The Ray Of Light Tour, 1999
The dawning of 1999 saw Madonna as the toast of both fans and critics alike. She had just delivered her most assured album for over a decade, the hits were rolling off it to the top of the charts around the world and she had just been finally recognised by the Grammy Awards panel to a degree never before seen. Hurrah!
Ray Of Light, as a song, as an album and as a concept had been a complete success. Calling it a ‘make or break’ album might be stretching things a little, but in hindsight it certainly looks that way. Who knew a 40 year old new mother could connect so well with people of all ages, using trancey beats and chanting in sanskrit and still make it the best pop music in the world?
Maverick USA had every right to trumpet their superstar’s success and in a move planned with triple effect they created a mini-press campaign to a) celebrate her Grammy Nominations, b) announce her ‘Nothing Really Matters’ performance at the awards and c) show off to the public a look which the fantastically enormous breasts the birth of Lourdes had made possible!
The ad ran in the industry magazines such as Billboard, and Maverick also pressed up a small number of laminated counter stands to be used in record stores to promote the album. What the keen-eyed fans spotted though, was something momentous, yet tucked away in a corner. The almost-announcement of her first tour in 6 long years since the fantastically saucy Girlie Show in 1993!!! The ads clearly said to look out for her tour to support the Ray Of Light album that year!
Hurrah! There it is in black and, er, peach! Woo Hoo! Let’s celebrate by looking at that announcement in a bit closer detail..
…hmmm, most of you may have realised that in fact, no, there was no 1999 Tour So what happened? What monumental event stopped Madonna tour her most successful studio album in ages?
Yes. ‘The Next Best Thing’.
A wise choice? Well, let’s find the positive… we got ‘American Pie‘ – no really, that is a positive (!) – it provided a UK No.1 single and we also got ‘Time Stood Still‘, one of her greatest ballads. Plus, in acting terms and we got the excellent “1989…..1999” boob-pushing scene and a chance to see Mads act alongside Doogie Howser, MD. So it wasn’t all bad.
Perhaps without the ‘Ray Of Light Tour‘ cancellation there would have been no eventual ‘Drowned World Tour’ two years later. Perhaps we would have got to hear fan-favourites like ‘Nothing Really Matters‘ and ‘Skin‘ live on a tour….but then perhaps we wouldn’t have got the amazing ‘Sky Fits Heaven‘ and ‘Impressive Instant‘ performances later on? It could be argued until the cows come home whether she made the right choice…. but either way… let’s just raise a glass to what could have been and all say a quiet shanti shanti for the tour that never was…