Interview with photographer Xavier Martin (photoshoot on set of ‘True Blue’ music video)

 

Our team member Fred visited photographer Xavier Martin back in April 2013 for an exclusive interview. Xavier Martin was invited to photograph Madonna on the set of the “True Blue” music video.

He took some legendary photographs of Madonna and got to experience what it was like working with her. 

All the photographs of Madonna by Xavier Martin are published here with permission.

 

-What was your first attraction when it comes to photography ?

It came naturally to me! My father offered a camera to me when I was 12 years old, consequently I started to photograph my family and my friends. I immediately understood that it was what I would like to do later. I had a friend who worked at a photo studio, I accompanied him whenever possible, I learned so much from him. I went to Grace Kelly’s residence and I photographed her while walking her dogs in the streets of Paris (with her permission), this was the moment that started my career. Agency SIPA Press started to diffuse my pictures, I had become a professional photographer! It was just a passion of mine starting out I never thought it would turn commercially

How did you find your style of photographing?

Initially, I thought I would do fashion photo’s. I love clean monochrome photo’s, natural things. I found my style through hard work but nothing is set in this business as it is always evolving

-Did you have a role model?

Of course, I especially admired David Bailey, fashion photographer for the magazine English “Vogue”  in 60’s/70’s

-With your career dating back to the beginning of the 70’s (Caroline de Monaco, Jacky Kennedy, Jean Paul Belmondo,…) can we say that you were one of the first French ‘paparrazi’?

It’s true that it could be compared to the work of paparazzi, but you must know that at the time the photographs were done in agreement with the celebrity

-You seem to appreciate “improvised” photoshoots (Robert Mitchum 1984, Alvin Ailey 1986, Helmut Berger 1987) is this your trademark?

In fact, what I love above all is the spontaneity! And it’s also a question of synergy, I like to bring my subject to give the best of himself and reveal radiance

-Was there a certain someone/a celebrity that you always wanted to photograph but never got to?

Oh yes, of course … I regret not being able to shoot John Wayne before his death, he was one of my dreams. In music, my biggest regret is without a doubt Michael Jackson, I do not know why there has never been a way to organize this. I would have loved to shoot the Neverland. That would have been absolutely incredible!

-Were you invited to photograph Madonna?

My agent and me thought that it was time that a magazine such as Paris Match needed to dedicate an article to Madonna. We made an exclusive deal for the cover and a 6-page article

-Was Madonna in charge of the way she wanted to be photographed?

It was Liz Rosenberg who was responsible for all the promotion related to her at that time. We proposed to shoot her during the filming of her “True Blue” music video

-Could you tell us more about how it happened?

We left at the beginning of September in 1986 to spend one week in New York City. Filming took place in the suburbs in a large hangar safe. We had unlimited access to the studio every day during filming

-How was your first meeting?

Liz introduced us, she was a very young mid-Western girl with an accent and chewing gum in her mouth… She greeted us warmly, we offered her a small gift we had brought from France (Chanel perfume.) She thanked us and we started to work

-Did she have any specific instructions?

To be honest, there was no instruction from her. She’s very generous and when she agrees she gives 200%. We were being very discrete because the primary goal was the realization of the music video… We had to stay low and out of the way in order not to obstruct the filming process

But she liked the idea that a photographer was constantly there, she posed as soon as she had the opportunity

-Did Madonna wanted to have the final say in which pictures were approved and which had to be deleted?

Once past security (two big fellows stationed outside the hangar door) we were a part of the team! She put her confidence in us and never tried to tell us what to do. I had full responsibility for managing all of my pictures

-How was the interview?

Very easy-going. She sat down with us in a corner of the studio and gave us the time to answer all of our questions. It was my agent (Denis Taranto) who conducted the interview

-Were there several accredited photographers?

In 1986, there were rarely accredited photographers to shoot behind the scenes of a music video. Especially if we take into account the technical constraints (using the existing hardware in decor and lighting terms.) This photoshoot could not be considered a photo session like classic promotion. Nevertheless, these limits ultimately became an advantage because I was the only photographer hired!

-Did you speak to Madonna? if so, any witty remarks or anything interesting you remember and like to share?

I remember she was very involved in everything…She directed the three dancers and regularly gave them advice for positions and movements, she was particularly attentive to the choreography. She did not hesitate to give her opinion to James Foley (director of the video) she viewed each take with him and even checked the location of the camera’s…

I also remember a day a person in charge of Warner Music France came to the set to give her a Gold Record Award. The album “True Blue” had sold over 100.000 copies in our country in the first week of its release!
(Ndlr : Today the album has surpassed 1.5 million copies in France and 25 million worldwide.)

-Were your pictures ever used for publication?

Not really, I distributed my pictures via professional agencies, they manage the rights. As a result I know that they were sold worldwide (Germany, England, United States, Japan,…) but do not know specifically where in the media they were used…

-Have you worked with Madonna again? Would you like to?

Unfortunately I never worked with her again after this experience. I must say that we had a discussion with Paris Match because we had promised a Madonna cover (+ 6 pages) and they changed their cover at the last minute with a photo of Caroline of Monaco! In addition, our article went from six to four pages… Liz then informed us that she wasn’t happy about that.

From here it was really difficult to organize another shoot with Madonna. It’s a shame because I would have liked to do a completely different photo shoot, much more intimate. At home for example, or a series in the studio

-Are there any other shots you thought would be interesting to publish of this shoot?

Oh yes … There are over two-hundred photo’s of this session (he shows me the negatives) and there are no bad shots at all! She’s always perfect in the pictures and sometimes funny and spontaneous, there is a certain spontaneity that I like in this session

-Since almost two years there’s an exhibition dedicated to the first photography sessions of Madonna (“Madonna: In transformational Exhibition”). Is this something you would like to pursue too with other photographers or do you prefer to showcase your own work only?

Of course, this kind of project could be considered. But I also like to present all of my work as I did during the exhibition in the private rooms of the Centre Barclays Premier Avenue George V, Paris (March 2012).
I was presenting the most iconic shots of my career, including the Serge Gainsbourg bathtub pic. There was of course also a picture of my Madonna set included…

I would like to thank Mr. Xavier Martin very warmly for having opened his studio doors to me, for his time and his kindness but also for agreeing to share his archives with me.

Check out his website for more! (www.xaviermartin.com)

Interview and photo’s of Xavier Martin with Madonna photographs are exclusive to Madonnaunderground.com
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MADONNA – UNDER THE COVERS – DOUBLE LP GATEFOLD COLOURED (rare live tracks, unofficial release)

Under The Covers will be re-released on May 7 on coloured and regular vinyl. What sets this obvious unofficial release apart from the ususal Who’s That Girl Tour, Blond Ambition or Girlie Show releases is that it includes live tracks that have not been released on any format before.

Side A : Je T’aime (Moi Non Plus) / Nothing Compares 2 U/Purple Rain / Between The Bars / Toxic
Side B : Rebel / Everybody Is A Star / Take On Me/La Bamba / Billie Jean/Like A Virgin / Imagine / Hallelujah
Side C : Send In The Clowns / Lament / You Must Love Me/Don’t Cry For Me Argentina / Can’t Get You Out Of My Head / Redemption Song
Side D : Fever / The Lady Is A Tramp / La Vie En Rose / I Got You Babe / The Girl From Ipanema

These are all live recordings and the quality is good. This is the first time this will be released on vinyl.

PRE-ORDER COLOURED VINYL HERE

PRE-ORDER BLACK VINYL HERE

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Madonna “Bedtime Story” 15-track Remix EP now available on all digital platforms

A 15-track Remix EP for Madonna’s Bedtime Story is now available (March 19) on all digital platforms, see direct links below.

Tracklisting

01 Bedtime Story – Edit
02 Bedtime Story – Junior’s Wet Dream Mix
03 Bedtime Story – Junior’s Dreamy Drum Dub
04 Survival
05 Bedtime Story – Orbital Mix
06 Bedtime Story – Junior’s Sound Factory Mix
07 Bedtime Story – Junior’s Single Mix
08 Bedtime Story – Junior’s Sound Factory Mix Edit 
09 Bedtime Story – Junior’s Sound Factory Dub
10 Bedtime Story – Junior’s Wet Dream Dub
11 Bedtime Story – Lush Vocal Radio Edit
12 Bedtime Story – Lush Vocal Mix
13 Bedtime Story – Luscious Dub Mix
14 Bedtime Story – Percapella Mix
15 Bedtime Story – Unconcious in the Jungle Mix

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Like a Virgin promo advert from Holland (OOR November 17, 1984)

Here is an original and very rare promotional advert for Madonna’s Like a Virgin from Holland. This particular advert was published in OOR magazine (November 17, 1984)

Translation:

MADONNA, known in Holland for her hits ‘Holiday’ and ‘Lucky Star’, is not ‘just another pretty face’ but a talented singer/composer who gave a new impulse to modern dance music with her debut LP (Madonna, 1983). She continues to be a pioneer with ‘Like a Virgin’ a Nile Rodgers-production with a little help from the entire Chic team. The title track has been released on single, also includes ‘Love don’t live here anymore’, ‘Angel’, ‘Dress you up’ and ‘Stay’.

This article has been added to the Adverts tab of our Like a Virgin page.

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Madonna on Dutch TV: Top 40 Hitdossier (April 14, 1984) March 25 (ONS)

Episode 3 – Erik de Zwart presents the best hits and clips from the famous Top 40 in the program Top 40 Hitdossier. Each episode focuses on the Top 40 from a special date in history.

In this episode: April 14, 1984, the day on which Doe Maar gave a farewell concert. This episode includes clips from: Lionel Richie, Cindy Lauper, Madonna.

Date: March 25, 2021
Time: 13:30 to 14:02
Channel: ONS (NL)

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Madonnaunderground 15th anniversary giveaway Nr.2 + winner giveaway Nr.1 announced!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in our first 15th anniversary giveaway! The lucky winner is: Richard Kristens who has been notified by email. 

Are you ready for giveaway number 2?

The incredible and legendary Lucky Records in Paris was kind enough to donate various items for you to win. To make sure many fans have a chance we have to decided to divide the items up into four different packages.

Package number 2 includes:

  • Superstar – official sealed cardsleeve 2-track CD single from Brazil 
  • Beautiful Stranger – official sealed 3-track CD single from Germany 9362 44699-2
  • Don’t Tell Me – official sealed 4-track CD single from Germany 936244949-25
  • American Life – official sealed 3-track CD single from Germany/UK 9362 42615-2 W603CD1
  • American Life – official sealed 3-track CD single from Germany/UK 9362 42616-2 W603CD2
  • American Life – official French promo sticker (front and back)
  • Music (single) – official French WEA promo postcard
  • Music (album) – official French WEA promo postcard
  • Madame X Tour – Paris leg high glossy large postcard (Lucky Records on back)
  • Set of unofficial Confessions on a Dance Floor era buttons

We appreciate every one of our visitors and would love to thank our most loyal visitors by sending them one of the packages. If you aren’t following us already on social media, then please don’t forget to do so now!

To enter send your full name and address to: info@madonnaunderground.com

You have the entire week, we will announce package number 2 next Monday.

Thank you to Lucky Records!

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Madonna covers The Quiet Storm December 1984 (Thailand) one of the all time rarest!

One of the rarest magazines to feature Madonna on the cover is The Quiet Storm from Thailand (December 1984). There is only a small number of 1984 magazines that have Madonna as the cover star and some of them are quite hard to find. The rarest of all is probably The Quiet Storm.

The magazine was free of charge and is made of extremely thin paper that tears easily. The magazine includes an article and promotional advert on Madonna’s new single “Like a Virgin”, both have been included on our Like a Virgin album archives page (press + adverts tab).

The holy grail for collectors is Island magazine (October 1983) as it’s Madonna’s first ever proper cover, but this magazine from Thailand is right up there too. 

 

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“Frozen” 10-track Remix EP now available on all digital platforms

A 10-track remix EP of Madonna’s “Frozen” is now available on all digital platforms (March 12), check out direct download/stream link below!

Tracklisting

01 Frozen
02 Frozen – Stereo’s MC Remix
03 Frozen – Extended Club Mix
04 Frozen – Meltdown Mix – Long Version
05 Frozen – Widescreen Mix
06 Frozen – Edit
07 Frozen – Stereo MC’s Remix Edit
08 Frozen – Extended Club Mix Edit
09 Frozen – William Orbit Drumapella
10 Frozen – Victor Calderone Drumapella

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News 8 Throwback: Grammy Award winning artists performing in San Diego (Virgin Tour footage)

In this week’s News 8 Throwback we show you a menagerie of talented musicians performing in our city in the 1980s and ’90s.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The 63rd annual Grammy Awards are this Sunday March 14 on CBS and News 8. We dug into our archives to find artists who have been honored with Grammy awards and nominations. A menagerie of talented musicians performing in our city in the 1980s and ’90s is this week’s News 8 Throwback.

Willie Nelson won 10 Grammy Awards and has been nominated an impressive 52 times. Here he is performing at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on June 5, 1981. Larry Himmel was there and said Nelson’s voice was rich in flavor, tempered by years on the road, slightly seasoned with Jack Daniels.

Madonna concert at SDSU Open Air Theatre in San Diego in 1985

Madonna boasts 7 wins and 28 nominations. On April 19, 1985, The Virgin Tour stopped in San Diego at SDSU Open Air Theater.

More at CBS8 

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Mick Rock Reflects on a Career of Shooting Stars (includes Madonna)

© Mick Rock 2021 / Midaro / West-Contemporary-Editions.com


“This was a curious one. There was a guy called Bleecker Bob who had a store in the West Village called ‘Bleeker Bob’s Golden Oldies.’ In my early years in New York, he would sometimes bring aspiring singers to my studio on Madison Ave. and 32nd. I would take snaps of all of them and [Madonna] came up one summer evening. She seemed very ambitious. I recall her being friendly but mostly curious, just having a look around. I don’t recall her being obnoxious in any way, she was just young. She was curious about Lou Reed and Bowie. Everyone wanted to know about David. 

This is 1980, so she’d only just about got here. I don’t know if she was even doing music at this time because she came to New York to dance. The shot didn’t take very long, it’s not constructed. I wasn’t telling her, ‘Baby, stick your tongue out’. She did all that. She’d do whatever it takes to get a bit of attention. 

For years I never thought much of this picture. It’s not one of these apocalyptic shots of her, like I shot of some other people. On the other hand, I see why people like it because she’s so raw. Not in an unpleasant way, there’s nothing wrong with it. I’m very happy to have got this Polaroid now that she’s a big spirit in the sky. I mean, does she rank up there with the big ones? In a way, she does. Not so much for the music but for the way she put herself over. This was at a time in the eighties when it was so unbelievably sexist in music, so you’ve got to respect her. It’s not easy. I don’t think she ever had a drug problem. She was fueled by ambition, god bless her. There’s about another five of these polaroids and I can’t find them. I’ve got to find the rest of them because this is the stuff that people love.”

Read full article at Interviewmagazine.com

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Madonna’s Found Her “Lucky Star”! original article from Bop magazine (1984)

Back in the day I used to buy Bop magazine because I had a mad crush on Jonathan Brandis (may he rest in peace) and Bop always succeeded to satisfy my teenage needs. However Bop also made sure to dedicate their time to ‘Lucky Star’ Madonna!

She just released her “Like a Virgin” album and Bop even offered for you to write her a letter!

Check this and more out in our Like a Virgin album page (which we are currently updating and restyling)

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Piers Morgan Was Banned From This Celebrity’s Talk Show (Madonna-related)

Back in 2011, ahead of the premiere of her short-lived OWN series The Rosie ShowRosie O’Donnell was asked by Access Hollywood whether or not there were any celebrities who wouldn’t be welcome on set.

“Yes, I’ve banned Piers Morgan,” she said. “He banned Madonna for no reason when his show started, so I’m banning Piers Morgan! I don’t have anybody banned, but if I have to make a list, he’s on it.”

In December 2010, before his CNN talk show Piers Morgan Tonight had even started, Morgan told The Hollywood Reporter that he would never want to interview Madonna. “She’s too vegan for TV,” Morgan said. “We have Lady Gaga now. So Madonna is banned from my show.”

O’Donnell and Madonna met on the set of the 1992 film A League of Their Own, and have stayed close ever since. During an interview with Howard Stern in April of 2020, O’Donnell shared that she still talks to Madonna frequently and that they’ve turned to each other for comfort throughout the pandemic. So for her, banning Morgan was about standing up for a friend. For another host’s hard line, check out The One Guest Anderson Cooper Banned From His Show.

Read the full article at Best Life Online

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Madonnaunderground.com celebrates 15th anniversary – WIN Madonna items! Thanks to Lucky Records

We have been online for 15 years! It was in March 2006 that we introduced madonnaunderground.nl (and later .com) to the world. We can honestly say that it has been quite the celebration working on improving and updating its content daily.

To celebrate our 15th anniversary there will various giveaways!

The incredible and legendary Lucky Records in Paris was kind enough to donate various items for you to win. To make sure many fans have a chance we have to decided to divide the items up into four different packages.

Package number 1 includes:

  • Superstar – official sealed cardsleeve 2-track CD single from Brazil 
  • American Pie – official sealed 4-track CD single from Germany 9362448372
  • Music – official sealed 4-track CD single from Germany 9362 44898 2
  • Don’t Tell Me – official sealed CD single from UK CD1 W547CD1
  • Don’t Tell Me – official sealed CD single from UK CD2 W547CD2
  • American Life – official French promo sticker (front and back)
  • Music (single) – official French WEA promo postcard
  • Music (album) – official French WEA promo postcard
  • Madame X Tour – Paris leg high glossy large postcard (Lucky Records on back)
  • Set of unofficial Herb Ritts (The Immaculate Collection) buttons

We appreciate every one of our visitors and would love to thank our most loyal visitors by sending them one of the packages. If you aren’t following us already on social media, then please don’t forget to do so now!

To enter send your full name and address to: info@madonnaunderground.com

You have the entire week, we will announce package number 2 next Monday.

Thank you to Lucky Records!

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AT CLOSE RANGE (1986) Limited Edition Blu-ray Set (Australia)

Madonna’s Live To Tell which she co-wrote is featured in the film’s soundtrack and Sean Penn (to whom she was married to) stars in it.

Based on a true story, “At Close Range” follows the lives of the Whitewood family in rural Pennsylvania. Brothers Brad Jr. (Sean Penn) and Tommy (Chris Penn) are the sons of organized crime leader Brad Sr. (Christopher Walken), who draws his sons into his life of crime. After starting their own gang, Brad Jr. and Tommy are arrested in a failed robbery attempt, and are forced to face the truth: that their father will do anything to avoid being arrested for his crimes.

Special Features and Technical Specs:

  • 1080p presentation of the film on Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary with director James Foley and film historian Nick Redman (2015)
  • Interview with director James Foley (2018)
  • “Crime in Pennsylvania, The Real Johnston Gang” Interview with former reporter and author of “Jailing the Johnston Gang” Bruce Mowday (2020)
  • Interview with Composer Patrick Leonard (2020)
  • “Badlands” short location video of key geographic locations of actual events. (2020)
  • Isolated Score
  • English LPCM 2.0 Stereo
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Theatrical Trailer Limited Edition slipcase on the first 1500 copies

ORDER HERE

Thanks to Basti

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The Number Ones: Madonna’s “Who’s That Girl”

Madonna released the career-spanning compilation The Immaculate Collection in 1990, when she was at the absolute peak of her powers, and it’s one of the all-time greatest greatest-hits albums. The Immaculate Collection is just end-to-end bangers. It’s got seven #1 singles, and it also has a lot of truly iconic songs that had to be on there, even if they didn’t make it to #1: “Holiday,” “Borderline,” “Material Girl,” “Into The Groove.” Practically every song on The Immaculate Collection is a party-starter. To listen to The Immaculate Collection straight through is to marvel at a truly masterful pop career.

The Immaculate Collection is even more impressive when you think about what didn’t make it onto the album. Consider the Immaculate Collection omission “Who’s That Girl.” That’s the title song from the first movie where Madonna played the lead, and it was a genuinely big song. But Madonna didn’t make room for “Who’s That Girl” on The Immaculate Collection. She had too many great songs. A mediocre single couldn’t get a spot on The Immaculate Collection, even if that song was a #1 hit.

You couldn’t blame Madonna if she wanted to forget all about Who’s That Girl. Madonna made the 1987 movie when she was trying to turn her pop stardom into movie stardom, and things weren’t going too well. Madonna had played her first real dramatic role in the 1985 comedy Desperately Seeking Susan. The film was a critical and commercial hit, and Madonna was great in it. But Madonna had followed Susan by co-starring with her then-husband Sean Penn in 1986’s Shanghai Surprise, a catastrophic flop. After Shanghai Surprise, Hollywood still had faith in Madonna, and she got to make most of the important choices on Who’s That GirlWho’s That Girl is fully Madonna’s. It did even worse than Shanghai Surprise.

I’ve never seen Who’s That Girl, but it looks like pure doodoo. Madonna plays Nikki Finn, a screwball sexpot with a grating Betty Boop voice. At the beginning of the film, she’s framed for her boyfriend’s murder. After she’s been in jail for a few years, Griffin Dunne’s uptight lawyer guy, for reasons unclear from the Wikipedia plot summary, has to pick her up from jail just before marrying the daughter of the richest man in New York. Hijinks ensue, and Madonna and Griffin Dunne fall in love. Who’s That Girl bricked hard at the box office, earning less than half its production budget and getting intensely bad reviews.

It probably didn’t help that the movie seems very reminiscent of Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild, an actual masterpiece that came out just a year earlier. Also, Who’s That Girl came two years after Griffin Dunne had been a square yuppie dork on a wild adventure in Scorsese’s After Hours. So Who’s That Girl was a not-as-good version of a couple of things that had just been done very well. It smelled like a superstar’s indulgent vanity project because that’s what it was.

Read full article at Stereogum

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Madame X says goodbye in Paris – 1 year ago today

One year ago today Madonna performed the final show of her Madame X Tour at Le Grand Rex in Paris. The Paris leg of the tour had been plagued with cancellations so unfortunately it did not come as a surprise that Madonna wouldn’t be able to finish the Paris leg of the tour. This time however it wasn’t because of Madonna’s injuries but of the increased restrictions due to the Coronavirus. 

Madonna wasn’t having her best show and was visibly in a lot of pain. Check out this bit from my original report on the night written a year ago:

Madonna wasn’t having her best show tonight she admitted. She wasn’t feeling well and had a cold. She said she was going to miss doing the show. She seemed quite emotional during her speeches. Show started around 11pm and she performed the full set. She was gone from the stage for a long time during Batuka, and sang the full first verse from backstage. She addressed the cancellations saying she was sorry, but when she can’t even get out of bed there’s no way she can perform. It seems as if she’s said her goodbyes already.

During the ‘Mozart out of her pussy’ moment she addressed that she ‘just heard’ and that you never know when things are going to end and that ‘the audience know what she was talking about right?’. She was most definitely speaking about the possible (early) end of the tour due to measurements taken against Coronavirus spreading in France. She spoke about it asking why all these people were getting sick and what the universe was trying to tell us?

She spoke about fighting for what you believe in, to find a cause in your life and to fight for it. She seemed incredibly emotional and her speeches were quite longer than usual. She had her cute moments with dancer aka boyfriend Ahla Malik, a cheeky kiss here and there and the odd funny glances they exchanged. 

It was quite obvious she was struggling throughout the show, forgetting lyrics to God Control and Batuka. David helped her down the stage for the beer bitch moment where she spoke with a French stand up comedian. She repeatedly had to ask a lady to sit down but the lady was persistant as she wanted to give Madonna something. Madonna became quite annoyed by her. The beer bitch moment took a while and finally she asked why everyone was staring at her? 

Polaroid sold for 4100EUR to an Italian fan who actually wasn’t buying it for himself but a friend who had a ticket up on the balcony. M was surprised by the 4100 amount and asked if he just emptied his savings.

Madonna did the best she could last night with what she was able to give, now it is time for Madame X to take a bow and HEAL.

Read my full report HERE

Read Dave’s report HERE

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Madonna gave an impromptu display of bump ‘n grind back in ’83 (Smash Hits article)

This rare article appeared in the November/December 1983 edition of the Smash Hits Yearbook 1984. Madonna’s single ‘Everybody’ being remixed by Rusty Egan is mentioned as well as the following

In the Spring of this year, she came here from her native New York and caused eyes to pop and drinks to spill on the floor of Le Beat Route club when she gave an impromptu display of bump ‘n grind with her two black dance partners that made Hot Gossip look like cold Turkey.

Added to The First Album

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