Apparently I’m going to be parcelling out my little thoughts about the Madonna show over a few days, thanks to schedule and tiredness and *whine whine whine*.
I enjoyed the show a lot, as a whole. I enjoyed the pagentry and skill and music and live-ness and being in the space and experiencing things with others who marveled at it with me. And more than that, which I’ll try to articulate better as I go. The tickets were pricey, but the money was well-spent.
With that said, I was not psyched about the opening number, though it made me laugh.
The start of the show is a pseudo-Catholic ritual with chanting and a massive thurible, lighted from within and spewing mist like smoke (though no actual smoke or incense or smell).
When I saw it, I thought that Madonna herself would emerge at last from the thurible. That would have been cool.
The dancers — you knew of course that they were really dancers — were all arrayed around the stage, contorting their arms and bodies, or standing solemnly in robes.
Did you see the multi-jointed guys with the pterodactyl wings? Yeah, I saw them too.
It looks like the fevered dream of someone who’d watched The Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and a few torrid scenes of Jurassic Park in quick succession, then sipped on an absinthe hot toddy before falling into a fevered, troubled sleep.
All of this plays out over the soundtrack of repetitions of Madonna’s prerecorded “Oh my god” voiceover (notably not “Oh, my God” or even “Oh my God” — just OMG really). Then the Lady M herself comes out, and the stage breaks into “Girls Gone Wild” from the new album. The song is a relief after the darkness of the church-demon-Red Death imagery.
Things get weird from that for a few numbers, with more guns than make any kind of sense and Madonna closing the wrong eye when she aims them to shoot. There’s some stage fighting and a graphic amount of stage blood splashed digitally across the massive electronic projection screen at the back of the stage.
It’s gorgeously choreographed, majestically produced on a massive scale, and rather without soul.
Then, at last, the music and a bit of joy catch up four or five songs in, and Madonna starts to show a little of herself. But I’ll save that better stuff for the next post.