Monday, 6 August 2012

Madonna - Let me feel the fiber of your fabric, after all we are living in a material world....

Madonna Ziggo Dome 7 July 2012

There was a time in my life that I would have said, and I quote “as long as my arse points to the ground, I will never go and watch someone like Madonna in a live show”.

Maybe I have matured (unlikely), maybe I have started to learn from my mistakes, or maybe, just maybe, I have realized that to have an informed opinion on something you need to have experienced it in some way shape or form? So therefore Madonna bound I would be.

Usually, as my fellow concert going friends will attest, I am super keen to get to the gig early to stake a claim on my evening’s real estate. So when I arrived just after 5pm (extremely early) and roughly estimated that I was about the 6,000th person in line, I was slightly surprised. What I then found out was that there had been plenty of people actually sleep out the night before just to ensure that they could be in first into their allotted area to stand or at least a specific seat. Bloody hell these people were keen!

Occasionally whilst in line (where I would be for another 2 hours), I noticed that there were a few people with special yellow wrist bands with “golden triangle” written on them and they didn’t seem to fussed when they got in. That being said they had turned up at least at 4pm rather than the night before, crazy. These lovely golden triangle fans will feature later, but let’s just say they were Madonna’s “favorite” fans. Then I started to question when was the last time I had been to a show where the punters would sleep out? God I can’t even remember, I don’t go to these acts! Moreover none of my mates wear the artists shirt to the concert, there are in fact rules against such behavior. And none of them like going to the HMH let alone the freaken Ziggo Dome, and definitely none of them have slept out for a show in a bloody long time!

So into the “new” Ziggo Dome I headed, checking my lovely camera at the door with a very efficient security guard, no they were right, for the sake of other patrons , make me check my camera, but small hand held ones or telephone ones were fine…

Out of the large venues that go to, I think the “Ziggo Dome” team have got it pretty right, the sound is good, there are some reasonable food selections, and there are lots of bars and facilities available. So whilst I might not look to head there every week, in general from time to time it will be ok. The time was upon me to get my real estate. I found myself in a standing room spot, as far forward as I could be, which was pretty close to the back to be honest, surrounded by three set of people, cheerful flamboyant gay lads, exuberant women and the partners of both groups. It was a crowd full of life and one excited to be there (well most of them).

The support act for the evening was Martin Solveig who had produce one or some of Madonna’s track and he is “allegedly” one of the worlds “it” DJ’s. He proceeded to mix a really fun set to get the crowd up and dancing and he mixed in quite a few of Madonna’s songs as well as the likes of Goyte etc.

In front of Martins mixing desk was his name in large bright lights that blind Freddy couldn’t miss. At the end of his set he professed to the crowd, many thanks and that he had been “Martin Solveig”, and to have a great night, now to be fair if anyone had missed who the fuck he was I would have been greatly surprised, but there you go, maybe he plays to crowd s that are usually off their faces and need to have the obvious pointed out to them.

Some slow clapping to get the show started rang around the stadium, by now it was just a tick after 10pm and everyone was just about at fever pitch, the night’s main attraction was about to start and everyone was ready.

My expectations of the Madonna show were rather low, well a lot lower than 80% of the crowd I am sure. That being said, my mind would be blown within the first two minutes. The use of massive amounts of TV screens, several rising podiums and a massive prop or two automatically drew to my attention that this would be a “Show”, a real theatrical production and not just one person’s performance. This “Show” was perfectly choreographed and executed with immense precession.

As Madonna was sighted for the first time, all the crowd seemed to thrust their glowing cameras and phones into the air and my vision became a wash of mini screens, glowing blue, and that would be pretty much how it would be for the rest of the evening if at any time she venture close enough to me to see with the naked eye. And when presented with this problem, I found myself joining in the same antics, any time that Madonna charged down the runway I thrust my arm into the air and tried to snap a photo…..and I found myself caught up in the moment of having to get a photo of her…..456 terrible photos latter, god what had I become?

Ok, so brass tacks time, what she doesn’t do particularly well is sing. I mean I am sure she would put the likes of me to shame, but in the annals of time, I doubt that her best attribute will ever be described as her ability to hold a tune. I don’t think that should really cloud anyone’s judgment of “this” show, as this was more about the dancing and theater of the production.

As I mentioned before I have clearly not been to any of these massive production “Shows” recently, as every 3 or 4 songs I would be forced to watch a film clip (of sorts) of a Madonna song, whilst the Material Girl slipped into a different piece of material……I felt like I was only getting 75% of the concert, but that’s the way this had to be I guess.

So I saw her as a monk, and assassin, someone wearing a ball gag (I am not sure what the proper terminology is for that) and as a 54 year old bearing a very fit ass in a g-string. All of these I hadn’t anticipated but in retrospect I feel like I probably should have, how funny is that?

What I did expect was an arrogant, petulant, aggressive, egocentric person and Madonna ticked all those boxes. These attributes were all best displayed when she wanted more crowd participation, when it didn’t go exactly as she wanted she proceeded to tell the crowd that the “golden triangle” fans were the only audience members really trying.

Oh way to go lady, when everyone in the venues has paid around the 100 Euro mark per ticket. Obviously this was meet by a loud round of boos, When was the last time I went to see an artist that got boo’d I thought? And then furthermore the crowed had forgiven in the blink of an eye. But not me.

Following that moment of discrimination on Madonna’s behalf, she then went onto a rant for what felt like 3-5 minutes about being tolerant. How everyone needed to be tolerant of all aspects of life, including gender, religions etc. Was I the only one in that venue that found this incredibly ironic based on here not being tolerant of the crowd?

At the end of the day, I think that watching an opinionated megastar, a pop singer who is unable to sing well, and who made me watch video clips of herself (or get the support DJ to play so you didn’t have to) would be three strikes and you are out for me. But not today, this show was super theatrical, the choreography was amazing and I actually enjoyed the song selection.

Would I do and do it again? No I would not. Would I recommend to others to have a look at a production like this – hell yeah. It is impressive, you can really see where your hard earned Euros went to when you are watching a show like this.

So here are the words I never thought I would never say, and quote a renowned Aussie music industry person , Molly Meldrum, “do yourself a favor” and get out there and see a Madonna show, at a ridiculously oversize venue and let her feel the fiber of your fabric (your hard earned cash) near you soon.


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