Superfit Madonna has admitted even she worries about her weight. The Queen of Pop revealed she sometimes feels overweight despite hitting the gym six days a week. The 48-year-old said: "I run longer on the treadmill and don't eat as much the next day, so then it evens out. "But I'm sure it's all in my head."
In an exclusive interview, Madonna - winner of ELLE's Style Icon Award - told the magazine her punishing exercise regime. She said: "I mix it up - Pilates, gyrotonics and yoga. I do it six days a week with Sunday off. Actually, Sunday is a day of horse-riding. There's no such thing as a day off."
From March 22, women will be able to buy her latest look. She has designed a new range for high street chain H&M.
The full interview appears in the April issue of ELLE magazine, on sale today.
Yesterday evening, Madonna and Guy Ritchie attended the annual Vanity Fair Oscar party at Morton's in West Hollywood, California. (Pix courtesy of AP Photo/Danny Moloshok). Madonna looked stunning in a strappy black satin gown by Dolce & Gabbana with a reported $10 million in diamonds from Neil Lane. Guy kissed her in front of the cameras, not showing any sign of the reported marital problems.
In its third week on the charts, Madonna's The Confessions Tour CD/DVD is holding up in several markets. It's still top 10 in France (#8), Germany (#8), Italy (#3), Belgium (#4 in both territories), Hungary (#1), Spain (#9), Netherlands (#5), Switzerland (#5), Denmark (#7), Portugal (#1), Czech Republic (#1), Austria (#2), Mexico (#1) & Australia (#1).
In the Euro Top 100 albums, the package slips 2-3, while on the United World Chart, it drops to 12 with 104,000 copies sold (428,000 total sales). Unfortunately in Ireland it fell to #47 in the third week, #44 in UK & #99 in US.
The CD/DVD reached #1 in the following countries: Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Spain. It also reached #1 in the following DVD charts: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden & USA. A total of 20 countries!
~ For a detailed chart page dedicated to the release, check out Madonna-Charts.com!
Fansite MadonnaTribe reports details on the tv commercial for the H&M campaign:
"The full lenght commercial is 1 and half minute long and it's basically a short comedy skit which is used to show H&M clothes in a funny, unconventional way, with Madonna plays a fashion guru that has to restyle the look of a 20something girl, a charachter between a punk gal and an harajuku girl. (braids, asian look, short kilt skirt, red sleeveless jacket and huge headphones).
Escorted into Madonna's white office by two models/assistants, a blond and a brunette, passing through white rooms with huge doors, the girl is presented to the Queen of Fashion awaiting behind her desk with 4 assistants behind her.
A close shot of an incredibly beautiful Madonna's is then shown, saying to the girl: "How can I help it". Then the girl's left sock goes down by its own and the girl puts down the other one. Madonna says: "I Like It".
Change to another sequence. Madonna beats with her black whip a huge screen with the word "FASHION" projected on it saying: It, it, it. She then asks to the girl: "What is it?"
The girl says: "I think..". Madonna interupts her saying: "Don't think it, you need to know it".
Then Madonna's two fashion stylist, (a tall and shorter one who are indeed very stereotyped - French accent included), are introduced in the next sequence, taking place in a dark room from which the three of them are looking at the girl through a see-through, police station-like mirror while she is waiting in the next room, wondering what they can do to rescue the girl's image.
Then the sylist take care of the girl, trying different looks on her. The right one of course will end up being the same H&M style Madonna wears in the final sequence. When the girl comes out of the room Madonna is satisfied with the result and says: "You made it". The shorter stylist bows to Madonnas feet saying: "No, you made it".
Madonna then takes the girl under her arm and leaves the room with her saying: "and I love it", while one of stylists dances with the girl's old punk wear on.
The commercial is really great and uses most of the same settings you've seen in the campaign images - or we should better say it's actually the other way round. This also explains why you also have a picture of Madonna in a dark room, with a black scratched table, while she has been posing for all the other images in white, glaring and hi-tech scenarios.
Obviously all the female characters in the commercial proudly sport their H&M looks, everything in simple black, white and neutral colors - just like the entire collection designed by Madonna."
Fansite MadonnaTribe reports that the new commercial for the Brillia Mare Ariake new high rise on the Tokyo bay front has premiered on Japanese television this morning. In the 15 second clip, directed by logtime collaborator and partner in crime Steven Klein, Madonna is seen wearing a blond wig and a great bustier-style dress, holding a guitar.
Here is a transcript of what Madonna says in the commercial, that will air until February 26 - possibly in the Tokyo area only.
"Beyond race - Beyond gender - Beyond religion - Beyond language - Beyond culture - Beyond tomorrow - Just perfect - Brilla Mare Ariake"
After the win of a new Grammy Award for Best Electronic Dance Album earlier this month, Madonna is now nominated in two different categories for the upcoming International Dance Music Awards.
Top producer Timbaland gave an interview to Billboard about his upcoming solo album next month. He mentions Madonna among the people he planned to collaborate after his album is out:
Next up on Timbaland's production docket are "Eve, M.I.A., Chris Brown, 50 Cent, Missy Elliott and Madonna," he says. "Missy and I still talk. She's like a sister to me and I'm with her till death do us part. I haven't gone into the studio yet with Madonna. I need to call someone now to talk about that further."
~ Now it's possible that Madonna will end up working with him for her new album. Moreover, there are rumours floating about other producers, including Felix Da Housecat (remixer of Die Another Day & American Life) and Dallas Austin (Bedtime Stories). The latter one is quite weird, considering Madonna worked with him almost 15 years ago and it's not often that she goes back to previous collaborators...
Madonna has banned her daughter from dating until she is 18.
The singer got worried when ten-year-old Lourdes attracted a lot of attention at the premiere of new animated film Arthur and the Invisibles - in which Madonna voices a character - and has warned her to stay away from men until she is an adult.
A source told the National Enquirer magazine: "It must come from her strict Catholic upbringing.
"Everyone told Lourdes how gorgeous she is at the Arthur and the Invisibles premiere, which sent a red alert to Madonna!
"It made her nervous to think that in just a few years guys would be hitting on her only girl."
Madonna has previously admitted to being a strict parent.
The 48-year-old singer has banned Lourdes and her younger brother Rocco from watching TV and eating junk food, makes them earn their treats, and if they leave clothes on the floor they end up in the trash.
Madonna - who is married to British film director Guy Ritchie - said: "My kids don't watch TV. We have televisions but they're not hooked up to anything but movies. TV is trash. I was raised without it. We don't have magazines or newspapers in the house either.
"My daughter has a problem picking things up in her room. So if you leave your clothes on the floor, we put them in a trash bag. She has to earn them back by being tidy. I'm a disciplinarian. Guy's the spoiler."
Do you know what shocked me most about the Madonna concert (Madonna: The Confessions Tour Live from London) recently aired on NBC? It wasn't the multi-faceted, multi-talented entertainer's fabulous physique, and it certainly wasn't the much maligned sequence depicting her hanging from a cross. The thing that sent shivers down my spine was coming to the realization that Madonna, on the brink of turning 50, is our most current and active "gay icon."
Now, I'm not implying some up-and-coming pop tart should pull an All About Eve on the singer-affectionately-known-as-Madge across the pond and knock her ABBA-esque butt to the curb (on the contrary!), but it's pretty obvious Madonna won't be hoofing it on stage to Lucky Star for a whole lot longer. And as her career eventually winds down, someone has to step into her rainbow spotlight, right?
The problem is, I don't see anyone preparing to step into Madonna's pricey Manolo Blahniks anytime soon. Actually, scratch that - there are plenty of girls looking to take her place as a "gay icon," but I'm not sure many of them deserve the title (I'm naming myself head of the nominating committee, in case you didn't already know).
Here's a shortlist of the ladies I see as either contenders or pretenders to the "gay icon" throne currently comforting Madonna's amazingly gym-toned ass (and which previously hoisted a few gals who go by the names of Judy, Babs, Bette and Cher, among others):
1. Kylie Minogue - It seems strange to list the Aussie pop princess as one of the women most likely to take Madonna's spot as the premiere gay icon, partially because in the eyes of many gay men she's already bested her musical muse.
That said, Ms. Minogue is hardly a household name in the U.S. (outside of the clubs, of course) and isn't getting any younger (she'll turn 40 around the same time Madonna turns 50). Kylie certainly has the sex appeal and camp factor required to pull it off, and her most recent tours are even gayer than their Madonna counterparts, which is no easy task!
2. Dannii Minogue - I'm guessing more than a few people read that name and thought, "huh? Kylie's got a sister?" Yep. She's quite a hot little number, too, and sings the same kind of fizzy dance-pop for which big sis is known around the world. Unfortunately for her, she can probably wander wherever she wants here in the States, as the only real hit she's had was 2003's I Begin to Wonder. I'm beginning to wonder why I put her on this list...
3. Britney Spears - Now that the former Musketeer has pushed her way back into the spotlight (stumbled drunkenly into it sounds more like it), Britney Spears may just make that run to the top of the gay music charts that she was never quite able to accomplish earlier in her career.
Hell, she can call on that video of Madonna tongue-kissing her for years to come, if she wants. Not sure how the whole Sinead O'Connor look-alike thing is going to work out, but it definitely got her back into the headlines, something her matronly mentor has always been good at as well. Who cares if she can sing as long as she can titillate, right?
4. Christina Aguilera - I feel like I'm on a roller coaster when I contemplate Christina's spot on a list like this. She's blond, leggy and pretty enough (when she's not dressing like Twisted Sister's Dee Snider, as she did during that whole Lady Marmalade phase. Eeek!). And we all know she has the pipes.
Her problem is that, like her Musketeer sister mentioned above, she isn't really known for her wit. Hey, say what you will about Madonna, but no one's calling her dumb! Britney and Christina, on the other hand, may be challenged to spell Mensa, let alone know what it is.
5. Paris Hilton - I know, I know. How the hell could I put Paris Hilton on here? Well, she's young and blond and pert and all those traits that have suddenly become prerequisites for entering the "Gay Icon Hall of Fame" (Judy, Babs, Bette and Cher certainly didn't fit that bill!). And she has attitude to spare - always an important trait when you're trying to woo the gays.
What about her music, you ask? Eh, some people liked it well enough, others didn't - and the worst most of it can be called is boring. That sure didn't stop Madonna at the beginning (early detractors said her voice sounded like "Minnie Mouse on helium"), did it? I'm not betting she'll be pushing Madonna around in a wheelchair anytime soon, but I'm sure she has the bucks to take a stab at it if she wants to.
Looking back at that list makes me gag a little bit. Christina brings some artistic credibility to the list (especially her most recent transformation into a vampy, va-va-va-voom crooner), but that's about it as far as depth goes. At least we know Madonna - when she eventually decides to hand over her well-deserved rainbow-colored crown to the next gay-icon-in-waiting - will be leaving us pop music fans in some expensively manicured, if not altogether musically accomplished, hands.
The new M By Madonna collection, which was designed by the Material Girl herself, will be available in H&M stores next month. Some publicity pictures from the Steven Klein photoshoot were released earlier in February. The whole collection including clothes and accessories can now be viewed on the website of Norwegian magazine Detnye.
Mad-Eyes has received a message from Tommy Kearney, a British playwright who has written a play called Madonna and Me. It is to be staged at the Union Theatre in London and starts in April 2007, running for three weeks.
The play is set in Liverpool and it tells the story of three Madonna fans and their mates, and shows how a simple song and video can change a person's life. It centres around friendship and loyalty. Be sure to check it out when you have the chance! More info here.
Talking about theatre plays: Alicia Silverstone is starring in David Mamet's play 'Speed the Plow' in Hollywood, in the same role that Madonna created on Broadway in 1988. More info here.
We already knew that the song 'She's Madonna' was inspired by a conversation Robbie Williams had with Guy Ritchie about the way Guy left his ex-girlfriend for Madonna. Apart from the references to Madonna songs in the lyrics, there appears to be yet another Madonna-related inspiration:
From The Sun:
Robbie Williams' 'She's Madonna' video - which sees the troubled star in drag - was inspired by the picture on the right. The snap shows Madge playing a Twenties lounge singer in 1989 movie Bloodhounds Of Broadway. Robbie wanted Madonna to star alongside him in the video, but hubbie Guy Ritchie had other ideas.
A source revealed: "Guy realised the song was based on the line he used to dump Tania Strecker for Madge - 'I love you, baby, but face it, she's Madonna. "So he put his foot down." Guy was mentioned in the single and threatened to sue if the lyrics weren't altered - causing yet more stress for poor Rob.
Madonna went hell for leather through Heathrow airport yesterday as she took adopted son David Banda on his first trip to Hollywood.
And the star. dressed in a full-length black leather coat and shades, was all set for departure even before putting on her seatbelt - with a cap bearing the legend "Take Off".
Little 15-month-old David - whom she adopted in Malawi last October - looked comfortably at ease in his mum's arms in spite of fans who gathered to see the Material Girl. An onlooker said: "Madonna looked incredibly relaxed with him."
But it was strictly mum and new son only - as director husband Guy Ritchie, 38, and their other children, Lourdes, 10 and Rocco, six, stayed at home in London.
Madonna never goes away and yet she always comes back. The woman of a thousand icons is a self-inventor and recreator on a never-ending scale. One minute she's flopping around in a white dress to Like A Virgin at the 1984 MTV music awards, then she's a solid supporting actress in A League Of Their Own, and next she's a Kabbalah-thumping, protective mother who knows when to relinquish her wild side.
A little background first: I always viewed Madonna as the bane of my existence. As the only boy growing up in a house with four women, Madonna had a prominent role in that matriarchy. When the Dirty Dancing VHS tape needed a rest from overheating in the VCR, Madonna was surely booming out of the stereo. I thank you for your sympathy.
So, surely you can understand where some initial animosity might register with me whenever someone merely mentions the singer's name. However, it's time to put all bias aside and embrace the reality that Madonna is one of the biggest stars of all time for a reason—female liberation and empowerment to the utmost degree.
The Confessions Tour concert CD/DVD takes all the themes of Madonna's career and meshes them on a big plate of fun. Performing songs both classic and new (mostly new), the former Material Girl owns the London crowd on a night where she swears she didn't even know it would be filmed. I, for one, believe her, because you don't get that big without giving it your all every night.
The festivities kick off with a horse-oriented video on the stage's jumbo screen for Future Lovers/I Feel Love. After a daunting sequence of the horse galloping in various locations, Madonna bursts onto the scene in complete horseback attire. Men prance around the stage while she has a whip in hand, suggesting a dominatrix-like assertion to the crowd that she is in control.
The show's screen images bounce from politically charged and socially aware to just plain weird, sometimes even taking up the whole TV screen with persistent flashes, leaving me wondering if I might develop epilepsy. This is definitely the weakest and most artificial piece to an otherwise eclectic concert.
For Like A Virgin, the tune that made her a household name, she rides a horse saddle attached to a pole. I'm still not sure what the horse theme is all about, but it seems to resemble the star's carefree, wild spirit. She wails on the guitar to I Love New York and while she is no Hendrix, it's astounding to see her harness a musical instrument. And when she yells on stage, "New York is not a place; it's a fuck you attitude," it's magnificent.
Now, on to the blown-up controversy surrounding the event: the mock crucifixion. This is done during the song [Live To Tell] and there is nothing to it. Some breakdancers do their thing and Madonna rises up at the back of the stage strapped to an enlarged, blue-checkered cross. There is nothing obscene like fake blood or wounds, so any true controversy cannot be found by me (she doesn't say this is what it was like when Jesus actually died or anything).
My favorite parts of the concert are whenever Madonna is on stage. Due to the fact she has to change clothes a lot, the intermediary segments between songs with either breakdancers or other expressive artists had me thinking, So where's that Madonna chick? On one of the occasions she returned, to perform Ray Of Light, I'll admit that I caught myself singing along in a high-pitch tone. Which is extraordinarily awkward even for me.
The exalted one is every bit as charismatic, charming and lively as ever. I recommend the DVD more than the CD because she's more interesting to watch than to listen to, but The Confessions Tour is a great way to relive another event that put the one-name icon back on the map, yet again. Madonna, I confess: You rock, girl.
Madonna's latest release, The Confessions Tour has been enjoying quite a nice success worldwide. But being a live album/DVD combo, it's obvious that it won't have a big staying power on the charts (as it's mainly for fans and the single DVD version takes away some sales). So its second-week chart positions are usually big drops, though there are some nice holds too (last week-this week):
United World Chart: 2-6 (total sales: 324,000)
European Top 100 albums: 2-2
United Kingdom: 7-26
United States: 15-66
Belgium (Flanders): [19-] 3-3
Belgium (Wallonia): [8-]1-2
Czech Republic: 1-1
Australia: 1 (DVD)
On March 22, 2007 clothing chain H&M will start its new campaign for their clothing line "M by Madonna". The photographs for this campaign have been made by Madonna's favorite photographer of the moment Steven Klein. And when we see the result, we know why - we could only have wished Klein had also made last year's Versace shoot, because his work is beyond doubt superior. Fellow fansite DrownedMadonna has posted high quality versions of the pictures.
Madonna was interviewed by American radio station Sirius. The radio DJ and Madonna talked about the CD/DVD release and about the Confessions Tour. Madonna told about how the Confessions Tour was her favorite tour because "Whatever I do last, is my favorite". She also said she liked performing on the catwalk and the satellite stages because it brought her closer to the audience.
They discused the cross scene and how she thought most people did get the message she intended. While discussing her guitar playing on tour, Madonna mentioned that she plays the guitar when writing her own music "That"s what I'm doing right now. When the DJ suggested doing a full-on rock 'n' roll album, she laughed "I'll go downstairs right now and tell that to Pharrell".
The DJ of the gay radio also asked her why she thought gay people like her so much. She said she has always felt a strong connection to gays and that she thought "Gay men are perfect for women who are tough, because they don't feel threatened by them". Listen to the interview here.
Queen of Pop Madonna has been crowned top style icon at the Elle Style Awards. The 48-year-old was honoured for a career which has spanned two decades and countless different looks.
Her constant reinvention has taken her from backcombed hair and fingerless gloves in the Eighties to her most recent incarnation as a leotard-clad disco diva. The Material Girl launches her new designs for high street store H&M next month.
The Elle magazine awards - billed as "the unofficial fashion Oscars" - were held at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London.
Naomi Campbell was named best model. Spanish beauty Penelope Cruz, fresh from her appearance at the Baftas, picked up the best film award for Volver.
Thandie Newton won best actress for The Pursuit of Happyness and Ashley Jensen was there to accept the best TV show prize for Ugly Betty. The best actor award went to Jude Law and Amy Winehouse won best British music act.
Stella McCartney was named best international designer. Presenters at the glamorous ceremony included Peaches Geldof, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Kelly Osbourne.
The first H&M ad has arrived! M is the new - yet old - face of H&M, and the Queen of Pop is also working as designer.
Her Madgesty had a hand in creating all the items in the ad (even the glasses) for her M by Madonna line at the retail giant.
Last night, the winners of the 49th Grammy Awards have been announced.
Congratulations to Madonna whose album Confessions On A Dance Floor won the award for Best Electronic/Dance Album!
Other nominees in that category were Goldfrapp (Supernature), Oakenfold (A Lively Mind), Pet Shop Boys (Fundamental) and Zero 7 (The Garden).
Madonna was also nominated in the category Best Dance Recording award, which was won by Justin Timberlake's 'Sexy Back'.
Madonna's documentary I'm Going To Tell You A Secret lost to Bruce Springsteen's 'Wings For Wheels: The Making Of Born To Run' in the category Best Long Form Music Video.
Throughout her career, Madonna has received 25 nominations at the Grammy Awards. Last nights award was the 6th she won.
In 1991, she won in the category Best Long Form Music Video with 'Blond Ambition World Tour: Live!'.
One year later Beautiful Stranger won in the category Best Song Specifically Written for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media.
Madonna did not attend last nights ceremony.
Madonna must be seen as well as heard, as the video portion of The Confessions Tour — Live From London's CD/DVD combo proves.
Whether emerging from a giant disco ball in an equestrian getup or hanging from a crucifix - no other performer has her knack for turning arena concerts into performance-art spectacle - Madge displays her genius for eye-popping (and scandal-seeking) tableaux.
Madonna - the world's highest earning female performer, worth an estimated £165 million - still has time for a few little jobs on the side.
Working closely with the Swedish fashion chain H&M, she has helped to create a high street collection closely based on her own glamorous wardrobe staples.
The range, M by Madonna, goes on sale next month and includes chic belted trench coats, an elegant black jersey maxi dress, a fitted, 1970s-inspired bomber jacket - one of Madonna's signature looks in recent years - and skinny black trousers.
This is Madonna's second collaboration with H&M. Her first, a track-suit that went on sale last summer amid much publicity, was regarded by many as a flop.
The 48-year-old singer has worked with fashion designers from Jean-Paul Gaultier to Stella McCartney during her career and ignited more style trends than any other performer.
H&M, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, has boosted profits by hooking up with big names including Karl Lagerfeld.
An article about famous hip hop producer Timbaland on MTV.com features an interesting mention of Madonna:
"I reached out to Madonna, and she was already trying to find me," Timbaland explained on Wednesday while in town for Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds tour. "I'm like, 'She was? Hmm.' It's funny. People will reach out to me, and I guess I beat them to the punch sometimes. It's crazy to see how many people want to work with me. I'm still in shock."
~ While this quote undoubtedly shows what Madonna's next direction is, it's far from a confirmation if they already recorded songs together or that she'd use him for her next album.
Timbaland, by the way was responsible for a big slice of successful pop music last year, gaining huge hits with his work on Nelly Furtado's 'Loose' & Justin Timberlake's 'Futuresex/Lovesounds' albums. He's also reportedly collaborated with Icelandic songstress Björk.
The tour package earns a strong debut on the Mediatraffic United World Chart, entering at #2 (just behind Norah Jones) with sales of 195,000 copies. That's very decent for a live album, congratulations, Madonna!
Yes, it is Madonna with her follow-up to the Re-Invention Tour live CD/DVD. What makes this better than the previous one is her vocal range.
Having the opportunity to attend the concert last May, I realize now why her concerts sell out fast; it's the fact that fans will get a spectacular show from beginning to end.
In the DVD, that is what you get when she sings the track Future Lovers as Madonna channels her love of horses. Shot by famed photographer Steven Klein in June 2006 for W magazine, the 47-year old is shown in dominatrix wearing gear.
You think to yourself how can she look like that and you are jealous. But what impresses you the most is her vocal range as she sings the song itself.
There are four themes throughout the concert; the first is the horse-riding equestrian, next Jesus, James Brown and finally disco.
The only down side to having the audio CD is the fact that you have to imagine what happens with each song performed and that is where you have to say, thank goodness for the DVD.
Directed by Jonas Akerlunk, the entire concert is beautifully recorded. There is no need to worry about commercials getting in the way of you watching the concert tour like it happened when it aired on NBC.
However, the most exciting part of the concert is when Madonna performs the track, Erotica / You Thrill Me because essentially, the same music is kept but what changes are the lyrics to the 1992 hit single.
"You are who you are/and I wouldn't want to change a thing/in spite of/All the pain that love can bring/Tell me what can I do? I'm so in love with you/You thrill me/Surround me you fill me/You send me/You put me in a trance you thrill me/Inside me you take me?/You thrill me/You put me in a trance," she sings and you can hear it in her voice that she has developed into a singer.
Critics said Madonna wouldn't last in the music industry. That was 25 years ago, and look at her now. What do those critics have to say now?
In addition, Madonna has a way with spectacular choreography during her concerts and this was no exception. During her performance of the single, Music, she channels Saturday Night Fever as well as inspiration from the Sweden band ABBA. That is where the leotard comes into play.
Amazing, I say. John Travolta has competition. So, what are you waiting for? You know you should pick up this CD because it is great and Madonna the ever-evolving, and fashion icon that everyone tries to emulate, there is only one Madonna and she has never sounded better.
For all her numerous genius pop moments it has always been easier to admire, rather than truly enjoy, Madonna in all her various incarnations - yes, shebroke the mould and rewrote the book on what female pop stars could do, but with each new reinvention she seemed just a little bit more desperate to shock, a little bit more desperate to provoke a reaction for anything rather than the music.
And even by her own wildly over the top standards, The Confessions Tour was something else, a bewildering, eye-popping visual feast, with something always going on, every last movement choreographed, every song draped in layers of meaning and allegory.
Yet it is, ultimately, a curiously cold and distancing spectacle with no room for intimacy, spontaneity or any human interaction.
There is so much scaffolding on display it could double as a builders convention, parts of it resemble nothing more than a gymnastics display, and even the most slavish of fans would admit that there are just too many ordinary songs in the set list.
As ever there is much to admire - she has never been in better voice, for a woman on the cusp of middle age she is in remarkable shape, and the best bits - Ray Of Light, Like A Virgin, I Love New York, Lucky Star, Hung Up - are very good.
But next, surely, the most challenging thing Madonna could do would be to strip away all the glitz, artifice, dancers, and expensive sets and rely on her own formidable talents.
Late last June, Madonna slid out a relatively unheralded (for her) but impressive live CD/DVD combo, I'm Going To Tell You A Secret. The release featured strong performances captured from her 2004 Re-Invention Tour, which was staged to promote her 2003 CD American Life.
The Jonas Akerlund-directed DVD also documented her process of putting the show together, with side looks at her personal life - a la 1991's Truth or Dare.
The main thing wrong with I'm Going To Tell You A Secret was its timing: When it came out, Madonna had already embarked on her next tour to promote her 2005 release Confessions On A Dance Floor - a considerably better collection of songs than what American Life had to offer.
And last year's tour proved to be the all-time top-grossing tour by a female artist. So now out comes The Confessions Tour, a live CD/DVD combo that fills in the blanks left open by I'm Going To Tell You A Secret.
The Akerlund-directed two-hour DVD catches Madonna performing at London's Wembley Arena last August, a vivid spectacle that found her riding a saddle, playing guitar (albeit rhythm guitar), running around like a deranged runway model and holding court over dancers behaving like horses.
The show is keyed to movement - featuring everything from parkour performers to dancers on roller skates - complicated visual effects, dramatic mood shifts to accompany costume changes, and such displays as a giant, mirrored cross from which Madonna hangs to sing Live To Tell, a sightNBC refused to broadcast last fall when the network aired her concert.
There's so much going on that it's easy to miss the best part of the show: Madonna delivering fine live vocals to some of the greatest songs of her career. That's why the CD is handy, blocking out the DVD's distracting images so fans can concentrate on the music at the heart of Madonna's success.
Although the CD is an edited-down version of the DVD, both include a few well-recast oldies (Like A Virgin, Erotica, Music) but mostly feature her brilliant new dance songs, including the surreal Future Lovers (fused here with a rendition of "I Feel Love"), a pumped-up Jump and the bouncy Sorry. Both discs build in intensity to the show's finale, a propulsive version of Hung Up. London went wild.
Madonna's latest Confessions Tour CD/DVD package has been enjoying a big success in our home countries too: in Belgium it reached new peaks at #3 (Flanders) and #1 (Wallonia).
In Hungary, Madonna scored a double number one with topping both the Top 40 album & Top 20 DVD charts! Congratulations!
The third in line to the British throne partied it up with Madonna and her director husband, Guy Ritchie, Tuesday night, tossing back $197-a-pop champagne cocktails at a trendy London club, the London Evening Standard reports.
Prince Harry, 21, was eager to hear about Her Madgesty's Malawian adoption last October and was reportedly misty when recounting his own experiences with orphans on the African continent at the Mahiki club in the Mayfair section of the U.K. capital, the paper said.
"Harry wasn't drunk, even though he had a few cocktails from the Mahiki Treasure Chest," an unnamed source told the paper. "The more he talked to Guy about Africa, AIDS and the children, the more he was tearful. He seems to be a very sensitive guy."
The famous trio then traded exercise tips, according to the Evening Standard, including how much they train.
Last month, Prince Harry began training for a possible mission to Iraq, the U.K. Sunday Times reported.
While we heard about Italian radio stations playing Music Inferno, it seems the official video sent out by Warner for music channels to promote the CD/DVD is the fan-favourite performance of Jump from the Confessions Tour.
I just spotted it on VH1 Europe, a few weeks after it was officially leaked online by Warner.
Madonna's The Confessions Tour CD/DVD bows in the Billboard 200 at #15 with sales of 40,000 copies, almost doubling the opening numbers of 2006's I'm Going To Tell You A Secret, according to Billboard magazine. It is Madonna's 18th Top 20 album in the US.
We get chart news of The Confessions Tour CD/DVD day-by-day - today we report about the incredible Italians who've been showing a lot of support for Madonna in the past year.
No surprise that The Confessions Tour debuts at the album charts straight at #1! Congratulations to Madonna & her Italian fans!
Madonna's divine, but controversial Confessions Tour performance of Live To Tell is still having effects: The brand new CD/DVD release of the tour has been banned in Singapore only because of that certain segment! We're sorry for our fellow fans there and hope they can still obtain the item as an import.
Madonna and Guy Ritchie have reportedly signed a love pact after visiting therapist Tricia Barnes over the New Year (07) to save their marriage. The pop queen and her director husband, who married in December 2000, have reportedly pledged to spend as much time as possible with Madonna's 10-year-old daughter Lourdes, their six-year-old son Rocco and their 17-month-old adopted son David.
The couple have also agreed to suspend solo projects which affect the whole family and to search for a larger home in New York City - according to media reports. A close friend of the couple tells British newspaper The People, "They have both worked really hard at their marriage issues and come to a new understanding.
They have each accepted their own part in the problems they had been experiencing and are determined not to let anything come between them again. "It's a fresh start and they actually look like a pair of newlyweds again."
Madonna's latest release, the CD/DVD combo of The Confessions Tour debuts at #7 on the UK album charts, with sales of 22,000 copies, making it her eighteenth top ten album in her current home country (I'm Going To Tell You A Secret was the only release to miss the top ten, reaching #18) Meanwhile, after almost 15 months since its release, Confessions On A Dance Floor is at #49.
~ In other chart news, the CD/DVD reached #2 in the Netherlands (just behind Norah Jones) and it got a healthy #10 debut in Ireland (30 places higher than her previous live release).
Mad-Eyes held a poll about which genre would visitors prefer for Madonna's next album and an overwhelming 51% of more than 600 people voted for Disco/Pop, saying that Madonna shouldn't stray away from her latest style.
Hiphop got only 4% of the votes, so the majority hopes that the rumour was either false or Madonna and her team should learn a lesson from the results.
Like I'm Going To Tell You A Secret before it, The Confessions Tour is a CD/DVD souvenir set documenting a new millennium Madonna concert -- this time, a London show at Wembley supporting her 2005 neo-disco album, Confessions On A Dance Floor.
Unlike Secret, whose centerpiece was a engthy documentary, this is a straight-up live album with the DVD capturing a full 21-song set and the CD culling 13 highlights from the set, a whopping eight of them from Confessions (Sorry and Sorry [Remix] counted separately since they are, after all, indexed separately here).
Even if the newer songs don't sound radically different from their album incarnations -- they're either delivered straight or puffed out like extended 12" remixes -- the handful of oldies that do show up here are given disco makeovers: Like A Virgin pulses with electro keyboards; Lucky Star eventually gives away to the ABBA sample that drives Hung Up.
This helps give the CD on The Confessions Tour a sonic cohesion that's about as stylized and chilly and its accompanying album -- the unity means it holds together, yet that icy reserve means it's not all that much fun to hear, even if the reinterpretations of the 20-year-old hits are interesting.
The DVD doesn't feel as cold thanks entirely to the pizzazz of the visuals and the determined efficiency of the show, but even so, this is primarily of interest to the diehards who don't mind purchasing another live CD/DVD set just a year after the first.
Over her 25-year career, Madonna has gone on a remarkable seven world tours, each one with its own unique qualities.
On her most recent Confessions Tour, which danced its way through the United States last summer, Madonna proved that she may be a middle-aged mother, but she is just as talented as when she first started, if not more so. The Confessions Tour was arguably her best to date, so it is quite a treat to have the whole show captured forever on DVD and CD.
The show itself is spectacular. Singing many hits from her strong Confessions On A Dance Floor album, as well as some older goodies, Madonna wows the audience with her non-stop energy and incredible dancing. For those who saw the show in its crudely edited form on NBC in November, the version included on the DVD is completely uncensored.
One can finally see the much-talked-about song Madonna sings on a cross, which NBC was pressured into not showing; however, the message behind the spectacle, which involved helping AIDS-stricken African orphans, is apparent when watching the DVD.
Also absent from the NBC broadcast and included on the DVD are a controversial interlude involving current politicians, as well as three additional songs.
While the show itself may be close to perfect, one may not think so from just watching the DVD. The DVD's director, Jonas Akerlund, is best known for directing music videos, including many of Madonna's.
Akerlund's expertise, unfortunately, seems to have influenced him to capture the show more like a music video than a live concert. Often the background screens are brought into the forefront or sliced into shots of Madonna and her dancers.
Such effects may be appropriate for a music video, but then take away from the live and palpable feel of a concert and only add unnecessary distractions.
The extras on the DVD include a photo gallery and some rehearsal footage, which can be interesting for major fans but boring for others. Perhaps rehearsal as well as behind the scene footage during the actual tour itself may have been a bit more enticing.
The Confessions Tour DVD also comes with a live CD of half the show. It is a bit baffling why Madonna did not just include a second CD so that fans could have the whole concert on CD.
The choice of some of the songs that are included are a bit odd as well, such as the spoken dancer interlude titled "Confessions," which is somewhat boring when just listening to the audio. With only half the show on CD, the space could have been better utilized with another song.
Sure, the Confessions Tour DVD/CD set has some blemishes, but the show itself is so sublime that it may be worth it to overlook those flaws. Especially since Madonna's last outing, the Re-Invention Tour, was never released in full, fans are happy to have this tour on DVD at all.
The Confessions Tour CD/DVD debuted at #8 in Belgium, Wallonia and #19 in Flanders without a full chart week so it's expected to rise on next week's chart. In Hungary, it got an early debut at #3 on the top 20 DVD chart.
Meanwhile, in the UK the latest Madonna release is aiming at a top 10 debut, which will be an improvement from the last live CD release that debuted in the top 20 only. We'll have the official chart position tomorrow evening.
Madonna is starring in an advertising campaign for an exclusive new high rise development in Tokyo, Japan. Real estate developer Brilla Mare Ariake is building an exclusive tower on the Tokyo bay front and asked the pop star to appear in his new advertising campaign.
The commercial, which was directed by the Hung Up singer's friend and frequent photographer, Steven Klein, was filmed last week (ends26JAN07) in London.
The 48-year-old also appears in a new campaign for retail clothing company H+M, and has helped to design all the items in the M by Madonna line.
A patchy but sometimes enjoyable children's computer animated movie directed by Luc Besson, Arthur and the Invisibles is a real mixed bag.
The film looks stunning and has the added attraction of featuring the voices of a host of acting and musical luminaries from David Bowie to Snoop Dogg, Robert De Niro to Harvey Keitel.
A wacky fantasy adventure, Arthur and the Invisibles is set in a land full of miniature hobbits. Arthur (Freddie Highmore) is given only a matter of hours to stop his grandmother's farm being repossessed.
He decides salvation lies in a plan to reduce himself to just a few inches tall so that he can find the treasure hidden that allegedly exists in a legendary garden on the farm.
Aided by a princess with an attitude problem (Madonna), Arthur's quest is thwarted by the evil wizard Maltazard (Bowie) and his hordes of mosquito-riding warriors.
There's enough here to keep young audiences amused but more mature cinema goers might be isolated by the chaotic action and nonsensical plotting.
But if you can resist the temptation not to be too critical, Besson's beautiful looking film has just enough going for it to save the day.
With ticket prices exceeding $300, this DVD and CD collection is likely the closest many mere mortals will get to seeing Madonna in concert.
With moments that run the gamut from silly to offensive to brilliant, The Confessions Tour is an accurate representation of the myriad contradictions that add up to Madonna the artist circa 2006.
This tour is not among her masterworks, but Madonna continues to always be well worth watching.
The equine fever dream of ponyboys in bondage that kicks off The Confessions Tour is likely to be offensive and off-putting to a number of viewers, but stick with the show. Sprinkling classic tunes among songs from her most recent studio effort Confessions On A Dance Floor, Madonna keeps the party moving and doesn't stick too long with any single theme. Moving effortlessly from the aura of nightclub decked out with gymnastics equipment on Jump to Saturday Night Fever-style disco for Music Inferno, Madonna delivers a consistently eye and ear filling spectacle.
The highest points of The Confessions Tour prove that a combination of great songs, riveting staging, and accomplished choreography always amount to a brilliant concert experience. Midway through the show, after the salute that is I Love New York, Madonna unleashes a stripped down, rocking version of Ray Of Light that demonstrates little of the spectacle is necessary when the basics are intact. The mash-up of Music and "Disco Inferno" that results in "Music Inferno" is a joy to watch even with the silliness of white-suited disco moves.
Almost all of what is here made up NBC's Confessions Tour television special, but there was an important part missing. Due to her use of crucifixion imagery, Madonna's performance of Live To Tell raised eyebrows and caused controversy around the world. NBC elected to leave the song out of their broadcast.
Finally, this DVD/CD collection brings to home viewers what was left out, and it is one of the most powerful performances in the show. To appropriately make the sobering message Madonna is delivering, it seems almost impossible to leave the crucifixion imagery out.
The collection includes additional behind-the-scenes footage and a CD for listening without the video, but it is the concert itself that is the star.
Whether Madonna is one of your favorite pop artists or not, The Confessions Tour provides abundant evidence that she remains tremendously relevant from an artistic point of view.
As with any aesthetically challenging project, portions may fall flat, but the high points are tremendous. Rating: 3,5 /5 stars
A controversial nude portrait of pop icon Madonna is to be auctioned in the Capital this weekend.
The portrait is part of a collection of works dedicated to the world-famous star by one of Scotland's best-known artists, Peter Howson.
Mr Howson, who was brought up in Ayrshire, said the portraits were designed to show Madonna as a powerful and charismatic person while also touching on her religious upbringing.
The singer - who has also posed fully clothed for Howson - is one of several famous fans of the artist's work.
The signed pastel of Madonna will go on sale at the Shapes fine art and antiques auction in Bankhead Avenue on Saturday with an estimated price tag of between £1500 and £2000.
Paul Howard, who runs the auction department, said: "It's quite dramatic and certainly a striking image."
Mr Howson, who has also painted the Queen and football star Henrik Larsson, currently has an exhibition of more than 100 works depicting Saint Andrew's life and death at the City Art Centre on Market Street.
He shot to fame in the mid-1980s, and became the official British war artist in Bosnia.↑ Back to top of page