It's now time to concentrate on the music that made Madonna's latest touring experience so unique and analyse the way the songs of the Re-Invention Tour were "re-invented" and also to talk about some of many behind the scenes details that Tribe team gathered from various people who worked on the Tour.


man·ner·ism P Pronunciation Key (mn-rzm)

1) A distinctive behavioral trait; an idiosyncrasy.
2) Exaggerated or affected style or habit, as in dress or speech. See Synonyms at affectation.
3) Mannerism An artistic style of the late 16th century characterized by distortion of elements such as scale and perspective.
4) A characteristic and often unconscious mode or peculiarity of action, bearing, or treatment; especially : any pointless and compulsive activity performed repeatedly.
5) A deliberate pretense or exaggerated display.


When I had the first chance to listen to the arrangements of what was going to be called "The ReInvention World Tour" the first term that came to my mind was "mannerism".

The supposed "lack" of"reinvention" in the new arrangements has been raised up as one of the main (and few) critics to Madonna's 2004 Tour.

Some were under the impression that the most part of the songs perforemed were too similar to version already recorded as album tracks or remixes, or were simply expecting something more different from what they previously listened to.

On the contrary, I've always though that the "Re-Invention" was actually expressed at ist best also on the musical side - and it was all just a matter of interpretation of the term.

Just let me tell you why.

There are two songs in the final setlist that are performed in a completely different - call it "re-invented" way.

"Deeper And Deeper" received a brand new, never heard before jazzy treatment while the song Madonna included in every Tour so far, "Holiday", closed the show getting into a tribal and festive mood.

But the majority of the tracks are played in a way that picks up some of the elements that made the original version unique, and makes them stronger, bigger, amplified.

This is why the term "mannerism" came to mind,

Let's take as a first example the first song of the show - the one performed right after the "Beast Within" opening act.

There is distincitive use of syntetized brass in the original arrangement of Shep's "Vogue". It's a peculiar punctuation that Shep borrowed from an older acid-jazz track - the one that actually opens the 12" version mix of the song.

Re-inventing "Vogue", musical director Stuart Price sampled the brass hit, to repeat it several times in the song. Where the original is punctuated by the brass spree every 16 or 32 beats, Price makes it more dense, and has it played every 8, or even 4 beats.

As for the rest, the track remains very similar to the Immaculate Collection version, with just a longer break towards the end of the track, when Madonna strikes her invented "crab" pose.

The result is a very familiar feel - but the track comes out more dense and thick, and its structure as a sort of "enhanced" vibe.

I consider the "musical equivalent" of what's called "mannerism" in the visual arts. "Deliberate pretense or exaggerated display", as mentioned above.

Another example comes from a song performed later on during the show.
It usually takes a while to the audience to recognize "Papa Don't Preach", because the brand new introductory "Take Me With You" percussion line is something they've hardly heard before. But then the strings start, and the audience literally "feel" them, everybody immediately goes crazy.
It's funny at times, because in every show, in every different country and venue, the reaction of the crowd is always the same, perfectly timed as if they were controlled by the crew's mac computers.


Those "Papa Don't Preach"strings are not so familiar for no reason: they come straight from the original version of the song. But it's not the entire composition being used, but only the first eight beats, repeated twice and then with their pitch lifted and made higher to replace the second "virtuoso" part which is missing.

Re-Invention, again, or better "Mannerism".

Listening to the tracks reminded me of the job Stewart Price was asked to do at the time of Madonna's "Drowned World Tour". In an old interview, it was explained that Madonna herself asked Price to work on the master recordings of the most part of her older back catalogue, to re-sample and re-master the songs in such a way to have separate digital tracks for majority of the instruments used in the orchestration.

I have a feeling that this experience was still strong in Stuart's mind when he started working on the arrangements of the new 2004 live versions and found himself to deal with so many Madonna classics. Stripping them to the bone and then re-assembling them again in a different, contemporary, definitely more electro-pop way is once again what I call Re-Invention, and Mannerism.


"Express Yourself" received a similar treatment - just listen to the familiar percussion and synth lines - and the same happened to "Hanky Panky".

This "method" works at its best with the older - let's say pre "Ray of Light" - Madonna hits. Things slightly change when it comes to more recent tracks.

"Nobody Knows Me" - easily one of the show's highlights - is a very recent track musically speaking - but the live version had a completely new feel - a difference perceived in such a significant way that a lot of people who didn't fancy the song too much before the Tour started suddenly found a place for it in their favourite spot.

The "manneristic" attitude here is all in one single sampled, the one that actually opens the track on the echoes of the previous song in the setlist ("Vogue, vogue, vogue...") and that is repeated all over the song - becoming the substructure of Madonna's solo coreography.

And there's more.

"Music" and "Don't Tell Me" are not only gathered by the fact they come from the same album, but they are also the two tracks that make use of some music borrowed from non-Madonna songs.

As DiscoHub well explained, you can't call it a "sample" because it's live-played music, but "Music" makes reference to Lalo Schifrin's "Mission Impossibile" theme in the same way "Don't Tell Me" has been performed "à la Rolling Stones".

And there are more loops and samples used here and there, often from some not-well-know European electropop tunes, something Price definetly enjoys a lot playing with. He's "Mr Dee-jay" in that moment of the show anyway isn't he?

The Re-Invention tour versions of the songs in the setlist do also use a lot of remixed versions as base of the live performance.

This applies to "American Life", that quickly shifts from the album version to the Headcleanr Rock version.

"Hollywood" is based on Stuart Price's "Thin White Duck" version but also adds that original bit that - as someone wisely pointed out - turns "Hollywood" into "Bollywood".

Remixes again for another of the show's interludes, this time is the Orbital version of "Bedtime Story" being re-assembled for the new video.

And here comes the necessary exception.

To the surprise of many, "Frozen" was performed in the Drowned World Tour in a version inspired by the Stereo MC's remix.

This time it is the album version to be used as the base of the live arrangement, with a strong prominence of the strings section and some minor enhancements performed by Monte Pittman that marks with his pickered guitar the second verse of the song.

There's then a reminiscence of Mirwais in "Like A Prayer", performed in a way very similar to the version of the American Life Promo Tour.

There's a lot of Monte Pittman again in the rock versions of "Burning Up" and "Material Girl".

Plenty of rock also in the version of "I'm so Stupid" re-arranged for the Tour but never performed to the live audience.

You can really hear the old - Chrissy Hynde sounding - early years - Madonna in this one.

The song was first replaced by "Dress You Up" during the rehearsals, and then again, more or less a month before the tour started "Material Girl" finally took its place in the setlist.

This was also the latest change in the rehearsed setlist, happening pretty late from a production point of view.

Third party video editing companies have been hired at the time, as it was feared that the video backdrops were not going to be completed in time for opening night.

To edit the new backdrop video for "Frozen" Madonna teamed up again with the director of the original video for the song, Chris Cunningham.

Instead of filming new material or using unreleased footage from the 1998 video, Cunningham developed a new edit of his award winning short film "Flex".

"Flex" that was originally meant as an exploration of anatomy and sexuality and its strong and violent language now matches that of Madonna's "Frozen" very well.

Speaking of videos, an unconfirmed rumour claims that what we are now watching behind the energetic Madonna performing "Material Girl" was indeed originally planned as a backdrop to "I'm So Stupid".

While this still remains unconfirmed, I can't help myself thinking that the maths/physics footage and the Albert Einstein picture (later replaced by a picture of Italian scientist Enrico Fermi) would have also matched the "I'm So Stupid" performance perfectly.
Pure coincidence?


Reworked version - but very close to the originals album tracks - for "Die Another Day", "Mother And Father" and "Nothing Fails".

And if you have been wondering if that rumour of "Love Profusion" meant to replace "Crazy For You" during the European leg of the Tour was true, I can now tell you after chatting with a few people involved on the tour that it was not true, but I've been told the band indeed tried to convince Madonna to perform "Love Profusion" in Europe, but instead of "Nothing Fails", in a brand new acoustic version that was never managed to be rehearsed, and so we did never had the chance to enjoy it in the live show.


Brand new version - no need to say that - for the only new song of the Tour, Madonna's very own cover of John Lennon's "Imagine".

Top secret to the point the band did not rehearse the song the day before the show's premiere in Los Angeles, to prevent the fans wandering around the Forum to even hear few notes of it, the arrangement was once again very simple and fits perfectly Madonna's touching interpretation of the classic.

Another tidbit I heard says that originally another Madonna classic song was meant to be in the setlist in the place where now "Imagine" is.

It is said that it was Guy Ritchie himself to suggest "Live To Tell" to be replaced by the new cover song, and "Imagine" was then added to the setlist.

Apparently Madonna was determined to avoid the feel of a "Farewell" tour as she was, and is definitely looking forward to tour again and didn't want - in any way - to give the impression she was going to retire from the showbiz after the end of the Tour.

This intention is perceived in the way Madonna stresses the concept of "don't tell me to stop" at the end of Don't Tell Me, but apparently has also been a sort of guideline to follow while choosing songs to be included in the final setlist.

Apparently Madonna didn't want the word "good-bye" to appear in any of the songs she was going to sing, and this is probably why songs such as "The Power of Good-bye" and "Take A Bow" were left out.

As everybody knows the tour was such a success and Madonna and her band and crew were enjoying themselves so much that an extention of the Tour was briefly considered.

A final decision was then taken during a meeting that took place at the time of the Paris dates of the show, and it was then decided to confirm the original schedule and to end the Tour in Lisbon. But be sure that Madonna herself had so much fun touring this time that she had already started thinking about the next tour when the Re-Invention one was still on. Sources say that even a tentative opening and closing numbers were considered.

Back to the setlist and the songs' new arrangements, remixing (and revisiting, of course) was again the main theme for "Into The Groove", and while Missy Elliott appears on the giant screen you wonder if those white tank tops matching the Scottish - US designed and hand made kilts are actually by the GAP.

As for the bagpiping segment, as Lorne Cousin explained in an interview to "Piper and Drummer Online" in July, the interlude that works as the intro to the "Kilt" section of the Tour features parts of the crunluath doubling of "MacDougall's Gathering" and the strathspey, "Susan MacLeod," with Lorne and Cloud Campos playing on stage over a multi-track recording.

When it came time to put together the bagpiping segment, Madonna asked Cousin to perform what she has been hearing played by him at Stella McCartney's wedding.
"She listened to it and said 'Can you make it bigger?' - Lorne reported - which meant that she wanted a bigger sound than just a solo bagpipe."

It was clear to Cousin that he needed some Scottish drumming help, so he was put in touch with Stevie Kilbride of Glasgow's ScottishPower Pipe Band who was put on a plane to L.A. on only a three-days' notice to work directly with Cousin, Madonna, and her music producers and to teach the secrets of Scottish drumming to the dancers. Stevie himself had then a chance to perform on stage at the Manchester gigs of the Tour, replacing an injured dancer and experiencing himself the emotion of playing with Madonna and for her fans.


To complete the overview, let's spend just a few words about the songs performed before the show started (and right after the end).

Once again personally chosen by Stuart Price, they were part of the same setlist every night - in the same way it happened for the Drowned World Tour.

Among the recognizable tunes we find "Glamour Girl" by Praga Khan, "This Must Be the Place" by Talking Heads, David Bowie's "Ashes to ashes", Grace Jones' "Walking in the Rain", "Wanna be your dog" by Dakar & Grinser, The Clash and their "This is Radio Clash", "In da Pub" by 50 Pence, "Ambient Music #6" by Brian Eno and (Les Rythmes Digitales Remix of The Mono - Silicon Song.

Here again, mostly remixed versions - although not purposely produced.
As anything else, Re-Invented.


Copyright 2005 MadonnaTribe