What do you get when you mix a mock crucifixion, Kabbalah, political diatribes and a plea for AIDS relief with a giant crystal-covered disco ball?
Why, the first night of Madonna’s Confessions tour, of course.
The 47-year-old pop icon jumpstarted the North American leg of her tour with a bada-bang Sunday night at the Forum in Los Angeles, dazzling the sold-out crowd with million-dollar set pieces, seven costume changes and her yoga-buffed bod.
To gild the lily, Salma Hayek, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rosie O’Donnell and Nicole Richie were also spotted getting into the groove during the show.
About 50 minutes after the concert’s designated starting time, a mirrored disco ball encrusted with $2 million-worth of Swarovski crystals was lowered onto the stage and out popped Madge, wearing S&M-themed equestrian gear like a second skin. Carrying a jeweled riding crop and surrounded by male dancers with leather straps and bits in their mouths reminiscent of Pulp Fiction, Madonna straddled one of her “horses” and opened the show with “Future Lovers,” from her latest chart-topper, Confessions on a Dance Floor.
Nine of the evening’s 22 songs came from Confessions, including “Sorry,” “Jump” and “I Love New York,” while the rest were a combination of classics like “La Isla Bonita” and “Lucky Star” (loved by people old enough to actually be able to afford the $350 ticket prices) and newer old hits like “Music” and “Ray of Light.”
Maintaining a laudable amount of energy, Madonna danced her way through the night, stopping only to change Jean Paul Gaultier-designed clothes, pick at a Les Paul guitar, make a crude joke in reference to President George W. Bush, and, finally, head off into the night, sans encore.
During the lady of the hour’s brief forays offstage to change, video montages depicting members of the Bush administration and British Prime Minister Tony Blair interspersed with shots of Hitler, Osama bin Laden and Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe kept the adoring crowd entertained, er, enraged, er uncomfortable.
Gone are Madonna’s days of suiting up in cone-shaped lingerie for a taboo-busting boudoir romp during the crowd favorite “Like a Virgin.” Looking back, the Truth or Dare days when she scandalized the local police for simulating masturbation onstage seem almost quaint.
Nowadays we’ve got the married mother of two perched atop a kinked-up carousel horse–minus the horse–on a saddle that looked more like a Hell’s Angel’s idea of black leather heaven. The non-animal bobbed up and down while the diva gyrated in time with “Like a Virgin.” In the background, images of the broken bones Madonna suffered in a horse-riding accident last year flashed on huge video screens.
Hidden trapdoors, ramps and a flashing catwalk crisscrossed the stage to accommodate the band and 22 backup dancers and singers employed by Madonna’s latest extravaganza.
Of course, the Material Girl did more than confess on the dance floor last night. Reaching out to her Kabbalah crew, she welcomed vocalist Isaac Sinwahy to harmonize with her on “Drowned” and play the shofar, a horn traditionally blown during the Jewish high holy days.
She also managed to antagonize anyone not already busy boycotting The Da Vinci Code with the crown of thorns she donned and the 20-foot-high mirrored cross she perched on during her ’80s-era ballad “Live to Tell.”
With silver cuffs holding her arms in place, Madonna sang while images of third-world poverty and numbers representing the 12 million children orphaned by AIDS in Africa ticked by on a screen.
The Church of England has already denounced Madonna’s “offending” performance, asking Monday whether the songstress was “prepared to take on everything else that goes with wearing a crown of thorns?”
“And why would someone with so much talent seem to feel the need to promote herself by offending so many people?” a church spokesman said.
“Knock off the Christ-bashing,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement Monday. “It’s just pathetic.”
This isn’t the first time Madonna has crossed the church, so to speak. In 1990 the Pope called for a boycott of the pop star’s Blond Ambition tour because of her saucy “Like a Virgin” performances. A few years prior to that, the Vatican had condemned the video for “Like a Prayer,” which features burning crosses and images of a black Jesus figure.
Madonna’s latest blasphemy doesn’t reach Britain until July.
Billboard has predicted that the 51-date Confessions tour could gross in the $200 million range. Cher, queen of the “farewell tour,” currently holds the record with $192.5 million, but that was earned in the course of 273 shows.
To remember the night of 1,000 images, concert-goers can pop for a variety of souvenir goods, from $10 sheets of stickers to $85 long-sleeve tees.
We’re holding out for the $2 million disco ball.
source : eonline