“The spectacle that is a Madonna concert is unmatched in the music world” – Jim Welte writes on MP3.com – “Who else would even try to brew up a theatrical stew of righteous political indignation, provocative religious imagery, scantily clad male dancers in equestrian-flavored S&M outfits, and her own stripper-like slithering around a pole with a mechanical bull at its base?”
The buff 47-year-old Material Mom did all that and then some last night at San Jose‘s HP Pavilion, starting the night in an equestrian dominatrix outfit and ending it by dry humping a boombox while wearing a revealing leotard.
And yeah, there was music, mostly of it the poppy French house variety that has been Madge’s forte in recent years. But she also impersonated a rock guitarist, spent time on a crucifix, rang the anti-poverty alarm, and did plenty of posing and preening to her fans’ delight.
The night kicked off with a giant disco ball descending from above to the end of a long catwalk that jutted out from the massive stage. Soon after it touched down, it opened like a flower, and out came the Queen of Pop, belting out lofty lines from “Get Together” like, “Do you believe that we can change the future?”
She was surrounded by a cadre of male dancers wearing the aforementioned S&M outfits–one had a leash on which Madonna tugged as she mounted his back.
As the slow-building opening song ended, she asked the crowd, “Are you ready to ride with me?” She meant “ride” in the literal sense, as she then mounted and writhed a studded leather mechanical bull as she sang “Like A Virgin,” one of the few old songs she played last night.
Click on the Full Article link below to continue reading this review by Jim Welte taken from MP3.com.
As they did during several of Madonna’s seven costume changes during the two-hour set, Madonna’s crack team of versatile, breakdancing-meets-Cirque du Soleil dancers then took center stage.
She reappeared on the glass mosaic crucifix–with built-in microphone stand–that has stirred up the latest round in Madonna tour-related controversy. Wearing a crown of thorns like those worn by another artist with a Jesus complex, Madonna sang an atmospheric version of “Live to Tell,” complete with a funky church organ riff.
As she sang, the show entered its political, anti-poverty section, with statistics like the number of children orphaned in Africa rattling across the screen and a pitch for Raising Malawi, the nonprofit group aiding orphans in that South African country and to which Madonna has donated $100,000.
The somber tone continued for a stretch, as Madonna pal Yitzhak Sinwani of the London Kabbalah Centre chanted and played the shofar, the ram’s horn played by Jews during the high holidays. Sinwani would later join Madonna in an acoustic duet of “Paradise (Not for Me).”
But after “Like it or Not,” which includes the Madonna career-defining line: “This is who I am, like it or not, you can love me, you can hate me, but I’m never ever gonna stop,” another costume change and seamless transition to over-the-top frivolity was in order.
It was on to Madonna’s current single “Sorry,” and then another video montage, this time with fangs directed squarely at a hodgepodge of world figures past and present: Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Condi, Bin Laden, Tony Blair, Hitler, Kim Jong Il, Robert Mugabe, Pope Benedict, the KKK, and Pat Robertson.
As the charged montage ended with the THX slogan “the audience is listening,” Madge reappeared with guitar in hand and darted right into “I Love New York,” her awkwardly entertaining paean to Gotham (which included an ad-libbed lyrical suggestion to perform fellatio on the president).
As she bounded into a rockified version of “Ray of Light,” it was tough to watch the pop queen attempt to take on the persona of a rock guitarist. She looked as comfortable wielding a guitar as Hendrix would have leading a troupe of scantily clad male dancers in S&M outfits.
But that masquerade eventually ceded to a video montage of classic Madonna and then a mashup of “Disco Inferno” and “Music,” the 2000 smash hit that saw her move towards the disco house sound. The dancers reappeared on roller skates and Madonna and her backup vocalists wore Saturday Night Fever-style white suits.
None of the few older songs Madonna played were given their original treatment, as each was laid over the house-ified sonic blueprint of electronic producer Stuart Page. Even the Latin-tinged “La Isla Bonita” took on a Gypsy Kings-meets-Daft Punk sound, while “Lucky Star” was tweaked for an easy segue into the obvious closer of the night, the ABBA-sampled “Hung Up.”
Madonna eschewed an encore, a move that clearly left some fans wanting more. But after a whirlwind two hours that saw the ultimate mishmash of diatribe and delirium, the “Dancing Queen” had delivered.