Monday, October 20, 2008

Madonna Gives it to Toronto with all her Heartbeat





Oh…. my… god. I have never been so buzzed in my entire life.

Anyone that knows me well knows that I am a gigantic Madonna fan. For me Madonna has always been a testament to the creative force of a woman that can create trends, dissect culture and then decipher it into meaning something that can connect with people en mass. She pushed people to think.

Understanding that Madonna does appropriate culture does not and has not ever bothered me. I think that is what she is - an experimental artist that has managed to grow in the public eye without ever loosing confidence on being herself.

The first time I saw M was in 2000 when I traveled to Detroit and saw the Drowned World Tour the night HBO recorded live - from that moment, M and I have grown a very deep and personal relationship. I have seen her 4 times now and I have never regretted spending the hefty amount her tickets sell for, or taking pilgrimages to other cities to see her perform.

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Last night Her Madgesty did not disappoint her people. I was reminded alongside the sold out Air Canada Centre - why this woman is one a kind, and irreplaceable.

The second date for the Sticky & Sweet Tour in Toronto started with M being revealed on a giant pimp throne, and the thunder of voices screaming in hysteria bouncing to the beats. The level of energy is magnetic and you can literally feel the buzz in the air.

My favourite part of seeing her live is the visual feat she gives through the production of her show. It is like being in the candy shop and wanting it all - so it was only appropriate that she opened with that track off the latest album, Hard Candy.

6 gigantic screens graced the main stage showing an array of bouncy slogans and images that created a chant along of the show and housed images for the songs that the albums producers, Timberland and Pharrell Williams appear.

Justin Timberlake was brought to life on smaller sliding screens that Madonna mounted and danced with for 4 minutes. However my favourite screen was a cylinder screen that was along the edge on the stage, a few meters from where I was seated.

Unbelievable, the screen poured raindrops as Madonna sang “The Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You,” incased within the see-through screen with a black robe on. The screen eventually lifted to reveal her tiny force.

She interacted equally on the main stage as she did on the runway stage, giving her fans the ability to be close to the icon. A surprise for me was when she sang “You Must Love Me” from Evita on the front stage.

She seemed softer and sweeter than the hardcore trailblazer we have come to love or hate. Madonna proved to be a woman of many images - just what she has always done best.

It is hard to believe that that little woman, 5'2, garners that much power over her audience. Her frame is petite and sitting in the 23rd row made me realize just how delicate and fragile the 50 year old is. Yes 50!!!!!

The woman can out dance the pop tarts half her age any day. That is why Madge reigns supreme as the Queen of Pop - she is a consummate professional and a performer, rather than a singer. She never bows down at the sight of adversity and as she has claimed, she is her own piece of art.

M is able to transport you into a trance for the hours that she graces you to her iconography, her messages about love, life, growth and her constant encouragement to keep on going. Her productions are a sensation overload, trust me I saw two people fall to the ground - thud!

I have never ever enjoyed a woman that yells at me as much as Madonna. Though she tries to kill her fans by making them scream their guts out and refusing to put on air conditioning for the sake of her voice, I would have gladly passed out for her!

Musically all Madonna concerts bring an interesting mix of old and new - but the catch for her devoted fans is that she always brings some new mixing to her old tracks.

I was transfixed yesterday when she sang a house version of “Like a Prayer” - this is my favourite Madonna song of all time. Other highlight remixes included “Vogue” sampled with “4 Minutes”, a rock out version of “Borderline” avec guitar, a folk version of “la isla bonita” with a dance circle and a beautiful flamenco dancer, and a high-energy, non-stop danceable version of “Give it to Me” to close the show.

I just could not stop dancing!!!

I can't really convey the effect of Madonna live over just a few words. I have seen many large-scale performers do their thing on stage, but no one seems to do it with the same conviction and care to details as M.

She hit every move and she danced hard and gave it to her audience. Much like Madonna has grown as an individual, she has also grown as a performer. An avid follower of her work can identify her ability to be more vulnerable on stage and comfortable with her fans.

Though she still puts on a show, it is less about fancy costuming on this tour. In fact, she is stripped down quite simply - no cone bra this time around. The costuming this tour was not my favourite, I will admit, though she still managed to rock what she wore.

It is her confidence that makes and keeps her sexy.

My favourite outfit of hers was a black dress laced with dangling neon-coloured material necklaces. She looked stunning and the outfit matched the level of fun and intensity that her show exuded.

I was touched when introducing Miles Away she remarked, "Will you giive me some love Toronto? I am feeling lonely and I need it."

This was clearly an ordinary woman with extraordinary talents on stage, being simply human. With a divorce ensuing, she still does not disappoint her fans and manages to continue her Sticky & Sweet Tour without interruption. (Meanwhile Janet Jackson continues to cancel dates and has not rescheduled any thus far).

The crowd last night in Toronto was fornicating for Madge; explosions of screams filled the air and gays jumped around like they had found their way home to mama. I was so ready to jump and did I ever JUMP! I was soaked with sweat and I had never felt so good about being sticky and sweet.

This is a night I will never forget. From the anticipation, to the coming of Provocation Day - it’s this one woman who remains my inspiration…my provocation.
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Look for my full review of Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour in Toronto coming soon to Xtra.
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