Madonna returns to her New York club roots
Madonna is a native Midwesterner who now lives overseas, but on some level, she’ll always be a New Yorker.
In the early 1980s, she made her name in the dance clubs of lower Manhattan, some 50 blocks south of the Roseland Ballroom, where she played a rare club gig Wednesday night.
The performance was meant to promote Hard Candy, her 11th studio album, which was released earlier this week. Sponsored by Verizon Wireless and broadcast, via MSN.com, around the world, the concert featured a handful of new songs, as well as hits from the recent past.
Over the course of her 40-minute set, Madonna sang, danced, played guitar, and flirted with Justin Timberlake, who made a guest appearance on 4 Minutes, her latest single.
She worked hard for her applause, even if the audience – an ecstatic mix of die-hard fans, contest winners, and celebrities, including Rosie O’Donnell and Fran Drescher – was putty in the palms of her fingerless gloves.
Opening with “Candy Shop“, a new tune, Madonna took the stage in regal fashion, riding in on a golden throne. Dressed in all black and wielding a glass scepter, she made mincemeat of two male dancers, who dutifully kneeled and polished her knee-high boots.
Before grabbing an acoustic guitar for “Miles Away“, another new song, she took a swig from a bottle of Champagne. Most people would have reached for water, but then most people, regardless of age, don’t have Madonna’s body.
Though she turns 50 in August, she still moves like her 20-year-old self. In fact, she’s meaner and leaner than ever before, and the definition in her biceps was visible even from the back of the tightly packed club.
She certainly had no trouble keeping up with Timberlake, who surprised fans by emerging from behind a video screen flashing his likeness. The crowd screamed and snapped photos as the performers played off of each other, re-creating the choreography from the “4 Minutes” video.
When the song was finished, Madonna fired up an electric guitar and played the opening bars of Satisfaction.
“Did you guys think you were going to a Rolling Stones concert?” she asked, flashing a mischievous smile.
Instead of Satisfaction, she offered an industrial-strength version of “Hung Up“, from her 2005 album Confessions on a Dance Floor. She returned to Hard Candy for “Give It 2 Me” and closed with the 2000 hit “Music“, eventually disappearing behind a set piece made to resemble a New York City subway car.
The show may have been brief, but to New Jersey resident Eddie McLeod, who has seen Madonna more than 30 times, it was worth the hassle of getting tickets.
“What a perfect way to spend my birthday,” says McLeod, who turned 37 at midnight the night before, around the time he arrived at Roseland to take his place in line.
After receiving his tickets six hours later, he and friend Renee Turner, 35, a veteran of 25 Madonna concerts, went home and put in a full day at work.
Others were lucky enough to avoid sleeping on the sidewalk. Jen Lopez, 30, won her tickets through a Chicago radio contest and flew to town for the show.
“She’s just so versatile,” Lopez says, explaining why, after decades in the business, Madonna remains so fascinating.
Asked how much longer she thinks the singer will continue recording, touring and wowing fans with her dancing skills and age-defying physical fitness, Lopez answers without hesitation.
“As long as she wants,” she says.
From USA Today.