Drowned World Tour diary - North America

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Philadelphia - 21 July 2001

Madonna kicks off the US leg of the Drowned World Tour with a first concert in Philadelphia. And she makes it a memorable show again! After 19 European shows in a red kilt, she changed her outfit. She comes on stage with a black & white kilt and a polkadot shirt. She has see-through sleeves on both arms now and the white protection-bandage has disappeared.

Impressive Instant in PhillyThe picture on the left shows her new outfit during Impressive Instant. The choreography of this song also slightly changed. Before kicking into Beautiful Stranger she asks the audience "Do I make you horny?", which makes the crowd go crazy. The 'Get your tits out' song was obviously meant as a British joke, as it isn't included in the show anymore.

The most surprising detail of the show is the change of the setlist. The follow-up to Secret isn't Gone, but You'll See this time! She is all alone in the spotlights, at the left corner of the stage, where she used to perform Gone as well.

She introduces Oh Dear Daddy as "a song she'd written especially for the first US show, a song that has never been heard anywhere before, EVER". ;-) As usual during this part of the show, Madonna communicates with the audience a lot. Commenting on the song lyrics - a father that gets killed and afterwards gets barbecued - she says: "That's just an example of something bad happening to somebody and turning it into a good thing", using a Dolly Partonesq ue-accent. Earlier in the evening she already said that "it's good to be back in the good ol' US of A".

Mo in a 'you suck' shirtOn the left, you can see Madonna on her way to the venue in a 'You suck'-shirt, showing off the amazing results of her work-outs.

Philadelphia - 22 July 2001

The second show in Philadelphia resembles the one from the night before. It seems that the new setlist, including You'll See instead of Gone, will be played on every US show.

New York City - 25 July 2001

Drowned World in NYC"It's so great to be back in New York Fucking City!". Madonna's back in one of her hometowns New York City, where she kicks off the first out of five gigs tonight. Another outfit change as she appears on stage with a black & white striped shirt instead of the polkadot shirt from Philly. And the bandage is back. She's had a haircut; it slightly covers her face. Other show details are equal to the shows in Philadelphia.

There aren't any mistakes or technical difficulties, this is one of her best shows. Before Ray Of Light she yells "Give it up, New York City!". Among the celebs attending the show are David Bowie and Iman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Beck, Gwen Stefani (No Doubt), Adam Horowitz (Beastie Boys), Jerry Seinfeld, Maverick partner Guy Oseary and his girlfriend supermodel Eva Herzigova, and of course Guy Ritchie.

Extraordinary about the New York show is that a remarkable lot of both celebs and fans are wearing extravaganza outfits as a tribute to their idol. From girls in a Like A Virgin wedding dress to guys in cowboy outfits or Scottish kilts.

Mo in a 'London - juicy couture for nice girls' shirtMeanwhile, Madonna still proves to be a clothing trendsetter, promoting her new punk image. On the right, Madonna walking around in NYC in a shirt that says "London - juicy couture for nice girls". British news paper The Sun wondered if it had anything to do with the shirt she wore earlier this week! ;)

New York City - 26 July 2001

Another great show in New York. Though there are a few technical problems. Most notably, during Human Nature, the bull doesn't work. Madonna justs rocks on it and jokes about it afterwards. Before getting into Oh Dear Daddy she says "Frank Sinatra was right, if you can make it here you can make it anywhere!". Strangely enough, the opening outfit is again the polkadot shirt that she wore in Philadelphia.

At one point during La Isla Bonita the big screens show Jennifer Lopez in the audience, dancing her ass off! Other attending celebs are Faith Hill, Ben Stiller, Melissa Ethridge, Jon Stewart, Susan Lucci and Carson Daly (MTV).

East Rutherford - 2 Aug. 2001

Mo in a 'kiss my ass' shirt The US tour continues to East Rutherford, New Jersey. For unknown reasons - but that's Madonna - the show changed back to the European setlist, including Gone instead of You'll See. Introducing Oh Dear Daddy she makes a dig at her previous shows in New York by saying "I wrote this song for you guys, not Manhattan!".

During this part of the show someone throws a bouquet of flowers on stage. Niki picks it up and gives it to Madonna, who accepts it with a big smile and then puts it in the back. When some idiot in the public throws a bag on stage she replies "Okay guys you better stop throwing things on stage now!"

The rest of the show is pretty much the same, without any technical difficulties. The Drowned World Tour continues to please the fans.

Outside the shows Madonna continues her punk image, sporting a "kiss my ass" shirt last saturday.

New York City - 3 Aug. 2001

Madonna is ill!! She's having laryngitis; an infection of the troat. Tonight's show is cancelled. According to a statement from promoter Clear Channel Entertainment the sold-out concert will not be rescheduled. Refunds will be available at the point of purchase, and online and telephone orders will be automatically refunded. Nothing is said about any other cancellations. She has four days to recover before her first Boston gig. Let's hope that's enough!

New York City - 6 Aug. 2001

For the first time in three days Madonna appears in public as she leaves her New York apartment. She seems to feel better, so it's looking good for the Boston fans. However, some angry fans who missed out on the cancelled New Jersey concert awaited Madonna outside her apartment and started shouting as soon as she came out. Poor Maddy...

Boston - 7 Aug. 2001

Impressive Instant in Boston Madonna on her way to the Boston FleetCenterLooks like Madonna recovered from her laryngitis. She rocks the Boston Fleet Center like she did her previous shows and fans are happy to see her on stage looking more than just healthy. During the punk-rock part she's wearing her black & white kilt and polkadot shirt, which seems to be her US outfit, except for that one show in New York. She also performs You'll See again. In New Jersey she might haven chosen to do the vocally less demanding Gone to save her voice.

Here's a great review from the Boston Herald by Sarah Rodman:

Madonna proves her pipes not a problem

Giddy-up cowboys and cowgirls, Madonna is in Boston to take you on a ride.

Last night, in the first of two sold out shows at the FleetCenter, the chameleonic pop star showed a variety of her latest faces to stunning effect. From geisha girl to cowgirl, the crowd moved with every dainty step and joyous boot stomp of the Material Mom in a whirlwind 90-minute performance that had few lulls.

Much has been made of the fact that Madonna is doing less than a handful of her pre-1994 hits on her current "Drowned World Tour", which means no "Borderline", "Vogue", "Express Yourself" or "Live to Tell" to name a very few.

The Michigan-made music mogul seems to be saying to her longtime fans, "if you want the greatest hits, play the record. If you want to see what I call entertainment now, come along for this ride and trust me."

At $250 a pop for the best seats in the house that was a lot to ask, but whether she played your favorite song last night or not, no one can say that Madonna didn't work her butt off putting on a spectacular show both musically and visually.

For starters, she sounded terrific, and not just good for Madonna, but good period.

Since Madonna is the first to admit she is not the best singer in the world and after having cancelled a show last week in New Jersey due to laryngitis, some fans were nervous about Madge's pipes. But whether she was belting out the defiant yet vulnerable pop ballad "You'll See" or hitting those stratospheric notes on the frenetic techno hit "Ray of Light" Madonna has never sounded better or more plainly live, no lip synching.

That meant that instead of constant hoofing, Madonna, who turns 43 next week, judiciously sprinkled dancing throughout the show - a simple yet expert country line dance during "Don't Tell Me" drew huge cheers - and often let her troupe of ten extremely limber dancers show off their acrobatic and fresh moves around her.

The show was separated into five parts correlating with the characters "rock 'n' roll punk girl", "geisha girl", "cyber cowgirl", "Spanish girl" and "ghetto girl". So if you got bored with one - and the geisha section did seem a little lengthy, beautiful but slow - another one was right on its heels.

Candy Perfume Girl in Boston The night began with the punk girl and in this guise, clad in ripped black pants and a kilt Madonna, her six-piece band and mohawked dancers emerged amidst flickering lights and on her many leveled stage to the midtempo tronica of "Drowned World". This set also included the paisley pop of "Beautiful Stranger" and saw Madonna strap on the first of several guitars, to show off the fruits of recent lessons on the rock edged "Candy Perfume Girl".

The geisha/Japanese-centric section followed with Madonna in one garment that had 26 foot long sleeves during the chilly soundscapes of "Frozen" and kicking some "Crouching Tiger" style moves on wires for the melding of "Mer Girl" and "Sky Fits Heaven".

The cowgirl portion featured the slowest mechanical bull ever for the unapologetic "Human Nature", Madonna ably strumming "I Deserve It", an ode to her hubby Guy Ritchie and even singing a hillbilly song about killing her daddy and barbecuing him. The Spanish section included an invigorating and much more sultry and organic reading of the flamenco-laced "La Isla Bonita" and ghetto fabulousness in the form of a fake fur and fedora popped up for exuberant closers "Holiday" and "Music", during which she was flanked by indispensable singer/dancers Niki Harris and Donna DeLory.

If you're taking that ride tonight, be sure to bring your dancing shoes.

9 Aug. 2001

After the setback in New Jersey, Madonna seems to be fit again, playing another great gig last night. She's been on the road for exactly two months now. On both sides of the ocean the Drowned World Tour is a huge success! Maddy rulezzzzzz!! :)

Washington DC - 10 Aug. 2001

Impressive Instant in DCIt's almost 10pm when Madonna comes on stage at the MCI Center in Washington DC. She apologizes for being so late, saying her airplane was late due to bad weather and that she "didn't think she will make it". Although she seems to be in great shape, she switches back to Gone again, which might be a sign that her throat problems have returned.

Washington DC - 11 Aug. 2001

Madonna rocks on her second night at Washington DC.

There seem to be some technical difficulties; one of them even stops her from dancing at the end of Impressive Instant. The air-conditioning is only turned on halfway the show. But nevertheless the crowd goes wild for Madonna, who gives them a fantastic performance.

She dedicates I Deserve It to her birthday-son, saying "It was a year ago that my son was born. And even though he's not in the audience tonight, I want to wish him a happy birthday".

For who was wondering, Madonna still takes off her wig at the end of Mer Girl. At first it was thought to be a London-only joke, just like the 'Get your tits out' song (which she didn't perform anymore), but since the crowd loves it, she's kept on doing it on the US shows. Another new concept by Madonna: a blonde Geisha!

Another tour detail: at the end of the US shows all the TV-screens read "THE END", something that wasn't done in Europe. The video showing Ali G saying the show is over was only used in Barcelona and London.

Miami - 14 Aug. 2001

Impressive Instant in Miami 15 000 enthusiastic fans fill up the National Car Rental Center in Miami, Florida. The media attention in Madonna's once-hometown (she sold her Miami mansion last year) is huge. Outside the venue a local radio station placed a huge birthday card that everyone can sign.

The show is once again a topper. Even when something goes wrong - think about her solution to a slipping wig - Madonna knows how to cope with it. When she loses her mic during Frozen, the crowd amusingly watches her chasing it. She seems to be a little confused while she's singing I Deserve It, leaving out the entire second verse and then catching up with the chorus.

Tonight it's back to You'll See. She's been in perfect shape since her little setback in New Jersey, and the switching between Gone and You'll See has probably nothing to do with her voice, but is just a variation in the show. If she goes on with switching between the two songs, she'll perform You'll See on the Detroit show, which is being broadcast on HBO and some other foreign TV channels. Unless Madonna has a surprise for us...

The Miami show is also attended by Rosie O'Donnell, Ingrid Casarez, Ricky Martin, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Lenny Kravitz, Jon Secada and Mo's ex-bf Vanilla Ice.

Miami - 15 Aug. 2001

Guy surprises the Missus with a huge birthday cake Mo relaxing on a yachtTonight Madonna performs a second time in Miami, right before turning 43. On stage Niki and Donna announce they don't feel like singing Oh Dear Daddy because they have a different song in mind. Madonna shouts "Hey come back here!", not quite understanding what's happening. At that moment all the dancers gather on stage as well as Guy Ritchie who is wearing a shirt that reads 'Starfucker'. They all start singing 'Happy Birthday' for Madonna and Guy gives his wife a huge birthday cake. Of course the crowd goes wild! Madonna blows out the candles, tastes the cake with her finger and kisses her hubby, saying "Thank you baby!". Before leaving Guy turns to his wife and says "Now get back to work Mrs. Ritchie!". Madonna smiles happily and does so.

The rest of the show goes smoothly.

16 Aug. 2001

Madonna is taking a few days off from her tour to celebrate her birthday with her family. She has chosen to relax on a yacht in the Miami waters. She'll be back on stage in Atlanta on Sunday, August 19th.

Atlanta - 19 Aug. 2001

Impressive Instant in Atlanta Seems like Madonna's haircut grows wilder with every show! After a well-deserved holiday to celebrate her birthday, she hosts another great night, this time in Atlanta, Georgia. As usual, she doesn't adress the public until the cowgirl-part of the show. "Well, what do you know, here we are in Atlanta!", she says in a corny, country voice, "I've had myself some good ol' times in Atlanta... You wouldn't believe me if I told you." Could she be referring to the Atlanta stripclub where she allegedly picked up a female stripper named Baby (according to what the club owner told Court in a case of fraud against him) ? :)

Introducing Secret, she talks about writing and recording the song in Atlanta. After Secret she performs You'll See.

Detroit - 25 Aug. 2001

Drowned World in DetroitMadonna has been rehearsing a lot the past few days, probably to be in top condition for the HBO concert. Tonights show in Detroit is like the big rehearsal before the broadcast. Madonna is in good shape and gives a great performance. She sings Gone instead of You'll See. HBO is taping parts of the show to include into tomorrows documentary.

26 Aug. 2001

Mo on HBO All the American fans who didn't get the chance to see Madonna live on tour, are tuned into HBO tonight, which broadcasts the entire show. At 8.45 pm HBO shows Madonna behind the scenes, practicing Secret on the guitar. At 9 pm sharp Madonna kicks off the show, which will turn out to be another topper. Although some expected her to do something special on the HBO show, the setlist didn't change and includes Gone instead of You'll See.

Before singing Oh Dear Daddy she pays tribute to her family and her birthtown. With her southern Dolly Parton accent she goes:

"My dad's watching the show tonight. I don't know where you are dad but I hope you're having a good time. I guess you all know by now that I was born and raised in Michigan. Damn proud of it. You know, no matter what happens to me, no matter where I go, no matter what I do, I'll never forget where i came from. To show my appreciation to you folks in Michigan, that kinda shaped me, kinda turned me into the person I am today, I wanna give something back to you: a brand new song, probably never been heard before!"

The crowd eats it like cake, right out of her hand and gives her the cheers required for her to sing the song. Loyal as she is, Madonna adds at the end of the song:

"I wanna make one thing clear. That song is not about my dad. And while we're on the subject of dads, I just wanna say, dad you are one cool dude. Thank you for everything".

Aaw, isn't she sweet! The whole show goes smoothly, without any major technical difficulties.

Chicago - 28 Aug. 2001

Impressive Instant in Chicago Madonna continues her tour in the Mid-West, playing for 20 000 fans in Chicago's United Center. She is nearly 50 minutes late when she gets on stage a little before 9pm, but the crowd gives her a warm welcome. "Are ya'll havin' a good time?" she asks as if the opposite would the possible at her show. "I don't want any sticks in the mud. If you're gonna stand up front, you've got to give me some love." Chicago gives love and gets a fantastic show in return.

Before Oh Dear Daddy she asks the audience "Do you like my southern accent? If not, you can go fuck yourselves!" Just like in Detroit she performs Gone again.

Las Vegas - 2 Sep. 2001

Drowned World in Las Vegas Madonna has moved west and takes over Las Vegas for a second night. She's wearing the striped top that she wore only once in New York City. "Well I knew I'd end up here some day, so welcome to my Vegas show. I'm in good company I guess, with Sinatra and James Dean who used to play here". She is in a very talkative and playful mood. Before Oh Dear Daddy she adresses the people in front row: "If you got to sit, then so do I" and she takes a seat at the edge of the stage until everybody's on his feet. Then she points to a man in front row, "Oh you're a drama queen, that's cute!", referring to the guy's shirt (which says 'Drama queen' of course). She seems to be having fun. Even when she cuts in at the wrong spot during the song, she laughs it away asking Niki how the song really goes. She ends the cowgirl segment with Gone.

The show is attended by Britney Spears.

Oakland - 5 Sep. 2001

Impressive Instant in OaklandMoving to the last state on her tour, Madonna heats up Oakland, California. She comes on stage with yet a different outfit, which hasn't been seen before: a black, sleeveless shirt with shoulder straps and zippers all over it. Like most of her latest shows she's got a different and wild haircut again. "Hello Oakland, San Francisco, Bay area crowd. Well, this is California, right?". As usual she gets the crowd going again. Again, she sticks with Gone.

Oakland - 6 Sep. 2001

"I love what I do because I get to see all those smiling faces." A more relaxed Madonna than yesterday rounds up her double-date with Oakland. During Oh Dear Daddy she refers to Joe Selvin, the guy from SF chronicles who said that her guitar playing was like miming: "When I want to hear from an asshole, I'll fart it!". You go Maddy!

Los Angeles - 9 Sep. 2001

Candy Perfume Girl in LAThe tour is coming to its end, and Madonna got to her last tour stop: Los Angeles. The Staples Center is sold out for each of the four shows. Tonight Madonna's wearing the same outfit as in Oakland. Though the show goes smoothly, the crowd seems a little reserved, to which Madonna reacts that the LA audience is known for 'not giving it up'. She dedicates Secret to Kevin Costner, who is sitting in front row. Would this be some kind of apology for her rude remarks on 'Truth or Dare'? When Costner saw the Blond Ambition Tour he said it was 'neat', to which Madonna snapped that everyone who described her show as neat, had to go.

Madonna continues the show with Gone. The show is attended by Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz, Tom Hanks and his family, Christina Aguilera, Eddy Murphy, and rumour has it that Whitney Houston is there too. Friend's actor David Schwimmer reportedly is booted from the pit for taking too many pictures!

Los Angeles - 11 Sep. 2001

As a result of the terroristic acts that have hit the United States and the resulting tragedy, Madonna has postponed tonights show in LA.

Los Angeles - 13 Sep. 2001

Security at the Staples Center was very tight Everybody expected Madonna would at least say something about the US tragedy on her LA show. But Madonna does more than that. Proving she is a strong US rolemodel she changes whole parts in her show as a tribute to the victims.

She comes on stage wearing a kilt in the colors of the American flag, much like the one she wore in London with the British flag on it. The crowd - with also a lot of waving American flags - welcomes this tribute with a huge applause. The show starts off as usual with the punk-rock part.

At the end of the Geisha part she takes her gun and points it at the dancer. Then she hesitates. She puts down the gun, walks over to the guy and puts her arm around his shoulder. Together they leave the stage. Her message is clear. It's a very touching moment for the US fans.

Also the cowgirl segment has changed. She ends I Deserve It by saying 'God bless America'. When she takes off her leather jacket to show her American flag shirt in Human Nature the audience gives her an extra loud applause again. She doesn't continue with Oh Dear Daddy, the song is indeed not really fitting now. Instead she gathers the dancers and band on stage and gives a short speech.

"Any of you who purchased a ticket to the show tonight will be contributing to a fund that will be for children orphaned by this tragedy, so thank you all. Now on a personal note I think that each and every one of us should look inside our own hearts and examine our own personal acts of terrorism, hatred, intolerance, negativity, the list goes on and on, we're all responsible. If you are homophobic or racist or hate, you contributed to this disaster. It's not just Bin Laden, it's all of us, we've all contributed to hatred in the world today.

And I would like to have one minute of silence to say a prayer for those who have died; to say a prayer for the friends and families of those who have died; to say a prayer for the rescuers who have worked night and day to rescue people from the rubble. And most of all say a prayer for anyone who thinks that it is right to kill in the name of God. Where there is violence, there is no God. Let's have a moment of silence. Hold hands with those around you. Or stay still and reflect."

As she keeps a moment of silence there are still some fans screaming "Madonna I love you" to which she shouts "shut up!", obviously choked up. And then there is an arena full of silent fans. Many people are crying, holding each other. Madonna wipes away some tears too, while Niki is holding her.

She then climbs the stairs to sing Secret, but first says "And one more thing: If you want to change the world, you must first start with yourself!" While everyone reflects on her words, she sings a beautiful and fitting Secret and Gone.

~ This was probably one of her most touching shows on the tour. In the most respectful way she paid tribute to the victims and gave strength to the people to overcome this nightmare. More than ever, Madonna has earned my respect.

Los Angeles - 14 Sep. 2001

Madonna in a USA kilt - Courtesy of Madonna DiosaAlso the third show in LA is influenced by the terroristic attacks earlier this week. Lust like yesterday she is wearing an American flag as kilt. Again she doesn't shoot the dancer after Mer Girl. And she keeps another speech instead of Oh Dear Daddy, which calls for peace and understanding. As you can read in the transcript beneath, Madonna urges president Bush not to react to the attacks with more violence. The speech goes something like this:

"Howdy, Los Angeles! Having a good time? It's kind of confusing trying to have a good time this week as you all know, and I want you all to know how priviliged I feel to be in the position that I am in today. We don't... we're not doing the show because we want people to forget, we're doing the show because we want to remind people of how precious life is. And how full of joy it should be.

The tragedy that occurred this week is unthinkable but i want to think of it as a big fucking wakeup call. OK? But now that we're all awake, we should stay awake. I like to remind each and every one of you that acts of terrorism are going on in this country on a regular basis, ok? In England, in Ireland, in Israel, in Palastine, in India, in Tibet, and Pakistan and Sri Lanka, in Africa and Bosnia and Afghanistan. I could go on and on. OK?

Madonna gives a speech about peace Last night, last night we said a prayer for in a moment of silence, ok, 18000 people shut up. Hard to believe but it's true. We had a moment of silence where we said a prayer for everyone who died Tuesday morning, for all the family and friends of those who died. Tonight, I'd like everyone to say a prayer for peace. I'd like everyone to say a prayer that President Bush practices restraint in his decision making, and he does not retaliate this act of violence with another act of violence, ok. Because violence only begets violence.

So please everyone, for a minute, can we just keep quiet, bow our heads, grab the person next to you, I don't care, but please, say a prayer. Repeat, because I don't know about you but I want to live a long and happy life, I want my kids to live a long and happy life, ok.

[Long silence followed by chants of "USA! USA! USA!" from the audience.]

All right, all right, I knew it wouldn't go on for a minute. OK, USA, yeah, but the whole world OK. Start thinking in a global way. Please! Thank you very much. Thank you.

I said it last night and I'm going to say it again, if you want the world to change, change yourself!"

Los Angeles - 15 Sep. 2001

Drowned World, with USA kilt Tonight Madonna plays the rescheduled gig that originally was supposed to happen on tuesday. It's her last show of the tour, which is also attended by Jack Nicholson and Lara Flynn Boyle. And many small changes mark her 47th and final concert. For a start, the show doesn't start off right away with the Drowned World intro, but with the intro that was used on the Girlie Show; a circus song that preluded Erotica. Then Drowned World kicks off and Madonna comes on stage with the US kilt.

At the end of Candy Perfume Girl, Madonna rips off her guitar and slams it to the ground. Then when Niki and Donna get the Beautiful Stranger on stage, this is none other than Guy Ritchie. Madonna fights against the girls and throws them on the ground so she can have her Guy all for herself backstage.

During Nobody's Perfect, the samourai master shows some mercy on her when he reaches down and gives her a quick peck on the cheek.

She begins the cowgirl part on the left side of the stage this time. After Human Nature she holds a short speech again, but this time not about the attacks. "It's been a week of sadness, but tonight I'm going to be a little selfish.". She then reflects on the tour and thanks everyone: the dancers, musicians, Niki and Donna, the guys that work under the stage and backstage, the makeup, hair, security, stage hands, grips, and Mike who's in charge backstage. She brought him out to the stage and he got a huge applause. She thanks everybody, including Los Angeles. She climbs the stairs to sing Secret, but she is obviously choked up and on screen we see her wipe away some tears. While singing Gone, she lays back on stage, as if she's saying 'It's over and I'm so exhausted'.

As she's going into the last two songs, the crowd goes mad. This is really the end. During Holiday there are not just Madonna, Niki and Donna dancing on stage, but all the dancers gather and finish that fantastic dance classic together. Finally they go into Music. At the point where they are doing the deep-knee bends, the dancers stop and gather around Madonna who continues alone. Then the three final beats of the show. And of the Drowned World Tour. "Thank you and goodnight!".

47 shows in 17 cities. A few hundreds of thousand fans have seen Madonna play live. A few millions have watched it on HBO or some other TV channel. The Drowned World Tour has been a huge success. Myself, I'll never forget the wonderful experience of seeing Madonna four times. I hope all of you have enjoyed it as much as I did.

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