Theatre Closes Curtain On Madonna Mid-Performance As Madame X Show Runs Late

The undeterred Queen of Pop then returned to the stage to finish her final song at the London Palladium.

Madonna is known for pulling out shocking stunts at her live shows, but during her London gig on Wednesday night, the Queen of Pop received a surprise of her own.

It’s pretty well-documented that Madge’s punctuality isn’t her strong point, with many shows on the US and European leg of her Madame X world tour kicking off long after the scheduled start time, and continuing until the wee small hours of the morning.

Now in the middle of a string of shows at the London Palladium, Madonna discovered the hard way that the theatre isn’t playing around with their strict curfew.

Fans at the first few Palladium gigs revealed Madonna had joked about being threatened with the “iron curtain” if her show went on too late – and on Wednesday night, they reportedly made good on their promise.

A number of fans in the audience reported that the curtain came down suddenly before Madonna had completed her final number. But undeterred, she came out and finished her final song, I Rise, acapella.

One tweeted after the show ended: “The Palladium put the house lights up and pulled the curtain down on her. She had a big row with them then came back out and carried on with no microphone.”

Because of her infamous no-phones rule, there’s no footage of the moment in question, although one fan was able to somehow sneak some video of Madonna and her dancers singing I Rise in front of the Palladium’s curtain…

Madonna has since shared her side of the story on Instagram, writing: “It was five minutes past our curfew —we had one more song to do and The Palladium decided to censor us by pulling [down] the metal fire curtain that weighs 9 tons.

“Fortunately they stopped it half way and no one was hurt… many Thanks to the entire Audience who did not move and never left us.”

She also posted footage of the moment in question.

HuffPost UK has contacted both the London Palladium and Madonna’s representatives for comment.

The Madame X tour received rave reviews when it arrived in London at the end of last month, but the world jaunt has been a difficult one for the singer, who has had to cancel multiple shows due to an undisclosed injury, believed to be affecting her knee and hip.

When performing two nights in a row, Madonna has even begun performing an abridged version of the show, taking out some of the more difficultly-choreographed numbers, including album cuts Dark Ballet and God Control.

She wrote on Instagram last week: “You all know i have multiple injuries and have had to cancel shows to give myself time to recover. So as not to surprise you i want to let you know ahead of time that I will be cancelling 2 shows- on Feb 4 and Feb 11th at the Palladium in London… because doing 3 shows in a row is too much on my body and in fact my doctors insist i take a day off after every show but i believe can manage if i do 2 shows then I rest!”

She continued: “Its a miracle i have gotten this far but a-lot has to do with the fact that i do 6 hours of re-hab every day. 3 hours before show and 3 after with multiple therapies.

“I have also switched to flat shoes and modified difficult parts of the show. This has helped enormously but i still need to be careful and of course rest is the best medicine.”

Madonna has six more shows scheduled at the London Palladium, ending on Sunday 16 February.


Source: HuffPost

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Dazzling and nonsensical in equal measure: Madonna at the London Palladium reviewed

You might have thought Madonna was not a singer but a professional footballer judging by the talk before she took to the stage at the Palladium last Wednesday night. She’d missed ten out of 93 appearances, and she’d been picking up the kind of niggling injuries — would her knees stand up to the strains of a long, hard season? How’s her hip? — associated with hard-running midfielders. Just as in the Premier League, there were gripes about ticket prices — go on Ticketmaster and they range from £69 to £511.50 (yes, there are tickets available throughout the run; you’ve got until 16 February to see her). The only thing missing was burly blokes in the crowd showering those around them with spittle as they bellowed, ‘Second ball, Madonna! Win the bloody second ball!’

In the event, she missed her London debut on the last Monday of January, and so what was meant to be the second night became the first. And you’ve never seen such a peculiar thing in your life: the Madame X show was dazzling and nonsensical in equal measure, an arena production crammed into a theatre, where half-baked politics and seaside-postcard bawdiness sat side by side (think of it as The End of Wigan Pier), and where every moment of brilliance, of which there were several, was then neutralised by momentum-sapping interludes as the stage was reset or Madonna interacted with the crowd (which didn’t work, because the fans she interacted with were plainly so gobsmacked at being allowed to address Her Majesty that they literally couldn’t think of anything to say).

The high points were so high, though. Her 1998 single ‘Frozen’ — a dark and strange and mysterious thing even as it was a smash hit — was slightly musically recast to dispense with the drum’n’bass-ish rhythms that now date it a little. On a translucent screen, her daughter Lourdes danced and writhed in giant form, mimicking the original video, while behind Madonna appeared wreathed in darkness, as if suspended in mid-air. It was an astounding staging for a quite brilliant song, and the link between mother and daughter gave it true emotional heft. Tracks from the slightly underwhelming Madame X album made up most of the show, and the best of them gained new life: ‘Crazy’, in which Madonna returned to her time-honoured theme of refusing to be anyone’s puppet — slapping away the hands of the male dancers trying to grope her — was dramatic and compelling.

But the very nature of the show exposed the weaknesses of the worst of them. I tend not to have sympathy for those who sneer at Emma Thompson, or whoever, for flying to climate protests — we’re all hypocrites in one way or another, as any law’n’order zealot who goes above 70 should accept. But there was something jarring about Madonna singing ‘Killers Who Are Partying’ to people who had paid 500 quid a ticket: ‘I will be poor, if the poor are humiliated/ And I’ll be a child, if the children are exploited.’ Maybe the solidarity would count for more if the poor could afford to get in?

You can expect to see more of this kind of show in the coming years, where the big star checks in to a small room for extended runs at bank account-emptying prices. Bruce Springsteen’s 236-show run on Broadway grossed $113 million across 2017 and 2018, and Madonna’s promoter, Arthur Fogel of Live Nation, told me last year, discussing the Madame X tour: ‘I think the Springsteen run has opened up people to that potential.’ Thirty-five years ago Madonna and Springsteen were sparring at the top of the charts. Now they’re inventing new ways for superstars to play live. And still making fortunes.


Source: The Spectator

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Madonna – The Day I Was There (Limited Edition Hardback)

Madonna – The Day I Was There features over 350 eyewitness accounts of seeing the ‘Queen of Pop’ live in concert, taking readers on a fan’s eye view through the career of one of the most charismatic, talented and much-loved artists in music. The book also features accounts from many people that worked with the singer including dancers, photographers and musicians.

Having sold more than 300 million records worldwide, Madonna is the best-selling female recording artist of all time and according to Billboard, the most successful solo artist in its Hot 100 chart history. Madonna is also the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time.

This is a unique view of the Madonna story featuring a wealth of fascinating stories, memorabilia and photographs that have never been published before, making this book a unique portrait of one of the most influential musicians of the past four decades. From early shows in New York right through to the current Madame X Tour and everything in between.

The book also includes accounts from Peter Morse (lightning designer/director The Who’s That Girl World Tour, The Blond Ambition Tour, The Girlie Show Tour, The Drowned World Tour), Elizabeth Bergmann (dance professor at the University of Michigan), Norris W. Burroughs (friend of Madonna), George DuBose (photographer in 1981), Fred Tallaksen (choreographer Confessions Tour), Dawn Noel (dancer re-Invention Tour), Vadim Kolpakov (musician Sticky & Sweet Tour)
and Marcus Leatherdale (photographer with Martin Burgoyne).

About the author:

Dirk Timmerman who was born in Belgium was inspired by Madonna when he first saw the VHS of The Virgin Tour, where Madonna made the introduction ‘I went to New York, I had a dream. I worked really hard, and my dream came true’. This statement made such an impression on him that he also wanted to work in the international music industry, which he’s still doing to this day. For the past 35 years, he has become a Madonna musical archeologist and writer.

This special limited edition hardback is numbered from 1-500 and signed by the author.

We can also offer a personal dedication hand written in this book.

Hardback edition – 360 pages

Over 200 images

Publication date: 30 April 2020. Price: UK £24.99 US $32.00


Source: This Day In Music Books

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Madame X just performed one of her best shows ever

Madonna just completed another show at The Palladium in London and there are absolutely no words to express how utterly incredible she was.

Madonna started on time (around 9) and it was clear from the start that she was in very good spirits and absolutely mesmerizing. She opened with ‘God Control’ and performed the full first act.

The polaroid sold for 2000GBP. There was no beer bitch, but Madonna chose to sat down on the stage stairs and sing ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ as Andrew Lloyd Webber was present. It was absolutely magical.

Madonna’s voice was on point and there were no signs of her injuries troubling her.

When Madonna finished ‘Like a Prayer’ she spoke about ‘fucking censorship’. The theater was about to pull the plug on her due to the curfew.

What happened back in 2015 in Glasgow, is what happened again tonight at The Palladium. The theater turned on the lights and drew the curtain but Madonna and dancers powered through and still performed the final track ‘I Rise’ along with an over enthusiastic crowd.

It was absolutely magical.

No other words to describe how incredibly good she was.

Artists are here to disturb the peace indeed.

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Madonna wraps up fourth show in London cutting first three songs again

Madonna started around the clock of 9pm last night but opened with ‘Vogue’, no ‘God Control’, ‘Dark Ballet’ and ‘Human Nature’.

She seemed to be enjoying herself and many people attending described the show as ‘impressive’. Her polaroid sold for 1700GBP. Early reports stated that Madonna was supposedly being mean to the beer bitch, but it was completely taken out of context. It was actually a very nice and funny conversation. The guy wore a Marlboro suit and she joked around with him about smoking being bad for you. 

She also asked the audience if they thought her Superbowl Halftime show was the best to date, to which the crowd responded with a ‘YES’.

So this was the second show to date to have five cut songs (God Control, Dark Ballet, Human Nature, Sodade & Crave), six actually if you count ‘Express Yourself’ 

Thanks to Hans for the photo

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Madonna live in London: The Queen of Pop lets her guard down and it’s incredible *****

After cancelling a handful of shows – including two London dates – due to injury, Madonna has finally arrived at London’s Palladium for opening night. By her standards, it’s a ludicrously small venue. This lofty, gilded space has hosted a few other musical legends in its time – Frank Sinatra and The Beatles to name a couple – but in bringing her latest record ‘Madame X’ to life, Madonna takes the dramatic brief from a venue as well known for theatre as for music, and runs away with it.

Much like a theatre production, the gig is split into a number of different segments, and the ever adaptable Madame X – with her enterprising approach to the current jobs market – is the versatile thread running through. During opener ‘God Control’ she’s a fighter, dodging gunfire, and fighting off police officers with riot shields: “Death to the patriarchy,” she yells as they bundle off her into one of the set’s moving compartments.

In a surreal interlude she turns comedian and addresses the room from behind a doctor’s screen, cracking jokes about small penises, and pretending to give birth: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is what it’s like to have Mozart coming out of your pussy!” In the disco banger ‘I Don’t Search I Find’ she’s a spy under interrogation. And later on, she’s a cheerleader for Lisbon: kicking back in a blue-tiled fado bar for a reworking of ‘La Isla Bonita’, inviting all manner of new friends – including Cape Verde group Orquestra Batukadeiras – to join her on stage. During this last segment, Madonna is wide-eyed and awestruck; it’s clear that collaborating with these musicians is what really makes her tick.

At times, a little like the more ham-fisted moments of ‘Madame X’, the messaging can feel a bit overbearing. The world is going to shit, but Madonna really loves Portugal – this much is clear.

Photograph: Stu Fish

Continually, Madonna plays on the intimacy of the West End theatre, at one point marching into the audience in search of a spare seat. Cosying up next to a bemused fan, she takes a swig of his beer. “I’m about to drink your backwash!” she declares merrily. “Do you come to the theatre often?” Quite understandably, he’s lost for word


At times, the affair feels like a pop panto: when Madonna appears in a resplendent feathery hat and her customary eye-patch, she could easily be mistaken for a knee-slapping Captain Hook. This only heightens as the superstar leads the Palladium through a chant of “One, two, cha, cha, cha” (from ‘Madame X’s lead single ‘Medellín’) later in the set, demanding they shout louder and louder. When a stage-hand brings out a chair, Madonna seizes the opportunity to reference her injury, while cracking a dirty joke. “Usually I kneel for it [this interlude] for like, 20 minutes,” she says. “I’m good at that, so I’ve been told”.

And the wisecracks keep coming. There’s a truly bizarre charity auction where Madonna takes a selfie onstage, and flogs the resulting polaroid to someone in the front row for a grand; when a man gets onto her stage and waves a wad of cash at her, she’s visibly fuming. “I don’t care,” she tells him, waving his money away. “You walked on my stage without permission”. As the whole chaotic saga finally draws to a close, £50 notes strewn across the stage, she sighs at her UK audience’s inability to close a deal efficiently. “Are you guys confused about Brexit?” she quips.

Photograph: Ricardo Gomes

She also makes fun of herself, poking fun at her own inability to arrive on time (on the US leg of the tour, she was late multiple times – tonight she’s a mere 15 minutes behind). There’s even a niche remark about London’s noise curfews. “There’s an iron curtain…” she states, ominously. “I’ve been warned by Westminster Council”.

Largely centred on ‘Madame X’ tonight is light on the classics: there’s a snippet from ‘Express Yourself’, performed alongside her daughters Mercy, Stella and Estere. She sneaks in a brief flourish from ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ into an instrumental section. ‘American Life’, ‘Human Nature’ and an ever-so-slightly underwhelming ‘Vogue’ appear in full – the penultimate song is a thumping rendition of ‘Like A Prayer’. A minimal performance of ‘Frozen’ – Madonna seated behind a screen, a larger-than-life projection of her daughter Lourdes dancing around her – is the goosebump inducing moment of the night amid the visual overload.

Photograph: Ricardo Gomes

As it happens, the production is so intricate and absorbing that you barely miss the more familiar tunes and numerous overlooked cuts from ‘Madame X’ – the self-referential ‘Crazy’ and sinister apocalypse banger ‘Future’ – seem to find their feet. For all of her dramatic personas on ‘Madame X’, tonight is largely about Madonna herself. By the end, it feels like we know her a lot better.

It’s strange to witness the Queen of Pop in this light. As disorientating as it feels, the tension of seeing an untouchable legend letting her guard down makes this show incredibly special. It also feels like a brave move from an artist who could do just about anything. Then again, risk-taking and reinvention is what makes Madonna an icon.

More at NME

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Live Report: Madame X – Madonna In London

Lucy O’Brien finds Madonna’s new show a lyrical exploration of love, exile and liberation, with just a smattering of greatest hits

Madonna live photography by Ricardo Gomes

There is sense of trepidation as we sit, mobile phones locked in special pouches, staring at the velvet stage curtains on the opening night of Madonna’s Madame X tour at the London Palladium. Earlier in the week she was forced to cancel the first of her 15 London dates due to knee injury, and had already cancelled dates in the US and Lisbon – one 45 minutes before a show.

Just before 9pm the curtain rises on a screen featuring James Baldwin’s words: “Artists are here to disturb the peace.” The crowd – a flamboyant mix of women, gay men and the gender fluid – cheers loudly, partly with relief. Starting with the rigid, Auto-tuned defiance of ‘God Control’, Madonna carefully moves down a white staircase wearing what looks like a pirate costume with a blood spattered apron. It’s not a flattering outfit, but that’s the point, and that’s what I like about this new iteration of Madonna. There aren’t many female pop artists who open a set with a bloody apron and dancers dressed as police with riot shields.


From there she takes on the Catholic hegemony with ‘Dark Ballet’, a Rococo ballad about Joan Of Arc that segues neatly into her 1995 hit ‘Human Nature’, a retort to all those who complained about her Sex book.

“I’m not your bitch/ Don’t hang your shit on me,” she sings with satisfaction, the crowd joining in the hearty chorus. Whilst dancing she even manages a kundalini yoga pose, executed tongue-in-cheek with a slight wobble. Ironically, the admission of health issues has given Madonna permission to be fallible and flawed. ‘I need to sit down,’ she says at one point, taking a chair. I remember Madonna aged 50 on her Sticky & Sweet tour furiously skipping with a skipping rope as if to maintain the illusion of invincible strength. Then she was consumed with keeping up, but tonight she paces herself, trading quips with the crowd – at one point she takes a selfie with a Polaroid and tries to auction it off – dancing in a way that’s expressive rather than athletic.

Madonna performs only a few past hits, and the ones that work best are totally re-imagined. ‘Express Yourself’, for instance, sung a capella with her Malawian daughters, and ‘Frozen’, delivered against a moving backdrop – a giant video of 23-year-old Lourdes dancing. ‘Vogue’, however, comes across as a static Warholian tableau, with her dancers in trenchcoats and Marilyn Monroe wigs. Too young to have lived that Vogue era, their performance lacks the raw underground energy of the original Blond Ambition posse.

Most of the set focuses on Madame X material, and this is where Madonna is most comfortable. An air of spiritual reflection is fuelled by the last two years living in Lisbon, partying with local musicians and absorbing everything from mournful Portuguese fado to devotional Moroccan Gnawa. Woven throughout the show is her exploration of exile, dispossession, and liberation, whether it’s in the dark percussive undertow of ‘Batuka’ (performed here with the mighty Orquestra Batukadeiras) or the lilting ‘Killers Who Are Partying’. During this final act the music really flows, particularly in ‘Crazy’, a swaying trippy song about desire that has the dancers creating elegant shapes or flinging themselves prostrate around Madonna, the Queen Bee. Ah, this is their Vogue moment.

The show finishes with a gospel-charged ‘Like A Prayer’, the anti-gun anthem ‘I Rise’, and the unfolding of a beautiful rainbow curtain. Madonna exits still singing, through the stalls, followed by her dancers. Fans reach out. “I touched her, I touched her!” one man says, with tears in his eyes. Madonna has found a new place for herself, creating in Lisbon a world and a community that is post-star, a kind of self-imposed exile from the postmodern icon she was and the music industry that she fought so hard to conquer. Now at 61, with bad knees and salty humour, she wants to keep pushing forward but in a way that is forgiving of herself. “There should have been more hits,” someone grumbled, but it’s her embrace of the new that makes this show so lyrical and vivid. I, for one, loved the surprise.

More at The Quietus

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Tracy Young talks Grammy win, Madonna, digital age, and success

Acclaimed DJ Tracy Young chatted with Digital Journal about her 2020 Grammy win for “Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical.”
She took home the 2020 Grammy Award for “Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical” for Madonna’s “I Rise” (Tracy Young’s Pride Into Radio Remix). “I never thought I would be nominated, so I was just getting used to that, and now I won so it’s another blessing,” she said.


“All of the tracks I was nominated alongside were great, so I was a fan of those,” she admitted. “I think the fact that mine was a Madonna remix helped, but again, I never really expected the win, and I was okay with that since the nomination felt like I already had one.”


“I loved the Madame X album, and in particular, I loved ‘I Rise,’ so I wanted to do a version for the dance-floor. The best part was that this remix happened organically. That’s why this song was really special to me. Also, the song is important in its original form,” she added.


With this Grammy nomination and win, Young made music history since she was the first female remixer and producer to ever be nominated and to subsequently win this competitive Grammy category. “That was amazing. Just to be recognized felt like such a win. The support and the love I have been receiving, as a result, is overwhelming. I really do feel the love and it’s an unbelievable feeling,” she said.


“I texted Madonna after the win, telling her that we won, and she texted me back saying ‘Congratulations.’ Madonna has been such a supporter in my whole career,” Young said.


In 2000, Young served as a DJ for Madonna’s wedding to Guy Ritchie.


On being an artist in the digital age, she said, “I am still getting used to the digital age since it moves quickly. It’s very different now and there is so much music now.”


For Young, some of the most defining moments in her career were the trials and tribulations that she went through, and the moments that she wasn’t winning awards. “When you are struggling to get work, and when people are telling you ‘no.’ Those are the moments that defined me. Everybody gets rejected in this career,” she said.


Regarding her plans for 2020, she shared that she will be focusing on PrideFest and new music. “I feel very inspired and I will be released a bunch of music,” she said. “Also, I would like to work on original music with some of the artists that I’ve remixed for. I want to explore those opportunities.”


On the title of the current chapter of her life, she said, “Self-love.”


For young and aspiring DJs and producers, she encouraged them to work hard and be proactive. “I am living proof of the career that I’ve had as long as I have. I’ve had some really low moments even after having achieved so much. Just continue and don’t give up if this is what you want to do. Work hard and know your craft,” she said.


The Grammy award-winning DJ defined the word success as “being able to make a living doing something that you love.”


Tracy Young remixes of Madonna’s “I Rise” are available on Apple Music.


For more information on esteemed DJ and producer Tracy Young, check out her official website and her Facebook page.

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Madonna review – chutzpah, spy chic and revolutionary zeal ****

Madonna: ‘an international woman of mystery’. Photograph: Ricardo Gomes

White port and willpower make for quite a cocktail. About halfway through tonight’s two-hour set, the first of 14 in London, Madonna takes a break on top of a baby grand piano. She drains a glass of the Douro region’s finest export – “sipping my pain just like champagne”, perhaps, as per the lyrics of Medellin, a song from her last album, Madame X.

Madonna grew fond of white port when she first moved to Lisbon, where her footballing son, David, enrolled in Benfica’s youth academy three years ago, and tonight it combines very well with Madonna’s steely self-possession. Forget the overplayed G&T boom – a little fortified wine allows the embattled singer to deliver a knockout show, full of stagecraft and chutzpah, spy chic and revolutionary zeal, in spite of well-publicised limitations.

The first night of this London residency was pulled because doctors once again ordered her to rest. It was the latest in a series of missed shows as the Madame X tour has wound its way through theatre venues in North America and Lisbon, often into the small hours. A friend who went to see her in Los Angeles reported the venue was Bikram-hot, presumably to keep Madonna’s muscles supple.

Tonight, this dancer turned singer shows she can still bust out some spectacular moves. Madonna does a handstand in a circular nook, gets dragged and thrown around by her dancers, and kneels down at the front of the stage to take a Polaroid of herself and count up wads of cash. Only because this is Madonna – her commitment to perpetual motion has always matched her desire to rattle the cage of the Catholic church – do you notice the absence of high heels and the pared-back legwork. How to get down from the piano, with a dodgy knee, a sub-par hip and a mild port high? A dancer tips up the piano lid and Madonna slides off, grinning. Another workaround: for Frozen, a slow-burner about emotional constipation from 1998’s Ray of Light album, Madonna sings as her eldest daughter, Lourdes, does the dancing for her, via a video projection.

The wine rush seems to make Madonna even more garrulous. These theatre shows have been designed for greater intimacy, a way to deliver the politics and world bops of her actually very good Madame X album less bombastically than in an arena. There is a lot of audience interaction, not least when Madonna plonks herself down next to a poor soul from Sardinia and unconscionably mocks him for sourcing interior design fabrics. The Polaroid auction for charity is crass and weird, as Madonna fields cash offers from a couple of bidders who have already forked out for stall seats, one of whom climbs on stage and receives a tongue-lashing.

Mostly, though, the proximity is intoxicating – the singer-percussionists of the Orquestra Batukadeiras join Madonna for the rousing, Cape Verde-themed Batuka filing in through the stalls. At the end, everyone – musicians, dancers – sashays out through the stalls too. If the seat prices are ridiculous (£140 is typical, peaking with VIP packages at around £1,000), the sense of occasion is only heightened by the absence of mobiles, safely tucked away in Faraday pouches. “How come no one’s taking my picture?” Madonna jokes, then confides: “I consider this an intervention for all of us.”

There are roughly 20 songs in the set, but some of the chitchat almost deserves equal billing with bangers such as the deathlessly wonderful Vogue and Like a Prayer, and a restyled version of La Isla Bonita (“a Portuguese lullaby”), the song that first crystallised Madonna’s now on-trend Latinate bent.

“I’m now going to use my British accent,” Madonna announces, primly. She was, she says, aghast listening back to interviews from her London years. “Why did you let me do that to myself? I’m from Michigan!” A notoriously tardy diva, Madonna refers repeatedly to a warning from Westminster council to bring down the nine-ton fire curtain if she breaks curfew. We learn that David supports Tottenham.

Listen to Madonna’s Extreme Occident.

Underneath all the topspin, the show itself is strong. Somehow, Madonna can talk about gun control – in the arresting opener, God Control – and how she learned about Portuguese fado from the late fadista Celeste Rodrigues without grinding gears. A 16-year-old Portuguese guitarist joins Madonna on stage for an impressive attempt at the dramatic Portuguese folk form. (The audience convinces Madonna that it’s perfectly legal for him to have a swig of beer afterwards.) If anything, Madonna’s voice has only improved with the years.

She can combine a girl crush on Joan of Arc – the song Dark Ballet, played out via a Coldplay-like penchant for revolutionary uniforms – with an extended meditation about the death of American influence in the international sphere. Hard-won self-actualisation is juxtaposed with smut, Moroccan gnawa with a Japanese viola player on Come Alive. The narrative line throughout is that Madame X – Madonna’s latest incarnation – is an international woman of mystery, travelling around from Kingston to Angola to Medellin.

Little mentioned in gig reports thus far is the excellent lighting work and shadow-play, particularly when shadowy hands assail Madonna in her circular nook. Dancers frequently carry a star’s costume change interlude, but the section tonight when nine dancers spasm to some beats created out of gasps was so intense you wish it had gone on longer.

The use of images of the typewritten word is trenchant throughout. A long intro repeatedly hammers the words of US writer James Baldwin into the consciousness: “Art is here to prove that safety is an illusion.” The letters clack out, resembling pistol cracks, and a rubber-boned dancer falls repeatedly to the ground as more gunshots ring out. The beats of the letters become the percussion to songs. This rat-a-tat may have begun as part of the tour’s retro spy-game styling, but it also supports the witness-bearing of writers and journalists.

Clearly, Madonna is a member of the 1%, and her outrage at environmental crimes sits uneasily with a jet-set lifestyle. But her treatment of the issues is full of believable anger; her proactive and progressive grandstanding dates back to the 80s. On Killers Who Are Partying, in the wake of Donald Trump’s nominal Middle East peace deal, she sings the line “I will be Palestine” – a change from the usual “Israel” lyric. It prompts a shiver-inducing cheer.

One of the finest songs on Madame X is Extreme Occident, a mature assessment of a very female state of being: being told what she is or isn’t. “I wasn’t lost,” sings Madonna, “I was right”. Perhaps most of all, this Madame X tour is an advert for trusting one’s own instincts, however contradictory and eclectic they may be.

 At London Palladium until 16 Feb

More at The Guardian

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Will Gompertz reviews the star’s show at the London Palladium ★★★★★

“She is here, isn’t she Will?”, asked a worried looking man at the London Palladium at about 20:00 on Wednesday night. “Yes”, I said. I didn’t actually know for sure, but he looked so anxious I thought a bit of reassurance wouldn’t go amiss.

Anyway, the merch counter had just fallen over and there was a rising sense of calamity which didn’t need adding to.

Madonna goes deep with her fans. The connection is genuine and mutual. Nobody blames her for cancelling shows due to extreme pain in her knees and hips, people just hope it’s not on their night (she has subsequently ruled out shows on 4 and 11 February).

“I feel so guilty,” another fan told me. “My mates had tickets for Monday night, which was cancelled and I’ve just sent a WhatsApp of my seat tonight.”

“Where are you sitting?” I asked

“Row U in the stalls,” he said

“How much did you pay?”

“£250” he said “Not bad eh? I think it’s going to be great.”

Full article HERE

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*Cancelled* Madonna : Madame X Tour – The London Palladium 4th + 11th (official statement)

Madonna : Madame X Tour – The London Palladium

Hi there,

We regret to inform you the Madame X concert scheduled for February 4th and February 11th, at The London Palladium is cancelled.

Madonna’s Statement

“A note to all my fans:

As you all know, I have multiple injuries and have had to cancel shows to give me time to recover. 
So as not to surprise you, I want to let you know ahead of time that I will be cancelling 2 shows on February 4th and February 11th at The Palladium in London. Doing 3 shows in a row has proven too much on my body and in fact, my doctors have insisted I take a day off after every show but I believe I can manage if I do 2 shows and then rest! 
It’s a miracle I have gotten this far but a lot has to do with the fact that I do 6 hours of rehab every day, 3 hours before show and 3 after with multiple therapies.  
I have also switched to flat shoes and modified the difficult parts of the show. This has helped enormously but I still need to be careful and of course rest is the best medicine.
Of course, I never want to cancel any show and I’m determined to make it to the end if I pace myself. 
God willing 🙏🏼
Refunds will be automatically issued to the credit card on which tickets were ordered.  
I appreciate your understanding and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.  Thank you!! 
Madame ❌“

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If you have any questions for us, there’s lots of information in our FAQs. If what you’re looking for isn’t quite covered, get in touch with one of the team by sending your question through the helpdesk.

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Learning to love Madonna

The last time I saw Madonna, she fell down the stairs. Although, more to the point, she got straight up again and performed a dance routine. I myself recently fell down a flight of stairs, and as I lay at the bottom, curled up in a foetal position, swearing like Ant Middleton, the image of Madonna flashed through my mind. It took me all evening to recover, and as I nursed my bruises with an ice pack, cups of tea, two paracetamol and a Valium, I remembered Madonna at the Brit Awards in 2015. After her fall she was back onstage within seconds, confirming what we all know about her: that she is NAILS. It’s both her strength and her weakness.

I’m here to see her tonight at the Palladium in central London, an intimate venue for such a superstar, and this evening is another recovery on her part: a total of ten earlier shows on this tour had to be cancelled, including the first London date. She has injuries apparently, and has been seen in online footage warming up backstage wearing elasticated knee supports. She looks amazing in knee supports, and it makes me wonder why we don’t all wear them as fashion items. Perhaps we soon will.

Anyway, full disclosure: there was a time, years ago, when I didn’t totally love Madonna. In truth, I think I was jealous of her. She didn’t offer me as obvious a role model as my late-Seventies dark-haired punky heroines, and I found her blonde glamour both entrancing and threatening. In the early Eighties she brought sexy back, and sharing the same record label with her was sometimes a dispiriting experience. Her style became the template for female pop stars, and she threw many of us into the shade, making our indie puritanism look dated and, well, puritanical.

I also thought for a while that I didn’t love her voice, but in retrospect I think I was just being bitchy. Then I came to my senses and realised what a great instrument it is, able to cut through the densest arrangements, dominate any dance floor, and leap out of your radio; instantly identifiable, triumphant and celebratory. Those are the moods she does best, which is what I meant earlier about her toughness being a weakness as well as a strength. You don’t go to Madonna for vulnerability, or confessional songwriting. For someone so open in so many ways, she retains a kind of dignity and privacy as a performer. Onstage, she is MADONNA, and she is all about self-determination, pleasure and defiance.

The defiance has always been there. “Don’t” is one of her favourite words. Every ten years or so she explicitly tells us not to tell her what to do. It started back in 1986 with “Papa Don’t Preach”, a lyric in which a woman literally defies the patriarchy by refusing to be cowed by her father’s morality. In 2000 she recorded “Don’t Tell Me”, with its crystal-clear lyric, “don’t tell me to stop”, and in 2008 she was still fighting back against those who would have her slow down, singing, in “Give it 2 Me”, “don’t stop me now, don’t need to catch my breath, I can go on and on and on”. I soon recognised this defiance in her, and saw that she wielded a sword every bit as powerful as anything brandished by Patti or Poly or Siouxsie.

Tonight, as she appears on the stage, the audience rise as one, giving her a standing ovation that lasts for the full two hours of the show. We sit for a couple of brief moments, but otherwise remain on our feet in her presence, and it seems appropriate. You don’t need me to tell you the show is spectacular, what else would it be? Projected images dazzle and challenge, the stage transforms, the costumes keep coming, the dancers don’t miss a beat. And nor does Madonna herself. Of course she doesn’t. Bitch, she’s Madonna. So no, we don’t get many of the hits, and yes, we do get most of the new album, which is never what an artist’s fans would choose were they to do the choosing. But while Madonna is a great entertainer, she’s no craven crowd-pleaser. The job of keeping herself interested is what, I suspect, motivates her. Churning out the old hit singles would make for a very different kind of concert, one that she would have no interest in.

Instead, we get a show that is a kind of art-pop West End musical that reminds me of the films and pop videos made by Derek Jarman: not afraid to be grandiose, or even pretentious, knowing that great pop is strong enough to bear the weight of both those things without collapsing. She has always played with imagery that is religious, or militaristic, full of big bold symbols, harnessing a kind of camp rebelliousness which is serious without being dull.

In her music, she doesn’t often offer glimpses of sadness or pain, always seeming more authentic when she’s fighting back against that pain, or dancing through it. Though tonight there is one moment of near-vulnerability, when she performs a truly moving version of the song “Frozen”. The staging is suddenly dominated by huge, full-screen images of her daughter, while Madonna is picked out by a spotlight mid-stage, so that she seems to be held aloft, cradled by her dancing daughter. They are entwined, and it’s beautiful, and a moment of rare simplicity.

She ends the show with “Like a Prayer” and we all sing as if we were in church, as if we were true believers, which I guess we are. She is still fighting back against those who would stand in her way. On the track “Future”, from her current album Madame X, she sings, “don’t tell me to stop ‘cause you said so”. The message is loud and clear, and every inch of her proclaims, usually in the face of criticism from men, “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO”. I am sure some doctor somewhere is currently telling her to tone the show down, go easy on her knees, not exacerbate any joint issues, and I think “well good luck with that, doc”, as I watch her, once again, doing everything the male pop stars do, but backwards and in heels. And better.


Madonna’s “Madame X” tour continues at the London Palladium until 16 February

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Madame X Tour London 30/01/20 – Live Report by Marc




London, Thursday January 30th. A night to remember, that’s for sure. And a night that went a bit faster than expected… 

After weeks of fearing that this show might be cancelled too – the fear seriously remained until two hours before the start – my patience was rewarded. And boy, what an amazing Xperience this show is. 

I traveled to London alone, having a VIP Crave ticket knowing that I was gonna meet and eat with other fans. One of the many things that make these tours so special: meeting new and familiar faces from all over the world. At 5:30 I walked over to The Palladium, my hotel was one street from the venue. Check in for the diner was at Aqua Nueva restaurant, right across the venue. I received my VIP laminate and was guided to my table. I was seated at one of the single-ticket-tables, where I met Paolo from Italy, Alyssa from Las Vegas and Kevin from New York. The diner was great, quite fitting for a VIP experience. 

After the diner we received our little red cards with our seat numbers written on it and we were escorted to the VIP entrance, which was great because this way we could skip the long lines of people waiting to enter The Palladium. Everything was so well organized, it all went very smooth. The barcode of my ticket was never scanned throughout the evening, which surprised me.

I got to my seat, which was at the left wing. I was lucky though, because three seats next to me remained empty, so I could ‘upgrade’ three seats which made me end up at the aisle. Yay! It was now 8:30, the supposed starting time of the show. After starting only 10 minutes late the night before, this night she kept us waiting until almost 9:30. Still a very okay time for a Madonna show. This late start came with a surprise though… She started with Vogue, which meant she skipped the whole first section: God Control, Dark Ballet, Human Nature and Express Yourself. She also skipped Crave. Quite disappointing, because the first two are amongst my favorites on the album. I don’t know if she skipped these because of her injuries or because of the supposed curfew for London theatre shows. 

That said, Madonna was shining like only Madonna can. She looked amazing, I was fourth row and now at the aisle, so I had an amazing and close view. Wow. She was in a very good mood and quite talkative. Her voice was very strong too. Also, I really thought her dancing was smooth and she seemed to have fun. Not moving in a stiff or painful way, which I expected because of her injuries.

The beer chair moment lasted only like a minute, she ended up with a guy who couldn’t speak a single word of English. Quite painful for both him and Madonna. She quickly ended the conversation by telling him that there are many schools in London that teach English. 

Highlights: I Don’t Search I Find, Crazy, Medellin, Come Alive, Frozen. And that split second moment she was dancing close to me in the aisle during Medellin. Was it Medellin…? I can’t even remember because I was completely mesmerized by her amazing looks, her shiny eyes and smile and by having her only inches away from me.

Extra surprise: after the show I met Aaron, M’s make up artist, outside of the venue. We talked for about an hour, about his work, his interaction with fans on social media and of course about Madonna. Such a nice and kind person he is. 

What an amazing show. If you’re lucky enough to see it: you’re up for a unique Madonna experience. Like you’ve never seen her before.

Marc Nijenhuis

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