The Rebel Queen – Madonna by Donatella Versace.
The Keeping Up With the Kardashians stars attended the music legend’s show at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on Wednesday. According to a concertgoer, the sisters sat front row center for the over two-hour show that began close to 11 p.m. At one point during the concert, Madonna came off stage to sit and chat with Kim for the rest of the crowd to hear.
Madonna asked Kim if she was enjoying the show, with the reality star assuring the singer she was having the best time. “It’s so surreal,” Kim said into the mic. “I’m with my sister, Kourtney, and she used to play your records all the time when we were young.”
The “Like a Virgin” singer then told the mom of four she wanted to talk about motherhood. When she mentioned that three of her kids, Stelle, Estere and Mercy James, are all up late to be part of the show, she asked Kim if her kids stay up late. Kim said both she and the kids go to bed early, to which Madonna cried, “I don’t know how you wake up early and look so beautiful. I look like sh** in the morning. You must be drinking the right juice.” Kim exclaimed, “It’s eye masks.”
The concertgoer tells ET that Madonna then offered Kim some of her beer, but Kim told her she’s “not a big drinker.” Madonna replied, “Neither am I, but I’m so dehydrated. I’ll drink anything.” Before returning to the stage, the singer told Kim, “Well, I hope you’re having a great time. And if your sister misbehaves, I’m bringing her onstage with me.”
While no phones or cameras were allowed inside The Wiltern, Kourtney did post a video of herself entering the venue. She also posted an outfit pic.
Madonna is currently in the middle of her 10-date stay at The Wiltern on her Madame X Tour.
Full article at ETOnline
November 20, 2019 by Chauncey Dandridge
Pace University’s School of Performing Arts fall mainstage season will kick off on November 20 with a new Madonna-inspired adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Fourteen Madonna classics will be woven through the original spoken text of Shakespeare. The show is a collaboration between the acting and dance program at Pace.
The production, “Welcome to the Wood, A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is directed by Grant Kretchik, the head of the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Acting Program at the Pace School of Performing Arts, and choreographed by Jess Hendricks, featuring Pace’s BFA’s Commercial Dance dancers. The creative team is comprised entirely of Pace University students, including set designer Brett Martinez, costume designer Arin Goldsmith, lighting designer Elijah Sullivan, sound designer Julia Riley, and props master Colleen O’Brien. The production is stage managed by student Lindsay Jones and company managed by student Emily Huber. “It is as elegant as it is erotic, as sophisticated as it is sensual, and as timeless as it is tempting,” says director Kretchik.
I was invited to peek in during their final dress rehearsal on Tuesday night and was able to stay long enough to witness the first act. Scurrying down Spruce Street to the Schimmel Center of Pace University in downtown Manhattan, which houses the theatre in which the show is performed, I had no idea what to expect from this production. Before the show, campy elevator music style Madonna songs filled the auditorium and definitely set the tone for the self-aware delight, beauty, and bawdiness about to take place. It was actually quite endearing to see the younger college student crowd bopping and dancing to the songs. Being a huge Madonna fan, my feelings were obviously bias about the fantastic idea for the show, but that also would lean me to being a harsher critic than most. The show began with an elegant Shakespearian vibe with a slight juxtaposition of modern technology, almost easing you into the coming fanfare. Soon, classic Madonna songs from every era of her career were wonderfully and delightfully sewn into the fabric of the 400-year-old play as if they were meant to be all along. Even the floor design had similarities to the tiles in the background of promotional photos for her current “Madame X” Tour. The choreography was certainly fresh and frisky with occasional nods to some of Madonna’s wildest live performances and subtle references to some of her most iconic imagery. I’m actually not even sure some were intentional, but as a deeper kind of fan, I noticed them for sure.
Before the show, I had just enough time to ask director Grant Kretchik a few questions about the show and the creative process in turning this Shakespeare classic into a modern day boundary-pushing experience featuring the music of the queen of button pushing: Madonna.
CHAUNCEY: What made you decide to use Madonna songs to reinvent the story of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”?
GRANT KRETCHIK: It started as imagining THE WOODS (where the lovers escape to find their love) as a night club as a sophisticated labyrinth and then I wondered what this underground night club would feel like. I immediately landed on Vogue but specifically inspired by the MTV Awards from 1990! So that was a fine enough feeling- but now what? ? What kind of music is in this club, what’s the energy, the tone? I thought well maybe Vogue opens or closes the show. Again, “now what?” So I started digging deeper, played with a few different songs from the ’80s and ’90s from other artists but of course, Madonna kept coming up and I landed on Open Your Heart- a light bulb went off! I was like, “this is what Helena is feeling” but it’s not exactly what’s in the story. I hit on a few more Madonna songs. Mind you I did not set out to create this adaptation it’s only where I landed. As I continued to listen I kept rediscovering the power of sexual femininity that Madonna awoke in the ’80s and throughout her career. Simultaneously, I became conscious of the times we are in now. It drove me back to the text. I started realizing things about the script that I didn’t like such as a duty to society, oppressed female voices. I mean, come on Hermia’s father is willing to offer her to death if she doesn’t marry the man he picked for her. Helena is running around offering to be Demetrius’ dog if he will love her- absolutely awful and pathetic. I went back to Open Your Heart and was like, “what if I put this song in as a way for Helena to stand up to him and realize the power she has as a woman and as a sexual being? I still only thought it might be atomospheric in someway. Not long after I hit on the part in the text that Hermia and Lysander exchange “love tokens” I always thought of this as referring to intimate exchanges between them and then the 3rd light bulb came. What if it’s not about intimacy but rather he brings her gifts to woo her, such as diamond rings and 18k gold- mind was blown, Material Girl and Express Yourself. This crystallized everything for me and it was also the first moment I thought of the play as an adaptation where the songs could be driven by the characters and particularly the female ones. Now I was in deep and it had to be Madonna so I thew myself into her catalog. That is when the next part made sense to me. The king and the queen in the court are oppressed in their own way, ya know, ‘heavy is the head that wears the crown’ kinda thing? Hippolyta and Theseus too have to secretly escape to the club, which by this time I was calling “THE WOOD” and in this club, they were able to be free and role play as Titania and Oberon. Titania would teach the young female lovers how to express themselves and embrace their power. Now I was realizing I might be on to something interesting or at least interesting to me. Rounding out the process was inserting additional songs that were character driven but also would set tone such as; When Titania falls in love with the ass she could be made to feel Like a Virgin when she’s under the spell; when Puck (who becomes the DJ in the club) has to reverse the spell on the loves they would need to justify their love before coming out of THE WOOD changed. It went on and on. I was in a Madonna K hole- not that I’ve ever done K. Suddenly in the span between January to April, I had “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as a Madonna dance party or so I hoped.
CHAUNCEY: How big of a Madonna fan are you?
GRANT: Oh this is not an easy answer. I love Madonna and always have but I never thought of myself as a “fan”. It’s deeper and at the same time simpler than that. In college, I took a course in anthropology and popular culture and the academic textbook had an entire chapter dedicated to Madonna. I always knew I loved the music- it was all around me growing up, she was controversial, sexy, could put out fun dance music. Now having worked on this I have become more aware of her as a storyteller in her lyrics. There are all these gems of thought provoking ideas that can go by as a blip because the music is so good. But it was in that class that I understood the influence this woman had on the world and on women as sexual creatures and a feminist- that was in 1999 and she has not stopped. I grew up with all women and it wasn’t easy for them- I had a new level of respect for Madonna. I am an admitted fan but with an artist who has the stamina and staying power like Madonna, that she is a part of the cultural narrative. It becomes a part of your story. When you grow up with artists you know them intimately because their music gets you through shit and it helps you to know yourself. Isn’t that what art can do, help you to know yourself? Madonna for me is my coming of age story. She’s been in all the moments of my life and I didn’t know it because she was in the background like a quiet and supportive friend.
I hope that my students from a newer generation are discovering her and her influence through this process. We are having a blast but I hope they are aware of how much Madonna and so many other female artists have moved the needle forward so they can express who they are today- and that story will continue to evolve but we must recognize and pay respect to those who came before.
The show runs Wednesday, November 20th through Sunday, November 24th with two matinees at The Schimmel Center of Pace University at 3 Spruce Street in lower Manhattan. For tickets please click here
More at Instinct Magazine
Best Remixed Recording:
“I Rise (Tracy Young’s Pride Intro Radio Remix)” — Tracy Young, remixer (Madonna)
“Mother’s Daughter (Wuki Remix)” — Wuki, remixer (Miley Cyrus)
“The One (High Contrast Remix)”– Lincoln Barrett, remixer (Jorja Smith)
“Swim (Ford. Remix)” — Luc Bradford, remixer (Mild Minds)
“Work It (Soulwax Remix)” — David Gerard C Dewaele & Stephen Antoine C Dewaele, remixers (Marie Davidson)
Madonna — Madame X
I get it: there’s just so much stuff out there. It’s impossible to keep track of all of the records that the critics are crying from the rafters about, let alone just getting down to the work of seeking out stuff that aligns with your own very niche taste. But still, there was no reason for us all to have ignored Madame X, the new record from Madonna. This is no late-career lip-service to a legacy; this is a new formulation of it, a bold restatement of purpose. We take Madge for granted sometimes, and that’s a problem.
More at Junkee.com
Here are the first pictures of the actual I’m Breathless pressed on yellow vinyl available as a Barnes & Noble Exclusive.
Next up in our discography is the remix EP ‘Remixed & Revisited’ released in November 2003 right in the middle of the American Life era. Remixed & Revisited included various remixes of several American Life tracks as well as the live performance of ‘Hollywood’ at the MTV Awards ceremony, ‘Into The Hollywood Groove’ and the previously unreleased ‘Your Honesty’.
Your Honesty was a demo track recorded at the time for the Bedtime Stories album but was never used. Madonna’s manager at the time (Caresse Henry) convinced Madonna to add the track to the EP as it was such a great tune.
For the discography we have collected 16 different pressings for you to view HERE
Confession: I’ve never cared much for “Like a Virgin.” Madonna’s 1984 single may be the first, if not the, signature song of her career, but it’s a trifle—a novelty, really—with its plucky, noncommittal guitar licks, sub-“Billie Jean” bassline, and the singer’s helium squeak of a voice. That last, integral element in particular has always irked me, as, from “Express Yourself” to “Don’t Tell Me,” Madonna has proven she’s capable of some deep, soulful performances. Of course, the vocals on “Like a Virgin” were allegedly employed by design, sped up to render Madonna’s voice more childlike and “virginal.” (It’s a trick she’s lamentably reprised on some of her more recent recordings.)
I’m in fairly good company, however, since both producer Nile Rodgers and Madonna herself aren’t particularly fond of “Like a Virgin” either, and she’s chosen to completely reinvent the song in masterful ways nearly every time she’s performed it. The single was released on Halloween in 1984, and this week also marks the 35th anniversary of the album of the same name. To commemorate this milestone, we’re taking a look back at three and a half decades of a song Madonna has mercifully, perpetually made shiny and new by sheer force of will and ingenuity.
MTV Video Music Awards (1984)
Feminists angered by Madonna’s choice of a belt buckle during her performance at the MTV VMAs in 1984 seemed to miss the fact that her groom was a mannequin and that she chose instead to consummate her vows with her wedding veil. By the time she’d descended her giant wedding cake, hit the floor, and rolled around on the stage, showing her knickers to the world, there was no confusion about what the M stood for in the giant MTV logo towering above her.
Music Video (1984)
Shot largely in St. Marks’s Square in Venice, Italy, the music video for “Like a Virgin” found Madonna playing Beauty to a man dressed as a Beast, specifically a lion (which not coincidentally happens to be the symbol of Mark the Evangelist). The singer is depicted as both virginal bride—sauntering impatiently through the basilica, undressing the furniture—and street harlot, hungrily prowling the bridges and canals of the Floating City.
Blond Ambition Tour (1990)
Ostensibly growing weary of her biggest hit, Madonna reinterpreted “Like a Virgin” with a Middle Eastern-inspired arrangement for her Blond Ambition Tour, casting herself as harem girl (the other “girls” being male dancers, natch, dressed in conical bras designed by Jean Paul Gautier). Having long shed her “Boy Toy” image for a more empowering, self-reliant brand of post-feminism, the Queen of Pop once again made it clear that “Like a Virgin” is first and foremost a paean to self-love.
The Girlie Show (1993)
The story goes that Madonna looked up Gene Kelly in 1993 to ask him to give her notes on her Girlie Show Tour, the sets and choreography of which were inspired by Hollywood musicals from the 1950s like Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain. “Like a Virgin” was originally intended to be sung by a man, and Madge had been toying with the idea of paying homage to Marlene Dietrich and French cabaret singer Maurice Chevalier by dressing in drag for a slapstick-and-vaudeville version of “Like a Wirgin.” Kelly, then in his 80s, gave his stamp of approval, and the rest is, as they say, history.
MTV Video Music Awards (2003)
After putting the song into retirement for a decade, Madonna dusted “Like a Virgin” off for the 20th annual VMAs, this time playing the groom to Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera’s not-so-blushing brides in yet another gender-bending performance of her iconic hit.
Confessions Tour (2006)
In 2005, Madonna was thrown from her horse while riding at her country estate outside London, breaking her hand, three ribs, and her collarbone. The accident served as inspiration for her Confessions Tour the following year, which opened with an equestrian-themed segment. A knowing wink to the suggestion that there was nothing left of the pop star to reveal of herself, x-rays of her cracked bones were projected onto giant screens as she mounted a carousel horse, stroking the giant pole, and performing near-acrobatic moves to the beat of a discofied revamp of “Like a Virgin.” Back in the saddle, indeed.
MDNA Tour (2012)
Madonna ended up back on the floor for this striking, unexpectedly poignant rendition of “Like a Virgin” for 2012’s MDNA Tour. The delicate piano waltz was juxtaposed with the singer flashing her lady parts, defying those who’d for years squawked that the fiftysomething performer should put on her clothes and take a bow. Asking fans who likely paid a pretty penny for their front-row seats to throw money at her like a stripper might seem crass, but then this tour-de-force segues into MDNA’s “Love Spent,” a song about the dissolution of the so-called Material Girl’s marriage to Guy Ritchie, who reportedly got millions in a divorce settlement.
Rebel Heart Tour (2015)
After more than three decades performing the hit that made her a household name, Madonna took things back to basics for her Rebel Heart Tour, delivering a somewhat faithful rendition of “Like a Virgin” for fans around the globe. She didn’t roll on the floor and show the world her underwear, but she did hump the stage in homage to her infamous VMA performance and at one point stripped off her shirt.
See where “Like a Virgin” landed on our list of Every Madonna Single Ranked.
More at Slant Magazine
I have been visiting the mega record & CD fair in Utrecht since 1992 and it’s always been such a joyful event to look forward to. This edition has been no exception, to say it was crowded is an understatement, its popularity has only increased throughout the years, drawing more and more visitors every year.
Even though the fair doesn’t open until 9am, better get in line before 8.30 or you will be right at the end of the queue right near the entrance of the Jaarbeurshallen.
With two halls completely stuffed with thousands of records there’s something to please every collector. When it comes to Madonna collectibles there’s always a ton of vinyl to choose from. Dealers brought along a lot of vinyl from South Africa (even the rare 7″ editions with picture sleeve), Hungary, Poland, Brazil, Japan (A TON) and so much more. Madame X items items I spotted was the regular E.U. vinyl (with incorrect tracklisting) and one copy of the rainbow picture disc set (fnac edition), quite disappointing.
There were no insanely rare items this time (sadly some well known dealers are no longer there and some don’t get their merchandise through Live Nation anymore), there was one copy of the Celebration vinyl (350 EUR) and the Lucky Star 12″ sunglasses sleeve (price unknown).
I managed to score a few cute (and cheap) CD’s from various countries (pictured): The First Album (Germany 1st edition, still sealed), Like a Virgin (original Australian pressing), The Immaculate Collection (original Australian pressing and USA club edition), Ray of Light (South Africa), Remixed & Revisited (South Africa) and I’m Going To Tell You A Secret (Argentina). My favourite purchase is this original large genuine early photograph (not a cheap print).
You can still visit the record fair in Utrecht tomorrow, visit recordplanet.nl for more information
REMINDER – Mega Record & CD Fair | Jaarbeurs Utrecht, The Netherlands November 16 & 17, 2019 (DISCOUNT AVAILABLE)
Are you ready for world’s largest record fair at the Jaarbeurshallen in Utrecht on November 16 & 17? For our visitors we have a special discount code available, but is very limited so be quick: GRTS000455RXP
Buy your tickets and use the code through THIS LINK
Make sure to check your spam box if your tickets haven’t been delivered to your inbox within seconds.
Dear Crate Diggers,
Only one weeks to go before the 52nd Mega Record & Cd Fair will take place at Jaarbeurs Utrecht on Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th of November. At this fair cratediggers, vinyl lovers, musicians and over 600 dealers from all over the globe come together to buy records, attend the Omega vinyl auction and several book presentations, watch live performances by George ‘Little Green Bag’ Baker and Robert Jan Stips and visit exhibitions in the field of music. This Autumn, the fair will show a major photo exhibition with pictures made by photographer Frits van Swoll.
We are looking forward to meet you all at the unbeatable Mega Record & CD Fair in Utrecht!
Kind regards, the ARC Team
Many thanks to ARC
Madonna is a multitude of things to a multitude of people: LGBTQ+ champion and feminist groundbreaker. Movie star and fashion icon. Prim Brit-esque author and tough-talking New Yorker. And of course, the Queen of Pop. Because through all of the tabloid sensationalism and premature reports of her career demise, nobody has been able to permanently dethrone Ciccone.
Critics have long accused her of being a bandwagoner, a trend-sponge who will latch onto what’s popular. There’s some truth in that but it only tells a fraction of the story. Like Bowie (not quite in his league but the comparison holds), Madonna schools herself, keeps current and then brings it all into her world. Sure, she’s a chameleon. But every shift and shimmy is on her terms.
Take her new Madame X album and the theatrical performance that she’s dreamed up to correspond with the concept. A concept, by the way, that appears to be deliberately vague. Madame X is a mother, a child, a teacher, a singer, a secret agent (“traveling the world in disguise”), a nun, a whore and a saint, according to Madonna. The character, then, isn’t as well defined as a Ziggy Stardust, but that allows for a lot of wiggle room and freedom.
At the Wiltern on Wednesday, the first of her 10-night stretch at the venue, an undeniably intimate setting by Madonna’s standards, we get to enjoy Madame X in all of her convoluted glory, fully-realized or not. The new album isn’t necessarily cohesive throughout, but the songs work well in the live setting, right from the opening “God Control.”
Incidentally, plenty has already been written about Madonna coming on stage late during this tour, and locking away everyone’s phones. Regarding the former, she’s always been a bit of an Axl Rose (or vice versa, more accurately) in that regard — longtime fans are used to it. Here, she started at about 10:45 p.m. (impossible to be sure, as our phones were locked away), not a tremendously late time by L.A. standards. As for the phones, she’s right. It is better to stay in the moment and enjoy the show, and it is better for the artist to look out at a sea of faces rather than phones. The “I paid my money, I’ll do what I want” argument holds no water.
Regardless of what career and lifestyle choices the character of Madame X has made, the music on the album varies dramatically and it was all covered in L.A. There’s the pulsating electro-pop of that show-opener and the chill Latin vibe of “Killers Who Are Partying.” Madonna reminds us that she’s been playing soccer mom in Portugal, simultaneously throwing herself into fado music and embracing the West African Batukadeiras drummers (who made a welcome appearance). As is the same on every night of the tour (the set list remains consistent), we got covers of Isabel De Oliveira’s “Fado Pechincha” and Cesária Évora’s “Sodade.”
The new songs sounded great and, with the show split into five acts and an encore, time flew by remarkably fast. There were some old crowd favorites thrown in, of course — we get shortened versions of “Vogue” and “Papa Don’t Preach,” a breathy “Human Nature,” an a cappella “Express Yourself” and a snippet of “La Isla Bonita,” before act VI brought with it a gorgeous rendition of “Frozen” complete with images of daughter Lourdes Leon on the big screen. In the final act, we got a hair-raising “Like a Prayer,” with choir.
The biggest criticism we can aim at the show is that the momentum and flow was occasionally stunted by some bizarre breaks. At one point, she sat down to indulge in some magic that only she and those immediately around her could see, with a child and David Blaine. She admitted that she finds magic boring, and she could see it. At her best, Madonna is a fierce, funny performer who can keep you enthralled for hours but there were a few moments on Wednesday night when the air came out a little.
Never for long though. For the gloriously defiant encore, “I Rise,” Madonna sang in front of a giant Pride flag to huge applause. She might not be one of music’s great political thinkers but Madonna has always made it clear where she stands, and that’s on the side of good. She interrupts “Papa Don’t Preach” after the “I’m keeping my baby” line to say words to the effect of, “but it wouldn’t matter if I wasn’t — a woman has a right to do what she wants with her body.” She tells us that she moved to Portugal in part to escape Trump. And as Madame X, she tells us all to “wake up!”
By the time we got out and had our phones taken out of the lockable wallets, it was 1:30 a.m. Time had flown by thanks to some excellent music old and new, a remarkable stage show, and a full cast of dancers, drummers and singers. A Madonna show is always going to be great — the only question is, how great?
More at LA Weekly
Madonna has described the title character of her latest album, “Madame X,” as a secret agent traveling the globe in disguise. Yet there was no concealing the singer’s hard-wired superstar nature Wednesday night as she brought her new tour to the Wiltern — as small a room as she’s likely played in decades, if not one free of unwanted noise.
“I know you love me, but can you be quiet?” she scolded a fan who’d dared to interrupt her at one point. “I’m in the middle of a story here.”
After countless concerts in stadiums and arenas, Madonna, 61, designed her new show for theaters where she can park the production for extended engagements. Wednesday’s gig was the first of 10 at the Wiltern, which seats about 1,800, through Nov. 25.
It’s a chance, she says, for a more intimate artistic experience (though in truth Madonna has never had trouble making an arena feel cozy). But the gambit also allows her to escape unflattering comparisons — well, some of them — to the younger pop stars who now can do more nights than she can at Staples Center or the Rose Bowl.
The heart of the show had to do with her life in Lisbon, where she moved in 2017 to support her son David’s interest in soccer. The relocation wasn’t easy, she said; she was lonely for months until she began going out to the city’s clubs to listen to Portugal’s dramatic fado singers and to music from that country’s former island colony of Cape Verde, off the northwest coast of Africa.
Onstage here, in a detailed replica of one of those clubs, she sang songs clearly inspired by her surroundings — including the fado-style “Killers Who Are Partying” and “Batuka,” for which she was backed by more than a dozen vocalists thwacking out a Cape Verdean beat on hand drums held between their thighs. There was also a rendition of “Sodade,” well known to fans of the late Cesária Évora, and a retooled “La Isla Bonita.” (None of this was captured on camera; Madonna banned photography Wednesday, including by the media, and required fans to place their phones in locked pouches.)
You wouldn’t say her singing was doing anything to improve on what had moved her back in Lisbon. But you could sense the depth of Madonna’s connection to the place, and you had to admire her use of the Wiltern’s space to offer her audience a taste of it.
Yet this was just one act in a blithely disjointed production. A different section had Madonna performing “Frozen,” her techno-laced ballad from the late ’90s, behind a scrim onto which was projected a video that resembled a high-end perfume commercial starring her daughter Lourdes.
And another, set to the disco-ish “God Control” from “Madame X,” found the singer and several of her dancers in Revolutionary War garb as they battled police in modern-day riot gear. “I’ve got a lot of things I’ve got to get off my chest tonight,” she said. What some of these set pieces were supposed to mean — let alone how each was supposed to link to the others — seemed less important to Madonna than such concerns used to be.
In her mind, perhaps, the through line was simply the novelty of her outsize presence in this reach-out-and-touch-someone context. And indeed there were several amusing audience-participation bits, including one where she took a Polaroid of herself and sold it to an audience member who offered $5,000 — forced scarcity has its advantages — and one where she sauntered down from the stage to sit in an empty seat next to a guy who turned out to be the magician David Blaine.
After a version of “Like a Prayer” that made you think about how thoroughly so many of Madonna’s old transgressions have been absorbed into the pop mainstream, Wednesday’s show ended with “I Rise,” a would-be anthem from “Madame X” written in sympathy with the survivors of the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Here “I Rise” was accompanied by a video of news clips that broadened the song’s message to encompass all manner of progressive causes: same-sex marriage, Black Lives Matter, the need for clean drinking water in Flint, Mich. It was a lot to shoulder for a pretty flimsy tune, which is no doubt why Madonna came into the crowd again to finish it.
She still understands that proximity to power can rally people to do virtually anything.
Where: The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd.
Before Madonna’s latest Madame X Tour, which has been set in more intimate theater venues across the U.S., kicked off at The Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles for its 10-night run Wednesday night, West Coast fans were already hearing about the singer’s super late start times and she had also unexpectedly lopped off a few of her dates in select markets without rescheduling them, including Tuesday, Nov. 12 at The Wiltern.
There was even a class action lawsuit that came out of Florida last week from a fan that is suing Madonna for breach of contract, according to NBC News, for moving her ticketed start time from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. When the tour hit Las Vegas, fans reported that Madonna went on well after midnight. Tour promoter Live Nation did, eventually, change the ticket time on its website to reflect a start time closer to when Madge would actually hit the stage.
The other hot button issue for this tour was the use of the locking Yondr pouches, in which fans had to store their cell phones, smart watches and even Fitbits for the duration of the performance.
“We want you to be present and enjoy the journey with us,” a recording of Madonna’s sultry voice said ahead of Madame X taking the stage around 10:45 p.m. and playing until 1:30 a.m. for the first evening of her residency at the 1,850-capacity Wiltern.
So did the fans in Los Angeles care about a late start time or having their precious phones locked away in pouches? It didn’t seem so.
- (pictures: Stufish)
“I didn’t care at all,” Andy Polvorosa, 42, from Los Angeles, said as he was hanging out before the show in The Wiltern lobby, wearing his best Madame X-themed garb. “I’ve seen her many times and she’s always late and people need to get over it.”
Gio Portillo, 34, also of Los Angeles echoed Polvorosa’s stance as well as Madonna’s own response to the fan criticism, which was “a queen is never late.”
“I’m gonna stick with her no matter what,” he added. “I follow a bunch of forums and people were saying, ‘Well Beyoncé doesn’t do this’ or ‘Taylor Swift doesn’t do that.’ Well … they’re not Madonna! Who knows what Taylor Swift will be doing in 30 years … if she’s still around?”
For her 14th album, “Madame X,” Madonna tapped into the music that has influenced her as she’s been living in Lisbon, Portugal, for the past few years. She was living as a glorified “soccer mom,” she joked on stage, as she supported her son David Banda’s passion for fútbol. The songs are a mix of pop, EDM and reggae music with the added sounds she discovered in Portugal, Spain, Brazil, France and Cape Verde.
She’s also taken on the persona of Madame X. Who is Madame X? She’s a secret agent, an enigma of sorts slowly uncovered via a collection of different characters. In her own words, Madonna explains that Madame X is “a mother, a child, a teacher, a nun, a singer, a saint, a whore and a spy.” She even infuses the characters into some of her biggest hits such as “Vogue,” “Human Nature,” “Papa Don’t Preach” and an a cappella version of “Express Yourself.”
The show is played out in a series of acts with a lot of production, numerous costume changes and several big moving parts. It’s like watching a Broadway production, a naughty cabaret and a really loose format stand-up comedy show.
Without cell phones recording her every word and move, Madonna was more free. She made jokes, she did some improvisation — which was hit-or-miss — and she expressed numerous times her joy at being able to look out into the crowd and see eyeballs instead of at phones since it’s “hard to enjoy intimacy with phones.”
Though the intimate setting and production were super cool, it was very warm and stuffy inside the venue. The fans who wanted to dance faced off against the fans who wanted to sit and enjoy the production and that resulted in some shouting wars between patrons across the venue. In quieter moments, a dozen or so obnoxious fans acted like hecklers in a comedy club. They couldn’t stop yelling out random things. Madonna did “shush” the crowd a few times and rightfully so, as they were being rude attention seekers.
There was plenty political commentary throughout the evening, though mostly done through her music and production. The opening number, “God Control,” took on the hot button gun control debate and it was a bit unnerving to hear dozens of gunshot sound effects echo through a very dark venue. But that was the point. She danced about the stage for “Human Nature” and the audience roared along to “Papa Don’t Preach.”
The third act was a multi-cultural musical melting pot. She brought out a collection of drummers, known as Batukadeiras for “Batuka” and took the audience into the world of Portuguese Fado music with a cover of Isabel De Oliveira’s “Fado Pechincha.” She soared through “La Isla Bonita” and her vocals were quite beautiful for Cesária Évora’s “Sodade.” She got the crowd to count down and “cha-cha-cha” to “Medellín” and wrapped up the act with “Extreme Occident.”
Before launching into “Frozen,” Madonna’s dancers, who were on-point all evening, did an incredibly interesting number as they all twisted and contorted in a line on stage and in perfect time. It was breathtaking and hard to look away from. With “Frozen,” Madonna was on stage solo, seated behind a screen and backlit by a single white light. As she sang, video of her eldest daughter, Lourdes Leon doing a stunning interpretive dance played out on the screen and at times, Madonna and the imagery of her daughter sweetly played off of each other.
Fans got up and danced to “Come Alive” and “Crave” before the venue turned into a church and everyone sang and clapped along to “Like a Prayer.” She ended the set with an encore performance of the powerful anthem, “I Rise,” the first single off of “Madame X” that includes selections of a speech by Emma González, a survivor of the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Madonna’s run continues at The Wiltern Nov. 16-17, 19-21 and 23-25. Suddenly there were more tickets available via LiveNation.com this week. Fans can now score a ticket for a more reasonable price range of $132-$200 instead of the initial $375-plus tickets or the resale tickets, which were initially going for anywhere between $500-$1,500. Those resale tickets have also dropped significantly with many now available in the $200-$400 range.
Madonna’s Madame X Tour
When: Wednesday, Nov. 13
Where: The Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles
Next: 10:30 p.m. Nov. 14, 16-17, 19-21 and 23-25 at The Wiltern Theatre, 3790 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles. There are still tickets available ranging from $132-$375 via LiveNation.com and resale tickets going from $200-$1,500 at Stubhub.com.
Setlist for Wednesday, Nov. 13 at The Wiltern: “God Control”/ “Dark Ballet”/ “Human Nature”/ “Express Yourself”/ “Vogue”/ “I Don’t Search I Find”/ “Papa Don’t Preach”/ “American Life”/ “Batuka”/ “Fado Pechincha” (Isabel De Oliveira cover)/ “Killers Who Are Partying”/ “Crazy”/ “La Isla Bonita”/ “Sodade” (Cesária Évora cover)/ “Medellín”/ “Extreme Occident”/ “Frozen”/ “Come Alive”/ “Future”/ “Crave”/ “Like a Prayer.” Encore: “I Rise.”
More at LA Daily News
Nov. 13-14, 16-17, 19-21 and 23-25
Madonna brings her latest “Madame X” persona to a theater stage with an 11-show run at the 1,850-seat Wiltern, marking her first smaller-scaled residency since 1985’s “The Virgin” tour. Beyond the much-discussed ’round-midnight starting time and cellphone prohibition, we’ll likely see Madge bring back the holograms she debuted during her Billboard Music Awards performance earlier this year.
The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd. Tickets start at $148.
More at LATimes