Now that I am writing this report, MDNA has been in our past for a while now. In the time span of a month we crossed half of Europe to witness the show in person 11 times, then treated ourselves to a dessert of 2 shows in New York.
Everything started out pretty stressful as we were invited for a meeting at Universal regarding the MDNA promotion, but the presales for the tour started right at the same time. She will play the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam (a new venue with a capacity of 17000 people). Nice and small, sold out within minutes.
We had a great meeting but my head was somewhere in the presales. Afterwards drove back fast to crawl behind the computer. Kimmy called me that she arranged tickets for Paris and berlin and not long after we were able to add Amsterdam to that list.
Again everyone is complaining about the tickets being so expensive, I don’t agree as the standing only tickets have only increased with one euro compared to 2008, and who in their right mind wants to sit during a Madonna show?
Easily we head on to Saturday knowing for sure that a second Amsterdam date will be added. We are just not sure if it will go on sale immediately. The advantage is that we are now sitting behind our computers in a relaxed mood. Otherwise we’d had to spent the night at a postoffice somewhere.
As expected Madonna sells out within 30 minutes. The second show is indeed announced but will go on sale the other week. All the other shows we are buying tickets for are done without any stress. So if Amsterdam was the only stress factor, this might be just a very relaxing tour for us.
Our schedule for now is: 2X Barcelona, 2X Berlin, 2X Amsterdam, Cologne, Brussels, Paris and Birmingham. Credit card is being overused again.
Planned and booked our trips and hotels, now we can prepare for MDNA the album! NOT!! Madonna thinks we haven’t had enough stress so she decides to add a pit to the stage. Of course you can only enter the pit when you win tickets. And as we all know when it comes to winning Madonna related competitions, I am out of luck. Bye bye relaxed mood goes out the window!
Our trip starts in Barcelona. Our flight went well, although I did try to keep Kimberly calm as she hates to fly. Because we only carry small luggage we don’t need to wait for suitcases but head for the exit immediately. We find a bus that will take us to Playa de Espagna. From here we walk to our hotel. This turned out to be quite the walk, around 30 minutes! Suddenly it starts to rain, great beginning to our adventure!
We cannot enter our room just yet so decide to check out the area. We hand in our luggage at the reception. Here we are being told to watch out for our things and if someone spills fluid on us, apologize and then want to clean it we need to keep on walking as they might be pickpockets. While we are doing a bit of sightseeing and taking our first shots, the sun finally comes through the clouds.
After settling in our hotel room, we decide to go and pick up our tickets. We plan on doing this at the box office at Palau St. Jordi, but how do we get there? Walking is no option, so decide on a taxi. When we approach a driver he makes a gesture with his fingers that he ain’t taking us and need to use our legs. So we return to Playa de Espagna and try to take a bus. This won’t do either, driver seems to completely ignore us and isn’t moving a muscle.
We give up and enter a mini mall, cool down and try again later. Here we stumble upon a FNAC store, and yes they are able to print our tickets for us! In the evening we visit the Ramblas and had a nice dinner. We hear that Dave is already outside the venue queuing, RESPECT but this I won’t do no more.
Today is the day of our very first MDNA show, because we are both unaware of the events taking place, we decide against our better judgement to go to the venue early. The sun is making us sweat. We have Early Entry, so we are the first ones to enter the venue no matter what. We queue up and our numbered 150 and 151, are we really doing the number thingy again? We know this never ever works!
We hear that the Ipad lady is arriving, she will be handing out wristbands for the Golden Triangle through a competition. We are in the queue when we are told to line up behind each other with one hand holding onto the gate next to us. Everybody did as they were told. Kimberly rightfully commented on this saying we’re all a bunch of puppets following each other’s lead. So she sat down on the floor. It took forever for the lady to get to us and when she did, she turned and left. No Golden Triangle for us.
The waiting will certainly last for at least two more hours (it is past 7 by then). What strikes me time and time again is how much security misuses the ‘power’ that they have and create games out of it. Now we are told to walk up the stairs with a person on your side, in the centre of the stairs….why? When we finally enter the venue, Kimberly sits down on the floor at the side of the hall. Quickly someone from the crew comes up to us and is surprised we don’t have a Golden Triangle wristband just yet. She immediately hands us two. What?! Yes we ARE in the Golden Triangle!! Kimmy and me start to go crazy.
After eating (we didn’t have a large variety of choices)a bag of potatoe chips, Martin Solveig starts his set. I really like it, he includes a lot of Madonna’s music. Dave managed to get into the Triangle as well (through I-pad lady). I am being approached by a man that the entire Triangle seems to have the hots for. I have to admit, he looks pretty fine. He told me that he spoke to his sister on the phone and that I was featured on local television, that I was going to be famous due to my tattoo. I had to clue who he was…later we found out that he was a model and was featured in the Girl Gone Wild video.
The clock strikes 22.15 and it’s finally time for Madonna to enter the stage. I begin to notice that I am getting older, my feet and back already hurt.
The lights go out and the entrance is breathtaking, I already have the WOW effect (something I completely missed during Sticky & Sweet). When M makes her entrance and starts Girl Gone Wild, Barcelona explodes. Before we know it the show is over. A can of coke has never made me happier. We walked back from the venue to our hotel,a mere 45 minutes. Kimberly throws herself on the bed and is completely beat. This was only the first show, ten more to go!
Day didn’t start off too well as Kimberly took a tumble on the street after we bought our newspapers. She was wounded on hands and knees, shockingly the hotel did not have a first aid kit anywhere. So I made my way down the street to find a pharmacy for some betadine and a band-aid. After this we did some shopping and found some record stores, we didn’t buy anything though.
No early access today, just the regular wait until the doors open. Today again we go to the venue too early and we eat too soon.
After we have finally entered the venue we managed to get into the Triangle again, so let the show start. Despite the heat Madonna gives her all and leaves behind a soaking wet Palau St. Jordi. The way back is the same long road as yesterday, but we are complaining a little less.
We go back to Amsterdam today. The flight is a very unpleasant one for Kimberly, to begin she is not seated next to me, then there is turbulence and she starts to really panic when we are circling right above Schiphol but aren’t getting permission to land.
Berlin, June 27
A week has passed since we saw the show for the first time and I already miss it terribly. The show is rock solid. We take the car very early on our way to Berlin. We had such a good experience back in 2008. We will be seeing two shows in the O2 arena, with one day in between to relax. After a six hour drive we arrive at our hotel. First thing we do is sit down and eat.
Caroline arrives later that day in the same hotel. After greeting each other we plan a date to have dinner together. Caroline wants to do some sightseeing the next day and we plan to see if we can spot Madonna’s hotel.
First Berlin show: for both nights our tickets with Triangle wristbands were ready for us at the box office. No stress here. Went into town, the weather had taken a complete turn and it was very sunny out. Lovely weather! One thing that Kimberly and me had completely forgotten was the fact that the European football cup was planned on the same night of Madonna’s first Berlin show. Germany versus Italy.
The newspapers had a field day saying that everyone with Madonna tickets were trying to sell them as they wanted to catch the match live on tv instead. So I said to Kimmy that we were getting a private show tonight! At the end of the afternoon we left to go to the O2 with the subway. Caroline joined the queue after picking up her Early Access ticket, unfortunately she didn’t get entrance to the Triangle. The downside of being at a new location is that you don’t know if the food is good, let alone if they have any!
We decided to check out the area in search of something to eat for dinner. We ended up with an overpriced pack of French fries and Fanta, there was absolutely nothing else to get around there. We’re not repeating this tomorrow!
On our way we ran into Fred, Tony and Neil. Had a great laugh making the time go fly by. Then we finally got to go in.
During Martin’s set (yeah we were already getting bored with it) we spoke a bit with Fred and Gil. Funny details was that a few people sitting on the tribune were staring with such a bored look on their face. They were obviously dragged to the show by their partner(s). Damn, having to miss out on that so important football match!
The waiting for Madonna was endless, she did not get on stage until 10.30 (probably watching sports as well?)
The show was once again amazing, once you leave the venue the WOW effect remains. We had to rush on our way back as there was only one subway left, you can imagine how stuffed the subway was.
A day off, thankfully it was a very sunny one. We went into town, searching for Madonna’s hotel. Toured around with the local bus, took a stroll on the Alexanderplatz and searched for the Torstrasse. We couldn’t find it (kept on walking in the wrong direction) so decided to take a taxi, in his right dropped us off only a minute later….we had arrived. The hotel ended up to be just a few meters up ahead, typical tourists!
So here we are at her hotel, nothing to see at all, only knowing that M is inside. A roof terrace with swimming pool, something we were a lot more interested in than knowing where M was hanging out ;)
It was extremely humid in Berlin and we really wanted to cool down a bit. We’re thinking out loud and talking about how funny it would be, if we got to enter the hotel and were only interested in the swimming pool and not M. After ten minutes we were fed up and walked back to Alexanderplatz.
A nice storm came over us in the evening, but thankfully it did cool down a bit.
Nice relaxing day, sat down a lot and had some good food. Caroline wasn’t going to the second show so she had all the time to do some serious sightseeing. We decided to leave the show a bit earlier today, not to get stuck in the subway again. We had an Early Access ticket with wristband, so no queuing for us.
We entered through a back entrance creating some sort of backstage view for us. Until the show started we just spent our time in the back of the venue. Spoke shortly with Monte and Guy Oseary, they were all looking forward to spending time in Amsterdam. Madonna started the show around 22.15. Her speech after Open your Heart becomes longer with each and every show, explaining what Saggara Jo means and ending with a Fuck Yeah! The show is a true rollercoaster. During Like a Prayer we exit the venue and head back to our train. How delightful that the train is actually empty and brings us back to our hotel in minutes.
Got up early for a long drive back to Amsterdam. When we left the city we missed an exit making us drive towards Hamburg instead of Hannover. It gave us a small delay. Once we were on the right road everything went well. After a good six hours I dropped Kimberly off at home and made my way to Purmerend. I lay down on the couch, tired but satisfied. Next stop Amsterdam!
Amsterdam, 7 July
Day started off in a wacky way, Kimberly told me that she was sick with the flu, and despite the fact that she felt really sick she ran into Monte at the Amstel Hotel and had tried to arrange an instore at FAME. Unfortunately there was too little time to set everything up. My day already was a blast as I had received the confirmation I got permission to professionally photograph Madonna that evening!
It was the second time I had received permission from M’s management to photograph Madonna of the first three songs. It is Ziggo Dome so fairly small. I picked up Kimberly and Richard around 4. We met up with a lot of our friends in front of the Ziggo Dome. The weather was amazing. It was extremely crowded at the area as there was also a Sensation show scheduled in the Amsterdam ArenA (40.000 people). There was also another concert scheduled at the Heineken Music Hall. This will be a real treat after the show……traffic for sure.
We ate and drank something together, Kimberly and friends then made their way to Ziggo. I walked back to my car to pick up my camera, here I ran into Peter, Karen and my mother in law (80) who was looking forward to the show. I had to register at the main entrance and there I had to wait……it started to rain softly.
The photo passes were handed out (cool pass, nice for the collection) I spoke to the other photographers and they were all like ‘yeah I think she will start around 8.45, we will be gone by 9.30’. I started to laugh and told them that Madonna might be starting just a little bit later. Mojo mentioned already that there was a delay in the schedule and that Martin Solveig’s set would take up longer. At 21.00 we got to go to the mixing desk, tiny disappointment that this was all the way in the back. Thank god for bringing my big zoom.
Kimberly spotted me and wished me luck taking pictures, right then at that moment David and Mercy walked onto the mixing desk with their nanny. Tested the last few bits (we weren’t allowed to photograph martin, couldn’t care either way).
Finally the lights went down at 22.15 and it’s time to start….but before I knew it the first three songs finished and we had to leave. Unfortunately I had to give back the photo pass….why? Not clear to me up until today. So no more pass…..hand in my camera and back to the arena.
I couldn’t make it into the Triangle so decided to hang around in the back a bit, nice to see the visuals for a change and to see what happened during Like a Virgin in the front. I just cannot seem to understand the people walking back and forth during a concert, getting beer. Why don’t you just go to a bar instead? Much cheaper.
After seeing two songs I am already missing the good times in the Triangle. After the show I waited for Richard and Kimberly to take them back home. They had a great evening in the Triangle and Kimberly managed to sweat out her illness by jumping up and down.
Terrible weather today, what a change with yesterday! I go to Kimberly around 2, it is raining cats and dogs! We arrive at Ziggo around 3, waited at the sides for a bit. When we decide to go in we hear that Madonna is still soundchecking, you can understand that we now really wanted to get in fast!
Once inside we see that M is still busy with her soundcheck, she is singing Celebration but due to some technical issues she needs to wait and speaks to the audience. She asks them what they want to hear. Physical Attraction is then sung by fans with M…when the technical difficulty is still there M continues with Give it 2 Me. Really cool seeing M work in her rehearsal outfit. She ends the soundcheck with Turn Up The Radio and asks is this going to amazing Holland? Then leaves the stage
We are going out to eat and wait until M starts the show. I am absolutely done listening to Martin Solveigs’ set. Unfortunately have to listen to it three times more. In Birmingham there will be a different support act.
The lights go out in the Triangle where we are with the entire team around 22.00. I can tell that M is on fire tonight, this is her best show so far. After Open Your Heart Madonna says that she heard a rumor on a possible wedding proposal. We knew who wanted to do the marriage proposal and had arranged this, unfortunately M responded to two different people in the front row. But they did not arrange this through management, unfortunately M didn’t know. Speech was superb! The wedding proposal made headlines around the world.
Because M has such a relaxed attitude I can tell that I am jumping and dancing a whole lot more instead of taking pictures the entire time.
Cologne, 10 July
Madonna stayed in Amsterdam just a bit longer, she visited the Anne Frank house, went on a canal trip etc. M is clearly enjoying her stay in Amsterdam.
Another early drive but this time to Cologne, however we just cannot seem to find the hotel which has to be near the Lanxess arena. We ask people multiple times but they cannot help us as well. Eventually with the help of Corrina (travel agency) we find a building resembling an office, which has now been turned into a hotel. We go and explore the city and try and gain some energy after the early morning. Saw the DOM and enjoyed ourselves.
When we return back at the hotel, my eyes close and I sleep. I wake up to wind and rain outside. Around 16.00 we head over to the arena to pick up our Early Access tickets and wristbands. It’s still raining and we will not leave without an umbrella. It clears up a bit, but where do we leave our umbrella? We tucked it away under some stairs, hopefully it would be still there after the show.
From now the weather stayed dry and we got to enter early due to our Early Entry tickets. Once inside the venue, we witnessed Madonna soundchecking. She was rehearsing to the music of Je t’aime. Kimmy and me started to speculate, she’s doing this for the show in Paris. It was beyond cool to hear this as an early taste of what was to come. M was very focused and wasn’t going to let the screaming fans bother her.
When M soundchecks her songs (I’m a sinner, Celebration and Turn Up The Radio) she thanks us and says See ya tonight! and walks off stage.
We exit the triangle and explore the Lanxess Arena, you can buy anything you like here, something that was truly missing inside the O2 in Berlin. Bought some French fries to fill our stomach. We are now standing in the triangle on the left side, while usually we settle on the right. The waiting goes smoothly, until M starts and people are all suddenly drunk, bumping into everyone. Security threw them out of the triangle, unbelievable how people can behave.
I am really enjoying the show, some tiny flaw like screens not working here and there, but we won’t let that spoil our fun. During Like a Prayer I am dancing like crazy and when M walks towards the catwalk, it seems that I suddenly have wings that allow me to jump even higher. However this slightly concerns the security and they are watching me ;)
I adored the show and witnessing the soundcheck made it extra special. After the show we decide to walk back to our hotel, good choice as no subways are running at the moment. However this does mean that we walk on the public road, which isn’t really a smart thing to do as cars are passing us by in seconds. When we are back in our hotel we are sound asleep quickly.
Another early morning, buy our newspapers and head back to Amsterdam. Even though the trip goes well, I begin to notice that I truly need some extra sleep, so when I get home that is exactly what I do. Kimberly is coming to my house in the evening, so we can continue our trip the very next morning to Brussels.
Brussels, 12 July
Waking up with thunder and rain, typical Belgian weather. We take the bus to Amsterdam Central Station from where we take the Thalys to Brussels. This will be our first open air show, and looking at the weather we might re-live our Werchter moment. When we browse through the Belgian newspapers we notice that they’re all extremely negative concerning Madonna. According to them Madonna will be playing to empty seats tonight…..why the hate?
Arriving in Brussels we take the subway to the Koning Boudewijn Stadion, here we walk to our hotel. Of course as usual (it’s becoming tradition) we can’t find our hotel. It is supposed to be a Holiday Inn, which I think shouldn’t be too hard to find. Well it is. People passing by aren’t willing to help out at all. We then just walked into the first hotel we saw, and hallelujah it was the right one! The reason we couldn’t find it is because it changed names……the room smells like mold.
We hadn’t had our lunch yet, so decided to grab a bite in the hotel as they were advertising lunch. Unfortunately the kitchen is closed…..no lunch for us.
Then let’s go on a great adventure to try and find something outside, maybe near the Atomium. However there, everything was incredibly expensive. I decide on a hamburger somewhere where they seem to be working without gloves….hopefully I will be ok.
After picking up tickets and wristbands at the Family & Friends section, we wait until it is time to go in. Once we are let in, women need to be separated from men…..really? First thing we notice when inside, is that the stage has been set up on the side instead of the front or end. Meaning people that bought the Hot Seats are actually sitting further away.
Walking into the triangle we can see that M is still soundchecking, really cool. We have good daylight so taking photographs is easy. During I Don’t Give A, M tells her audience to not smoke around her stage. She has a bit of a cold, respect for still performing while sick. Brahim is holding a video camera and starts filming M.
When a fan shouts the first lines of American Life to M, she says mmmmm sounds familiar! and I shout at the top of my longs AMERICAN LIFE!! to which she replies Good Memory!
After speaking to the crew she leaves the stage. Guy Oseary is walking in the triangle and talking to fans with a camera. He comes up to us and asks us how many shows we’ve seen and are going to, and if we are married? Hahaha no way.
We exit the triangle and hunt for a toilet and some food. The toilets aren’t for free in Brussels while these are the most disgusting throwaway rent-a-toilets. And yes they charged you a euro. Oh and here comes Martin again…..
It starts raining softly….unbelievable….we are indeed back in the grass in Werchter in 2009. We are still however missing the mud. Before M starts her show, it really starts to pour. We go and find shelter and stay there until the show actually begins. Walking back to the triangle we see that the stage has been covered with carpet, probably to prevent M and dancers from slipping. Let’s hope it stays dry!
We try and find shelter underneath a little roof of the stage as the rain only gets worse. During I Don’t Give A she’s on the catwalk and it’s pouring. Unfortunately many people think their cigarette is much more important than M’s health, so she once again asks not to smoke around her stage.
When she’s only wearing a body stocking during Like a Virgin on the front end of the catwalk in the pouring rain, a dancer comes on stage dressed as a clown with an umbrella. Kimberly gets into an argument with a man claiming she’s standing in his spot, as he was there earlier. However since this man kept walking back and forth in the triangle, he had no spot to himself, there is none in the triangle.
When the show ends and we walk back to the hotel in the rain, we feel a bit hungry. In the hotel the only thing we can get is something that looks like potato chips and costs a lot of money. The reception ain’t helping either. When we get back in our hotel room I notice that my socks are soaking wet, the carpet is soaked. I complain at the reception, but of course they cannot help us (again).
Paris, 13 July
Thank God we can leave this terrible hotel and Brussels today, had a terrible sleep. When we arrive five minutes prior to the planned breakfast in the lobby we are told that we cannot be there and have to leave (we are FIVE minutes early). Terrible customer service!
We dismiss their remarks and sit down anyway, we are shocked to see that the first person allowed to eat and choose the breakfast, is the chef himself. We eat something fast, grab our things and get the hell out.
The trip to Paris goes well, but the weather is terrible. We take a taxi to our hotel and he drops us off at Hotel SOFT. Check in time no sooner than 2 in the afternoon. We leave our things behind and head into town. Of course we end up at Lucky Records, always good fun to see the many M goodies. But overly expensive.
At the end of the day we meet up with Fred and have a drink somewhere. Fred brought a French press book for W.E. for us.
We arrange to meet up the next day at the stadium. He provides us with a good address for some good food, and he was right the pizza was delicious.
It’s a sunny day today (finally) we are going through our options of how to get to the stadium as it is a national holiday today. A lot of festivities are planned and a lot of shops are closed.
When we take the train in the afternoon to St. Denis and have to walk quite a bit to the Stade de France, the weather is lovely. We are still discussing the possibility of Je t’aime being performed that evening or even possibly Love Spent as a special French treat. We do decide on leaving earlier as to not miss the train back. When we get there, it takes a while before we can get our wristbands. There are several signs indicating that the show is being filmed tonight (huh? already?)
We run into Romano and had a nice get together and shelter from the rain .We are hearing the soundcheck, this will be the first time fans aren’t let in early to witness it.
When the doors open, we are in no hurry at all. The check at the gates is so slow that we do push forward a little in order to be inside before 10pm :)
It occurs to me that I get to walk on without being searched, but Kimmy almost had to strip naked in order to walk through.
Very relaxed we walk into the triangle. Funny detail is that somehow there’s a rumor that Kimberly can get people in the triangle, but unfortunately tonight she can’t and has to disappoint people. We run into Neil and have a great time with his crush on the Ipad boy.
Fred brought his mother and is hoping for triangle wristbands, unfortunately no such luck. We stick together and notice how crowded it has become in the triangle, with Jean Paul Gaultier as one of the guests.
M hits the stage around 22.00 and Stade de France goes nuts. Like a Virgin starts and we both were like ooooooh now Love Spent will follow or Je t’aime. Wrong guess, after Like a Virgin we got the ‘standard’ Nobody Knows Me interlude which we knew. So has she planned it for the end of the show? So now we didn’t know whether to leave early or not as we didn’t want to miss it. We decide to stay until the end but unfortunately still no Love Spent or Je t’aime. In a hurry we walk outside to the subway but we need to take the train. So we have to turn back at once, we run through police and people and managed to make it to the final train leaving St. Denis to Paris. The doors close immediately after we have set foot in the train. We were just in time.
The Thalys back to Amsterdam today, relaxed and no stress. Kimberly comes with me to pick up her car and now a few days of nothing….Next stop Birmingham!
Birmingham, 18 July
If you think it was going to be a quiet day to prepare for our trip to Birmingham, you thought wrong. The day starts with stress (now what did we agree upon?), what’s going on?
Madonna will be playing an intimate gig on July 28 in Paris (we-just-got-back) in the Olympia theatre. After the usual cussing, we are in doubt whether to go or not. First time I spoke to Kimmy that day we were both like NO, we are not going! Too expensive, too short notice etc.
Pre-sale starts, immediately I can get in the system and can buy the tickets. Shall we go or not? How should we go there? Thalys comes to 200 euro’s for a return ticket, NO WAY. Car? Is an option however Kimmy needs to work the very next day. What to do? I log off and think. No we really are not going. But I find myself logging in again and immediately again I can buy the tickets. I said to Kimmy, I’m going to do it! Before I knew a confirmation email arrived in my in-box, we had tickets to Paris!
We for sure had never forgiven ourselves if we hadn’t gone. In the evening I met up with Kimberly and despite that she really did not want to board a plane again, the stress for Paris was still very much present.
Will she now finally be performing Love Spent and Je t’aime? She will right?
Before we knew we were on the plane to Birmingham. After a mere 60 minutes we arrive and take a taxi to our hotel. We eat something and hit the bed.
We have tickets for the second row right in front of the catwalk (seated show), this will be our first show out of the triangle. We are not in a hurry, we do some sightseeing and sit down for a cup of coffee.
Halfway in the afternoon we stop to eat some pizza (how original), unfortunately we are forgotten twice. First when they forget to put in our order (and no it wasn’t busy) and the second time when we try to pay our check. I was about to just walk away, but hey I was raised in a good way so we waited. Then we were charged too much, after all the issues we were given a 10 pound discount. So now we are on our way to the NIA, the National Indoor Arena! Not too far from our hotel.
Guess…..of course once we get there, it starts raining again. We take shelter underneath Mario and Paolo’s umbrella. Once inside and when we find our seats, Kimberly points out quite a big security worker standing right in front of us. A good chance he will obstruct our view during the show. So thankful that we still got a chance to get inside the triangle and then made two people very happy with our original tickets.
The fans are being changed from row 180 to 2, so you can imagine their happiness. When we are inside the triangle there’s such a chill vibe. M starts at her now infamous late start time (22.15). During Gang Bang her motel doesn’t come forward, the screens stay closed. That’s the good thing about seeing a show multiple times: the flaws and errors. You had to see M’s face huh? Where’s my motel? She continues her act, but without the motel it looks a bit strange.
After her Saggara Jo talk she says ‘Where was my F*cking Motel’?? more errors like this keep on happening, such as the screens not closing during Justify My Love, so you can see M prepare right before Vogue.
I fear that someone from the crew will be spoken to after the show, and not in a polite matter. We loved it, great show!
Turned 43 years old in the meantime, today we go back to Amsterdam. Our flight doesn’t depart until noon, so we have plenty of time. Flight goes well, Birmingham was our last planned full show. Next Thursday back and forth to Paris and then that will be the end of it.
Paris, 26 July
Whoever might’ve told me I would be taking the car to Paris, I would’ve called absolutely insane. But due to the costs and timeframe (Kimberly needed to work the next day) we take the car to Paris around 8 in the morning. The trip went well and despite two small navigation errors we wind up at Fred’s place. It is extremely humid, what a difference with one week prior when it poured.
Together with Fred we go to the Olympia to pick up our tickets. Fans had been camping out for days just to be sure of a front spot. We learned to never ever go through such a thing again (Olympia 2008). We decide on a pizza somewhere (can’t stand the sight of these anymore). After dinner we go to Olympia and queue with the rest of them. When we speak to people from the organization we learn that the waiting might take a while. Planning is doors open at 19.00, of course we are not surprised when this is delayed and they don’t open until 20.30
When inside, it takes a good two hours before M finally hits the stage. Now we knew this wasn’t going to be a full show and had expected something like M on a stool with guitar, singing a few songs. But it started with the second section of the MDNA Tour, starting with Turn Up The Radio. Olympia goes nuts, and during her speech I hear someone shouting JAIL JAIL. I never really saw the connection to Marine Le Pen, but just pay no attention and ignore as there were a few drunk people around me as well.
Right after Human Nature we expected Like a Virgin, but she suddenly walked back to the main stage and started a mash up version to Die Another Day with Beautiful Killer. If she could’ve blown the roof of the venue it would’ve blown right up to the sky. This is amazing!! Keep this in the setlist!
Immediately Je t’aime follows (yeaaaah!!! finally!!) this too is genius, we only want more but unfortunate as it is, this is the end of the special club show. I hear a lot of people booing and see them throw stuff upon the stage, time to leave asap! Outside to our surprise there are tons of police out. We are a bit surprised by the abrupt ending to the show, as we at least had expected a smash hit right at the end such as Like a Prayer or Celebration to close the show with a bang. There isn’t time to think because, we have a seven hour drive ahead of us. So A we have to stay awake and B how do we get out of the city quickly?
We say goodbye to Fred and Gil, get into the car and quickly drive out of the city. Before we know we are on the highway to Lille. Staying awake and drinking lots of energy drinks, filling this up with potato chips. Driving late at night makes you see lots of strange things at the sides of the road.
We arrive in Amsterdam around 6 in the morning, I am about to break down. When I get home I get into bed and I am gone. Was I disappointed? I think maybe 10 minutes right after the show I was, but thinking about it a club show usually isn’t a full show but still it is Madonna on stage, and you want to see her for as long as you can.
I was shocked by the reactions she got the next day on the internet and the fans complaining about the length of the show. People throwing bottles on stage, but this turned out to be a planned action. Some Marie Le Pen supporters were there and they were the ones screaming stuff and throwing bottles. Sad! Madonna performs for her dedicated fans and then this happens…..Unbelievable.
Suddenly it becomes clear to me that THE MDNA Tour is over for us! M will perform a few show more in Europe before she goes to America. I miss the tour already.
Lots of people we know such as Carolina and Eric will be seeing Madonna one more time. Caroline goes to Zurich and Eric goes to the Yankee Stadium in New York. I just cannot seem to shake the feeling off of going just one more time. I discuss this with Kimmy, she feels the same. Shall we plan one more show? We can try and travel to Zurich (if Berlin and Paris can be done by car, so can Zurich). The idea is a good one, but how are we going to pay the tickets? Just one day prior to the show we decide not to go.
MDNA is over for Europe, but we still have the desire to see her. Early September we see that M will be performing in Madison Square Garden in New York. It has always been a dream of mine to witness her perform live there. But these tickets are double the price of European ones.
I discussed it with Kimberly who will try and set aside her fear of flying for this. But who will be sponsoring this? After a debate, not being able to sleep, discussion with Peter…we decide to go. Kimberly and her mother will be joining us.
New York, 11 November
Now that we are 100% sure of tickets for MSG in New York, it was all suddenly quite a deal whether or not the show would go on. Two weeks before departure hurricane Sandy hits NY and causes extreme damage. One week prior to our departure a snowstorm terrorizes NY. Thank God that the weather is good once it’s time for us to leave to JFK airport in New York.
When we arrive it’s 17 degrees with lots of sun, but we can still see traces of the snowstorm one week earlier at the airport. A taxi takes us to Hotel Edison, right around the corner of Times Square.
After settling into our hotel room and trying to save a window from Kimberly’s room, we explore Time Square and eat a little. We aren’t very hungry due to the time difference. Knackered we hit the sheets around 9pm local time.
Woke up early so enough time to go out and enjoy New York, we start with breakfast at Applebees and then take a hop on hop off bus straight through Manhattan.
The weather is outstanding and do not even need to wear a jacket. When the night falls we first meet up with Kimberly and her mother to pick up the tickets for the show and triangle wristband. People are queuing up already (why….it’s a seated show). We decide on some dinner.
When we walk to the MSG right after dinner it has become much more crowded. Peter and Ans are heading back to Times Square and we go inside. Not at all crowded in the triangle, met up with great people such as Adi, Jochen and Tanja Dexters (who both also traveled to NY from Belgium for the show). Took some pics with Kalakan and Monte. Always funny to spot celebrity guests in the triangle.
Show starts extremely late (22.30) but hey we get to sleep in tomorrow morning. Once the show starts I get goosebumps all over. Now that we’re in New York it seems that M is totally outdoing herself. She dedicates her speech to the victims of Sandy and the heroes that have spent day and night helping out.
Finally we get to see Love Spent live! Unbelievable that she never performed this before, goosebumps! During Celebration, she performs a mash up with Give it 2 Me but before we know it we’re outside again. We cannot get over how amazing the show was and to be experiencing this in NY!
The weather changed 380 degrees compared to yesterday, it’s extremely chilly outside. I am only wearing a very thin jacket so I am not too happy with this. We start the day with a roundtrip NYC, but this is a bus with an open roof, so we’re extremely cold, we hop off and go shop at Macy’s. When it stops raining, we continue our trip. In the afternoon we have a drink at a bar and in the evening Peter and Kimberly’s mother go to the show as well. They are obligated to experience this in NY.
Ans and Peter are seated, while we are in the triangle. We wish them a great show and while we make our way to the triangle we meet up with James from Ireland and run into Jochen and Tanja Dexters again. She’s wearing the She’s Not Me outfit from the Sticky & Sweet tour.
Rumor has it that M has invited a special guest to the show tonight and will be adding two new songs to the setlist. We at first don’t believe it, sure of course, how many times have we heard how many rumors?
We shall see.
M is having fun tonight, she’s enjoying performing tonight so much more than yesterday it seems. When she is about to speech right after Open Your Heart, we are treated to a surprise. Right after OYH M performs Give it 2 Me and suddenly there’s Psy (the special guest, although I have never heard of him). They perform his hit single Gangnam Style. Sounds good, M is giving it her all together with Psy.
After the song she gives a short speech and performs a bit of Music. MSG is going nuts!! What a show!!
When we continue with Justify My Love, Kimmy and me return to earth, but there was more in store. Like a Virgin is the true highlight, M is telling her audience to give her more money. If you give money, I touch you. 20 dollars? that’s it? I only take hundred dollar bills…..love it! This is the M I know and love!
Before we know it we’re into Celebration, back to the old style of the European shows. It truly is over for us, the end of MDNA. We are looking around us in a blur and know that this truly was M’s best live show ever.
When we meet up with Ans and Peter we walk back to our hotel, we just cannot stop talking about it, how did you like this? how did you dig that?
Tired but happy I fall asleep back in the hotel.
Our last day in New York, in the morning we do some shopping and in the afternoon we have a boat trip planned with the four of us. It is now freezing in NYC, so we don’t stay on the top of the boat very long. When we’re back Peter and me go to a bar and later buy the most expensive M&M’s ever.
In the evening we eat at Hard Rock Cafe and go to bed early.
We won’t leave until 5pm so Peter and me have an entire morning to take a walk in Greenwich village. I run into some great record stores (a rarity these days) and find the Erotica USA promo 12″ DJ vinyl for $30, yep it’s mine now.
We squeezed into a taxi on our way to the airport, a seven hour flight ahead of us. Unfortunately these will be 7 very long hours. My knees are stuck and I cannot stretch my legs. Somehow I have wound up in a seat where all sorts of wires come together. With a bit of heat added, makes my drama flight complete. Even after taking a sleeping pill, I just cannot seem to find my rest.
We land on Schiphol earlier than expected (thank God). After picking up the suitcases we say goodbye to Ans and Kimberly and we jump into the train.
MDNA was such an amazing experience, especially comparing it to Sticky & Sweet. M was so good, the show is never dull. So happy to see this show 13 times, with the greatest ending to a tour ever in New York, a dream come true!
Met so many great people. Hats off to M and crew for putting this together for us fans, and such an improvement over the last tour!
Happy and proud for being a fan for the past 30 years.
See you on the next tour.