”I must confess”
“I have a confession” – Joey Guerra writes on the Houston Voice – “Madonna still drives me mad.”
I was 14 years old when her fourth studio album, Like a Prayer, was released amid endless controversy, praises of newfound maturity and a slew of burning crosses. It was-unlike so much new material from fellow divas Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and (insert loud laughter here) Paula Abdul-a true multimedia event. Since then, Madonna’s career has seen surprising highs (“Ray of Light,” “Evita“) and told-you-so lows (the unjustly derided “American Life,” any of her other films). Through it all, however, the gap-toothed goddess has continued to fascinate me-and much of the world.
Her 60-dates Confessions Tour 2006 kicked off May 21 in Los Angeles and includes future stops in Phoenix, Chicago, New York, Boston and Miami – most of which sold-out a long time ago. The show is selling equally well in Europe and Japan.
Click on the Full Article link below to continue reading this review by Joey Guerra from houstonvoice.com.
Once it’s all said and done, Confessions will likely be the most successful tour ever by a female artist, with ticket sales projected in the $200 million range. Cher holds the record with $192.5 million from 273 shows on her will-it-ever-end farewell tour.
From the beginning, it was clear Madonna was keeping true to her promise to “turn the world into one big dance floor.” Descending from the ceiling inside a huge disco ball, she popped out onto a long catwalk to the sounds of “Future Lovers,” a prime track off her “Confessions on a Dance Floor” CD. In moments, the song slyly morphed into Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” it’s inspiration.
She was accompanied by a slew of chiseled male dancers, whom she commanded like a stable of wild horses-complete with riding crop. In fact, equestrian imagery figures prominently in the show and in the accompanying tour book. It’s a nod to Madonna’s brush with mortality last year, the horseback riding accident that resulted in three cracked ribs, a broken collarbone and a broken hand.
“Like a Virgin,” one of four true oldies included in the eye-popping extravaganza, was reworked into an electro-pop ode to sexuality, with Madonna writhing and posing atop an S&M-inspired carousel horse.
“Jump,” one of the “Confessions” disc’s most ebullient tracks, is showcased as an energetic gymnastics routine, and “Forbidden Love” featured male dancers trying-and purposely failing-to interlock hands amid the song’s tortured love lyrics.
Recent single “Sorry” is played out like the song’s battle-of-the-sexes cage match video, and the startling visual accompanying “Isaac” featured a female dancer transforming from burka-shrouded captive to glamorous belly dancer.
Indeed, for all its glitz, disco-glamour and fabulous Jean-Paul Gaultier costumes, some of the show’s real sparks come via its most serious moments. Most affecting was a video interlude featuring President Bush, Condoleeza Rice, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and assorted popes shown alongside footage of Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. Accompanied by the lyrics, “Don’t speak” and “I’ve heard it all before,” (from “Sorry“), the moment drew enthusiastic cheers and applause from the audience.
“That Madonna continues to fascinate because she is a master of changing her public persona is too simple and discounts the enormous artistry and thought she puts into all of her work,” says Houstonian Allan Moore.
The show’s money “moment” comes early, roughly 25 minutes into the proceedings. Amid the strains of mournful ballad “Live to Tell,” Madonna appears strapped onto a huge disco cross, dressed in red and wearing a crown of thorns. An arresting, powerful statement to be sure-and one that has been misunderstood and misconstrued by many.
The lovelorn lyrics take on new meaning as images and statistics of an AIDS-ravaged Africa flicker on giant screens. The suffering of innocent lives, the role of a looming religion-these are questions that Madonna’s symbolic statement seems to be presenting.
“Like it or Not,” Madonna’s statement of self, finds the singer solo on the catwalk, interacting with the audience and simultaneously asserting her larger-than-life persona. She straps on a guitar for the delirious highs of “I Love New York” and “Ray of Light,” still a standout amid so many spectacular hits.
There are moments of quiet grace during “Drowned World/Substitute For Love” and “Paradise (Not For Me),” but the show is capped with a hands-in-the-air club segment featuring roller-skating dancers and one of those now-trademark Madonna leotards. Chart-topper “Music“collides with the fiery groove of “Disco Inferno,” and “Erotica” acquires a new sparkle via its mash-up with “You Thrill Me.” There’s even a Saturday Night Fever homage, complete with white suits and finger-pointing dance moves.
“La Isla Bonita” and “Lucky Star” are given new life via tweaked arrangements, and the obvious closer, “Hung Up” finds Madonna and crew simply-as overlooked hits “Vogue” commands-moving to the music.