the stage for two hours.
The self-proclaimed dancing queen changed seven times (from jockey in black to disco star in white, and multiple leotards — how many women would willingly wear a white leotard? Maybe only Madonna).
Visually, the concert was stunning, with a curtain on stage that doubled as a movie screen — flashing pictures of President George W. Bush with photos of dictators like Saddam Hussein and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il — a mechanical horse with a stripper pole that she saddled during a rendition of “Like a Virgin,” and the larger than life disco ball that lowered onto stage with her inside. The ball was embellished with $2 million worth of Swarovski crystals.
And of course, there was the already infamous crucifixion segment with Madonna suspended from a giant illuminated cross, wearing a crown of thorns, singing “Live to Tell.” While visually stunning, the depiction wasn’t anything new in the music world. Many still recall rapper Kanye West wearing a crown of thorns on Rolling Stone magazine in early February.
At any rate, Madonna had to out-do her last tour which displayed images of the crucifixion, had T-shirts with the line “Kabbalists Do It Better,” and dancers in rabbi robes and burqas that covered their heads but exposed their legs.
The bulk of the music Tuesday night concentrated on new material from her latest album, “Confessions on a Dance Floor.” And like her album, most of her concert was upbeat. She remixed some of her classics disco-style, with “Music” done up as “Saturday Night Fever,” and “Erotica” and “La Isla Bonita” in that white leotard. (She reportedly will soon be releasing an album of remixes.)
She slowed down during the middle of the concert with a stripped-down acoustic version of “Drowned World/Substitute for Love” and a duet on “Paradise (Not for Me),” with Yitzhak Sinwani of the London Kabbalah Centre. Sinwani also joined with her on the controversial song “Isaac,” which some argue tries to cash in on the name of the founder of one form of Kabbalah, which is a no-no.
Much of Madonna’s pop-concert longevity can be attributed to her dancers whose break-dancing, roller-skating and urban gymnastics wowed the audience.
Although, she rarely strayed from the script, Madonna did say San Jose was much more fun than Las Vegas. And the crowd seemed to believe her. From the beginning, the audience partied in her honor and stood up and danced for most of the show.
Madonna has transformed from pop icon to mom and back, challenging lines of good taste and longevity in an unforgiving genre. But she continues to reinvent herself. Let’s hope she still has more to confess.
source : mercury news

Madonna dazzles the HP Pavilion

As someone who no longer has anything to prove, Madonna could easily coast through her rigorous two-hour performance and, at age 47, nobody would blame her. But Tuesday at the HP Pavilion, the first of two sold out shows, she pushed herself to the limits in an exhausting, exacting performance and barely paused for a breath.
In a dazzling spectacle that juggled music, dance, video, special effects, she was a slave to the show’s ceaseless pace from the minute she appeared, lowered to the middle of the arena floor inside a giant disco ball. Riding the bare backs of male dancers wearing bridles and blinders, she wore a top hat and brandished a riding crop while images of giant horses filled the massive video screen behind her.
She never let up, driving herself, her band, her dancers through their demanding, frantic paces, although even the big staged smiles couldn’t disguise the basic joylessness with which she approached her tasks. At this point, even Madonna is probably a little tired of her act.
But the girl is game. She sang “Live To Tell”? from a twelve-foot crucifix, sure to go down as one of those Madonna moments that have always marked her shows. She ran footage of Bush, Hitler and Osama to her song “Sorry.”? She worked a merry-go-round contraption like a stripper with a pole. She fondled herself. She flipped the bird. She played electric guitar on “I Love New York”? and told the audience they better jump up and down on the next number. “Or I’m gonna get pissed,”? she said.
Her concerts have never relied on music. She brings so many elements together — staging, video production, choreography — media manipulation is the real performance and music is only a portion. She puts together a package that is part sex, part dance music, part her own tabloid allure and, drawing from the gay and S&M demimondes, delivers a deliciously overloaded, deliberately daring, but ultimately streamlined and safe experience. This is her real talent and she changed the way the entire industry looked at talent after they saw how she played the game.
She concentrated almost exclusively on material from her latest album, “Confessions On a Dance Floor.” Working with British electronica producer Stuart Page, who served as musical director of her 2004 “Re-Invention” tour and played keyboards on her “Drowned World” tour in 2001, Madonna has given her sound a fresh rinse. Big, ringing grooves drive the “Confessions” songs, thunderous, pounding rhythms that Madonna tops with a wall of vocals, her own disciplined voice the mere cherry on top of the frothy, foaming sound.
She used each number as a set piece. A runway shot down the middle of the arena floor and she sent dancers scurrying up and down the ramp constantly, at one point having them whiz around her on roller skates. Two other runaways flanked the stage. The band moved around behind her on motorized platforms and dancers appeared and disappeared through trap doors. A huge semi-circular video screen could lower like a curtain. Every moment of the show, every step, every breath, was written in stone. Nothing was left to chance.
She went through costumes. She changed her hair, first pulled back, then let loose, then pulled back again. She struck dramatic poses and stomped, bumped and ground her way through strenuous ensemble dance routines. She grabbed the spotlight and she held it.
As always, Madonna can get an audience’s attention, but then what? She’s not the kind of performer to touch their hearts. She obviously relishes the attention, demands it actually, but she doesn’t give back any warmth. Attitude she has — saucy mare and naughty girl — attitude and a remarkable athleticism. But it is a spectacle of sound and light, a flash and a roar, not anything ennobling or enlightening, just entertaining.
source : sfgate

Madonna’s Confessions Tour in San Jose – Live Daily Review

The line between music and theater continues to blur in Madonna’s world. In many ways, her current “Confessions” tour is a better theater production than it is a pop concert.
In that sense, Madonna’s live show is just catching up with the rest of her career–which, arguably, has had more to do with creating good theater than with making great music. Fortunately, she’s also released her share of memorable songs along the way.
On Tuesday (5/30), during the first half of a two-night stand at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA, the 47-year-old pop icon born Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone definitely delivered a dramatic visual presentation for the capacity crowd. She didn’t do quite so well with the musical portion of the concert.
One could certainly take issue with Madonna’s set list, which basically ignored the old hits in favor of the new dance material. Yet, the set list wasn’t really the problem here. To the contrary, Madonna definitely chose enough worthy songs to theoretically put on a very fine show.
The trouble came with how the theatric side of the show often overwhelmed the music, as Madonna and her cast of cohorts delivered big productions on somewhat modest numbers. The word that kept coming to mind was overkill.
Still, Madonna definitely entertained her fans with this over-the-top production.
Much like 2001’s Drowned World Tour, the singer’s current “Confessions” trek–which supports last year’s “Confessions on a Dance Floor” album–was broken up into four segments.
The first was dubbed the Equestrian segment, which was a bit ironic, given that Madonna was injured in a horse-riding accident last year. As horses paraded on overhead screens and dancers wearing jockey-style gear gyrated on stage, Madonna appeared from the center of a giant disco ball and proceeded to sing the new album’s “Future Lovers” and the Donna Summer disco anthem “I Feel Love.” The singer continued with another “Confessions” track, “Get Together,” and then followed with the classic “Like a Virgin,” which was performed in part while the singer slid about on a horse saddle.
The second section, called the Bedouin segment, began as Madonna donned a thorny crown, took a Christ-like position on a huge cross and sang “Live to Tell.” Not surprisingly, that move has drawn a bit of controversy, but nothing that Madonna can’t weather. The main problem is that the cross move–like so many of the show’s theatric maneuvers–does nothing to further the music. If anything, whatever shock value comes from Madonna’s bold move seems to detract from the song.
The most surprising quarter was the Never Mind the Bollocks section, where Madonna embraced her inner-punk for a fun run through rock-and-roll-infused dance numbers like “I Love New York” and “Ray of Light.”
The last portion of the evening was a full-on disco party, highlighted by such fan favorites as “La Isla Bonita” and “Lucky Star.” The star closed the show with a fine version of the new album’s “Hung Up.”
source : live daily

Help! Madonna’s trapped in a disco time warp

Disco, most assuredly, is not dead. Not anymore.
But too much of a good thing was exactly what killed disco the first time. That’s something that Madonna, judging from her show Tuesday night in San Jose, apparently didn’t learn.
The problem with disco was never a lack of fun. Nearly 30 years later, it can still be a hoot. All one had to do was watch the dancing crowd loving Madonna at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on Tuesday night.
No, the problem with disco was that it got so fun, there was just way, way WAY too much of it.
Which takes us to Madonna’s “Confessions” tour, which pulled into HP Pavilion Tuesday night for the first of two shows. A Madonna concert is usually one curveball after another; a big, well-planned production peppered with thoughtful moments. The mix of material is usually enough for old and new fans alike. There’s enough tongue-in-cheek humor to soften the indulgences in ego. It’s usually an excellent concert by someone who’s almost never accused of being boring.
Tuesday got boring, ironically because Madonna was working so hard to not be boring. Tuesday wasn’t a concert. It was a loud, throbbing disco party, with Madonna as the centerpiece in the pink-purple Olivia Newton John “Let’s Get Physical” leotard. Maybe boring isn’t the right word. Maybe irritating is a better description.
Yes, we were warned. Madonna’s newest record “Confessions on a Dance Floor” is most assuredly not a pop record. It’s a well-crafted dance record by someone who knows well-crafted dance records. But, and I could be wrong, when people shell out hundreds of dollars to see the Queen of American Pop/Dance Music in an arena, shouldn’t they get a cross-section of 23 years of memories, instead of one long mix-tape where the beat never changes? Even the rare old song she performed brimmed with a massive beat, at times obscuring the song itself.
Even with a disco theme — forgetting for a second the first half of the show, when Madonna hit the crowd over the head with every world problem of the last five centuries — the show was far more disjointed than your typical Madonna effort. It was just strange, watching her tackle everything — starving children, the KKK, natural disasters, the Middle East — with a throbbing disco beat. It wasn’t done in the smart, pop-art way of which she’s more than capable. At one point she even flashed images of Richard Nixon at the crowd. If there was a message there, it was obscured by sensory overload.
For two hours she mostly rolled through the dance-heavy material of the past decade. Emerging from a giant disco ball, the 47-year-old came out in tight equestrian gear, occasionally using a horse whip on male dancers with horse bridles in their mouths. By second song “Get Together,” the big bass dance-fuzz was so heavy, it was hard to hear the vocals — kind of like that mini-truck at the stop light with the stereo that sounds like a passing 747.
There were good moments. During “Like a Virgin,” Madonna climbed a mechanical saddle and did … well, Madonna stuff to it (she may be 47 but find me a 27-year old who looks that good in riding gear). A large narrow contraption of monkey bars lowered from the rafters during “Jump,” so Madonna’s shirtless boy-toy dancers could swing around. A bit later came the much-hyped scene angering some Christian groups on this tour. Wearing a crown of thorns, Madonna set herself on a large glittering cross to sing “Live to Tell.” On one hand it was kind of fun just for the shock value. On the other, the stunt aspect and bad sound nearly obliterated the effect of a song that’s so much better when standing quietly alone. Her voice was barely audible. It got way overblown when video images of starving children (this from a pop star selling $90 sweat jackets in the lobby) started rolling. It reeked of being disingenuous, a feeling that continued when she jammed every religious symbol she could think of onto the video screens for “Forbidden Love.”
The message came off about as deep as a bumper sticker. Later, when her dancers donned what looked like desert garb, I couldn’t help but think of a dance number in Mel Brooks’ “History of the World.”
But the fans ate it up, dancing for two hours straight. In that regard, the show worked. Things got better on the usually superb “Ray of Light” and well-crafted “Substitute for Love,” but even those sounded hurried. “La Isla Bonita” was jumbled and rushed. The big dance number and colorful backdrops couldn’t hide that she was strangling the song into a hyper-disco bore. When the beat takes precedence over the dynamics, good songs suffocate — it was a problem Madonna had with her older material all night.
She did manage to ratchet up the party near show’s end, doing “Lucky Star,” dropping balloons and cranking up the noise. The effort was obvious, especially for a woman nearing 50 who was running circles around singers half her age (even if there were more piped-in vocals then in recent years). And, yes, she warned us that she really likes disco right now. But, if anything, she was trying to too hard to prove she can still run in place for two hours. More variety and a few pauses to properly recognize the career that got Madonna where she is today would’ve been more effective.
source : contra costa times

Madonna To Get Highest Price Ever Paid For TV Concert Special?

Madonna might get the highest price ever paid for a TV concert special – $15 million from NBC, the Daily News reports – from her current “Confessions” tour.
Now it still remains to be seen whether or not the network would air her as she hangs herself – crown of thorns and all – from a disco-glittery 20-foot huge cross in an imitation of the execution of Jesus or yelling profanities during an anti-Bush montage.
Guy Ritchie’s documentary on the tour would also reportedly air.
In the June issue of W magazine (hit newsstands on May 19) she is featured in a 58-page photo spread of Madonna in sexually provocative positions. Some photos of the star feature her posing with no top while wearing fishnet stockings, leather gloves nearly up to her elbow, and holding a small whip while ‘playing’ with horses in the sand.
source : post chronicle

Madonna rumoured to be next H and M model

US pop queen Madonna could be the latest of a string of celebrities to pose as a model for Swedish low-cost fashion retailer Hennes and Mauritz (H and M), a Swedish newspaper said on Tuesday.
The daily Expressen said that Madonna was in negotiations with the company.
“She’s a superstar, a style icon – and controversial. Now Madonna could be H and M’s next clothing model,” the paper said.
H and M would neither confirm nor deny the report. “Our policy is to never comment on such reports,” company spokesperson Kristina Stenvinkel told AFP.
The retailer announced earlier this month that Dutch designer duo Viktor + Rolf would create a special collection for H and M this autumn, to be launched in November.
But it has yet to announce who will don the creations in the accompanying advertising campaign.
Previous H and M models have included superstars Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Anna Nicole Smith.
Last year, British supermodel Kate Moss was dropped from the group’s ad campaign after allegations arose that she had taken cocaine.
Expressen pointed out that Madonna had a long history of collaborating with Swedes, including music producers, songwriters, music video directors and even her yoga instructor.
source :

Get Together Single available on iTunes

Get Together EP is now available at US iTunes. Click on links bellow to download.

01 Get Together
02 Get Together (Tiefschwarz Remix)
03 Get Together (James Holden Remix)
04 Get Together (Jacques Lu Cont Mix)
05 Get Together (Danny Howells & Dick Trevor KinkyFunk Mix)
06 I Love New York (Thin White Duke Remix)

Maximum Madonna

Madonna’s new world tour kicked off last week, and the Church of England immediately weighed in with a bad review — something about the singer wearing a crown of thorns while being crucified on a mirrored cross.
It was a spectacularly exciting two-hour show, packed with sinewy, skin-baring dancers, fine singing, some of the best dance music of the decade and one of the most memorable stage entrances in memory. And it included a scene where Madonna — age 47 and the mother of two — sang the ballad “Live to Tell” suspended from a giant cross.
Of course, Maddy has always used Christian imagery to provoke. These days, though, she’s no longer the polarizing figure she once was — that honor now belongs to Tom Cruise — and the 18,000-strong fans at the Forum in Inglewood didn’t raise an eyebrow.
Ironically, the Forum is now owned by the Faithful Central Bible Church, which normally holds its services there on Sundays. The ushers, though, seemed more interested in the writhing dancers.
Madonna’s elaborately staged “Confessions” road show, which occupied a gigantic high-tech T-shaped stage, took in 22 songs from all aspects of her career, thematically broken into four sections. She and her crew perform in San Jose on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The tightly choreographed concert began 50 minutes late when a giant crystal disco ball was lowered from the ceiling to the end of a long catwalk stretching deep into the audience floor. Out popped Madonna — a dominatrix in jodhpurs and top hat snapping a jeweled riding crop — delivering the recent “Future Lovers,” surrounded by topless male dancers.
Madonna was in thrilling, non-stop-action mode, strutting up and down the catwalk, crawling on all fours, offering some expert pelvic thrusts and holding attention all around. The singing was strong, the material well-chosen, and accompaniment by a top-notch seven-member ensemble was solid.
The dozen or so dancers had as many costume changes as the headliner herself, and Cirque du Soleil-style gymnasts worked out on platforms while massive video screens showed images of war, world leaders, horses — and Madonna.
But while it was a perfect, flashy Hollywood production, there seemed to be little room for ad libs, although Madonna did throw in some expletives to urge a singalong during the roof-raising finale of her current disco anthem, “Hung Up,” as Mylar balloons fell onto the crowd.
While she played almost every song from her current “Confessions on a Dance Floor” release, the crowd went especially crazy for old favorites, including “Like a Virgin,” for which Madonna climbed onto a carousel horse, which raised and lowered while the singer gyrated.
source : mercury news