MADAME X TOUR
Le Grand Rex, Paris February 23 2020
(scroll down for Dutch version)
I arrived at the Grand Rex on Sunday around 8.15pm. Fantastic venue, also very authentic look outside. They set up the queus in order of the plan of the venue, balcony, mezzanine and orchestra. I had orchestra tickets in row G (6th row), very close to the side of the venue. This queue went well and smooth and I think we were inside around the clock of 8.30pm. Security was swift and they locked up our phone in the Yondr bag, great system. The merchandise booth was quite small but did offer most merchandise I’d seen online. I was impressed with the service at Le Grand Rex, from the entrance we were escorted to our seats individually. This turned out to be a good idea as someone else was sitting in my chair. The outer seats are like folded chairs and not at all as comfortable as the other seats, so the people on the side ‘hadn’t seen this chair’ and decided to skip and move on to the more comfortable ones. Quite relaxed this wasn’t something we had to deal with ourselves. I am used to attend Madonna concerts and joining long queues in order to secure a good spot. We had some time to have a drink and buy some merchandise. I ran into Aaron Smith Henrikson (visionaaron) in the hallways who was chatting to some fans. Maybe with the beer bitch of that night to discuss what was going to happen?
What got my attention when we sat down is that the side view isn’t good in the theatre. I was sitting in the sixth row and almost touched the right wall. But the people right in front of me, especially the second to the fourth row weren’t able to see the large curtain hanging over the stage. You could tell that people were disappointed who went up to their seats over there, mostly because I thought these were ‘golden/VIP seats’, me I was at the border of Category 1. I was pleasantly surprised by the supporting act by the Madame X band that played close to 10pm. I might’ve missed that fact. I thoroughly enjoyed this because it got everyone pumped up for the upcoming show. I always thought throughout the years why supporting acts didn’t play the music of the main act of the night, and that is what they did right here as we could sing the lyrics to the music. It did also give an indication of quite a late start to the actual show.
The lights went out a little after 11pm and Madonna started the show with Vogue (short version of the show was a fact). Pity, but I was prepared for this. Because of my seats I wasn’t able to see Madonna at all times when she was a little further down the stage. During the show the curtain didn’t always fully open when the interludes were being performed, this restricted our view even more. I suspect that people have been complaining about this to security, sometimes they managed to solve it during the show and the curtain opened a little further. For such expensive tickets this was quite a bitter pill to swallow, but I didn’t let it get to me as most of the times she was at the front of the stage. Still very close for such a legendary artist as Madonna!
After the first video interlude something went wrong, lights and sound went off and the dancers disappeared. It took a few minutes before Madonna appeared from behind the left curtain and excused herself. I thought it was charming she came on to deliver the message in person. Something was wrong with the show and this was due to the stage being too big for the Grand Rex. Because of all the adjustments nothing went smoothly. She told us we had to keep busy, quite soon a musician stood next to her and they started to perform Can’t Help Falling in Love With You by Elvis, it wasn’t the first time this occured. Vocally very strong! After this the tech issues still weren’t solved and the audience started to pick out a second song for her to sing, it almost became La Vie En Rose but she said she didn’t remember the lyrics very well. Right before she was about to start to try and sing the tech issues were solved and she said ‘saved by the bell’.
Right before Killers Who Are Partying Madonna urged the people to come forward to the stage. I hestitated, whom was she talking about? Just the first row or anyone who could manage to get there? I was sitting row 6 but on the side and noticed that not only the first row came nearer to the stage. I was able to pass the side passage easily so decided to try and didn’t doubt for too long. There was no problem and security let us pass by. Unbelievable I was right at the front! Second or thrid row but that’s very close as there are no barricades in front of the stage like there are at the big stadium shows. Magical moment, but suspected this would last for one song only. After Crazy we went back to our seats after security persuaded us to. Madonna however commented later on she didn’t agree with security’s actions and said that she’d asked for her fans to come near, so we went to the front again. Everyone returned, even more people now. I managed to find a spot on the second row again, I was able to move and dance so no pushing and shoving. I thought there was even enough space behind me to fit more people. The first couple of rows were all empty at this point. It was a magical feeling being so close to her!
During the beer bitch moment things stopped going smoothly. Madonna had asked previously to go back to our seats later on, but when hadn’t been clear. Only when she descended the stairs with David she asked us to sit down. Not everyone was able to go back to their original spot and so had to settle for sitting on the floor. Going from standing to sitting with a ton of people isn’t easy so this took a while. There was some pushing and shoving now which was a pity, even though I think no one intended any harm but still some were handled roughly by security.
After this it was back to relax mode and the fans stayed at the front until after Like a Prayer, then we were ushered back to our seats. This was necessary for Madonna’s exit through the crowd during I Rise. Highlights for me were Killers Who are Partying, Frozen, Future and Come Alive. Come Alive was very energetic, the batuqadeiras too who were obviously enjoying every moment with a smile. The dance interlude during Rescue Me was an artistic highlight. I was standing right in front of Malik, Madonna’s new boyfriend who definitely is the main dancer in this show.
Madonna seemed very sincere and stayed positive despite the technical problems. She did limp a little due to her injury, but only when she left and entered the main stage. During the dancing she grooved and it wasn’t as obvious. I never expected I would be seeing her this up close than I already had. For me this night couldn’t have been better. Despite all the negativity surrounding this tour, she once again exceeded my expectations. Now it’s a long wait for the next tour because for me unfortunately I was only able to see her once this tour.
Madonna keeps on Rising
Glen Van Looy
Omstreeks 5 na 11 gingen de lichten uit en kwam Madonna op met Vogue, korte show dus. Jammer maar daar was ik op voorbereid. Door de zij plaatsen zag ik wel Madonna niet altijd als ze wat dieper op de scène stond. Tijdens de show bleek het gordijn ook niet telkens volledig terug open te gaan na de intermezzos. Hierdoor werd het zicht nog harder belemmerd voor deze plaatsen. Ik denk dat sommige mensen hier ook over geklaagd hebben tegen security, soms werd het gedurende de show dan wel opgelost en ging het gordijn weer terug wat verder open.