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Madonna News - August 2006

Confessions Tour in London – Evening Standard Review

You pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Pay somewhere between L80 and L160, however, and you get horses.
And Madonna, of course. The Queen of Pop’s latest arena extravaganza had a strong equestrian theme, somewhat surprisingly after her famous fall a year ago. It was pricey, yes, but when the glitter has settled the vast majority will look back and conclude that it was probably worth it.
The only comparable tour at this price right now is that of the Rolling Stones, and they don’t arrive onstage from within a 1.5-ton disco ball. Madonna strode out of her shiny pod dressed for dressage, brandishing a horsewhip while male dancers wearing saddles and bridles whinnied around her.
A modernised version of Like A Virgin was accompanied by footage of horse racing accidents and X-rays of broken bones. Then she writhed all over a rotating saddle and pole like a onewoman merry-go-round. She didn’t fall off.
Unwilling as Madonna ever is to stay with one look for long, for Jump the arena was quickly transformed into what looked like an abandoned multi-storey car park. The dancers demonstrated their skills at parkour, the French craze for clambering over urban obstacles.
Madonna left them to it, but otherwise the 47-year-old was emphatically not carried by the numerous younger people around her. During a thunderous Sorry she fought off the men with kung-fu moves. For Let It Will Be she performed alone, dancing with such abandon that she thoroughly earned the sit-down ballad that came immediately afterwards, Drowned World.
Some fans may have been disappointed that this was not a greatest hits set. Holiday, Papa Don’t Preach, Material Girl and many other classics were all left off the set-list, replaced by some weaker new tracks such as the forgettable Arabic house of Isaac and the mid-paced groove of Like It Or Not.
But most of the songs aired from huge-selling latest album Confessions On A Dance Floor were tremendous fun, thanks mostly to the Eighties fixation of producer and current muse Stuart Price. He was by her side throughout this evening, usually fiddling with a laptop.
As is often the case with Madonna, the spectacle frequently overpowered the music. There was the predictably controversial crucifixion sequence during Live To Tell, although it was strangely boring to see her still pushing the same old Church-baiting buttons.
The drone rock of I Love New York also offered the embarrassing revelation that, even after playing a guitar on her last tour, she still looks incredibly uncomfortable holding one. More fun was her Saturday Night Fever white suit for Music, and the flashing cape she sported during early hit Lucky Star.
Wembley will witness seven more nights of this razzmatazz. “I never thought I’d be saying this in London, but it’s good to be home,” she said to huge cheers. “I miss my house, I miss the countryside. I even miss the congestion charge.”
And what of those in the most expensive seats? They got to go home with a gold balloon. Not real gold, and not worth the extra 80 quid, but taken as a whole, this was definitely top-dollar entertainment.

Madonna gets first Wembley honour

Madonna has unveiled a bronze cast of her hands outside Wembley Arena, becoming the first star to be honoured in the venue’s new Square of Fame.
The singer, who plays the first of eight dates at the venue on Tuesday, said it was a “great honour” that made her “feel like an honorary Brit”.
Venue owners Quintain Estates wants the square to be a “Hollywood-style feature” to honour top performers.
It hopes to add Kylie Minogue and George Michael casts in coming months.
Madonna said: “I look forward to seeing other artists adding their handprints alongside mine.”
Following the unveiling, she returned to rehearsals for the first London show of her hit Confessions Tour.
“No matter how many concerts you do, you still have to do rehearsals,” the 47-year-old said.
Cast-makers had taken imprints of the star’s hands in New York during the US leg of her world tour.
The tour began in Los Angeles in May, and 21 European dates kicked off in Cardiff on Sunday.
The European leg will include Madonna’s first ever concert in Russia, at Moscow University, on 11 September.
Quintain Estates deputy chief executive Nick Shattock said: “Madonna is officially the greatest female star in the world and we are delighted that she is the first of what will only be a few major names to be celebrated in the Square of Fame.”
Wembley Arena reopened in April following a L35m refurbishment.
source : bbc

Madonna nominated for 5 MTV Video Music Awards

Video Of The Year
Christina Aguilera: “Ain’t No Other Man”
Madonna: “Hung Up”
Panic! at the Disco: “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”
Red Hot Chili Peppers: “Dani California”
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: “Hips Don’t Lie”

Best Female Video
Christina Aguilera: “Ain’t No Other Man”
Kelly Clarkson: “Because of You”
Madonna: “Hung Up”
Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: “Promiscuous”
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: “Hips Don’t Lie”

Best Dance Video
Madonna: “Hung Up”
Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: “Promiscuous”
Pussycat Dolls f/ Snoop Dogg: “Buttons”
Sean Paul: “Temperature”
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: “Hips Don’t Lie”

Best Pop Video
Christina Aguilera: “Ain’t No Other Man”
Madonna: “Hung Up”
Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: “Promiscuous”
Pink: “Stupid Girls”
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: “Hips Don’t Lie”

Best Choreography in A Video
Christina Aguilera: “Ain’t No Other Man”
Madonna: “Hung Up”
Pussycat Dolls f/ Snoop Dogg: “Buttons”
Sean Paul: “Temperature”
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: “Hips Don’t Lie”

Click here to vote.

Confessions Tour in Cardiff – This Is London Review

Madonna rode in on a saddle and a crucifix as she kicked off the opening night of the European leg of her world tour.
The queen of pop entertained a crowd of 59,000 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff with an erotically-charged performance.
It was the first time her Confessions tour had been seen outside America and in a stadium.
She said: “It’s also our first show in Europe. I’m sick of people sitting down in concerts. It’s really boring.
“Oh my goodness there is so many people. This is very exciting for me.”
At one point as if to prove she could do no wrong in the eyes of her fans, she showed them a dramatic middle finger to a roar of applause.
Fans saw her sing from a crucifix and the performance contained provocative dance routines.
There were rumours of poor ticket sales, but the small patches of empty seats were filled by dancing fans.
Madonna opened with the disco classic I Feel Love, appearing before her public from a giant disco ball lowered from the stadium’s closed roof.
Fans got Saturday Night Fever Madonna, leather-clad guitar-playing Madonna and riding school Madonna. She gyrated on a riding saddle while it floated around the stage on a pole.
“Are you ready to ride with me,” she asked, as the concert began in an equestrian theme.
The superstar said she was glad to be in Wales for the first time and to see so many international flags in the crowd.
“Right now we are living in a world where there’s too much hate and too much fighting,” she said.
The stadium was shown films of African Aids orphans and quotations from the Bible.
The show ended with a giant video screen asking: “Have you Confessed?”
Linda Wood, 40, from Hull, said: “It was brilliant. We’ve driven six hours to see her and it was worth every minute of it.”
Andy Pearson, 39, from Gloucester, said the performance needed some more up-tempo tracks and an encore.
“There was a bit of booing at the end there,” he said.
“The provocative stuff is nothing different from what she has done before. It’s the sort of thing you expect from Madonna.”
The crew and its massive convoy of trucks had been readying the Millennium Stadium for her arrival all week.
The 70,000-seater venue has hosted rock acts such as U2, but Madonna is its biggest.
Crowds of fans filled the streets around the stadium through the afternoon.
Gabby Hews, 33, from north Devon said: “I have loved Madonna since I was growing up in the 80s.
“The new music is cool, but I’m still an 80s girl. The old stuff is still the best.
“I paid L80 for my ticket so I guess ours were cheap compared to some.”
Sarah Morgan, 41, of Pontypridd, south Wales, said: “I have always wanted to see Madonna for years, and if she hadn’t come to Cardiff I would have gone to Paris or anywhere.
“She is unbelievable, and what she does with her body at that age is unbelievable.”

Confessions Tour in Cardiff – The Sun Review

She has been attacked for charging L150 per ticket but last night Madonna proved she is worth every penny.
At Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium she performed 21 songs over two hours, which works out a bargain L7.14 per track.
Madonna leapt about the stage like a wild animal who had been caged for 30 years. It’s hard to believe she’s 47.
She told the crowd: “This is my first show in a stadium and I love it. I want to touch you. We are living in a world where there is too much hate and fighting. You guys have a consciousness of liberty and you can change that so thank you.”?
I might be biased because I’m a Madonna fan but I challenge anyone to name an artist who can put on a more spectacular show.
Madonna turned the venue into her own dancefloor as she kicked off the European leg of her Confessions world tour.
Top DJ Paul Oakenfold was flown in from Los Angeles to get the crowd going before Madge descended on a giant glitterball.
The set list was dominated by tracks from her multi-million selling album Confessions On A Dancefloor.
She sparked off a new dance craze too the Madonna Trot with her imitation of riding a horse during the opening section. And there was a bit of controversy to get critics going, with the fetish gear, anti-George Bush messages and crucifix scene.
My personal highlight was the ode to John Travolta in the movie Saturday Night Fever, when Madonna and two dancers, dressed in white flares, moved to a mix of Music with the classic Disco Inferno.
At that point the show lifted to another level and it felt like we were in the middle of a giant party at New York’s famous venue Studio 54.
Hung Up, with Madge in purple leotard and shades, made for a magnificent finale.
The only problem was that it left me and the rest of the crowd gasping for more.

Confessions Tour in Cardiff – Guardian Review

Jenny Hughes’ last Madonna gig was in 1993, when the singer brought her Girlie Show tour to Wembley Stadium. Unable to get a ticket she listened from the balcony of her flat. Thirteen years later and now living in Newport, she was finally about to see Madonna as well as hear her. “She keeps going, always reinventing herself,” she said.
Hughes was one of relatively few fans at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium old enough to remember Madonna before her image makeovers began. Most of the girls at this first UK tour date were of an age that considers pink cowboy hats a good idea.
A fortnight away from her 48th birthday, Madonna still causes enough commotion to warrant the closure of streets near the venue. Hours before show time, thousands of cowboy hats were swarming the city centre getting hyped-up for the Confessions tour, the name a reference to the Confessions on a Dance Floor album that saw her get her pop mojo back.
The tickets went weeks ago, despite costing between L80 and L150, proving that neither age nor a propensity for Miss Jean Brodie tweeds has diminished her saleability.
To counter internet chatroom grumbles about ticket prices, she has released a factsheet listing what goes into the show, which in the way of all major pop tours today is one part singing to three parts special effects. It reveals what it takes to make Madonna Madonna, from the 4,000 Swarovski crystals embedded in her belt to the 350 people needed to build the stage.
The result justifies the price tag. It’s such a blockbusting show that there’s probably no need to see Madonna ever again, so well does Confessions do its job. It is obvious why those 350 roadies are needed – the production is enormous with a glitter ball that turns into a flower, a huge crucifix, 22 frenzied dancers and, at the centre of it all, one small, blonde woman.
There’s a moment at the beginning of the evening – the show is divided into Equestrian, Bedouin, Never Mind the Bollocks and Disco segments – that sums her up. She dismounts the back of the male dancer she has been “riding”, removes her jockey’s hat and stands motionless, letting 59,000 pairs of eyes take her in. “Are you ready to ride with me?” she asks. She is imperiously removed from the madness around her, the dancers, lasers and explosions could be happening to someone else. The word iconic has been devalued in the last few years but she is the real thing.
When your daily grind involves challenging old-school morality, the Catholic church and gossip magazines that print unflattering pictures of your 47-year-old hands, your sense of humour is bound to suffer.
That is the show’s weak link. Madonna struts, Madonna preaches but she doesn’t laugh; perhaps she sees little to laugh about. The world is going to hell in a handcart is the message she sends in set pieces such as her “crucifixion”, complete with crown of thorns, during Live To Tell.
The bleakness is hammered home by a video montage accompanying I Love New York: there is Tony Blair, a bare-breasted African woman and suddenly a scream of: “You can go to Texas and suck Bush’s dick!” That comes from Madonna, who has changed into a leather jacket and is uneasily hacking away at an electric guitar.
So there is not much levity, unless Like A Virgin qualifies. It involves Madonna singing her classic hit (and oldest song in the show) in front of footage of horses falling over, a “jokey” reminder of her riding accident last year.
No matter, though. She has moments of girlish enthusiasm (“I’ve never been to Wales before”) that remind us she is human and her job is to command awed respect. And she does that better than any other entertainer in her league.
Sarah Morgan, 41, of Pontypridd, summed up the general adulation: “I have always wanted to see Madonna, and if she hadn’t come to Cardiff I would have gone to Paris or anywhere. She is unbelievable, and what she does with her body at that age is unbelievable.”
One suggestion, Madonna. If you must play guitar during the Never Mind the Bollocks punk segment, try not to look as though the instrument is a colicky baby who will scream at any moment.

Confessions Tour in Cardiff – BBC Review

The Queen of Pop has arrived in Europe with her Confessions tour, thanking not God but something far more carnal (this is Madonna – use your imagination) as she did so for being in a place where “people in the audience dance”.
They certainly did. Even before Her Madgesty appeared, Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium pitch was a mass of moving bodies packed like sardines, eagerly awaiting the first glimpse of their regent.
They were dressed for the occasion too. Within 10 minutes I’d seen more clearly straight men in pink cowboy hats than I had expected to in a lifetime.
The heavily disco-themed extravaganza, based on her Confessions On a Dance Floor album, opened appropriately enough with a huge glitter ball descending from the ceiling.
It opened to reveal Madonna in black raunchy riding-style gear, topped off with a black hat with a mane trailing from it.
As she began to move around the stage, skipping and occasionally cantering, I could see her clearly as the Madonna of 20 years ago, in her early Material Girl and Like A Virgin videos and performances.
Once the hat was off and her face was in close-up on the video screens, it was definitely a more mature version of the world’s most famous pop star on stage, but you would never have known it from her energy levels.
She can sing, dance, gyrate, stretch and jump with the best of them, and proved it repeatedly throughout the set.
The audience were treated to disco anthem I Feel Love to start – very appropriate to the sentiment Madonna must have been receiving from the appreciative crowd before her.
The first of her defining hits came next with Like A Virgin receiving a roar of approval from the crowd, including a bunch of girls standing next to me who just possibly were not born when the song was released.
Despite that, they clearly saw Madonna as an icon and an inspiration. Every time she demonstrated her flexibility, sexuality or ability to keep up with her fit, fast dancers, they cried, “amazing”, “look at that”, “she’s fantastic”, clearly in awe of what the 47-year-old performer could make her well-toned body do.
Madonna’s tour director said before the show began that it was not a concert but closer to a theatrical performance, and he was spot on.
Sets moved seamlessly – at one time delivering Madonna suspended on a giant wire cross from where she sang the ballad Live To Tell – costume changes were quick and flawless. Nobody put a foot wrong the whole night.
There were serious messages being delivered without a trace of subtlety to the audience – videos told us of 12 million children orphaned in Africa because of Aids, with websites flashed up for the concerned to log on to.
During the song Forbidden Love, which used two male dancers to demonstrate the love that (used to) dare not speak its name, up flashed icons of differing religions crossing one another. Yes, we get the message – nasty religion keeps star-crossed lovers apart.
Indeed, my one complaint would have been this – the singer herself seemed a bit too serious. Not until the last quarter of the show did Madonna look like somebody enjoying herself.
She wasn’t much of a smiler, and considering this is a tour about disco, surely one of the most light-hearted, frivolous and fun forms of music, she could have lightened up a little.
The audience did get to see her in different guises. Madonna the rock chick, anybody? That, I have to say, was a new one on me.
She appeared in a leather jacket with a very high feathered collar, straight out of the 70s’ glam rock scene, and reminding me rather incongruously of Suzi Quattro.
It worked for her rendition of the song I Love New York, but I wasn’t so sure about using it for Ray of Light, which is such a dance track it seemed odd to watch her strumming a guitar for it.
But more power to her for doing it. Perhaps this is an indicator of the future, because even she will one day have to give up her high-energy dance-based shows if she carries on touring into her 60s, say – won’t she…?
She certainly didn’t give it up before the end of the night. Wearing a cloak with the legend “Dancing Queen” on it, she belted out Lucky Star, which segued seamlessly into her Number 1 hit Hung Up, finishing with a multitude of golden balloons falling over the exuberant crowds at the front.
And then she was gone. No encore, to the sorrow of the girls next to me, just a message asking, “Have You Confessed?” as the lights came up on the 59,000 people in the audience.
Well, I will. I confess I was impressed. No sign that Queen Madonna will be abdicating from her throne just yet.

Confessions Tour in Cardiff – The Mirror Review

Queen of Pop Madonna last night kicked of the UK leg of her dazzling Confessions tour – and her performance was just breathtaking.
The gig at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was the first of 21 European dates – eight of them in London – so we donned our leotards to shimmy on down with the superstar.
Unfortunately, around 5,000 fans didn’t make her show because ticket prices were steep, ranging from L60-L150. They missed a treat.
We revealed last month how fans were revolting against these outrageous prices despite Madge desperately trying to get them to come. But the star has already made a whopping L46million from her sold-out North American shows, so we don’t imagine she’ll be crying into her macrobiotic Rice Krispies this morning.
The Madge-ical tour show mostly showcased the songs from her current Confessions On A Dancefloor No1 album, but a few old classics such as 1984 hits Lucky Star and Like A Virgin were thrown in for nostalgics.
Although she turns 48 on August 16 – she’ll celebrate with thousands of fans at her gig in Earls Court – Madonna still puts on a show that puts singers half her age to shame. And her husband Guy Ritchie and their children Lourdes, nine, and Rocco, five, watched her stage acrobatics open-mouthed.
The crowd went wild for the first part of the show, dubbed the Equestrian segment – ironic in view of her bad riding accident last year. As horses paraded on overhead screens and dancers in jockey-style gear gyrated on stage, Madonna appeared from the centre of a giant disco ball covered in L2million worth of Swarovski crystals and shouted: “Are you ready, Cardiff?” before belting out Future Lovers and the Donna Summer disco anthem I Feel Love. She gyrated to her dancefloor hits Get Together and Like A Virgin.
Although she’s pushing 50, she proved she hasn’t lost her sex appeal as she writhed about on a saddle, to worried gasps from the audience. She looked super-toned in leggings, lacy top, waistcoat and top hat and gave a saucy crack of her whip.
An insider says: “Madonna was really nervous because it was her first stadium event of this tour.” Suddenly the prospect of being suspended from a glitter ball much higher up seemed pretty daunting.”
The Bedouin segment began with Madonna donning a thorny crown, taking a Christ-like position on a huge cross and singing Live To Tell. Next came the Never Mind the B****cks section, where Madonna went wild for a fun run through rock-infused dance numbers such as I Love New York and Ray Of Light.
Madge turned all political, with signs flashing up on a screen with anti-domestic violence messages Then it was flashing disco balls for a full-on disco party. Madge gave her all with renditions of party favourites La Isla Bonita and Lucky Star.
The screams were deafening as she closed with Hung Up – and many fans shed a tear at the thought that this could be her last world tour.

Confessions Tour in Cardiff – The Independent Review

At a time where every emerging pop artist gets plaudits for how “raw” and “honest” they appear to be, thank God for Madonna. Ultra-slick and fantastically fake her act may be but this is pure, unadulterated escapism on a colossal scale. At up to L150 a pop for tickets, it had better be.
“There’s a lot of people who talk and talk, but how many walk the walk?” she asks her reverent multitude. What walk she walks is anyone’s guess, as this is plastic pop, which only pretends to have a soul. But this is no mere gig, but the ultimate showbiz extravaganza.
As the world’s number one superstar emerges clad in Jean-Paul Gaultier’s S&M-esque creation of leather riding boots, top hat and jodhpurs from her giant disco ball – encrusted with L2m-worth of Swarovski crystals – it’s evident we’ve been teleported to planet Madonna, or cloud nine which ever you prefer. Recent song “Future Lovers” segues into Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, and soon the blockbuster “Like a Virgin” gets the crowd all jumping. It’s one of the few Eighties songs in the set, revamped for the chemical generation.
This show, her first-ever in Wales, dwarfs any in the stadium’s short history, including U2’s. This, the first stop-off on the European leg of her tour, also boasts a bigger staging than any of the US dates, and it’s mainly all standing. “Thank f*ck for that,” the adopted English rose declares, before telling us she wishes she could touch us. Oh, she’s such a tease!
You could never imagine Her Madgesty, the Queen of Pop for the past 22 years, baring her soul in a song, despite naming her tour Confessions. She displays compassion and empathy – “I can tell you all have a conscience of unity,” she says, and a screen relays images of war and suffering during a remix reprise of “Sorry” – but all this hardly squares with the 47-year-old diva’s pelvic thrusts and whip-cracking dominatrix pose.
There’s no escaping the material girl. Love her or berate her, she encapsulates the great capitalist dream while exposing, and revelling in, the hypocrisy of it all. Well aware that shock sells, she raises a perfectly manicured two fingers to the Church; she mockingly wears a crown of thorns while rising a crucifix, flirts with the seven deadly sins and periodically gyrates with a devilish look of ecstasy.
Confessions is a show of four quarters. It begins and ends with her cast as the disco diva, as she reasserts her presence on the global dance floor, while the middle is given over to a “Bedouin” section, featuring the spiritual warbling of Hebrew singer Yitzhak Sinwani. She emerges from a trapdoor for a section she’s called “Never Mind the Bollocks” and she actually appears to have a grasp of basic punk chords as she straps on a guitar. “I Love New York” has more than a whiff of “Pretty Vacant”.
Culminating in dance floor visitations to the various phases of her career, including “La Isla Bonita”, “Erotica”, and “Lucky Star”, Madonna expertly consolidates her grip on the pop throne with a four-to-the-floor finale. Long will she reign.