I wasn’t expecting to be able to see a show on Madonna’s latest tour. The only England date was Hyde Park. I hate travelling to London, the tickets were very expensive let alone the cost of travel and accommodation and at the time of release I didn’t even know if I’d still have a full-time job. So, when a Twitter friend kindly offered to get me a ticket along with her friends I very reluctantly had to say no.
I made a comment that I hoped she’d add a date elsewhere, preferably Birmingham so I could stay with a friend and was used to the journey, but didn’t hold out much hope.
Until, the end of March when an extra gig was announced at the NIA in Birmingham! 🙂
I got the cheapest tickets and in the end my lovely friend Natalie came with me on Thursday.
I did half a day at work, left Stella with Granny & Grandad and headed up the motorway.
We got into the city centre with lots of time to spare and set about finding somewhere to eat. This turned out to be pretty impossible. Despite parking where there are almost too many cafes and restaurants to choose from, everywhere was totally packed out! So, we wandered up to the NIA & hoped the venue catering wasn’t appalling. It wasn’t. Pizza & fries thank you very much 🙂
After eating (and eyeing up the doughnut stand for interval nibbles!) we thought we’d find where our seats were and check out the support act (Swedish DJ Alesso). Good job we did this while the lights were on and a good job I’d taken some precautionary Labyrinthitis medication! I knew we’d be quite far back but had no idea how steep the seating was. Natz got vertigo and I was lucky not to have a bad relapse! There was no way we were moving for doughnuts, toilets or anything less than an emergency.
Alesso came on much later than billed and his DJ set didn’t really work in a seated venue in my opinion. It was inoffensive enough though, I only recognised 2 songs, his Coldplay and Keane remixes, and hopefully the golden triangle crowd had a bit of a boogie.
Then came another long wait until the main event. Mexican waves, shouting & foot-stamping would not bring Madge out until she was good and ready though and it was getting on for 10pm when we finally got what we’d come for…
It was a superb start to the show and a glimpse of the drama to follow in the next 2 hours.
The first song was Girl Gone Wild from Madonna’s latest record, MDNA. There were a few people in the crowd that seemed unhappy at the high ratio of new songs to old. But, as the tour is called MDNA to promote that latest record they were a bit silly to complain! We all love the old tracks but how the dickens she chooses which from the extensive back catalogue to include and which not I have no idea! I’d love to see a Greatest Hits tour sometime though 🙂
She picked up a prop gun for Revolver and Gang Bang. I for one don’t much like the violent theme of these tracks but there was quite an elaborate set design. We didn’t get to see it though. It must have got lost in transit between Hyde Park and Birmingham or was the source of the “technical difficulty” referred to as a reason for the tardiness of the start. We were treated a sweary rant about it being missing though but she wasn’t as sweary as I’ve seen her previously.
(maybe because all her children were here?)
Next up were Papa Don’t Preach, Hung Up & I Don’t Give A. We see Madonna tightrope walking before being what I presume is meant to represent being dragged to Hell after her killing spree! She swaps gun for guitar which I wish she wouldn’t bother with and we then have a video interval for Best Friend/Heartbeat before the next *act* of the show.
Act 2 was my favourite. Starting with Express Yourself (which as you’ll see from the video takes a little detour at wannabe Lady Gaga’s expense!) and then Give Me All Your Luvin. I’m not a cheerleader/majorette fan but I loved the band of drummers.
She disappears quickly again for another costume change and comes back guitar-laden again for my favourite song from MDNA which is Turn Up The Radio.
Then joined on stage again by her dancers (now including son Rocco) and a group she discovered while on holiday called The Kalakan Trio we are treated to a re-worked Open Your Heart and Masterpiece from her recent movie direction WE. Lovely 🙂
Even though Masterpiece is dedicated to the crowd because she “loves her fans” you can’t help feeling it’s a scripted insincere sentiment. Madonna is an awesome performer but her audience interaction leaves a little to be desired I always feel. But, I paid to see her sing and dance not have a chit chat I suppose. May be spoiled with the other live shows I’ve been to where the act seem to give a damn that we’ve paid our money and come out to support them. Anyway, here’s Masterpiece 🙂
Another video/dancers segment before the next act in the performance & this time it’s Justify My Love. This is your clue that the next bit is heading towards saucy though it starts with Madonna descended from another tower for Vogue. Great costumes too (while they last!)
Clothes start coming off for Candy Shop which has been Erotica’d. & then the stage is filled with mirrors for Human Nature. I thought this looked great & worked really well.
Talking of stripping, this led to a very stripped down version of Like A Virgin which you will either love or hate. Personally I like when she does new versions of old songs, she must get bored of singing them the same way year upon year. But, I don’t think the performance is necessarily suitable when your primary school children are in the audience! Can they tell the difference between Mummy that tells them no tv and eat their greens and Mummy that takes her clothes off and writhes around on a stage?
Another video interval while Madonna gets ready for the final act of the concert.
First up was new song I’m Addicted and then I’m A Sinner which has become another favourite of mine from MDNA. Back came the trusty guitar and some cool graphics.
At least 2 friends have now commented on how tiny she looks here. We forget Madonna’s only a little lady when her personality, and unfortunately sometimes her mouth, is so big!
Time is flying by and we’re already at the penultimate song of the night, Like A Prayer. There’s no doubt in my mind that this was the favourite moment for pretty much the whole crowd. Most of those that had stayed seated throughout got up when this came on. Those of us suffering from the wibbly-wobblies in our nosebleed seats danced in those seats! A definite highlight 🙂
All too soon came the last song, Celebration. Not what I’d have chosen to end on (I badly missed Holiday as part of the live show, but even Music would have been preferable to me) but it fitted with the theme of the final act apparently.
Still a good tune though and good to end on a high.
Here’s the set list split into the Acts. Typos courtesy of Birmingham Live’s review.
Merchandise was hugely expensive as always at these things so I just bought a tour book and a glow-in-the-dark bangle. I didn’t think it did glow in the dark but it proved me wrong at silly o’clock in my friend’s spare room. Half asleep I wondered what the circle of light on the bedside table was! I picked up a poster thing that Heart FM were giving away but being so far away we missed out on the free samples of Truth Or Dare fragrance that were apparently being handed out in the arena.
Thoroughly enjoyed the night but it was a shame that several people had to leave before the end in order to catch buses and trains. I also heard a rumour that she’ll receive a hefty fine for every minute overrun past 11pm. Ouch!