Berlin and Paris 2001
The Drowned World Tour was the first live show I ever saw after being a fan for 10 years! I originally planned to see to ‘The Girlie Show’ back in 1993, but the concert in Frankfurt was canceled and I was too young to travel alone. My parents didn’t want to travel with me, so it never happened. Brixton (London, 2000) and other opportunities of seeing Madonna live, somehow never happened. But now finally the time was here and I bought tickets for three shows. I would be attending one show in Berlin (June 22) en two shows in Paris (29 and 30 June). I kept the Berlin ticket (which was already in my possession) in a box and never touched it, it was like gold to me.
On the day of the premiere of the tour in Barcelona, I was extremely nervous, it felt like I was there myself. The next morning I watched television constantly just for a couple of news reports about the premiere. I freaked out when I saw a clip of ‘Impressive Instant’. I bought every single newspaper that had something to say about the premiere.
Berlin, June 22
Yes, the time had come! We (me and Simon) went to Berlin by train taking up 6 very long boring hours. Our hotel (Hotel Forum) was huge, our room was on floor 34! I am afraid of heights and elevators so I wasn’t too happy about that. Extremely nervous we made our way that evening to the Max Schmeling Halle by subway. When we arrived at the station though, we knew right away that we were heading in the correct direction. The area was filled with people wearing cowboy hats and Madonna shirts. It just made me that more nervous than I already was.
When we got to the right stop and left the subway, it was one giant Madonna street party. Madonna music everywhere, people dressed up as Madonna, fans wearing Madonna related clothes or items etc. I felt like I had just come home (LOL). We arrived at the Max Schmeling Halle very quickly and bumped into a merchandise stand. I wanted everything that was for sale, but got my head together and just bought two shirts (the rest would come later). My boyfriend sneakily tucked away the camera we brought with us, and we went to the queue.
When it was my turn to have my ticket checked at the door, the guy stared at the ticket with a strange look on his face. My world collapsed around me, the ticket was fake, I had been set up! But I was wrong, the guy took a pen, wrote a mark on the ticket, put a green wristband on my wrist that said ‘Madonna Drowned World Tour’ and told me I could continue my way. When I entered the stadium I was already choking tears away, I was here!! I was going to see Madonna! I just couldn’t believe it.
Very quickly we entered the standing area and with ease found a spot at the front row on the left side of the stage (Madonna’s right side). I was just looking around and very surprised by how extremely small the Max Schmeling Halle was (it was like a gym at school). Also the stage itself was very small. Suddenly two women were standing in front of me behind the barriers and when I took a closer look I recognized them as Gwyneth Paltrow and Ingrid Casaras (Madonna’s friends). Just out of the blue the lights go out, and my heart jumped to my throat. I panicked and started looking everywhere and grabbing everything. Yes the show was indeed about to start! Music blew out of the speakers and suddenly people arose from the stage. I then recognized Niki and Donna, which was a huge buzz for me as it was also the very first time I saw them in person.
Suddenly I hear my boyfriend saying ‘There she is, there she is!!’, I panicked even more and yelled ‘Where, Where??!!’. As I am very small I couldn’t see her so Simon picked me up and then I saw her, MADONNA!! I just cried, screamed and tried to sing along all at once. I was shaking so badly and feeling so embarrassed at the same time for the bodyguards standing in front of me. I just couldn’t believe I was finally looking at her in person, it was the strangest thing that ever happened to me, ever!
During ‘Impressive Instant’ she suddenly just came over to our side, and just stopped almost right in front of me. Oh my god, I didn’t knew what was happening to me, there she was right in front of me! First things I noticed about her were her extremely muscular arms, how tiny she was but most of all her gorgeous, beautiful face! In person she looked so damn good, better than any picture, any video I had ever seen of her. The rest of the show went by in a buzz. I just remember being so impressed with ‘Nobody’s Perfect’, and that Madonna spat in the audience right before ‘The Funny Song’. Before she started to sing ‘Secret’ she was saying so much nonsense that she just burst out laughing. Madonna went crazy during this show and truly gave her all. During ‘Music’ she was secretly winking to Gwyneth en Ingrid who were dancing right next to the stage.
When the show was over I truly felt I was the happiest girl in the whole world. I remember not wanting to leave the stadium, and the security eventually had to tell me to get out. I just felt so good, I wanted to hang around at the Max Schmeling Halle forever. On our way out we bought a tourbook and of course couldn’t stop talking about miss Madonna! I finally saw her, and she was better than I ever had expected.
Berlin, June 23
My boyfriend completely surprised me by saying he could get us tickets for tonight’s final show in Berlin. He found someone on the street selling tickets, so he asked me if I wanted to go again. Well the answer was obvious= OF COURSE I WANTED TO GO AGAIN! Extremely excited we went to the Max Schmeling Halle that evening. We had seated tickets this time with a kind of backstage view, which gave us the opportunity to really see the show from a different angle. The show was amazing, but Madonna was annoyed during ‘Frozen’ because her sleeve got caught over the microphone so she couldn’t be heard. I went nuts during this show and was loud. Such an amazing night, once again!
Paris, June 27
With an organized bus trip we went to Paris. In the bus I met Amon, whom to this day is still a very good friend. The trip went smoothly and very quickly, before we knew it we were standing in front of Palais Omnisports de Bercy. Since we still had a full day ahead of us we decided to go and search for the world famous Madonna store Lucky Records. Unfortunately the street name we had was wrong, which led us to walk almost every single street in Paris without finding the shop (was good for some sightseeing though). When we finally found the correct address, we got it! We were amazed by the shop and by how many wonderful things they had for sale. Because we were so excited about the stuff, we almost forgot that we were going to see ‘The Real Thing’ that same evening, which was a bit odd. After we bought some great stuff, we went back to Bercy.
When we got there we bought some more merchandise and then went to find our seats. Unfortunately our seats were way in the back of Bercy, but right in the centre, the best view but unfortunately from a distance. When the show started we just let loose, we danced, screamed, sang along, we did it all! The seats had an advantage as well, because I saw things that I hadn’t seen before. Like what was on all of the screens, how Madonna entered the stage etc. To our surprise, Mirwais was there to accompany Madonna during ‘Don’t Tell Me’. Madonna was in a very good mood, very funny, very flirtatious. After the show we were screaming ‘Fuck Off Motherfuckers’ on the street, everybody thought we were completely nuts. Once we were in the bus on our way back to Holland, we basically all fell asleep.
Paris June 30
The trip was a complete and total mess, we had way too much stops on our way to Paris, it was way too hot, the other passengers were boring as hell and we had a driver that didn’t know where our hotel was in Paris! After being in the coach for ten hours we finally arrived at the correct hotel (after pointing our driver in the right direction!)
We made our way to Bercy, but there was already a HUGE queue for the standing area. When we finally made our way in we easily found a spot on the front row on the left side of the stage. This last show in Paris seemed to be overbooked, the standing area was stuffed! It was also too hot. When the show finally started I had the best time ever. I knew when Madonna would come my way and so I stood on the small step of the barrier when she came over. During ‘Ray Of Light’ she suddenly focused her eyes on me and sang a couple of lines from the song to me! I panicked and didn’t know how to react, so just started to wave, smile and sing along at the same time. She looked me in the eyes!
Then suddenly during the middle section I started to feel unwell, my stomach hurt and I was feeling sick. The heat and the pushing didn’t help at all, but I refused to leave my spot and insisted on seeing the rest of the show. I felt worse with every song and couldn’t enjoy the show anymore. I was looking at Madonna like I would be looking at my school teacher! Even though the show was absolutely awesome, I was so relieved when it ended. Once outside we grabbed a taxi and headed back to the hotel.
Thank God I felt slightly better the next day as we went back to Lucky Records. The same evening we took our coach back to Amsterdam and the ‘Drowned World Tour’ had come to an end for us. One thing I knew for sure was that from now on I would try my everything to see Madonna again. Live she completely convinced me that there is absolutely no one better. She showed me exactly why I was such a huge fan for so long, what a woman!
Written by Kimberly in 2001