Tuesday, October 2 was the culmination of my childhood, high school, college and adult life dreams: to see Madonna perform live on tour.
The concert was at the Key Arena in downtown Seattle. More excited than I have ever been for a concert, my friend Janine and I arrived for the show. The crowd was amazing – no matter who you love, how you dress or what your career was, the crowd attending a Madonna concert does not judge. We were all there for one reason, to sing and dance to our favorite songs that we all knew the words to and to watch a woman who has been around and relevant for 30 years, something hard to come by in the music industry. While neither Janine or I had listened to many songs on Madonna’s new “MDNA” album yet, we we were ready for an unforgettable experience.
Martin Solveig, a French electronic music DJ and producer from Paris, and one of the producers on Madonna’s new album, got the crowd pumped. Playing a mix of hip hop and techno, the beats were infectious. Whenever he played a snip of a familiar song, the whole arena came alive with voices in unison.
At 10:31 p.m., Madonna arrived on stage. Thus began a show I was not expecting. I had heard about her pointing a gun at her head during one of her previous shows and, while she did not do that this time, during one of the songs, she sang about shooting people. As she “shot” each of her back up dancers, fake blood exploded on the giant screens behind her. Some of the stage sets reminded me of reading a Dan Brown book and, at some points, I felt like I was watching a sadistic movie. Finally, she sang one of my favorite songs, “Express Yourself”, which immediately picked up my mood, until she began intermixing lyrics from Lady Gaga’s, “Born This Way”, saying, “She’s not me!” As a loyal Lady Gaga fan, I am aware that Born This Way does sound similar to Express Yourself, but Madonna was a pioneer and imitation is a form of flattery, so I was disappointed to actually see and hear this with my own eyes.
Between one of her sets, while she was changing costumes, the giant screen on stage played her song, “Nobody Knows Me”, and showed images of men, women and children around the world who are struggling to survive. She also paid tribute to the recent rash of teen suicides in the United States, including Seth Walsh, who was from Tehachapi, Calif., and Tyler Clementi, the young student from Rutgers University. It was very touching and sad.
While most of the songs she sang were from her new album, after singing “Express Yourself”, Madonna did throw out some of her older songs, like my all time favorite, “Vogue”, and a very toned down, piano-led version of “Like a Virgin”, which was beautiful. A little after midnight, the choir came out and the audience joined in with Madonna and sang, “Like A Prayer”. It was after this that we had to leave Madonna.
Overall, I had mixed feelings about Madonna’s return to Seattle. She looks absolutely amazing and, while her voice was a little scratchy due to her throat hurting, she belted out her songs like no other could. I am not a fan of some of the songs on her new album and watching the stage show with all the dark undertones made me feel uncomfortable. However, I will always admire her and I am so happy that I finally saw her in concert.