Madonna’s intimate night with her fans
It had taken Madonna 22 years to return this way and she wasn’t about to miss the chance to relive a little bit of her early history.
Back in 1983, she was a rising star who had landed in London to try to build a reputation and played a gig at Camden Palace hoping to win a place in locals’ hearts with her dance number Everybody.
Within a few years, she found chart success and was playing to sell-out crowds at Wembley Stadium.
But to mark the launch of her new album Confessions Of A Dancefloor, which has seen her rediscover the disco fever that infected her earliest hits, she chose to make the return journey, albeit to a club now renamed Koko.
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She rounded off her five-song set of otherwise brand new numbers with a rare rendition of that almost-forgotten song right from the faltering start of her career.
Introducing its opening bars, Madonna said: “This is the song I performed here back then. I think I’ve had enough time to remember the words.”
It was the highlight of a 30-minute show that showcased her new album Confessions On A Dance Floor and her latest style metamorphosis.
The theme was definitely disco. As her band, attired in Saturday Night Fever-style white suits, looked on, a huge mirrorball parted on stage and Madonna made her entrance dressed all in purple – matching jacket, velvety pedal pushers and knee-high boots.
As always a Madonna show – big or small – is as much about dance as it is about song, and it was not long into the performance of Hung Up, her current number one single, that the jacket was discarded to reveal a purple vest top more suited to the energetic dancing that was to follow.
At one point, she said slightly breathlessly: “I feel like I’m really out of shape right now, I don’t like falling off horses.
But over the course of her set, we saw Madonna shimmy, strut, writhe, and high kick.
But most importantly for the 200 fans who had queued through the night for last-minute tickets, this was a chance to enjoy Madonna from the closest of close-up views rather than gazing at a screen from the back end of an Earls Court-sized venue.
Madonna did not flinch from them getting up close and personal, slapping the hands of the most energetic fans bouncing up and down around the stage.
When fan Glen Charleston threw his T-shirt in her direction, she tossed it back again, quipping. “Don’t throw me clothes. On this stage, I take clothes off. I don’t put extra on.”
Charleston, 24, spent the night queuing in the cold after taking a train from Newcastle. Later, he said: “The highlight was when she performed Everybody. I missed out on that first time round so this was a chance to go back in time.”
Overall it was a strong showcase for her new album – although it was the audience watching on the internet rather than the fans in the hall who would need convincing – and an intriguing appetiser taster for a promised tour next year, which is likely to retain much of the disco theme.
For those streaming out of Koko afterwards, the verdict was unanimous.
Julie Morris, who flew in specially from New York, said: “Her dancing was unbelievable. She was kicking ass out there.”
Italian visitor Alberto Cordeia added: “Seeing her perform so close up was amazing. This was unforgettable”.
Londoner Ravi Chohan said: “You have to give her 10 out of 10. She is on top of her game – a fantastic performance from somebody who fell off a horse just a few weeks ago.
“She showed that she doesn’t need a huge set or loads of dancers to put on a great show. If there is a tour next year and it is even better than this, it will be amazing.”
From an article by John Hand, BBC News