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Madonna News - July 2006

Confessions Tour – Review

Well, if you couldn’t tell at the beginning when she descended from the ceiling in a giant glitter ball, the set list of Madonna’s concert (the first of three sold-out shows at the TD BankNorth Garden) confirmed she has, in fact, come back to the hardcore dance music that gave her her start.
Most people who have been around as long as she has are apologetically slipping a couple of songs from their latest album into the set list, but last night’s show included 10 songs from Madonna’s latest, Confessions on a Dance Floor. She applied that record’s mix of early-’80s styles such as house, Eurodisco and early techno to old favorites such as “Like a Virgin” and “La Isla Bonita” as well. The conventional wisdom says 2004’s American Life album was a disappointment, and if you feel the same way, this was a show for you: nothing from that record.
Of course, the experience of a Madonna show isn’t complete without the visuals, choreography and costumes, and here last night’s show topped the American Life tour as well — eventually.
The show began with “Future Lovers,” from Confessions (with a snippet of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” tucked into the middle), and went into the lush house of the new album’s “Get Together.” But Madonna, dressed up in some semblance of riding gear, punctuated the songs with dancing that looked, and felt, more like we were watching her work out. The bumped-up “Like a Virgin” was more of the same — although there was humor at work in the video projections of people falling off horses (recalling Madonna’s recent mishap), her own aerobic writhing in a giant saddle was designed to be marveled at rather than enjoyed.
From there, the jump-cut philosophy that made the American Life show a weird mess took over for a while. Here’s Madonna on a glitter-ball crucifix, complete with crown of thorns, singing “Live to Tell” while the video screen projects statistics on African children orphaned by AIDS. Here she is singing “Isaac” while the singer of the same name who sang on the record holds the melody and a robed dancer flings herself around a cage. Here she’s singing “Jump” while film-student-level clips of urban decay flash behind her. Whatever.
The hinge of the show was “Like It or Not,” another dance thumper but with a shuffle rhythm, which Madonna sang alone, with virtually no projections and nothing on stage but a black wooden chair. The song is a fairly simple declaration of independence, but the lo-tech setting gave her a chance to show sass rather than ice, and for the audience to relate rather than adore.
From there, the dance-floor fillers kept coming, and the accoutrements settled down into being impressive yet coherent recapitulations of the themes and vibes of the songs. Madonna slathered distorto-guitar onto “I Love New York” and “Ray of Light”; her dance moves were purposely ungainly during “Let It Will Be” and her banter with the audience was truly playful before the ballad “Substitute for Love,” which was followed by the lovely, doleful ballad “Paradise (Not for Me),” from 2000’s Music album.
By the time she did a virtual live mashup, singing the words and melody of “Music” while her band played the classic “Disco Inferno,” with Madonna in a white disco suit; aped the James Brown routine of being picked up off the stage and helped into a cape (with “Dancing Queen” on it); gave even more dance thump to “Lucky Star” than the original; and finished by blazing through “Hung Up,” the first single from Confessions, the rout was on. Fun won.

Madonna on Billboard Charts – 07132006

Hot 200 Albums :
107 (33) Madonna – I’m Going To Tell You A Secret
141 (135) Madonna – Confessions On A Dancefloor

Billboard Comprehensive Albums :
111 (33) Madonna – I’m Going To Tell You A Secret
155 (149) Madonna – Confessions On A Dancefloor

Hot 100 Singles Sales :
05 (05) Madonna – Get Together
15 (12) Madonna – Sorry
25 (33) Madonna – Hung Up

Hot Dance Music/Club Play :
04 (03) Madonna – Get Together

Dance Radio Airplay :
01 (02) Madonna – Get Together

Hot Dance Singles Sales :
01 (01) Madonna – Get Together
03 (04) Madonna – Sorry
05 (05) Madonna – Hung Up

Top Music Video :
01 (01) Madonna – I’m Going To Tell You A Secret

Billboard Comprehensive Music Videos
01 (01) Madonna – I’m Going To Tell You A Secret

Confessions Tour – Village Voice Review

Crazy for You, but Not That Crazy
Madonna gives us the world, but suddenly it’s not enough.
We should worship Madonna for her perpetual willingness to look, sound, and act ridiculous. For if we do, she will never disappoint us. So here we sit, our furniture, cars, and first-born bartered on Craigslist for tickets to Wednesday’s opening night of her robustly scalped Madison Square Garden six-show residency. And there she hangs. In the early stages of her two-hour extravaganza/ordealafter a maudlin intro wherein interpretive dancers flail about during the solemn audio testimony of, say, a child-abuse victim or a former gangbangershe emerges crucified on a life-size sparkly cross, with a mic helpfully attached so she can croon a draggy, canned-sounding version of “Live to Tell” while surrounded by Jumbotron images of destitute, AIDS- orphaned African children who’re occasionally swallowed up by CGI fireballs.
Holy shit.
This is my professional reaction. Holy shit. It’s a sequence unparalleled in its combination of blasphemy, absurdity, melodrama, humanitarian grandstanding, and preposterous narcissism, all set to her second-best ’80s torch ballad. (“Crazy for You,” dawg.) This alone should justify the $12,000-per-seat admission. So why does it feel so unsatisfying? A Madonna concert dependably supplies (a) at least one hilariously offensive religious image, (b) a bit of Bono-bred social-cause pandering, (c) copious backup-dancer copulation, and (d) a few golden oldies to balance out the “Here’s one from the new album!” hostage taking. The “Live to Tell” assault combined ’em all for maximum impact . . . to incoherent, disastrous effect. I’ve seen Cher in concert, folks, and I’m telling you: This was ludicrous. But somehow bad ludicrous. Incoherent, disoriented, garish, light-all-the-firecrackers-at-once-and-just-see-what-happens ludicrous. The world is an infinitely more fascinating place with Madonna in it, turning empty spectacle into sincere emotion, and trendy pop bandwagon-jumping into timeless, profound beauty. Ironically, we sincerely adore her sincere attempts at irony. But she’s desensitized us to excess and lunacy merely throwing orphans, fireballs, pelvic thrusts, and crucifixion tableaux at us randomly doesn’t cut it anymore. We demand a more thought-out and sophisticated brand of mindless spectacle.
Too bad. The new album in question, last year’s Confessions on a Dance Floor, is a deliriously vapid disco assault, charming in its relentless doofiness. Even a dopey tune like “I Love New York”a less articulate ode to NYC than, say, Andrew W.K.’s, and man is that saying somethingcan sound transcendent if she sells it shamelessly enough. And she sure did Wednesday, thrashing haplessly on an electric guitar and climactically flipping off the thrilled, whooping crowd for a solid 20 seconds. That one stole (back) a bit of Kelly Clarkson’s arena-stomping thunder, as did triumphant jazzercise single “Hung Up,” though Madonna’s militaristic insistence on forcing us to shout “Time goes by! Slow slowly!” over and over and over felt less like a proud declaration and more like a desperate plea to halt the aging process. With all the retro poses she’s striking these daysof the show’s innumerable visual motifs, the Wednesday Night Fever disco phase, fusing her 2000 electro hit “Music” to “Disco Inferno” as she struck her best John Travolta pose in a shimmery white suit, hit the hardestMadonna’s eager to prove that backward is the new forward.
At 47, she remains as thin, lithe, and profoundly attractive as science (and Pilates, or whatever) will allowher outfits not too skimpy, but certainly skintightand she holds her own amid all the copious backup-dancer copulation, flailing about as they whiz by on roller skates or leap ecstatically through a maze of chain-link fences, IKEA-worthy metal office tables, and sinister-looking gymnastic equipment. She slaps one around and stands triumphant over his body as “Sorry,” Dance Floor’s finest hour, climaxes, but the Garden’s sound system fails her, watering down its bombastic, bass-heavy melody and rendering it wan and sleepy. Occasional breakdancing interludes aside, the tunes shouldn’t sound like they’re bleating from a boombox.
Even the golden oldies suffered: “Like a Virgin” earned orgasmic applause upon recognition early on, but wound up saddled with the same sweeping, robo-orchestrated Stuart Price treatment as all of Dance Floor, a newfangled clumsy chord progression robbing it of its cheesy simplicity. Undaunted, Madonna cavorted on a mechanical bull saddle/stripper pole hy-brid as the Jumbotrons flashed saucy images of . . . horse-racing accidents. Like the crucifixion debacle, you could write a term paper on that moment: precocious virginal musing vs. fear of breaking a leg and getting shot, a dorky ’80s pop classic ruined by 21st-century space-synth meddling, etc. But shit, man, it’s Madonna. Can we have the fun along with the dumb? “Ray of Light” (with more hapless guitar thrashing) got a few fists pumping, “Erotica” benefited from more Stuart Price sleaze, the “La Isla Bonita” choreography was Tony worthy, and “Lucky Star” was, uh, “Lucky Star.” Acceptable, but can you imagine a greatest-hits tour? As quietly great as Dance Floor is, will Madonna ever tour again without ramming a half-hour’s worth of feeble filler trackslike the “controversial” “Isaac,” embellished via Middle Eastern wailing into a very poor man’s take on Enigma’s “Return to Innocence”down our throats and indulge our lust for “Like a Prayer” or “Vogue” instead? How can someone so wed to outrageous decadence and shameless joy possibly not do this?
Instead, we settle for these brief flashes of old-time bravado and, even rarer, vulnerability. At one point our heroine sat down on the catwalk steps, visibly exhausted, content to merely look like an out-of-breath hot mom for a few seconds, apologizing for “f*cking up words” and “falling all over the place”: a quick peek at the perfectionist insecurity that drives all this grandeur. She then sang a limp “Drowned World/Substitute for Love,” profoundly inferior to “Crazy for You” or even “The Power of Goodbye.” She gave us everything she had, but not what we wanted.

Madonna & H&M – Promo Pictures

Madonna and her entire 150 person crew for the Confessions World Tour each found clothes that reflect their own individual styles while shopping at H&M. The international fashion retailer agreed to provide a complete wardrobe for Madonna and her ‘touring family’ as part of a long term agreement that includes an upcoming advertising campaign between H&M and the Material Girl.
With H&M and their world famous designers specializing in clothes for all family members, it seemed an ideal combination for the musicians, dancers, makeup artists, management and crew members of Team Madonna to have the opportunity to find exactly what they needed once they got offstage. The entire team was given the chance to choose from H&M’s latest collection which included Victorian romantics, British classics and couture inspired pieces.
In addition, Madonna worked with H&M designers to create a unique track suit to wear while she’s on the road. The tracksuit comes in black, white and purple. The top (€29.90) is narrow and feminine with a yoke and gathering and the trousers (€19.90) are fitted at the top with wide legs and detailed with zippers. ‘We are pleased to be able to offer this track suit to our customers by mid-August’ stated H&M’s head of design, Margareta van den Bosch.
In H&M’s upcoming advertising campaign, the dancer Sophia chose a black shiny nylon jacket with metallic press buttons teamed with loose fit jeans. Fellow dancer Cloud wore a striped and grey melange T-shirt with jeans and a matching hat. Madonna’s very chic makeup artist Gina Brooke wore a black pencil skirt with a matching couture style blouse and sky high heels. Dave the Rigger chose a plain T-shirt and &denim jeans and tour production manager Chris chose a checked cotton shirt to his &denim jeans. Madonna’s manager Angela Becker selected a silk camisole and black slacks under a grey melange wool vest.
H&M’s autumn collection is built around four trends: mix and match for a complete look. Retro couture inspiration – chic, coordinated, romanticism with reference from the turn of the century, Classics of the classics – British style tailoring and knitwear updated in unexpected materials and color combinations, 1980’s music scene – sleek rock style.
The advertising campaign is scheduled to begin in August.

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