Madonna shows Iggy just how to pop
Traditions and rules are meant to be broken. For the first time in the history of Slane concerts, there was no Irish act on the bill at Slane.
It is hardly the fault of promoters MCD, or of Lord Mount Charles, owner of Slane Castle. Rather, it seems as if Madonna wide-reaching control of the event has failed to notice that a music event in a specific country needs a localised, if not personalised touch.
Make no mistake about it, this was Madonna’s gig. Not even the paltry support acts, D.J. Paul Oakenfold and Iggy Pop and the Stooges, could, even if they had a notion to, upstage Madonna.
D.J. Paul Oakenfold was, well, a D.J. in a field playing tracks from the likes of U2, Coldplay and Radiohead to a less than enthusiastic, streaming crowd. Iggy Pop and the Stooges fared no better.
The veteran so-called Godfather of Punk, normally works up an almighty sweat, but only in confined spaces. In the chilly expanse of Slane, Iggy looked and sounded faintly ridiculous. The power and visceral glory of tracks such as 1969, TV eye, and I wanna be your dog, the latter prefaced by Iggy’s corporate, baiting I like shagging animals, was diluted by a flow of indifference as strong as the River Boyne.
And then it was Madonna’s turn. Control over the weather, however, is something that not even Madonna can manage, which meant that over 45 minutes elapsed from the 8.30 p.m. official starting time before she appeared on stage – the stage that had to be continuously wiped dry to prevent slippage.
Arriving on stage to the mellow strains of a Brian Eno instrumental and the big screen flash of the tricolour, Madonna sauntered into Vogue, an impressive opening set-piece that marked the tone for the remainder of the gig. With a full moon you’d swear was strategically situated above the stage, in order to orbit around the star of the show, Madonna quickly and efficiently transformed the wide space of the venue into something less of a field and more of a very big uni sex gym.
She had the brilliant advantage of over 20 years of hits, which she took full use of. From Burning Up and Holiday from 1983 to tracks from last year’s American Life album, Madonna traipsed through her back catalogue in a curious manner, ignoring her most successful album (Ray of Light, from which she played only one track, Frozen), concentrating instead on lesser known records.
Damp eyebrows were raised at the inclusion of, perhaps, least appealing hits of her career (Hanky Panky, Die Another Day). Yet feet were stamped at more than several pop classics, including Express Yourself, Like a Prayer, Into the Groove, Papa Don’t Preach, Music and Holiday.
Did Madonna rock? No, but she proved why she’s the best and most successful female pop star in the world. The material girl is very much in control. Too much in control, some might say, possibly MCD and Henry Mountcharles.
A mixture of arrogance, precision, perfectionism and resolute adherence to detail, Madonna arrived in Ireland made sure she left an indelible impression.
Source: Irish Times