Sticky & Sweet Tour diary - Europe 2008

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Athens - 27 Sep. 2008

Performing Human Nature in Athens Madonna closed her European tour with a blast! Her first ever appearance in Athens, Greece did not have any major technical errors and thankfully the crowd was very enthusiastic. Madonna could not start You Must Love Me in time as the audience kept on chanting her name and she was moved! The request section featured the staple choice of Express Yourself, but Madonna was so impressed by the fans that she made them sing the snippet twice and even asked "Is this the best fucking show you've ever seen?" ;-)

Unfortuately it's Game Over for Europe, but not for Madonna, who's kicking off her North American tour next Saturday. Congrats to us, European fans, for showing Madonna that we do it better and know how to party! Thank you, Madonna, for this incredible tour you gave us! We're missing you already!

Budva - 25 Sep. 2008

Madonna had just recovered from Vienna, but had to endure yet another problematic show. At her first ever concert in Montenegro, at the seaside town Budva, she faced the biggest technical problem so far.

The throne of the opening number Candy Shop did not turn around in time and Madonna had to start singing the song behind the screens! Obviously she was pissed because of that but Madonna did loosen up as the show progressed.

For She's Not Me, she went back to the "Have you ever had a best friend that wanted to do everything you did, including fucking your boyfriend?" intro while wearing the red-framed glasses for the 5th time on the tour.

She did sing Express Yourself in the request section, which turned out well, as Madonna said "I love you Budva!" & "You guys have been such an amazing crowd!". She was wearing a fake fur vest during the standing/guitar numbers because of the cold, and she shortened the singalong at the end of Give It 2 Me.

Unfortunately because of traffic, the show was forced to start 50 minutes late and the representatives of the press arrived even later so they were not allowed to take pictures (they could have done that only in the beginning of the show). Madonna's show, that had a crowd of 45.000, is praised in the Montenegro press but the organization errors and the supposed cheap/free ticket giveaways are largely accentuated. Let's hope the last show of the European leg will make up for the recent problems!

Vienna - 23 Sep. 2008

Performing Candy Shop in Vienna Madonna had quite an experience at her first ever gig in Vienna, Austria. The weather was quite cold so a new jacket debuted in the Old School section. She lost her balance in the intro of Vogue and told the audience that the place needed to be heated up by clapping.

In the intro of She's Not Me, Madonna said "This one's for the ladies, and all the bitches, and all the whores, and all the wannabes that try to be like me, but they will never be me!" and after the "I know I can do it better!" shout-out, she called one of the dancers "wannabe", accentuating the other meaning of the song. Unfortunately the audience stayed quite calm and lame throughout most of the show, with a short change during La Isla Bonita.

By the time Ray Of Light arrived, the tech problems finally conquered Madonna. Her microphone barely worked and she messed up the guitar playing, Monte had to come to her rescue and play the album version riff. After that she walked back to the main stage and as noticed the microphone stand was too low, she said "Hey I'm not that short!" and then she tripped the stand so it fell down.

After some long seconds, it's fixed so she launched the request section. She went with Dress You Up because of some fans holding sings with the single title on it, but the audience didn't even sing along, so she got pissed and called them "motherfuckers" and said "that's shit". She tried to make Austria sing during the last number Give It 2 Me as well, but it didn't work so she had her middle finger up for the audience during a whole chorus! We wonder if Madonna will go back to Vienna on her tours in the future...

Paris - 21 Sep. 2008

After a sold out show yesterday, the second Paris show kicks off at 9.30 pm, with Madonna being once again fashionably late. At the end of Human Nature, Madonna said "Je ne regrette rien! Motherfuckers!" She switched it up and is wearing the pink Old School outfit in the second part of the show!

She's Not Me was introduced as "This is not a love song, this is a hate song!", during the breakdown she was calling the wannabes "bitch, whore, slut, cunt" and kissed the 'Blond Ambition' girl once again. As she finished the track, she threw her glasses and the outfit to the audience.

The request section was with Like A Virgin tonight, with Madonna saying "French do it better!" and asking them if they want to hear some more, plus making them do the bus stop. Then she introduced Hung Up as "another old song".

At 11.25 pm she finished off the second show in the City of Lights with a big "Merci beacoup!" after the Give It 2 Me singalong. Celebrities in the audience: Jean-Paul Gaultier, Naomi Campbell & John Galliano.

Watch the request moment here:

Paris - 20 Sep. 2008

Performing Beat Goes On in ParisMadonna is back in France. The expectations are high because the City of Lights is the only European date that has two shows on this tour. The first Paris show kicked off just before 9.30 pm. During Into The Groove, as usual, Madonna made her fans participate as she said "Lemme hear you sing! " & "Wanna hear you make some noise" and the French were really into it!

During She's Not Me, Madonna kissed the 'Blond Ambition' wannabe girl on the mouth! Before Spanish Lesson, she asked "Parlez-Vous Français? Habla Español?". Introducing Miles Away: "Est-ce que vous croyez à l'amour?" The crowd showed a lot of love during You Must Love Me!

In Ray Of Light, she told the audience that she wants to see them jumping. During the request part, Madonna said " Ça va? C'est fini? I feel so much love tonight. Merci beacoup!" and sang Express Yourself yet again, then shouting "Paris is the shit!".

The first Paris concert was over at just around 11.25pm. British fashion designer John Galliano was spotted in the audience. You can hear Madonna's speech during the request part here:

Valencia - 18 Sep. 2008

Madonna's second Spanish show, in Valencia turned out to be an even bigger success as Madonna finally took a song request from the fans. First she did Like A Virgin but then went into the fan favourite Dress You Up because of the golden circle fans, and they sang it altogether!

The crowd was very loving, they couldn't stop shouting 'Madonna' before You Must Love Me, she couldn't even start the song because they were so loud! On both Spanish shows, Madonna once again used the red framed glasses during She's Not Me (after Dusseldorf & Frankfurt).

Seville - 16 Sep. 2008

Performing Vogue in SevilleAfter 7 years, Madonna is finally back in Spain! She kicked off the 11th show of the tour in the Southwestern city Seville to a supposedly near-sellout crowd, moving almost 50.000 tickets. The fans and the critics were overwhelmed, she got raving reviews in the Spanish press!

Madonna interacted a lot with the audience and obviously said a lot of Spanish words in the show, just before Spanish Lesson she said the usual "Habla Español?" with "Te Gusta?". Before You Must Love Me, the crowd was showing so much appreciation, calling her "Guapa" ("beautiful").

During the speech section, there was no explicit attempt for a song request so Madonna naturally went with Express Yourself. She kept saying that she loves Seville. Hopefully she's gonna enjoy Valencia as well!

Lisbon - 14 Sep. 2008

Performing Candy Shop in LisbonMadonna continued with her massive tour and the tenth show of the trek was in Lisbon, Portugal. Madonna performed once again in front of 70,000+ sell-out crowd (just like in Zurich & London)!

She was reportedly in a good mood and switched back to the pink Old School outfit for the second time so far (after Berlin). The request section once again had Express Yourself, which makes us wonder if that single is going to be performed in the remaining 47 shows as well...

At the end of Hung Up, Madonna fell on her booty while holding the guitar. This scene has been making rounds online, which you can watch here:

London - 11 Sep. 2008

It was chilly but at least not raining as we arrived at the impressive Wembley Stadium in London at 8am on Thursday morning. This was where we had been counting down to for so long. A bit with envy to see the 30 fans waiting at the Golden Circle entrance, while we only managed to get hold of general admission tickets. But at least there were only 5 people queueing at our entrance.

British fans Louise & Rob were both Madonna virgins, queueing early for their first Madonna show. Another fan had already seen her in the previous tour; as he told us he worked in a gay sauna, we quickly dubbed him Dungeon Boy. Even when security moved us into another queue out in the open air, we killed the many hours of waiting with lots of joking around. Queueing for a Madonna show is always more fun when meeting other interesting fans. Madonna makes the people come together, eh?

Skip to 6pm. Although the tickets had mentioned the doors opening at 5pm, security informed us that Madonna was still rehearsing so we had to work a bit more patience. The tension significantly grew, as security guard Freddy was making sure we all stayed calm and obeyed his rules. As he finally lift the security cordon, the madness started: the most stressful moment before a Madonna show, making sure you get into the stadium as fast as possible to conquer yourself the best spot. And we managed quite well: we ended up all together at front row at the barrier of our category, on the right side of the stage. The Golden Circle in front of us filled up with a few thousand fans but our view was still great. We were ready! Paul Oakenfold noticed soon enough, as we all warmed up to his DJ set. He stopped around 7.45pm.

Performing Candy Shop in LondonMadonna was due at 8.30, but it took an additional 40 minutes before the lights went out. Later on, this would bring complaints from many uptight UK fans, but we are more used to this.

Among the massive crowd anticipating the grand entrance are some of Madonna's friends: Gwyneth Palthrow, Kate Hudson & Naomi Campbell, as well as Nicole Kidman, Fergie, Katy Perry, Penelope Cruz, Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Prince Kyril of Bulgaria's wife Rosario. Bring it on, Madge!

Bartie: Even if it was my 18th show, the beginning of a Madonna show still sends shivers down my spine. The intro video reminded me of Blond Ambition a bit. Candy Shop itself wasn't really the fantastic opener that previous tours had though.

Dani: I agree it wasn't as grand but the video was suspensive enough and its meaning was revealed at the end of the show. Beat Goes On kicked off quickly, which started as a simple performance with Pharrell on the screen, but became more interesting as the 1920's Rolls Royce rolled in.

Bartie: I love that song, it really started the party! That car and those outfits with the top hat were sexy and gangsta pimp at the same time. And it was definitely live, coz she tripped over one line. ;-) For Human Nature, she picked up the electric guitar for a more rockier version of the song. Glad that Britney's involvement got limited to the video, though I like how she expanded the song's meaning to Britney's recent controversies. Liked the 'I'm not your bitch, I'm not your bitch' part at the end, which was of course combined with the 'It's Britney bitch!'.

Performing Human Nature in London Dani: Even though I love the song, this number was probably my least favorite of the show. It was obviously just a chance for Madonna to catch her breath between two dance songs and to include a song from Bedtime Stories. I quickly forget about this performance as she kicked off Vogue, intertwined with beats of 4 Minutes. This is where the show really started for me. The choreography was fantastic!

Bartie: And moreover, she sang it live for the first time! Not to forget the sexy guys like Jason and Paul beside her. Once more, she re-invented the choreography, and once more an incredible one! Really a show highlight.

Bartie: The Pimp segment rolled into the Old School part with a great new Die Another Day video featuring Madonna as a boxer. The pictures of the tour book came from this photoshoot as well. The song was sped up, adding adrenaline to the fight on the screen and between the two dancers in the boxing ring.

Dani: The video was nice but one of the biggest spectacles of the show arrived only after when Madonna came on stage jumping rope on the beats of Into The Groove. One of the high energy numbers, a cool re-invention and a superb singalong for the whole 70.000-head crowd!

Performing She's Not Me in London Bartie: Reminded me of Blond Ambition again. Very positive energy here! I couldn't believe that the girl skipping rope and dancing the pole has just turned 50, instead of 16! Dancers jumping around everywhere, and colourful Keith Haring-like drawings on the screens. She was very cheeky as she said she'd get into one of her fantasies: the double dutch. She skipped energetically as the song combined with some beats of my beloved Jump. She then fell down to the floor, all exhausted, with just a Heartbeat heard and shown on screen.

Dani: The shoe changing was a bit too literal referring to the lyrics and unfortunately this song was completely mimed. I loved the 'see my booty get down'-part though! It was time for the electric guitar again as she kicked into a rock version of Borderline, a song that hasn't been performed on tour for 23 years. Nice to hear it, but maybe it was a bit too guitar-driven.

Bartie: Yes, I must admit I expected a bit more from this song. The sweetness of the original is gone in this version. She's Not Me on the other hand was another highlight for me. "This one's for the ladies" she quipped "Have you ever had a friend who always did everything with you, and then turned out she was fucking your boyfriend?" But although referring to the original meaning of the song, the performance added another layer: 4 dancers dressed as Madonna dolls portraying a different Madonna era stood at the end of the catwalk. One in the 'Virgin' wedding dress, one for 'Open Your Heart', one 'Material Girl' and a 'Blond Ambition' girl. Madonna attacked and ridiculed them, calling them 'bitch', and all of a sudden the line 'she's not me' got a whole new meaning. I love that multi-layering in Madonna's work!

Performing Music in London Dani: I agree, not only was it one of the show's highlights but it might be one of her smartest live performances ever. She proves to all her fans and critics that she often plays an act and none of them are her true self. Don't judge, don't categorize. A message she previously used in Human Nature and Nobody Knows Me. She then ripped off her outfit to change to purple hotpants to the beats of 'Last Night A DJ Saved My Life' and crawled back to the main stage. The screens imitated a NYC subway, which opened up to let in the gang of dancers, who joined Madonna for a mashup of Music with Fedde Le Grand's 'Put Your Hands Up For Detroit'.

Bartie: Glad that she managed to make another great re-invention of this song, the Street theme really worked. It felt like a grand finale though, I guess that song has just 'finale' written all over. Fortunately for us, the show was only halfway. The 2nd segment got closed by the computer animation for Rain, although it was actually Eurythmics' 'Here Comes The Rain Again' with only adding Madonna whispering the word 'Rain'. Too bad this gorgeous Erotica song didn't receive a proper performance.

Dani: Well, it allowed us to catch our breath and to get ready for our favourite song from Hard Candy: Devil Wouldn't Recognize You. Madonna came back in a black robe, sitting on top of a piano, behind the pixel screens as if it was a cage. I was so glad to hear this song live, it was so different from anything she has done before!

Bartie: Beautiful & haunting, everything I imagined this performance to be. The water effects on the screen surrounding her added another mystery aspect. At the end she gets freed from her cage and she rips open her cape to reveal her colourful Givenchy gypsy outfit. The only horror was that this breathtaking highlight was followed by the underwhelming Spanish Lesson, certainly my lowpoint of the show.

Performing Miles Away in LondonDani: This is where I must disagree because this number is a typical Madonna live performance: she takes an album filler and breathes new life into it. The choreography was very funny. Madonna did a bit of tango with the cloaked dancers. Afterwards, it was time for the acoustic guitar for Miles Away. This song got a new meaning as the screens showed the travelling life of gypsies, intertwined with travel documents, Visa, etc.

Bartie: I got a bit silent as she opened with "This is for all who know the struggle of long distance relationships. I know you're out there." Such a beautiful singalong ballad. The crowd clapped synchronously along. It showed how good of a single choice this really is. The gypsy musicians were sitting at the end of the catwalk and got up for the follow-up La Isla Bonita/Lela Pala Tute. Fortunately I got more into this one than at Live Earth.

Dani: I say it loud & proud: I can't get enough of this song! This version is so energetic, I have to say I think is Madonna at her best. The crowd got more doses of Gypsy music as the band took over to play the Romani/Gypsy folk song 'Doli Doli' while Madonna sat down to catch her breath and have a drink with Paul. Love it how Madonna pays tribute to different cultures on her shows!

Bartie: Wasn't very fond of the song itself but indeed nice that she shared the limelight with others. The same musicians accompany her into a haunting rendition of You Must Love Me. This performance got ruined when I saw it in Nice, as fans tried to sing 'Happy Birthday'. Fortunately this time I got to enjoy it fully. Her voice came out beautifully!

Performing Ray Of Light in London Dani: I'd have never expected that I have to call an Evita song as an absolute highlight. I have no words to describe her performance. It got me so emotional. What a perfect way to close the gypsy segment, which just has to be one of her all time best show sections! The mood quickly changed as the politically charged Get Stupid video came on screen. I don't really care for her political views but I thought the message does raise awareness.

but at least she gets people thinking and talking about it. Let's hope it has at least a bit of positive effect on the upcoming elections.

Bartie: Madonna came back on stage in her gladiator outfit and kicked off the futuristic Rave segment with 4 Minutes. We had seen the performance on the promo tour already but it got the crowd cheering. Too bad Justin was only there on screen... ;-)

Dani: It was definitely a crowd pleaser. She followed this hit single by the classic Like A Prayer, which received a huge make-over, mixing it with Meck's 'Feels Like Home'. Of course, this line links both songs perfectly. This version was a bit weird for me but halfway I got really into it.

Bartie: I couldn't believe my ears when I first heard this version. To combine this classic with such a rave song and make it work so superbly, only Madonna can pull this off! London Wembley show - Game OverThis was the ultimate highlight for me, going completely mad on it. The performance served purpose for all: it got the crowd dancin' and ravin' and yet it managed to give out a powerful message too: the screens portrayed lines from different religious books and declared unity between religions and cultures around the world. "The lamps might be different but the Light is the same, for we all come from the Light and return back to it." Wow! Loved it! She smartly carries on this theme with Ray Of Light, where she ventures further into her guitar obsession. One of my favorite songs, so I didn't mind it being in the setlist again. Only too bad that it was a bad copy of the Confessions performance. Not only was the version very similar, copying the background video was a shocker!

Dani: Ignore the critics, there's no Madonna show without this incredible track. To me this version sounded more polished than 2 years ago. She didn't even have to say it, the fans were jumping up & down, making it a Madonna tour staple. She finally took the time to address the audience after this song. "Are you having a good time?" (YEAH!!!) "Did you have enough?" (NOOO!!) "Good! Now let's thank God because it didn't f*cking rain on my show!" It was the moment for the song request. Some fans had printed out signs with 'Gambler' on it but she quickly dismissed them, saying she can't remember the words to it. She wasn't really taking requests, as she did the usual Express Yourself snippet.

Bartie: Only Madonna is in control at a Madonna show, right? She kept the guitar on for a heavy rock version of Hung Up. In a way, it was a nice experience, though it does ruin a great song that served as such a fantastic tour closer last time around.

Nicolai, Josh, Bartie & Dani after the show in Wembley, London Dani: Well, she had to do something new with it and even though the breakdown, the screens and the chess quote were all very random, I was still enjoying this megahit. The long outro was heavy metal-influenced. Without a break, it rolled into the club/house version of Give It 2 Me. The screens were like a Japanese video game. It quickly turned out to be a great finale with Madonna making 70.000 fans shouting 'give it to me!'. Only Madonna can have this effect on us!

Bartie: Not her best closer ever, but the best choice for this tour. A feel-good dance track, taking all the final energy of Madonna, her dancers and her thousands of fans, before they leave into the night, her mind boggled with all those attacks on the senses. The many screens united back into the original cube to show the message 'Game Over', continuing the tradition of closing lines on tour. Exhausted but excited we all burst into the streets around Wembley, discussing our tour favorites.

Dani: Madonna didn't disappoint. She delivered an incredible show, blending pop, rock, dance/house, r'n'b/hip hop & folk perfectly!

Bartie: I must admit that the show doesn't completely live up to the standards that she has set with her previous tours. Yet the show contains many mind-blowing performances, showing off her incredible talents as an entertainer. From high energy dance choreographies to hauntingly beautiful emo-moments. Game Over, sure, but not for Madonna!

~ Live from London, yours truly, the Mad-Eyes team. x x x

Frankfurt - 9 Sep. 2008

Madonna gave her third and final German show tonight. In Frankfurt, she was less talkative than at the previous shows in Germany. In the request part of the concert, she sang a line of Holiday, then said "What shall I sing? I don't feel like virgins tonight" and finally went onto the usual Express Yourself snippet. The red-framed glasses were used on this show as well.

The next show is at the Wembley Stadium, London, which will be attended by the Mad-Eyes team, so there won't be any updates in the next few days, but look out for our review of the London show very soon!

Rome - 6 Sep. 2008

According to reports by fans, the crowd in Rome was massive, they sang along all the songs, even obscure album tracks like Spanish Lesson! During She's Not Me, Madonna held out her microphone for the fans. Before You Must Love Me, the people were chanting 'Evita! Evita! Evita!"...

In the request moment of the show, Madonna said "I dedicate this song to the pope, he loves me because I'm a child of God" and she sang Like A Virgin. Then she told the audience "You people know how to have a good time!"

Dusseldorf - 4 Sep. 2008

Performing Human Nature in DusseldorfMadonna's second German show on the tour had another calm crowd, but in Dusseldorf Madonna finally changed her act and instead of Express Yourself, she sang a bit of Like A Virgin during the request-speech (a fan suggested True Blue but Madonna dismissed that and opted for "something that has some balls").

After that, she had problems with her guitar during Hung Up, unlike the out of tune one in Nice, this time it was simply broken. The heart-shaped glasses, used in She's Not Me, had a red frame on this show.

Amsterdam - 2 Sep. 2008

Early fan reports suggest that Madonna gave a near-perfect show in Amsterdam. Surprisingly, this time the minor flaws were not technical: it was Madonna who made a mistake in the lyrics of Human Nature and said "You guys are messing me up!".

Later on, she made another mistake during La Isla Bonita, instead of the second chorus she started to sing the 'Lela Pala Tute' lyrics. The show was a sell-out and the Amsterdam ArenA was packed with fans! Madonna even called them her best crowd so far.

In the request part of the show, she joked that the fans should sing Happy Birthday for her, which they did, but she laughed and did Express Yourself again before kicking off the rock version of Hung Up.

Zurich - 30 Aug. 2008

The fourth show of the tour was Madonna's first ever show in Switzerland, one of her biggest tour audiences, with more than 70,000 fans and most importantly, it was the biggest concert ever in Switzerland!

More interesting stuff about the Zurich show: Madonna did a soundcheck in front of the waiting audience during the day and she even teased them saying they should pay double the price since they are seeing the show twice.

Later on the actual show, during Miles Away, she joked that the audience should sing along because they heard the song earlier. Madonna switched back to the black/red old school costume on this show, it is currently unknown whether Madonna is going to change between the two outfits on the tour.

The Swiss crowd was reportedly calm, especially during the Hard Candy songs... Madonna sang Express Yourself as a request on this show as well.

Berlin - 28 Aug. 2008

Performing Into The Groove in Berlin On the third show of the tour, in Berlin, Germany, Madonna surprised her fans with changing the old school outfit to a pink one, which we've seen on the costume sketches, which she wore during Into The Groove, Heartbeat, Borderline & She's Not Me.

Small technical problems with the screens happened on this show as well. In the "request moment", Madonna sang a bit of Holiday next to the usual snippet. Madonna dedicated the ballad You Must Love Me to Seymour Stein, who was in the audience.

Nice - 26 Aug. 2008

3 days after her first show, Madonna continues her tour a thousand miles away, down in the south of France, Nice. Mad-Eyes is represented at the show as Webmaster Bartie is there and reports that this show does have an opening act, Robyn and DJ Laurent Wolf do their best to warm up the audience.

The show started at 9.20 pm! At the beginning of the show, unfortunately there was a problem with the screens but they got back to normal at the end of Candy Shop. Madonna introduced the new track She's Not Me as "This one is for the ladies!".

Sadly more screen problems occured during She's Not Me & Music. Madonna apologized for the technical problems during the gypsy segment. She introduced La Isla Bonita with her usual line on French shows: "Vous êtes prêt?!" Before You Must Love Me, fans in the front row made a failed attempt to sing Happy Birthday to Madonna.

After Ray Of Light, she repeated the "request" moment and went with the Express Yourself snippet yet again. Then she bursted out saying "Give me an untuned guitar one more time and I will have to punish you!" At 11.13 pm, the show was over.

Cardiff - 23 Aug. 2008

Performing La Isla Bonita in CardiffMadonna kicked off her 8th tour in the capitol of Wales on August 23rd. According to various fan reports, most of the tickets in Cardiff were sold, the venue was close to being full. Unlike on her previous opening nights, Madonna seemed to be already confident and the show was already simply perfect. Surprisingly, she didn't have any long speeches in the show, she did make the fans sing during a few numbers and had some one line shout-outs.

The biggest interaction with the audience happened towards the end of the show, after Ray Of Light, when Madonna was "taking requests" from fans and the people near her shouted for Express Yourself, and Madonna indeed sang a few bars of that single before she went "f*ck that shit!" and launched the infamous rock rendition of the megahit, Hung Up.

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