It was on August 4th 1993 that i got The Immaculate Collection for my 15th birthday. A fantastic album that would slowly turn me into the mad fan I am now. But little did I know about Madonna back then. I didn't even have a clue that she was touring that summer. Something I would regret later, when I found out it was her last tour for many years.
As my interest turned into obsession, especially in the Ray Of Light years, I yearned for a tour, as many other fans. Time after time tour plans got cancelled... until this summer. After getting "her feet wet on stage again" in the Roseland Ballroom and Brixton Academy, she launched her Drowned World Tour. And despite the difficulties with the ticket frenzy, I was part of it! :) This is my story...
It's 10.40 am when we can board the airplane. I'm leaving for Barcelona. Two weeks holiday, backpacking. But nothing can get my mind off the first weekend, which without any doubt will be the highlight of my trip. My lovely cybersis Emmadonna has bought me tickets for both shows. The tour will premier in Barcelona and we will be there! I get into the plane smiling and once I find my seat I realize which song is playing. 'Rain, feel it on my fingertips, hear it on the windowpane' As if they want to remind me who's waiting for me in Barcelona! The plane takes off and I'm smiling more than ever.
Following my example Madonna flies into Barcelona. Rumours about where she's staying circulate like hell, but nobody really seems to know.
After three days playing the typical tourist in this beautiful city, I find myself waiting at Cafe Zurich on Plaza Catalunya. After a whole year close cyberfriendship, I finally get to meet Emmadonna! As we're having a cool sangria, we are joined by Gareth and Frank.
Emma is the one with our gold. Out of her pocket appear two envelopes, one with my tickets, one with Gareth's. Our key to the fantastic weekend that's waiting for us.
After a last night of long comfortable hours of sleep at Emma's house (thanx for that sis!), we head to the Palau Sant Jordi. An early news report shows fans camping outside the stadium. Hurry! But once there, it's a little overblown. There are about 40 people there (in fact, I was no. 40 to arrive!) and as many reporters. The atmosphere is very relaxed and everyone's relaxing in the shadow of the trees down at the gates of the square. We meet up with Gareth and Frank and get to know Daniel, Floris and Caroline.
The 7 of us would stick together throughout the whole weekend. Soon we get to know the other fans waiting out there. Some of them have been camping out since tuesday morning! They started a list of fans, to make the queuing go fair. That's how I end up as no. 40. Out of the 18.000 fans that gathered at the stadium on saturday evening, that's very reasonable. I think I can now officially call myself a die-hard fan! :)
And the waiting has begun. Every once in a while there's a Spanish radio reporter or German TV-crew asking for an interview, trying to paraphrase the same questions in an original way. 'Why are you here?', 'What's so special about Madonna?' Duh! The cameramen love Lucas, the fan who seems to know every Madonna dance, from Vogue to Don't Tell Me. He's quite entertaining, which makes up for the long waiting.
All of a sudden, in the early afternoon, loud bass sounds come from inside the stadium. Fans run to the gate. No way we can see anything, but we can clearly hear Madonna rehearsing. It's only afterwards that we get to know that it's yesterday's rehearsal tapes. Emma and I are sitting underneath a try near the Palau, listening to Gone and Holiday. If this feels so fantastic already, then what's the concert gonna be like?!
In the late afternoon we hear Madonna singing live. This time she's really inside the stadium. She sings I Deserve It. Caroline suggests she's singing it in front of her family, as Guy and the kids are present too.
Afterwards we run to the back entrance, waiting for her limo. But no luck, the lady stays inside. Later she rehearses the whole show. Although by now I've found out the complete setlist, I want to keep it as some surprise, so after hearing the fantastic Drowned World and Impressive Instant, Emma, Daniel and I leave for some groceries. When we return we find out the rehearsal is over and Mo has left the building.
Night's falling. At 10 pm the gates around the square get closed. Pretty much following the famous list (La lista!), we all settle for a sleeping spot in front of the gate. Don't know how many fans are camping out, but in the morning the list would contain over 170 names. It's one big cosy chaos, everyone lying around on blankets with food and drinks around. Some are trying to get some sleep, some prefer challenging their energy to stay awake all night. Lucas still seems full of energy, as he keeps on dancing, now to Fever and Hanky Panky.
As the clock ticks past 1 am everyone seems to calm down a bit. The crowd goes completely silent as two girls with beautiful high voices start singing. This is like summer camp, one big group that grew from strangers to close friends in 24 hours, lying around, singing, dreaming...
Unfortunately, little is left from the relaxing friendly atmosphere when the gates are about to be opened. At 9.30 a whole group of fans rushes their way to the front. Nervous fans try to get hold of a good spot, loosing their stuff in the rush. Fortunately someone is smart enough to inform security about 'the list'. As the security guy starts shouting in Spanish, Emma translates. If we can get organised in half an hour, he'll open this gate first. If not than the fans on the other end of the square get lucky. Now we have to cooperate in a group again. And it works! As Lucas reads down the list, we queu up in front of the gate. Then the gates open, we put our mind on ONE thing: RUN!! Gareth, Floris and I are blessed with long legs and we cross the square towards the second gate, at the furthest end. We made it to the front at the gates of the Palau!! As everyone finds a spot in the queu, we all settled down again. Another day of waiting, this time in the full sun! Too hot to eat. Every once in a while someone goes out for drinks. Other than that there's nothing to do but wait...
By 7 pm everyone starts to get nervous. At the other gate everyone's standing for a while already. At our side everyone seems a little more relaxed, or should I say a little less tensed. That changes when security people come out to open the gates. Hysteria breaks out when the other gate is opened first. After two minutes shouting and cursing they open our gate too. No time for checking, we rush past the guards, into the stadium, down the stairs and then run to the stage. We make it to front row, right in the middle! So the camping and the waiting was all worth it. Only two hours left!
9.40 pm, only ten minutes late, the lights go out. Undefinable, anticipating music comes out of the speakers. "Do you like my acid rock" is heard. And "Express yourself, don't repress yourself". Everyone cheers as Niki and Donna rise from underneath the stage, sporting a punk-outfit. Everyone stares at the ceiling, as it was reported Madonna might fly on stage. But then there's a spotlight directed to the middle of the stage, right in front of us. Our queen comes out of the smoke; on a sliding path she comes closer (see picture on the left). The crowd goes hysteric as she sings "I traded fame for love without a second thought". She's wearing a red Scottish kilt, with underneath a black pants and leather boots. On top she has a black shirt with zippers across, a see-through sleeve on her left arm and a bandage on her right arm. Later we hear that it's not because of an accident, but to avoid irritation from playing the guitar. And she's small! But she has this powerful look. This is really Madonna!
18.000 fans sing along with Drowned World. Many are crying of happiness. It's so unreal to see her in the flesh, after all those years.
As she's singing the last 'substitute for love', the beat kicks in and the crowd starts dancing on Impressive Instant. Several male dancers join Madonna on stage, wearing strange masks covered with lights. Standing on a lifted stage, she falls back for a bodysurf on the hands of the dancers. As she gets down, they surround her like some kind of huge insects bugging her. She kicks them aside, pushes them back. She comes to the front of the stage; only a meter away from us, crawling on the floor on her back (pictures on the right). We're only two songs into the show and Madonna has already proven what every fan knows: there's only one big entertainer ruling this world!
A heavy rock beat introduces Candy Perfume Girl. Nobody else but the lady herself is playing the electric guitar! Boy, has she improved since the Letterman performance! As a professional guitarist she's rocking on stage. Once again the crowd goes wild. Seductively she sticks her finger in her mouth (picture left). Those who paid attention could read her guitar strap 'FUCK OFF'. Some kind of warning, cause at the end of the song she screams 'fuck off motherfuckers!!'. The lady can say what she wants, the fans will cheer anyway! "We love you too honey!" was my answer. :)
Austin Powers appears on the big screen "Shall we shag now or shall we shag later?". "And you can fuck off too!" blurts Madge, before jumping around on the rhythm of Beautiful Stranger. Maddy, Niki and Donna run to all corners of the stage, tadadada tata ta. Then the ladies pull the shy 'cameraman' on stage, seducing the *poor* boy (picture right). Hey Mo, I'll be your cameraman any time! ;-)
The last song of the 'punk-rock' part of the show is Ray Of Light. As for most songs throughout the show we see an extended video on the big screen, made by Dan-o-rama. As expected this song is one of the highlights of the concert. No matter how little space we have, we just have to dance on this one. Which means one big heaving crowd. Madonna jumps and dances as if her life's depending on it. She's clearly having as much fun as we are. "And I feeeeeeeeeeeeeel!!"
Then it gently slows down, dancers disappear in the dark and Madonna's left alone in the spotlight. "And now, I find I've changed my mind... This is my religion". By this she finishes the first part of the show.
As Madonna goes backstage for a costume change, the stage is left empty except for a jungle-like decor and four white cocoons on the ceiling. With the first tones of Paradise (Not For Me) the sheets fall off and we see four butt-naked (except for that string) male dancers, hanging upside down. The screen shows a mantra-movie starring Madonna, resembling the Geisha-look from the Nothing Really Matters-video (picture left). As the song continues the dancers slowly crawl up. Boy, are they supple or what ?! They come back on the ground, slowly moving towards the front. As Mo sings 'there is a light' they slowly open their mouth and uncover a reddish glow. The tone is set for a more mysterious and theatrical part of the show.
Madonna is back, (re)introducing her Geisha-look with a black wig and wearing a black-and-red dress by Adrienne Phillips with 26ft long sleeves, covering the entire width of the stage (pictures right). Two dancers pull off the sleeves as if it were two giant flags. Madonna gives a beautiful performance of the haunting Frozen. The choreography of the fantasticly dressed dancers seems to be perfectly timed.
With the asian style the tones are difficult to define, but real fans recognize the intro from Open Your Heart. Not yet time for a flashback though; it is actually Nobody's Perfect that starts. This song is without any doubt the most theatrical. Madonna's on stage with a samourai dancer. She asks him for forgiveness, as 'nobody's perfect'. Running after him, resting her head on his shoulder. As he doesn't want to give in she finally kneels and he cuts off her talisman (picture right). A few violins seem to cry because of her defeat.
The silence is broken by the ringing sound which we know from Mer Girl. I really didn't expect this song on tour, as it's so personal and emotional. But it perfectly fits the mysterious, haunting sphere that the show is in now. Madonna slowly walks up the stage on the jungle-like decor... 'I ran and I ran, I was looking for me...'
Then the beat kicks in again! Sky Fits Heaven! The crowd goes hysterical as Madonna jumps of the levelled stage. Wearing a cord on her back (which can be pulled up by dancers at the side of the stage), she seems to be flying with every step she takes. This performance is the most spectacular, no doubt THE highlight of the evening. Madonna continues her fight against the dancers, the 'evil spirits', kicking them in a true kungfu-style, flying and jumping! (picture left)
Now it's her turn for victory. Things calm down again and Mo's left on stage. Now she can finish what she started. "And the ground gave way beneath my feet" she sings while the ground literally opens up and a red glow comes out from the depth. With only some simple percussion in the background, Madonna finishes Mer Girl and at the same time the Geisha-part of the show. But before leaving she takes a gun and shoots the last 'evil spirit' dancer. (picture right)
Time for a new costume change, while a heavy dance remix of What It Feels Like For A Girl is playing. Dancers entertain us on stage, while on the big screen there's an animated movie, again by Dan-o-rama.
Then Madonna rises from underneath the stage, sitting on bales of hay. While playing the acoustic guitar she hits the first notes of I Deserve It. She's wearing a cowboy outfit of black leather. It's a quiet song, and everyone silently enjoys it. But the cheering at the end is loud. 'Did you like that? Do you wanna hear some more?" What else than a big 'YEAH'!
'Don't Tell Me to stop' she asks. We never would Maddy! Second time the chorus gets around she points the microphone towards the public. As one the crowd sings the already classic lyrics. 'WOOOOW' laughs Madge and she jumps to the middle of the stage for that fantastic line dance with the cowboy dancers. The performance resembles a lot what we've seen on other shows already, but live it's all so much better. The rhythm slows down and Madonna's left in the spotlight as she vulnerably sings 'please don't... please don't... please don't tell me to stop...'
But she's far from vulnerable as she starts Human Nature. Another surprise on the show, as she's doing so few pre-Ray Of Light songs. But what a fantastic experience to hear her sing it after 7 years! She takes off her leather jacket. Underneath she's wearing a shirt with a US flag motive. Together with the dancers she wraps herself up in ropes, resembling the video. Then she heads for the mechanical bull that has appeared on the right corner of the stage. "Oops I didn't know we couldn't talk about seeeeeeeeex" she blurts as she's riding it. Simply fantastic!
During this cowboy part of the show Madonna starts talking to the audience more than earlier in the show. She seems to feel more comfortable to interact, and she takes advantage of that as she introduces the next song that's "brand new" and "very personal, because it's about a person". She tries her best to talk with a southern cowboy-accent to Niki and Donna as she sings this funny country song 'Oh Dear Daddy'. It's a stupid, simple song, but when Mo brings it, she of course gives it a new dimension. Well... not really, she's just having fun actually. And the crowd appreciates it.
The next song she dedicates to all the people that have been an inspiration in her life. It's Secret. While she plays the guitar on the lifted stage, the middle screen shows an extended version of the video with images of people throughout life, from baptism to death, rather religiously influenced.
The show gets even more emotional, as Madonna heads for the left corner of the stage to sing Gone. No flashy lights, no dancers, just Madonna in the spotlight (picture right). In the stadium you see hands waving along, people get out their lighters. I never cared that much for this song before, but this performance is so emotional, so vulnerable, so perfect. We just hold each others hands and enjoy this fantastic song, which closes the third part of the show.
Time for the last part already, which can be seen as the spanish-latin part of the show. First Don't Cry For Me Argentina but just an instrumental version. Lots of candles rise at the sides of the stage, creating a special atmosphere in which the dancers perform a partner dance.
Meanwhile a black box rises from the stage. As it opens we see Maddy in a beautiful black Gaultier dress (picture left). Especially the Spanish fans sing along with Lo Que Siente La Mujer. By now, I know most of the lyrics too. The percussion makes this song better than the version which we find on the maxi single. Following the style of the song, Madonna's on stage with four female dancers, who ask her for a dance one by one.
Monte the guitarist makes a great transition to La Isla Bonita. "This song is for Barcelona!" Madonna picks up her acoustic guitar and plays as she's standing in between the dancers and musicians. They form a circle around the flamenco dancer while the fans shout 'olé!'. Maddy encourages the crowd, slapping on her guitar. Again, she looks like having a lot of fun!
The crowd has been going wild all the show, certainly the front row where I was standing. But everyone gets out all the energy left in his body when the classic tones of Holiday come out of the speakers. Madonna, Niki and Donna come out on stage. Madonna's wearing a black shirt saying 'mother' in the front and 'f*ckers' on the back. Donna hands her a white fur coat. They also got these funny little hats which they later throw into the crowd. They dance and jump around on stage, from left to right corner. It makes me even think of Blond Ambition; it's so super energetic! It's just amazing how an 18-year old song (people, this was only her third single!) can get 18000 people go completely MAD! Of course the lyrics are so well-known that everyone's singing and shouting along! If there's one party song, it's definitely this one!
It doesn't take too long after Holiday or we hear "Do you like to... boogie woogie". Music, the perfect way to end a perfect show. All dancers on stage; Madonna gives her best for the last time. On the screen we see the perfectly timed video collection, ranging from the Burning Up video to What It Feels Like For A Girl. Nobody wants to think about this being the end of the show; everyone just dances, sings and enjoys the last minutes of this huge spectacle, under a rain of gold glitters...
But then it's over. The three final beats of Music, Maddy's fist in the air and the car crash from the WIFLFAG video. The crowd keeps on cheering. Then Ali G appears on screen: "Go home, she ain't coming back. They've got the Backstreet Boys in this venue tomorrow and let's face it, you don't wanna be around for that!"
Emma and I have slept a few hours only. After having breakfast in downtown Barcelona, we head back to the Palau Sant Jordi. There's only a dozen of fans waiting outside the stadium. It's cloudy and rainy today. Slowly more people are showing up. We can see people cleaning the square in front of the venue. Rumour has it that Madonna ordered that everything had to be clean by noon. If not, she would not perform. By 2 pm the cleaning still wasn't finished...
The gates open in the afternoon and again we have to run to get a spot in the queu. But again we manage to get in front! :)
When the doors open at 7 pm we run up to the stage. We're experienced now and get to front row without any problems. We settled for the right corner, where madonna plays I Deserve It and where she rides the mechanical bull during Human Nature.
When the lights go out, the excitement is as big as the day before! Although we know what's going to happen, it still fills me with warmth and energy.
Madonna's in good condition. She seems more confident tonight. Yesterday was the very first show of the tour and now that it went so perfectly, she is more relaxed and seems to be enjoying herself much more. Which makes the show even better than yesterday's. Our spots are also much better. Standing in the middle is so very tiring, with people pushing from all sides, and so so hot! At the corner we still got a great view and it's less hot. But the best thing of course is that Maddy comes close to us many times! It's first with Beautiful Stranger that she, Niki and Donna come and dance in our corner. With Frozen she's also very close.
Especially during the cowboy part of the show she's around us all the time! She rises from the stage, sitting on those bales of hay, right in front of us! When I take a picture, for sure she's looking right in my camera! Then she gets up for Don't Tell Me and points the microphone to us. She definitely spotted us, as Gareth, Floris and I are much taller than the Spanish and Italians fans around us. As we're dancing and having fun, she smiles at us!
And what we hoped for, happens a little later. She reaches out her hand to us! Gareth and Floris go wild as she touches their fingers. I missed her by 5 centimeters...
While i'm enjoying a relaxing holiday in Barcelona, mostly thinking about the fantastic weekend I've had, Madonna's already in Milan. She and Guy are spotted while shopping in famous boutiques, like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Alberta Ferretti and Versace. She also visits Italian fashion designer and good friend Donatella Versace at Versace's Villa Fontanelle.
Tonight Mo plays her first out of three shows in Milan, Italy. Fans report that the show is the same as in Barcelona. Although many thought that only Barcelona would get the Spanish version of What It Feels Like For A Girl, the setlist appears to be the same. Lo Que Siente is part of the Spanish part of the show, so it's played everywhere.
Something that did change is the end of the show. In Barcelona Music was played right after Holiday and the show was ending with Ali G telling the fans to go home. Many were disappointed that there was no encore. In Milan, there is no Ali G, but Music is played after a few minutes break, so it looks like an encore. Smart move Maddy!
While being in Berlin, Madonna and galpal Gwyneth Paltrow made a silent visit to former nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen. German tabloid Bild publishes a picture of the stars in front of the iron gate, pointing at the infamous slogan 'Arbeit macht frei' (Work sets you free). Bild said that while Madonna and Paltrow were worldwide stars, "not here (in Sachsenhausen). Here they are both simply women made speechless by the agonizing deaths of tens of thousands."
Madonna kicks off her first German show tonight. She apologizes to the public for the cancellation of the concerts in Cologne, "but you can't serve something when it's not hot enough". When Austin appears on the screen, right before Beautiful Stranger, she doesn't shout 'You can fuck off too', like she did in Barcelona, but she says 'Oberaffentittengeil' with an incredibly funny voice!
The tour is asking its first toll. Madonna's having a cold and is seen wearing a scarf around her neck to decrease the inflamation of her vocal chords. During the second show, she apologizes for a weaker voice. Some fans report the show isn't as good as the previous ones. Afterwards she doesn't show up at the afterparty but instead calls an emergency doctor to free her from her scratchy throat and husky voice. However the prescribed medication gave her stomach problems. It's even that bad that she considers cancelling the other concerts.
On her day off, Madonna and friends Ingrid Casarez and Gwyneth Paltrow are spotted in Berlin, visiting the Berlin National Gallery. Guy's not in Berlin, as he's on location shooting his new movie. The scarf has disappeared and Madonna seems to be feeling better. Fortunately for the fans, no word about any cancellation!
Fans report that Maddy gave an estonishing performance tonight. Seems like the lady's feeling better! :) The Max Schmeling-Halle are filled once again with 11.000 wildly enthusiatic fans.
In the afternoon Madonna arrives at Hotel Crillon in Paris, holding Rocco in her arms and with daughter Lourdes walking behind her. She is also accompanied by Gwyneth again.
About 17.000 fans fill the Palais Omnisports de Bercy for Madonna's first gig in Paris. Those who've seen previous shows agree that this is one of the best shows so far.
Quite some celebs attending the second show in Paris: Mirwais, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Jean-Baptiste Mondino, who all get a warm applause from Madonna and the audience. During Don't Tell Me Madonna asks Mirwais on stage to play the guitar.
Allesandro and Barbara, the Italians we met in Barcelona, are in front row again. When they shout "Te amo!" Madonna answers "Te amo? Is that Spanish? Where are we? I love you too! I'm gonna dedicate this next song to YOU!" after which she sings Secret. Lucky guys!
Finally! At 6.47 am me and my best mate Krissy take the Thalys from Brussels to Paris. We got tickets for Saturdays show. Gareth also promised me a ticket for tonights show. So with a little luck we find one more on the black market! Nervously we arrive at Bercy at 8.30, expecting a whole crowd waiting there. Quite a relief when there are only about 70 people. Gareth, Frank, Floris and Caroline are pretty much in front. Among the other fans in the queu, there are a lot of Belgian fans, but also fans from Italy, Switserland, Holland and yes, some from France! ;-)
I already know the procedure now. Waiting all day in the queu in the hot sun... Difference with Barcelona is that we have to queu in between barriers with not much space. Especially when a few stupid fans rush in and make everyone rush with them, so everyone's standing with hardly any space. Krissy and me queu in turns to hold on till 7pm. Fortunate thing is that we find our second ticket at 11am already, at a very decent price!
Everyone seems to have chosen Paris as meeting place! It's great to meet a lot of people that were in Barcelona too, like the Italian gang. We meet some more Belgian fans too. All of a sudden a guy walks up to me asking if I'm Bart. "Yup, that's me". It turns out to be Marcin, my Polish penfriend for over a year! Madonna was so right; Music makes the people come together!
At 4.30pm there's another rush forward. We are now pretty much in front, but really PACKED! That means we have to stand still for another 2,5 hours! Fortunately I just came back with two extra bottles of water. Kris already has a sunburn...
We get in at 6.50pm. Contrary to Barcelona, security is very tight! Like a bunch of wild animals they lead us through barriers and they manage to check us and our tickets. Once through, Kris and I run of the stairs. Inside there are guards everywhere, so you can't really run. The waiting was worth it again; Kris and I get to second row, pretty much in the centre. There's only a small girl in front of us, so we have a perfect view!
At 9pm lights go out! Even after having seen this twice already, this moment gets me so excited! The beginning of Drowned World is so exciting, so anticipating! First the whole stage lighting that rises up, with all the screens blinking. Just like in Barcelona the crowd cheers when the dancers rise on stage. And everyone goes ecstatic as Madonna appears from the back of the stage. We scream like hell, then join her singing that beautiful song. As the song grows more powerful, she rises on the middle stage.
It's really true, the Paris shows are the best ones! Mo is in top condition and the rock part of the show is groovy! Funny detail is that her microphone didn't work when she wanted to shout her 'F*ck off motherf*ckers' as I can perfectly see her lips moving without any sound. Calmly she keeps on playing the guitar as she steps up to another mic and finishes the line. Apart from that, there aren't any mistakes or technical difficulties today; it's really perfect!
Watching the show for the third time gives me the opportunity to pay more attention to details. While Madonna's flying through the sky on Sky Fits Heaven, I finally see how she's doing it: at the other end of the cord she's attached to, is a dancer - almost invisible in the dark - that jumps off a small construction, pulling Madonna up in the sky. You can see Madonna concentrate each time she has to jump up. The timing HAS to be perfect!
During Mer Girl, I'm watching the video screen more. It's pretty cruel, all those images of that abused woman. I'm not even sure if it's played by Madonna or not. Seems like the Geisha part is completely built on the theme of What It Feels Like For A Girl. Madonna as the girl that cries for her lost love whose heart is Frozen. Madonna who is defeated by the samourai dancer. Madonna who cries for the loss of her mother in Mer Girl. And then finally she's on the way of revench, defeating the evil spirits and finally the samourai dancer during Sky Fits Heaven. And at the end of Mer Girl she shoots the last bad guy in the head.
The animated video that is shown during the remix of What It Feels Like For A Girl builds on the same theme again. In Barcelona it only seemed like a bunch of images of a running girl. Now I got a perfect view and I see things I hadn't seen before. In flashes we see parts of a girls life, first as a child safe in her world, then growing up and getting to know 'what it feels like for a girl'. The movie gets more violent and erotic to the end, as the music starts pumping. Then a scream and a film producer shouting "everyone remove the cameras!" Was it all a movie the girl was starring in? No, it isn't, as the girl wakes up in her bed...
But don't think I was standing there analyzing! I was just jumping, dancing, singing, shouting along! Everyone's having a great time! Including Maddy who gives us a smile once in a while.
Before we know it Niki, Donna and Mo are doing their ghetto dance on Holiday. "When I say 'pimp' you say 'ho'!" PIMP! HO! PIMP! HO! "Here we go!" The lady is incredible!
After Holiday, it stays quiet for a while. Except of course for 17.000 crazy fans wanting more. Music starts as an encore, as the ultimate dance topper of the show. Knowing it will be over (too) soon, we dance and sing our ass off. But after 7 minutes of boogie-woogie, it's really over. 'Thank you and goodnight!' she says for the first time. Again there's no Ali G.
Boy, what a fantastic show! Krissy and I are completely exhausted. Originally we wanted to trade our seat tickets for standing and start queuing again on saturday morning. But after the friday concert we are so exhausted that we decide to have a good night rest and a relaxing day and then use the seating tickets. We wake up at noon, remembering last nights concert as a fantastic dream. In the afternoon we pass by the queue where everyone is again waiting in that bloody hot sun. I've done it three times and I'm glad not having to go through it all again.
Quite a difference to just walk up to the stadium at 8pm without any rush. Compared to the queuing, rushing and running I've expereinced before, this is very sophisticated. They even accompany us to our seats... Admitted, the people on the seats are a more older public and for a moment we hesitate to leave our seats and stand in the crowd downstairs. Then again, seeing that whole crowd from the seats, I can't believe I've stood in between yesterday. Even more, we stood in front of it! :)
Fortunately, it doesn't take too long for our block to get on their feet. Ironically, when you have seats you got much more space to dance! And we get a general view, spotting things you can't see when you're standing in front row. Okay, we're probably trying to convince ourselves that we made the right decision. In the end it's all a great experience again and we have a lot of fun.
One of the things I saw for the first time - invisible for front row - were the small screens showing the blinking eye during Drowned World. In fact there were a lot more screens then I thought. One big screen in the middle, repeated on two side screens on the ground, showing the video images. The two side screens in the air, showing live images, sometimes animated, like Madonna riding the mechanical bull was shown within the Music logo. And then finally there were those little TV screens.
Too bad this hour-and-a-half show goes so quickly, I just can't get enough! As Madonna says 'Je suis triste...' (I feel so sad).
After the show we meet up with Gareth, Floris and Frank and head for Hotel Crillon to wait for Madonna. At the hotel we also meet Caroline, Greg and many others. Although the show was over by 11pm Madonna has still not arrived by 1.30am. At least that's what we think, because minutes later the bodyguards start laughing, break up the barriers and say that Mo is already inside. By coincidence Gareth saw her enter through the other entrance. As the only fan waiting there he even spoke to her; his luck seems endless! The other fans however go home disappointed. With no metro's left, Kris and I walk back to our hotel at the other end of Paris...
Fans waiting at Hotel Crillon get lucky when Madonna leaves through the side entrance in the early afternoon. Kris and I aren't there though, as we preferred to visit Paris rather than waiting a whole day outside the hotel and maybe get disappointed again. We've had the weekend of our life anyway. We head back home, and so does Madonna.
Tonight Madonna plays her first gig in hometown London. The 16,000 capacity Earls Court is fully booked. One couple reportedly spent £5,000 for each of their tickets! The show is attended by Guy and his parents, as well as several celebs, such as Kylie Minogue, Puff Daddy among others.
Madonna comes on stage wearing a kilt in the colors of the British Union Jack. At the end of Candy Perfume Girl, Madonna replaces the 'traditional' 'F*ck off motherf*ckers' for a 'God save the queen'. Also remarkable were her words at the beginning of I Deserve It: 'Normally, I just go into this song, but I would like to dedicate it to someone special. I've waited many months but wanted to be in the city where he was born. This song is for my husband'.
Later she says she has written a song especially for American Independance Day, after which she launches Oh Dear Daddy.
The show ends with the Ali G-scene, something that has so far only happened in Barcelona and once in Paris.
Later that night Madonna and Guy have dinner with friends Elton John and George Michael. Afterwards they head for the Berkeley Hotel in Belgravia, since their house in Westminster is being renovated. A few hours later however they leave again because the airconditioning broke down. They check into Claridge's Hotel in Mayfair for a £2,200 suite.
Next morning Madonna looks very tired, as she hasn't slept much. Furtunately she doesn't have a show that night.
Madonna has made a habit out of it to shop in every city she visits on tour. Hometown London is no exception, so she steps out with Lola for a fun time among girls.
In the evening she plays her second gig, which is a very remarkable one! After Candy Perfume Girl, she shouts her 'F*ck off motherf*ckers' again; no more 'God save the queen'. But then she starts shouting 'Get your tits out! Get your tits out! Get your tits out for the boys!', for which the crowd of course goes hysteric. Fans who've seen her in concert during the Who's That Girl Tour in 1987 remember that UK fans started singing that to her. Coming back to the UK for the Blond Ambition Tour, she said 'Don't start singing that tit song again!'. And now, so many years later she takes revenge! This is Madonna! You go girl!
Another moment of intrest is the end of the Geisha part. During Sky Fits Heaven her black wig slowly starts slipping. She sings Mer Girl (part II) with the wig hanging a little strange on her head. At the end she just rips it off, throws it on the ground and shakes her head. A now blonde Geisha shoots the dancer. Madonna seems to be in a very good mood tonight. The whole thing with the wig doesn't seem to bother her that much. She's also very talkative througout the whole show.
A British fan points out that at the end of Holiday she uses a sample of Stardust's remix 'Holiday Sounds Better With You'. Listening to the MP3s of the other shows I realise I never noticed it before.
Madonna is so full of surprises! It surprised me that a perfectionist as her wasn't bothered with the falling wig (or at least she didn't show it). But I'm amazed when I hear reports of the third London gig, saying she ripped her wig off AGAIN! On purpose this time! Or does that mean it was all a set-up the first time too? Or did she just use this to her advantage and make it a humourous part of the show? One thing's for sure, she's a great entertainer AND a smart business woman!
Another notable fact of the third gig was that she wore a union flag in front of her kilt during the first part of the show. She also repeated the 'Get your tits out' song before starting Beautiful Stranger.
She seems to enjoy her new show elements, so she repeats the 'tits song' and the 'wig thing' again on her fifth gig in Earls Court.
During La Isla Bonita a crazy fan manages to climb on stage, wanting to join the flamenco dancer. Once on top of the stage however, he is quickly picked up by security and taken away. Madonna just smiles and continues regardless.
It's reported that celebreties who want to see the show have to pay for their own ticket. They're have been many stars watching the Drowned World tour already. In Paris, the show was attended by Mirwais, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Mylene Farmer and Rosanna Arquette among others. On the seats of London's Earls Court there were Elton John, George Michael, Mick Jagger, Puff Daddy, Mel C, Kylie Minogue, Angelina Jolie and Usher. While they are used to getting free tickets, Madonna insisted everyone was treated equally. With so many stars watching the show, it would be giving away a fortune. The celebs were so eager to see the show that they didn't mind the £75 anyway. As if it would hurt their multi-million wallet...
She reportedly spends the day pampering herself, visiting a solarium and an aromatherapy store.
Tonight Madonna plays the last one out of 19 European shows. It's more or less the same routine as the previous gigs at Earl's Court. Again, she repeats the 'tits song'. 'I Deserve It' is dedicated to Guy 'because he's the coolest guy in the universe and he has a really big... shoe collection!'. Remember she once dedicated the True Blue album to 'my husband, the coolest guy in the universe'... which was a different husband though!
Just like the last gig in Paris, she said she was sad because it was her last show in town and that she had written a special song for the occasion, being Oh Dear Daddy of course.
The show is again attended by many celebs, including William Orbit, Dido, Ricky Martin, Stella McCartney, Gabrielle, Pierce Brosnan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Belinda Carlisle.
That's it for Europe, folks! While we can now cherish our fantastic experiences in our memory, Madonna will be enjoying a well-deserved holiday. She'll be in Philadelphia on July 21st to conquer the States.↑ Back to top of page