Torontoboy brings good memories from The Virgin Tour
Toronto Boy our Canadian reporter to celebrate Madonna in Toronto has trascripted for us the ORIGINAL review published on May 24, 1985, after Madonna’s SOLD OUT Toronto stop on the Virgin Tour (May 23, 1985).
SHE’S A VAMP!
By Wilder Penfield III, Toronto Sun
The lady is a vamp. Among other things. some of which turn out to be more important.
With three Madonna singles in the top 25 nationally, and with the backing of a funny hit movie (Desperately Seeking Susan) and some much-poured-over videos, it is no surprise that the first and only Canadian appearance by Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone, 26, sold out Maple Leaf Gardens and that scalpers had abandoned the area to foraging fans long before showtime.
The surprise is the strength of the show, especially given the foregone conclusion that most ticket-holders would not see the model – and the “sportswear for sexpots” fashions she models – as well as they can on television.
That was another good move – the queen of video restricted her visuals to a few slides. And nothing of what we saw was sleazy. Madonna is smarter than your average bare, and her night moves have more to do with cheerleading than with chorus-lining.
Lighting was plain, geometrical, more abstract than lurid. Two male dancers shadowed most of her motions (what kind of woman reads Playgirl?), amplifying her precision, counterpointing her character, and focusing her attention – but she didn’t need them to be effective; she used them effectively.
Sex remained a part of the show, but it was not so much in the looking as in the listening. Her longest rap, for example, was devoted to her (big portable stereo boom) box – and how it has to be turned on.
And that is how it should be, media hype to the contrary. She may be this decade’s Brenda Lee or this month’s Cyndi Lauper, but the public has appointed to impose her free-wheeling style on the basic shapes of pop, not to be some kind of raunchy princess.
So, mostly, we were grateful for the unexpected efforts this will-be movie star went to make her pre-sold side trip into live performance as entertaining as it was. (She hopes the experience will not be repeated).
Madonna Singing Dress You Up in Toronto in 1985Click to enlarge
More important than her sex symbolism was this Madonna’s virgin-likeness. Her loving is arm’s length. Her desire is to be desired. her stage is her chaste shrine.
At the same time, she is also a child playing dress-up in her parent-images – especially Marilyn Monroe‘s, but not excluding Doris Day: one of her essences is innocence.
At the same time, she is also an unholy spirit. Furthermore, nothing about her show was quite so much to her credit as her direction of the trinity, the way she fused these elements into a triple-threatening unity, sustaining audio and visual interest long after the impact of the presence of the singer-of-the-hits had worn off , and making her hour on the stage feel like the right length.
She emerged for the encore (Like A Virgin) in a whirl of wedding white and promptly asked “Will you marry me?” By now, we knew exactly what we had come for. And we knew what she really wanted, which was an excuse to lose herself in euphoric fantasy. We said “yes”.
Special thanks to our Reporter Torontoboy for helping Madonna Tribe celebrate Madonna’s Canadian stop of the re-Invention tour