Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Sunday, July 08, 2001

I did it, I did it...!
OK. I can tell you now. I went to see Madonna at Earls Court last night. Did I pay? No. Was I given a ticket? No.

I sneaked in. Not only that, I had Access All Areas.

For months I've been trying to get Madonna tickets. They always sell out within minutes. Finally and unexpectedly on Friday I had a way of getting in. For free. A chance too good to miss. I can't tell you exactly how I did it to protect my accomplice. But I could do it again no problem.

As with any artist the best tours are those that are to promote a greatest hits collection. You get all your favourites and not so much of the 'new stuff'. In 1990 I saw the Blonde Ambition tour and in 1993 the Girlie Show tour. Both were very different. But the former was more enjoyable as it was to promote The Immaculate Collection. Everyone knew every song backwards. The atmosphere was incredible then as Madonna was giving us what we all wanted. I knew that this tour might not have quite the same energy as that but all the same my hopes were high.

All in all the Drowned World show is a good show. Maybe not worth the full £85 but a good show. For nearly two hours we were dazzled non-stop by amazing dancing, lighting and sounds. It was just spectacle after spectacle. Predictably almost every track was from either 'Ray of Light' or 'Music'. First we had the British section (cue Madge with electric guitar) then the Japanese section (with Crouching Tiger flying/fighting). A shortened American section (she started 20 minutes late so some songs were cut from this section) and finally the Spanish section. There was back projection, plasma screens and monitors everywhere. So much stuff was on stage in fact that it was sometimes hard to know where to look for the dancers or indeed Madonna herself.

Obviously Madonna was central, key to all this but at the same time you couldn't but help but feel that she was but a cog in a bigger machine on display. The musicians, sound engineers, lighting designers, choreographers, animators, computers programmers, banks of computers and control equipment were probably the uncredited stars of the show. It was as slick as any in the West End. But at the same time it lacked spontaneity. Madonna barely talked to the audience (except to swear or say, "Come on London!" in a Dick Van Dyke stylee). It was almost sterile. Impressive, amazing, watchable, entertaining but sterile. Rather like watching a special effects ladened film. Impressive but mildly disappointing. I was left wondering what would happen if something went wrong. If a computer broken down would they cancel the show or have to start again from the beginning?

As I say I did enjoy it. It is Madonna after all. The place was packed with queens of course.

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