USA Today’s ”Inside scoop” on the Confessions Tour
Madonna kicked off her Confessions Tour Sunday night at The Forum in Los Angeles. Edna Gundersen was there for USA Today to give their readers the inside scoop.
The music: The beat-crazy energy seldom flags in a highly polished two-hour show subdivided into Equestrian, Bedouin, Never Mind the Bullocks and Disco sections, though it’s the heady pulse of dance music, fortified by a sharp band, that dominates throughout.
The rhythm-driven bonanza plucks nine of its 22 songs from Madonna’s sweaty Confessions on a Dance Floor album, and the new tunes hold up well live, especially Sorry, Jump and I Love New York.
Latter-day hits eclipse classics, with the shimmery Ray of Light and boisterous Music easily outshining a tinny Lucky Star. Madonna is as fit vocally as physically, effortlessly nailing tender passages or a demanding upper register after strenuous bump-and-grind workouts.
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The set: The visual orgy includes a giant disco ball that peels open like a lotus, hidden trapdoors, a saddle bobbing on a pole (yes, she rides it), a flashing catwalk that leads to a lighted dance floor at the center of the arena, sweeping tilted ramps for dance escapades and huge screens flashing cutting-edge videos of, well, mostly more Madonna. The visuals dramatically enhance the sonics, except in two cases of gratuitous excess – when horrific horse accidents crop up during Like a Virgin and when Madonna strikes a mock crucifixion pose on a geometric cross while singing Live to Tell, spoiling one of her most intimate and haunting ballads.
Fashion and choreography: Madonna looks fab in Jean-Paul Gaultier get-ups, from bondage riding duds to glam-punk black, all designed to flaunt a designer physique. The dance troupe dazzles with krumping, acrobatics, roller skate rumbles and goosestep rhumbas.
The merch: For fans who pay up to $350 for tickets, the $85 long-sleeve black shirt is a bargain. Pink Ts with a glittery ‘M’ go for $80, and baseball caps fetch $35. Kids on a tight allowance can opt for the $10 sticker sheet. The hot seller on opening night: $30 photo-packed programs.
The crowd: Mostly boomers, teens, gays, Hispanics. Opening night devotees sported tiaras, go-go boots, rubber dresses, black corsets and bejeweled belts. And those were the guys. Madonna wanna-bods squeezed size 14 forms into size 4 hip-hugger minis.
The inside scoop: Salma Hayek, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rosie O’Donnell and Nicole Richie were spotted at Sunday’s launch. Only friends and family were admitted to Saturday night’s secret run-through, staged for a cozy gathering of 3,000. Every crewmember was allowed to invite 15 pals. On Sunday, Madonna’s rehearsal left several people steamed at the curb. They were upset not about being left outside but because Madonna was inside after crossing picket lines. The stagehands are in a dispute with the venue’s management. Actually, it’s a wonder the scandalized singer got in at all. The Forum is owned by The Faithful Central Bible Church.