Fifteen years ago today I was queuing outside the studio’s in London waiting to attend the exclusive taping of Madonna at CD:UK. I was told that only 200 people were allowed in, most managed to get tickets and others were simply put on the guestlist. While waiting in the chilly London air, us fans had fun among one another discussing Madonna’s most recent album and promotional tour. A few of us attended the Absolut Madonna taping in Cologne a few days prior and this led to talk about which songs she would be performing at CD:UK. We all agreed that it would most likely be American Life and Hollywood again, and wouldn’t add another ‘oldie but goodie’ as she did at the promotional performances in New York and Cologne.
It wasn’t long before Madonna’s car turned up and we all frantically waved to her through the blinded windows, we know she couldn’t see us but we didn’t care. The thought she was inside that car was enough for us….awwww bless us. We were divided into two separate queues, one for the people on the guestlist and one for those with ‘regular’ tickets. I stuck with my friends even though I didn’t have the tickets in hand as I was told I was on the guestlist. We had our confirmation letter with us and upon checking our names we were allowed inside the tiny studio. The studio where M was about to perform must’ve been the smallest I have seen to date. One tiny black room with teeny tiny stage and two huge promotional American Life billboards on either side.
I found a space at the front row right next to the two step stairs to get on stage. Madonna’s band (including Monte Pittman, Mirwais and Mike McKnight) already arrived. Minutes later I look to my right and see Madonna, Angela and Caresse Henry walking in. I was just struck by how utterly gorgeous Madonna looked, black outfit with short top and straight brown hair (to be fair, this is still my favorite look of hers). Madonna, Angela and Caresse were discussing details when suddenly Madonna looked right at me. Silly ol’ me just couldn’t help but smile as if I was promoting a toothpaste brand. After what seemed like an eternity (but wasn’t of course) she closed her eyes and seemed to be meditating…..or was she simply trying to get a little sleep before entering the stage? Caresse Henry turned to look at me and smiled warmly, not long after this I got in touch with her, such a fantastic woman and such a loss.
I knew it was time for Madonna to perform when security arrived. Madonna made her way to the two step staircase and waited for the signal to come on. I wasn’t complaining, she was standing right next to me and even though she completely ignored me….I couldn’t help but stare at the most random things. How there was fluff on her shirt and loose hairs, what she smelled like (roses) and how incredibly tiny she was! Once she got on stage I was just stunned at her beauty, she was just so incredibly beautiful. As predicted she performed both American Life and Hollywood and spoke to host Cat Deeley in between takes. She also spoke a lot to the fans present and joked around. When someone told her she looked ‘stunning baby’ she simply responded ‘thank you baby’. Someone wanted to look at her ‘fire engine red’ shoes, so she lifted up the leg of her trousers and showed it to us. To be so close to her in such an intimate setting was a surreal experience, especially with THAT look and THOSE songs. Such a fantastic time to be a fan. After commenting to Cat Deeley she was going on tour next Summer (I didn’t believe her…..but yes the Re-Invention Tour happened), she exited the stage and left with her entourage.
We made our way to HMV next to buy the DVD release of ‘Die Another Day’ that came out that very same day. Madonna’s performance at CD:UK was shown on television the next morning, even though happy with the performance I was a bit let down that they had cut out most of her interview and jokes.
Here we are fifteen years later…..I still remember this particular performance as one of the best I ever attended. Madonna was just brilliant and it was just such a good era.
If you want to read my longer and more detailed live report on the American Life promo tour click HERE
Kimberly van Pinxteren