Contributed by ihateoreilly:
Imagine my thrill when I got to the LA Forum for the Madonna concert. I know they always release incredible seats at the last minute. I asked the lady what is the best single seat she had available. She said Section C, row 2 seat 10. This is 2nd row in front of the stage! I immediately paid my $300, knowing a bunch of my checks will bounce. I sold my other seat at face value. I went into the Forum and was amazed that I was standing in the center, in front of the stage. Nobody was sitting in the front row (with the exception of three people) so the security guys in the pit said I can sit in front until somebody shows up. Nobody showed up! So I had the best seat in the house! This is real, as you will be able to see from my pictures and videos, which I will post in a couple days at Ihateoreilly.com/Madonna.html in a couple days. Unfortunately, I couldn’t videotape much of the show since I was right in the front. I took some video with my mini camera but some lady decided to be a tattle tale and tell a security guard. Since he was friendly with me before the show, he just told me to be careful. I moved into another row and took some more video. The best news is that I audio taped most of the show in stereo with my mini recorder so I can relive the best concert event of my lifetime. OK… now for the show.
It’s quite clear that right wing Fox News and the New York Post tried to smear the show days before it even happened by saying it was a shockathon filled with naked people, electric chairs, dead bodies, etc. This was FAR from the truth. The show wasn’t the least bit shocking, at least compared with Madonna’s other tours. It was visually stunning, but for once, the music was really the center of the show. Madonna did lip-sync a couple songs, but most of it was done live and it was easy to tell which was live, cause she actually sounds better live. She sounded beautiful and showed a range she has never showed before. This was especially evident when she sung “Frozen,” in which she cried at the same time. Perhaps, it was makeup running down her eyes because she somehow looked 35 instead of 45.
The show opened up with “The Beast Within” on video screens, followed by Madonna rising up and looking like a statue. This immediately led into “Vogue,” which was reminiscent of her 1990 MTV Video Music Awards performance. It was very impressive. Slightly less impressive was the next performance, “Nobody Knows Me,” which was lip-synced. She still was able to thrill the crowd, as she was with her first non-lip-synched song of the night, “Frozen.” She sounded absolutely beautiful in this. It was one of the best vocal performances of her career. Surprisingly, “American Life” was the best performance of the night, complete with the military theme, incredible dancing, and a stage that extended to the first twenty rows. Even the rap was exciting here! She did not overdo the military theme like initial rumors indicated. “Express Yourself” was also done military style and Madonna and her dancers twirled their rifles.
One of the biggest surprises of the night was “Burning Up,” which Madonna confidently performed with a guitar. Her guitar skills have greatly improved since the Drowned World Tour, although she’s no Eric Clapton yet. She then continued playing guitar while singing “Material Girl,” in which she announced that she was not a material girl. That’s hard to believe when most people had to pay $300 per ticket.
The first non-Madonna performance of the evening was “Hollywood” in which her dancers, with skateboard routines and all, did an impressive job. Although Madonna was obviously the star of the concert, her non-presence didn’t make this performance any less enjoyable. “Hanky Panky” was hilarious, with Madonna singing very strongly and dressed, along with her dancers, in skimpy outfits. She followed that with a surprisingly show-tune performance of “Deeper and Deeper,” in which there were no lesbian sex scenes, as previously rumored. “Die Another Day” started off with Madonna’s microphone being screwed up, but she was quickly able to get back into the groove. This was followed by the beautiful “Lament” from Evita, in which Madonna dies in the electric chair. There were not any crazy special effects, as indicated by the media. This section ended with a video interlude for “Bedtime Story.”
When Madonna came back on stage, in the right corner, she was strumming her guitar and singing the only off-key vocal performance of the evening “Nothing Fails.” Her voice quickly picked up in a gorgeous version of “Don’t Tell Me,” which was very much like the performance in the Drowned World Tour, only better. She followed this with a rocking version of “Like A Prayer,” in which the crowd was going nuts. There were no special effects or anything for this; her voice and the music carried this incredible performance all the way through. She then sang a slower version of “Mother and Father” in which she sang her heart out and hit the high notes like never before. She mixed that with lines from “Intervention.”
A couple years back, when Madonna remade “American Pie,” most hoped she would never remake a classic again. However, her version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” was very touching, with pictures of starving kids in the background. She sounded beautiful and John Lennon would probably be happy with this remake. Then came the wife-beater outfits with Madonna singing a Scottish version of “Into The Groove.” The dance routine here was wild, as it was for “Papa Don’t Preach,” which had the whole crowd singing along. By the way, there were no naked pregnant women dancing like the rumors had it.
The nostalgic moment of the show was a speedier version of “Crazy For You,” which Madonna dedicated to the people who have been her fans for twenty years. This was heartfelt and brought tears to the eyes of many of her older fans. After this somber moment, Madonna led into “Music,” in which the dancing was more aggressive than the same performance in the Drowned World Tour. She completely reinvented “Holiday,” which ended the show. Once again, the stage grew out to the first twenty rows as Madonna, as well as the audience, eagerly danced. The show ended with George W. Bush talking about America. I don’t remember exactly what he said because I wanted more from Madonna.
If there is one criticism from this show, it’s that there were no encores. “Music” and “Holiday” were spaced out on the Drowned World Tour, but not this time. The show seemed to end abruptly. Perhaps this will all be worked out as the tour goes on. While walking out, just about everybody was raving about how incredible the show was and that it was even better than they expected. If Madonna is truly experiencing a career slump or down slide, as some media members have often stated these past couple years, this is sure one incredible slump. Most pop stars would only dream of captivating a crowd during their career highs as Madonna had done during her so-called “slump.”