PHILADELPHIA — Madonna shed one layer of clothing after another in a seductive striptease — the white shirt, the corset, the dark dress pants — until she stood in the middle of the sold-out Wells Fargo Center in her black bra and panties to reveal the words “NO FEAR” in bold letters on her back.

Clearly, it’s her motto — for herself and for her “MDNA” tour, which she rehearsed throughout May at Nassau Coliseum. “Sometimes,” she says, as an introduction to her classic “Like a Virgin,” which was reworked into a piano-driven waltz, “it’s easier to show your ass than it is to show your feelings.”

She reveals both in the ambitious tour, which she calls “the journey of a soul from darkness to light.” She adds, “It is part cinematic musical theater, part spectacle and sometimes intimate performance art.” And she does it at all while under fire.

“Her career is over, I can tell you that,” Elton John said of her in a recent Australian interview. “Her tour has been a disaster. . . . If Madonna had any common sense, she would have made a record like ‘Ray of Light,’ stayed away from the dance stuff and just been a great pop singer and made great pop records, which she does brilliantly. But no . . . she looks like a —- fairground stripper.”

John’s comments, which he has since claimed were off the record, could be seen as sour grapes — Madonna’s “Masterpiece” beat out John’s “Hello Hello” to win the Golden Globe for best original song this year and in the Madonna vs. Lady Gaga “Express Yourself” / “Born This Way” skirmish, he is firmly on the side of his son’s godmother, Ga. However, he is far from Madonna’s lone critic for this tour, as everyone from Russian political activists to French politicians are having a go at the Material Girl, wondering aloud about her intentions and her future.

Of course, Madonna is no stranger to controversy. That might be part of the problem.

“Madonna has a persona where she has traded on her physicality and sexuality, sometimes with the music taking a backseat to the buttons she’s pushing,” says Meredith Rutledge-Borger, assistant curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. “It’s not like with Aretha Franklin, where her matchless voice, her musicianship has always been the story. Sometimes, with Madonna, the controversy was the story. Now, she’s wanting to change course, and the public and the media won’t let her.”

Madonna is certainly more musical these days. She’s more artistic overall, directing the movie “W.E.,” as well as working on her “MDNA” album. She compares the tour to a film about struggling to change the world. “When you watch a film, there are usually good guys and bad guys to help illustrate this point,” she says. “Sometimes I play both. I enjoy acting out this journey.” The tour is set to rank among the top 10 biggest-grossing tours of all time, filling stadiums around the world, including, for the first time, Yankee Stadium Sept. 6 and 8. Her album “MDNA,” which finds her embracing electronic dance music beats, while revealing more in her lyrics about her personal life than ever before, debuted at No. 1, and her Super Bowl halftime show became the most-watched ever, drawing 114 million viewers.

Not bad for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer marking her 30th anniversary in the business. However, naysayers point out how “MDNA’s” sales fell a record-setting 87 percent in its second week and how pop radio has essentially ignored her singles. Of course, pop radio has never really had an interest in new music from artists older than 50, not the Rolling Stones, not Franklin, not Paul McCartney and not 54-year-old Madonna. The fact that “MDNA’s” first single, “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” drew any mainstream pop attention at all signaled her power, not her failing.

Rutledge-Borger says other Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have faced similar scrutiny later in their careers. “There were certainly stories about 50-year-old Mick Jagger like, ‘Is he really as sexy as he thinks he is?’ “ she says. “The questions about Madonna are just amplified by our 24-hour news cycle. What is different about Madonna, though, is her persona that has always been about shape-shifting and reinvention. Because she’s had this reputation as a cat with nine lives, maybe people are more hypercritical. It does seem that maybe this is a reinvention that people have not been so quick to affirm yet. If she comes out on this tour and blows everyone away, though, she’s gonna get the last laugh.”

At this point in her career, Madonna isn’t really reinventing much. Her stands on free speech and inclusion, and gay and lesbian rights that have been drawing headlines around the world are essentially the same issues she has been outspoken about for years.

It’s not a matter of Madonna seeking out new causes to get people talking about her. It’s just an outgrowth of her “life in a fishbowl.”

“I don’t think it’s me being controversial,” she told Harry Smith on “Rock Center With Brian Williams.” “I think people, other people like to get attention, and they know they can get attention for themselves by mentioning my name. And I think some people are kind of stuck on my name like a needle on a record, and they just have to keep calling attention to something I’ve done. And it works.”

She acknowledges that the show’s opening is violent and fake guns are used, even though she does “not condone violence or the use of guns.” “They are symbols of wanting to appear strong and wanting to find a way to stop feelings that I find hurtful or damaging,” she says. “In my case, it’s wanting to stop the lies and hypocrisy of the church, the intolerance of many narrow-minded cultures and societies I have experienced throughout my life and in some cases the pain I have felt from having my heart broken.”

She says it’s “very important to me as an artist that my show not be taken out of context.”

“It must be watched with an open heart from beginning to end,” she says in her tour “manifesto.” “I am sure if it is viewed this way, the viewer will walk away feeling inspired, invigorated and will want to make the world a better place. And this, of course, was always my intention.”



Source : NewsDay


When Monte Pittman was 14 years old he had a dream that he was onstage playing guitar with Madonna. Pittman isn’t sure why he had this dream, since he was more of a Metallica/Anthrax/Slayer kid at the time. But the dream was so vivid that he remembers telling people about it. One of the people he told, eventually, was Madonna herself.

As a boy, Monte Pittman dreamed of playing guitar onstage with Madonna.


After starting out as her guitar teacher 12 years ago, Pittman has become a core member of Madonna’s band. When she brings her “MDNA” tour to the TD Garden on Tuesday it will be Pittman’s fifth live go-round as her lead guitarist.

“She’s the best boss you could ever ask for,” says Pittman on the phone from a Philadelphia tour stop. The Texas native has worked with Madonna since he was 24 and co-written several songs with her.

Not only, says Pittman, is she open to collaboration, but she also tells a good joke. He adds with a laugh, “but I’m not repeating any of them.”

Even more valuable, the boss supports her band members, says Pittman: “She’s selling my CD at her merch booth.”

Like many of Madonna’s band members, Pittman is also an artist in his own right and hopes to tour for his 2011 solo release, “Pain, Love & Destiny,” after the “MDNA” tour and get started on album number three, which he says will be “heavily influenced by classic Metallica and Pantera.”

On Tuesday, Pittman will be operating under the watchful eye of musical director/keyboardist Kevin Antunes, a New Bedford native who became Madonna’s right-hand man on her “Sticky & Sweet” tour.

Antunes, who designed the soundtrack for the recent “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil,” says Madonna fans are in for some serious spectacle.

“It’s visually stunning,” says Antunes on the phone from a Paris tour stop. “The stage that we have, nothing has ever been built like this.”

Both musicians say to expect interesting re-arrangements of familiar tunes as well, on which they both had input. “It happens a bunch of different ways,” says Antunes of the live arrangements that find songs being mashed-up, medley-ized, stripped down, and reimagined. “But nothing happens with Madonna’s music without her blessing. It’s a nice little situation where I’m fortunate to be her copilot, just kind of riding along.”

A dream come true, for both musicians.

Source : TheBostonGlobe


Swatch watches.

And Madonna.


I had no idea who Madonna was when I first got to camp that summer.

Like, zero.

But there were two girls in my bunk who did.

The first one was from Brooklyn and her name was Nicole.

And she was cool but indifferent in an almost-but-not-quite-goth kinda way.

She rocked pale skin in the middle of July and a jet black asymmetrical bob. She rimmed her eyes in pounds of dark kohl liner. She wore cropped black leggings during the day. She told crazy stories about sneaking out to midnight showings of Rocky Horror that intrigued me even as they scared the shit out of me. And she spent a shitload of time listening to some platinum-haired chick on a cracked cassette tape sing about love and lucky stars.


The other girl who was in the know that summer was Tammy.

And Tammy was a flirt.
She was from an exotic sounding place I had never heard of called the Main Line.


And even though she was the polar opposite of Nicole in about a billion ways, Tammy rocked a black bob that summer too. Only she paired hers with long, dangly earrings and black Chuck Taylor high tops with fat red laces — which sounds like a ridiculous combination but somehow just absolutely wasn’t.

Maybe it was because Tammy was cute and tiny and popular in all the right ways. The kind of girl who’d run up behind a boy she liked in the middle of the day, fling her arms around his neck and jump on his back with a high-pitched giggle.

Who’d drag you into a sticky, humid bathroom stall and force you into using a tampon for the very first time when you were too much of a wuss to do it yourself. Who was confident in the way only a 14-year-old girl who is just beginning to discover the power of her sexuality can be.

And who knew every word to every song on both Side A and Side B of Madonna.

There were only eight songs on Madonna’s first album.


And to this day I can recite them in my sleep: “Lucky Star.” “Borderline.” “Burning Up.” “I Know It.” “Holiday.” “Think of Me.” “Physical Attraction.” “Everybody.”

But eight songs was all it took. Because by the time the camp nights turned damp and cool enough for sweatshirts signaling the end of yet another summer, I knew the words to every single one of them, and my life would never again be the same.

Did you just roll your eyes?

It’s OK. I don’t blame you.

But here’s the thing.

Before Madonna, there were no female pop stars for teenage girls to identify with.


We didn’t have a Britney, or a Christina, or a Katy, or a Ke$ha. We didn’t have a P!nk or a Fergie or a Rihanna. We didn’t even have a Selena freaking Gomez.

I mean… we had Tina Turner. But she was kinda scary. Cyndi Lauper had just come onto the scene. But she was just a little too weird to be relatable.

So who else was there?

I mean, the person I probably identified with the most back then was David Lee Roth, mostly because he somehow managed to possess both the coolest wardrobe and the most totally awesome permed mane of the decade.

I so wish I was joking.

But really?

Who were we supposed to look up to?

Christie Brinkley? Cheryl Tiegs?

C’mon! They were supermodels! And their sexy-but-wholesome images mocked us from the bedroom walls of the neighborhood boys we had once collected lightening bugs with.

Even Charlene Tilton and Catherine Bach had the whole big boobed, sexy-stemmed bombshell thing going on with their perfect Breck Girl hair and Daisy Dukes cut up to vaginaville.

But then came Madonna.

With her messy bleached-out hair, ripped black leggings and cropped mesh tops punctuated with yards of tangled rosaries.

She was a rebel. A misfit. A troublemaker.

And yes. She was a little chubby.

She was also dark, but somehow girly. Pop, but also urban.

She wasn’t perfect. She was a perfect mess.

And she didn’t give a shit what anybody had to say about it.

Unlike the others I’ll do anything. I’m not the same. I have no shame.

I know her lyrics may not have been as straight-up angry and revolutionary as, say, Alanis Morisette’s would be a decade later. But while Madonna may have sung with a certain airy naivete about longing for love and freedom and the one boy who didn’t want her, in real life she was a jagged little pill.

Which made her the ultimate symbol of female empowerment to a generation of girls who were clearly starving for one.

And so it didn’t matter if you were a Nicole from Brooklyn… or a Tammy from suburban Philadelphia… or if you were just another random teenager biding her time with a part-time job at Cignal and a 10th-grade boyfriend who met you in the Friendly’s parking lot after school to smoke clove cigarettes. It didn’t matter if you were a slut. Or a bitch. Or a prude. Or a loner.

Madonna was a vulnerable badass who just wanted to be loved. And so every single one of us embraced her as our generation’s first collective girl crush and loved her.

We proved our commitment by tying those big mesh bows in our hair and piling black rubber bracelets up our arms, and by recording the Lucky Star video on VHS, then racing home after school to rewind about 50 billion times until we knew every single dance move cold.

We scoured second-hand stores for black leather jackets that even slightly resembled the one she wore in Desperately Seeking Susan. We went to see Vision Quest just to hear her sing Crazy For You. And we begged our older sisters, brothers, cool neighbors to drive us to see her live — live! — when she rolled into town for The Virgin Tour.

That was over 25 years ago.

Twenty-five years.

And not once, in all that time, have I ever stopped loving Madonna.

Not during the Sean Penn phase, or the Kabbalah phase, or the Hey-look-at-me-I’m-sleeping-with-Vanilla Ice phase. Not during the Sex book phase. Or Shanghai Surprise. Or even during the time she went to that really dark place and started rocking a big black top hat and scary blacked-out tooth.

OK — possibly then. But only for, like, just a second.

And not even last month when she drew mad criticism for brandishing a fake AK-47 during a show on the European leg of her current tour.

I know. You’re rolling your eyes again.

But here’s the thing:

Madonna moved to New York City in 1977 to be a dancer with $35 in her pocket.

Today her total net worth is an estimated $500 million.

Do you need a minute to let that sink in?

She appeared as if out of nowhere at a time when I was an impressionable young girl who thought following the rules was the only option. Then she put on a wedding dress, called herself a Boy Toy and rolled around on the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards and showed me that it wasn’t.

She had the balls not just to break the rules, but to whip out a Sharpie and freaking rewrite them. And OK — while I agree that Madge has been acting kinda desperate lately in an effort to remain relevant, she has also sold more than 300 million records, has had 37 Top 10 singles and 17 Top 10 albums — seven of which made it to number one. She won two Golden Globes, published a bunch of children’s books, launched a clothing line. She is the female artist with the most certified singles (gold and platinum), more than the Beatles.

And tonight, she will kick off the North America leg of her MDNA tour right here at the Wells Fargo Center.

Do you even have to ask if I am going?

Dance and sing, get up and do your thing.

Proud Madonna Wannabe for over 25 years.

And still freaking counting.

Source : HuffingtonPost


Madonna exorcise her demons in her new show. That at least is the impression she gave us last night at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Front of more than 16,000 screaming fans (the word is weak), the indestructible icon has proposed a concert sometimes dark, sometimes light, but always entertaining and challenging. A mega-production that rises above the offerings of other pop stars who are trying to ensure her succession.

Madonna appeared to the public at 22 h 15, after a Gregorian chant Kalakan offered by a trio Basque. Gun in hand, wearing a veil and a golden crown (a nod to the look she wore when she was married to Guy Ritchie), the singer of 54 years has removed her gear before singing Girl Gone Wild. With a half-dozen dancers in the style of depraved monks, the idol of several generations is under attack with conviction.

Choreography set to a quarter-turn, dynamic lighting, throbbing rhythms, oppressive atmosphere, plunging neckline … The tone was set.

Foot on the accelerator, one hand on the trigger, Madonna continued her virulent race Gang Bang, the best part of her latest CD, MDNA.

Such a heroine “badass” films of Quentin Tarantino, the indefatigable star has furiously cleared – one by one – the masked bandits who wanted to kill him in her hotel room cheap. With each shot, the blood spurted on giant screens placed in the background. Striking images which perfectly reflected the violence of words of the song. The culmination of the number? A furious battle with a giant smarter than her peers. Cascades series, brain bursts, demonic laughter … The aggressiveness shown by Madonna had nothing plated. Quite the contrary.

It is felt invested, passionate and even a bit possessed.

“Now if you’re gonna act like a bitch, you’re gonna die like a motherfucking bitch! “She cried wildly before removing her last assailant under the roar of the audience, visibly blown away by this little gem of a scene by Michel Laprise.

Some criticize Madonna have preferred her latest compositions and shunned several unavoidable. The numbers do not lie: 8 of the 19 songs in the program were drawn from the latest installment of the American. Given this plethora of new features, several old hits were conspicuous by their absence.

Where were the Into the Groove, Holiday, Ray of Light, Music and Other Sorry? Nowhere.

To impress the audience and convince the critics, Madonna complicates life. Instead of linking tubes for two hours, she leaves the beaten track and offers securities that are part of the story she wants to tell.

To hell with ease!

As laudable as it is, this obstinacy annoyed when it leads the singer to emerge titles rather means, such as Revolver. Although he respected the theme perfectly

“Armed and dangerous” in the first act, this bland duet with Lil Wayne (featured on screens) has impressed anyone with her extreme air formatted.

We noticed the signature of Cirque du Soleil several times during the concert. Hung Up was especially accompanied by acrobats multiplied spins on elastic straps.

Impossible to ignore the contribution of Moment Factory, which signs video and multimedia concert. Images Cathedral and glasses shatter made unturned opening.

But the Montreal firm is especially illustrated with 36 cubes covered motorized LED screens which metamorphosed the scene in a jiffy.

Martin Solveig as an aperitif
Providing the first part of the concert, Martin Solveig has fulfilled its mandate to wait fans before the moment of truth. French DJ – who co-produced some tracks of MDNA (whose catchy Turn Up the Radio and Give Me All Your Luvin ‘) – shot several tubes of his boss, he amused himself with some success to remix radio hour.

Source : JournalDeMontreal


Inarguably as important as the music and theatrics, Madonna’s look always takes centre stage.

A glam squad of four, including Madonna’s key makeup artist, Gina Brooke, is standing by at the ready backstage during her MDNA concert tour to work with pit-stop efficiency. Through a bevy of costume changes, this deft team quick-changes Madonna’s makeup and sometimes her entire look in a mere minute and a half between sets.

While there’s a need for speed, makeup application involves dexterity and care, especially when working around the eyes. Brooke, a native New Yorker, has worked with Madonna and other celebrities for 10 years, beautifying them for special events, videos and photo shoots. She is leading Madonna’s makeup for MDNA – which made its first Canadian stop in Montreal Thursday – as well as her last three tours.

“I designed two main makeup charts to cover Madonna’s three makeup looks for the current MDNA tour. After our initial 45-minute pre-show makeup application, I’ve got one and a half minutes to change Madonna’s look two times during each show. Any glitch is potentially disastrous, as the show keeps rolling,” says Brooke.

Brooke collaborated with MAKE UP FOREVER to create a newly launched shade of red, waterproof lip colour – the official makeup colour of the MDNA tour. The new shade will soon be in stores such as Sephora, for all those ladies coveting those bold red lips.

“I work with many MAKE UP FOREVER products, so it seemed natural to collaborate with them to create a special, universal, red liquid lip colour called MAKE UP FOREVER AQUA ROUGE #8, which is the main lip colour that Madonna wears throughout much of the show and which looks good on any skin colour,” says Brooke.

“It’s also a densely pigmented formula that is smudge-proof, sweat-proof and dance-proof,” adds Brooke.

According to Brooke, the three looks for the show start with a “Super Vixen” look featuring emphasis on the eyes and a pale lip, followed by a change to a 1930s Parisian-inspired look with a bold red lip, which remains the main look for much of the show.

“Later I change Madonna’s makeup look back to a variation on the first look. The third “Joan of Arc” look is a little earthier, with even stronger emphasis on Madonna’s eyes,” says Brooke.

Planning the MDNA tour makeup looks took about four weeks.

“The starting point for designing the makeup looks was familiarizing myself with Madonna’s chosen song list, then looking at the costumes and the lighting,” says Brooke.


Madonna’s enormously successful MDNA tour, slated to hit Yankee Stadium in New York twice next week, arguably features her most ambitious stage costumes to date. The dramatic gender-bending looks for the singer and her cadre of dancers push design conventions to their limits, with the cantilevering, crystalline, patent-leather footwear alone worth a hundred editorials. In this backstage tour video by Swarovski, whose glimmering gems adorn Madge’s costumes an astounding 315,000 times, you can appreciate the exhaustive breadth of the MDNA design aesthetic.

In the behind-the-scenes footage, wardrobe supervisor Lana Czajka explains that preparation for each evening’s show begins at 9 a.m., when 30 racks of clothes are steamed, pressed and retouched. “Most of our sparkle happens during ‘Vogue,'” she notes, pointing to a noirish collection of Venetian masks, top hats and riding crops. An extremely impressive, armored chainmail look containing thousands of micro-crystals provides a true spotlight moment, as does the jeweled MDNA tee featured in the “Celebration” finale.

Such meticulous detailing befits a pop queen like Madonna. “She is involved with everything,” head dresser Tony Villanueva emphasizes. “She has final say.”

Source : Rolling Stone