Re-Invention Tour diary - North America

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14 Aug. 2004

After her Miami shows, Madonna has taken a few days off. The paparazzies spotted her with Guy and the children at the beach for some relaxing & fun. Many rumours were circulating about Madonna going to Greece for a cruise with other celebs.

She then would attend, possibly even perform, on the opening ceremony of the Olympics on the 13th. Other rumours claimed she would do a surprise gig in a gay Manchester club, as a warmup for her European tour. But yesterday both rumours proved to be wrong. Madonna had arrived in Manchester but just prepared for tonights show in private.

Miami - 3 Aug. 2004

'I knew that if I came to Miami, I would have a good time'. Madonna finished the US leg of her re-Invention tour with two last shows in American Airline Arena in Miami. A few times she made people get up from their seats, but the crowd was pretty good.

She continued her poltical statements, now also wearing a "Vote or Die"-shirt on top of the "Italians Do It Better"-shirt she asked everyone "to take up their responsability and vote to keep the wrong people out of office". Let's hope the American fans carry out that message to the rest of the country!

Yesterday evening, the very last US show, she thanked the crowd "for making it so memorable". Madonna also thanked Missy Elliot, who was attending that night, for being part of the show (she appears on the video screen during Into The Groove). Don't Tell Me got again its wonderful Verve-treatment and during Holiday the dancers again ripped off their shirts, something that now seems part of every show (much to the delight of many fans ;-)

Sunrise - 30 July 2004

Nobody Knows Me in Sunrise It can't always be great. The audience at the Office Depot Center in Sunrise (Fort Lauderdale) was completely passive and dull during the first night. Many die hard fans report how they got annoyed from all the people just sitting in their seats without any enthusiasm.

Madonna clearly got annoyed too and showed it several times. "What the fuck is up with all the people sitting down? / If you're tired, then go home to bed! / I can't hear you! / You're gonna make me sad with all the sitting / ..." Dancers told some fans that if Toronto had the best crowd, then this was certainly the worst crowd of the tour!

Fortunately the audience at the second night made up for it, much to Madonna's relief: "You guys rock! You guys are sooo much better than last night's crowd, thank God!"

Atlanta - 26 July 2004

Back at the east coast, Madonna finished her double date with Atlanta. During Papa Don't Preach - she was wearing the 'Kabbalists Do It Better'-shirt - she referred to the original video of the song and said "Remember when you were a kid, you used to hate to have to listen to grown-ups. Then one day you wake up and you realise you've become a grown-up yourself. All grown-ups should fuck off!"

On sunday the crowd was a lot more alive and Madonna said: "You guys are so much better than last night's crowd!" She also noticed the shirts of some people in the front rows and praised them: "You guys get an A for effort".

There's also a change in the show: Don't Tell Me is now mixed with parts of The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony and instead of the Paris skyline, we see the London skyline on the video screen. It seems that she's switching between these two show versions on her latest shows; sometimes the original version with the Paris background and other times the Bittersweet Symphony mix with the London background. Either way, at the end she always postpones the ending: "Don't... ever tell me.... (applause)... I said, don't.... ever tell me.... (applause)... Don't you ever ever ever never tell me... to WHAT?! [audience: to stop!] to WHAAT?! [audience: to stop] to stooooooop..."

Toronto - 22 July 2004

Yesterday Madonna gave her third and last concert in Toronto's Air Canada Centre. Again she appreciated the great crowd and was even more talkative than the previous nights: "If I knew Toronto was gonna be so fun, I would've stayed for months! Would you like to spend the night with me? You can stage a protest! Hell no - we won't go! I can sing all my songs! That should take about ten hours. They can try and arrest me again!" Naturally the audience was eating out of her hand!

She screwed up some lyrics, but it was obvious she didn't care too much and was having a good time. As usual (is it really by accident?) she forgot some words from Material Girl and justified that by saying "I forgot the words. I got a lot on my mind." She then let the audience sing it for her. She was even more playful during the American Life reprise after Papa Don't Preach, when she kept commenting on the press' obsession with Esther: "Do I have to change my name? Oops, already did that! Am I gonna be a star? Been there, done that! Should I loose some weight? (points at her stomach and the audience replies "No!") Am I gonna... Shit! This is such unprofessional behaviour! Now let me see, where was I..." and then she started over. As Stuart Price kept making faces at her, she couldn't stop laughing. It was good to see Madonna the control freak make room for the more relaxed and playful Madonna.

Toronto - 20 July 2004

Vogue in Toronto Madonna is taking over Toronto, her only tour stop in Canada. And she makes it a memorable one. Or rather, not just her but especially the fans. Everyone, from fans to critics to Madonna's own entourage, agrees: this is really the best crowd so far! Especially at yesterday's show, the audience was incredible energetic, which Madonna acknowledged several times.

After Papa Don't Preach, she lied down on the floor and said: "I’m sooo tired... You know, I didn't sleep very well last night. I wasn't even sure I could make it through this show... but the energy of you guys has been amazing! You inspire me!" After the roaring approval of the crowd, she giggled: "One more thing... you don't have to call me Esther!"

She recalled the Blond Ambition Tour incident when the police tried to arrest her. "That wasn't very nice" she said "but I'm a good girl now".

She introduced Imagine as a song "that was written 35 years ago, but not by me, because I wasn't born yet."

There was a small incident during Holiday, when Madonna fell on the staircase. Everyone was a bit shocked at first but Madonna quickly got back up and laughed it away with a "whoopsy-daisy".

Chicago - 16 July 2004

Madonna finished her 4-nights-stand with Chicago with class. Though the press reviews have been mixed, the midwest fans are raving bout the show. They obviously gave Madonna a good time too, because she was very chatty on her last night.

After Papa Don't Preach, she kept going "You guys don't want me to go, do you? I think I'm gonna stay all night, right here. Or you guys could come home with me and we could stay all night together... no, no, I think I'll just stay here... and I can sing all my songs. Coz I can do what I want, right? Because because I AM the queen... and very humble too..."

At the end of the show, the crowd went completely wild during Holiday. All of a sudden the male dancers ripped off their shirts, much to the delight of the gay fans. Rehearsed or not, Madonna looked surprised, then urged the crowd "Take off your shirts!!" which many did, some even throwing them onto the catwalk. Such great ambiance!

Chicago - 13 July 2004

Mother and Father Madonna has taken her show to the mid-west, performing at Chicago's United Center. Since she's not performing in Detroit this time around, Chicago comes closest to her hometown and the audience sure noticed. Early in the show she acknowledged "Goddamn, people from the midwest got soul!"

At the end of Don't Tell Me she sang "don't... ever tell me... tell me what? tell me what?! to stoooop..." After wild cheering from the crowd she roared "coz I'm from the midwest and I'll fuck you all!" She also payed tribute to her Italian roots "So you KNOW that Italians do it better, right? I thought so. Say 'Si'!" That last part sounded a lot like what she said in Italy on her Who's That Girl Tour.

During her second show yesterday eve, she changed the line 'I use to think he was a jerk' from Mother And Father to 'He didn't know how much it hurt'. This was of course because her father was in the audience.

East Rutherford - 8 July 2004

The crowd at East Rutherford's Continental Airlines Arena wasn't yet warmed up last night. Many stayed in their seats, so Madonna repeatedly had to urge them to stand up, saying it's a "non-sitting show". She dropped her stick again during Into The Groove, but kept on smiling.

The shirt read "Kabbalah" again. And before Imagine she said that this song is not about dreaming or imagining, it's about doing. After the wonderful show closer Holiday, she asked the crowd if they wanted more. Everyone screamed, but the screens stayed closed. Maybe they shouldn't have sat down all the time.

Philadelphia - 6 July 2004

Last night in Philadelphia there were a lot less technical problems than the day before. Madonna was in a better mood and the crowd was a lot more enthousiastic, standing on its feet most of the time.

Madonna commented on her "Italians Do It Better"-shirt by mentioning all the things Italians can do better, like drinking (while she drank from her bottle), sweating (when she toweled off) and singing (when she started singing again). She also continued her political involvement; before Imagine she encouraged everyone to register to vote and make the right decision in November.

5 July 2004

One thing's for sure: Madonna is a lot more talkative during this tour than she was for the Drowned World Tour. While drinking some water she looked a fan in front row with bare chest and said teasingly: 'it's hot in here, isn't it? I should take something off, right?' The crowd roared of course but she quickly replied "nah, those days are over for me".

During Into The Groove she was wearing the "Italians Do It Better"-shirt (she seems to switch turns with the Kabbalah-shirt). When she saw a fan with a "Rocco is my homeboy"-shirt which she liked so much that she offered to trade. Naturally the fan agreed, threw his shirt to her and caught her shirt in return.

She wasn't in a good mood the entire show though. She was quite ennoyed when her earphone didn't work properly and she complained that the music was too loud. At the end of the show the confetti didn't shoot out properly either.

Worcester - 1 July 2004

Nobody Knows Me in Boston I read from local fans that the current shows are actually in a city called Worcester and not Boston itself, like listed on Madonna herself didn't seem to know the difference either, since she referred to Boston during the shows. Nonetheless, she was in great shape and the crowd reacted enthusiastic. The classic songs seem to be more popular than her recent material and the reworked versions are largely appreciated by everyone.

On the opening night, she got distracted by a fan in the pit, which made her laugh and skip a verse in Don't Tell Me. During Nobody Knows Me, her heel got stuck in the floor and she almost tripped but quickly got back into her choreography. Madonnafan Remixdubboy also reported a slight musical change last night: during Don't Tell Me, the French musical break has been replaced with an excerpt from The Verve's 'Bittersweet Symphony'.

New York City - 25 June 2004

Madonna closed off her visit to Madison Square Garden. All 6 shows got great reviews, eventhough Madonna let it slip once in a while. Once she forgot the words to Imagine, another time she dropped her stick during Into The Groove. For the last two shows she finally made a -though minor- costume change: the "Kabbalists Do It Better"-shirt was replaced by an original "Italians Do It Better"-shirt.

New York City - 17 June 2004

Frozen in New York City Yesterday evening, Madonna kicked of the first of 6 nights at New York's Madison Square Garden. The crowd, including celebrities Gwyneth Palthrow, Jessica Simpson and Michael Moore, watched and approved. There was no Britney as surprise act; the Sun obviously had that wrong.

After Mother And Father, Madonna gave a little speech to the crowd which went something like this: "Before I get on with the show, I just wanted to say a few words. I just wanna urge people to see Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11". I don't think... [applause].. I don't think... [wild cheering] - lemme speak - I don't think I've ever cried so hard at a movie in my life. And I'm sure I still have a lot to learn from it. I would like to urge each and everyone of you, when the movie comes out to go and see it cause not only it's inspiring and educating but it's the proof that people can make a difference, that we can make a difference. Michael, I know you're out there tonight and I just wanted to publicly thank you for sticking your neck out, for going against the establishment, for giving us hope."

Then the first tunes of Imagine resounded, which she introduced as song as "a song I decided to sing not because I can sing it better than the man who wrote it, but because it applies that we have the ability and reponsability to make this world a better place."

Washington DC - 15 June 2004

In case the Fainting Madonna stories got you worrying: don't. The tour got its East coast premier with two nights at Washington DC and the fans and critics again gasped in wonderment. The crowd was reportedly on their feet the entire show, so much that Madonna called them "the best audience so far" (though that's an often used trick). Knowing Madonna's perfectionism, the show is perfectly timed in songs and choreography. On the other hand, Madonna sometimes lets a few lyrics slip. On previous shows she mixed up the Material Girl lyrics several times. On the second night in DC, she was a bit too quick with Express Yourself, immediately kicking into the "don't go for second best, baby" and then with a "SH*T", rsuhing back to "Come on boys, do you believe in love?". That's another 5 bucks to the pot, Madge! ;-)

Washington press gives us one raving and one negative review - read them here.

Next up is the Big Apple with no less than 6 shows. Will she treat her ex-home town to something special? We'll see tomorrow!

11 June 2004

Madonna has wrapped up her concerts on the US West Coast and will now be moving east. Next up will be Washington DC. Fans with tickets are keeping their fingers crossed after new worrying reports on Madonna's health. According to a Daily Trojan article, Madonna fainted after her second Anaheim show. Her publicist Liz Rosenberg denied that Madonna fainted but did admit that she's suffering from exhaustion. Fans and critics who've seen the show all reported that the show is physically very intense. The perfectionist that she is, Madonna is probably pushing herself to the limit. If we can believe the raving press reviews and fan reports, none of past shows have had to suffer from it.

Many fan reports also point out two interesting details. One is the seating relocation. It seems there's always a promo team around to check if the front rows and pits are well filled up. Therefor they go around and give fans a ticket upgrade. Secondly there's the ever-present film crew, who doesn't just film parts of the show, but seems to concentrate a lot on the fans, going around interviewing them. Those fans usually have to sign release papers, which indicates that the footage will be used for a film to be released on screen.

San Jose - 8 June 2004

Vogue in San JoseTonight, Madonna will be playing her second out of 3 shows in San Jose. The first night went smoothly; as you can read in this press review.

Anaheim - 4 June 2004

Madonna finished her double-date in Anaheim with a great show which was almost completely sold out. The crowd was pretty good, though less enthousiastic than in LA and Vegas; more people were still sitting down. We'd advice to all people attending future shows: don't be boring; get your ass off your seat and let your body go with the flow! ;-)

Madonna put extra emotion in the performance of Mother and Father, which she dedicated to her sister Melanie, who was attending the show. "I love you Mel" she said right before singing the song.

Madonna's brother-in-law Joe Henry got a dedication when she sang - of course - Don't Tell Me, which was originally written by him. At the end of the show there were some technical problems with the screens. The two large screens are supposed to slide back to the center of the stage, displaying the words "Re-invent Yourself" and allowing Madonna and her dancers to walk off stage. This time the screens stayed just where they were, so the dancers and a clearly annoyed Madonna had to just walk off stage in view of the audience.

Anaheim - 3 June 2004

It's thursday morning here in Europe, but in Anaheim the first concert just finished. The first comments from attending fans report that it was an excellent show with high energy level and a lot of communication with the audience. No technical problems.

Las Vegas - 1 June 2004

During the weekend, Madonna brought her show to Las Vegas. There aren't many fan reports, except those saying both shows were great and went smoothly. Madonna seems to be very relaxed and having a good time. Her voice is great, she's in fantastic shape and the show runs without any notable mistakes or difficulties.

So far, the setlist and costumes didn't change either. She's quite communicative with the audience. Usually at the beginning of the show she urges the front row to get up, by saying something like: "I'm spoiled. No-one sits down at my concerts."

L.A. - 27 May 2004

Last night, Madonna returned back on stage in the LA Forum after a sick-day. And the fans who attended can assure us that she's back in great condition, giving away another fantastic show. She thanked the crowd for their understanding and joked that "yesterday wasn't a pretty sight" but that after all "I'm not a super woman".

Throughout the show she seemed more relaxed than on the opening night and talked more to the audience. A few times she shouted "Come on Los Angeles!". Whereas she had to encourage the people to stand up during the first night, the crowd now was on their feet all of the time. When her microphone didn't work, she kept repeating "test 1, 2". After spinning around too much for Papa Don't Preach, she got so dizzy that she had to lie down on stage. "Don't do that after you've been sick" she laughed.

She announced Imagine as a song that she didn't write herself, but she wished she had. Her voice was great througout the show and many fans point out that she does sing live everywhere, including Vogue. She did mess up some lyrics during Like A Prayer and during Material Girl she forgot a part and just hummed along.

During the opening night she added a line from American Life after Papa Don't Preach ('Do I have to change my name; am I gonna be a star"), but this time the crowd was so loud that she started laughing before she could add it. She really interacts with the fans and during Like A Prayer she lets the crowd be the choir! At the end of the show, there wasn't the Bush speech.

Madonna also spoils her fans: a film crew for the tour documentary went out before the show, giving away some pairs of front row seating tickets as a treat.

26 May 2004

We've now read many press reviews and fan reports, so enough material to finally make a complete show review for our tour diary.

The Beast Within in LAThe re-Invention Tour kicks off with the haunting remix The Beast Within. It's used as an intro, so Madonna is not on stage yet. Huge video screens show art work from Steven Klein's X-Static Process exhibition. It's also Steven Klein who provides all the tour pictures, used in the tour book, posters and merchandise.

Vogue in LAThen Madonna rises up on stage, looking like a statue. She's dressed in a gorgeous corset by Christian Lacroix, which is covered by jewels. She sports long blond curls and looks ravishing, contrary to press reports saying she looked tired and exhausted after rehearsals. While she's joined on stage by her 12 dancers, she sings Vogue. All dressed in Louis XIV/Marie-Antoinette dresses it reminds us of the famous 1990 VMA performance. Naturally the famous vogue choreography appears, enhanced with some yoga positions. At one point, Madonna and her dancers even walk on their hands and feet the arched-back way! The tone is set for an incredibly amazing show.

The music flows into Nobody Knows Me. As one of the fans reports: "This performance offers us with a great look at Madonna's incredibly toned body. She writhes around the dance floor and is just spectacular." Again, we see some great dance choreography.

Frozen in LAShe calms down for Frozen, which resembles the album version mostly. In contrast with the theatrical performance of the Drowned World Tour, Madonna now opted for a very simple acoustic rendition with her alone in front of the microphone, which places the attention on the song itself. In the background we see some homo-erotic images appear on the video screens.

But the calm is soon disturbed by the sound and images of flying helicopters, bombs and burning inferno's. Madonna and her dancers appear in army gear for American Life. The anti-war message is obvious. And the performance of the least successful single of the past few years turns out to be one of the most memorable of the evening. The dancers do push-ups to a backdrop of wounded and ill children of war. A giant catwalk is lowered from the ceiling and rises above the front rows of the audience. Madonna and her dancers dance around above the heads of the enthousiastic crowd.

"Come on boys, do you believe in love?" she shouts before kicking into the classic Express Yourself. The song builds on the military tone of American Life, with a choreography with rifles. It gets even heavier when Madonna gets out her electric guitar for Burning Up, which gets a heavy metal re-invention, making it another favorite of many attending fans. Another Madonna classic, Material Girl, gets a hard rock interpretation. There's more dancing than with Burning Up and on the screen a picture of Albert Einstein appears.

Hollywood, the song made famous by the 2003 VMA performance/Britney liplock, is surprisingly used as an interlude with Madonna off stage, changing costumes. However, the dancers - among them a skateboarder, a tapdancer and a breakdancer - entertain the audience with some great choreography, making the performance worthwhile even without Madonna. She returns on stage for the irony-filled Hanky Panky. This lighthearted showgirl-like performance continues with Deeper And Deeper, the disco tune which is now turned into a slower jazzy nightclub version.

Die Another Day in LAThe mood turns darker with Die Another Day. We see imagery of an old man at his deathbed and at the end of the song, Madonna repeats the electrocution scene from the video. Lament seems to mourn over her death. She sings beautifully before she disappears. Bedtime Story is another interlude, carried by a stunningly beautiful video. A white horse carrying Madonna seems to represent her rebirth.

Don't Tell Me in LAMadonna appears in a black Stella McCartney suit with Nothing Fails, just her singing in front of the mic again, while playing the acoustic guitar. She continues with the funked-up Don't Tell Me, which has a French theme, illustrated by romantic imagery of the Eiffel Tower.

"That was just a warm-up, I don't want to see anyone sitting down the rest of the show. I'm giving my all and that's what I want back." Madonna warns before kicking into a fierce re-invented Like A Prayer. The song pays hommage to the Kabbalah, displaying Hebrew words from the Kabbalah book "The 72 Names of God" (which is sold with the other tour merchandise). The gospel choir is also present, though only on screen.

Mother And Father follows but doesn't have a very particular choreography; Madonna just dances around on stage a bit. Except for American life, it does seem like the neww tracks don't live up to their expectations. A beautiful moment though is when a picture of Madonna's mother appears on screen, as well as Mary and Joseph. These images fade into images of sick and injured children and Madonna gives an amazing and emotional rendition of John Lennon's Imagine. On the screen a Palestine boy walks hand in hand with an Israeli.

Once again Madonna shows that on this tour it's all about the songs and the vocals, which are better than ever. "I wanted to make a statement," Madonna said after the show. "I feel like that song is the ultimate peace song... And it was important to have the stuff going on behind me, the pictures, and really hit home that children are involved in all this chaos and destruction. I don't think people remember that all the time."

Into the Groove in LABagpipe tunes change the mood again and set the tone for Into The Groove. We see Missy Elliot doing her rap thing on video. While the bagpiper takes a few dance steps with Madonna on a sliding stage element, the dancers do another great choreography with sticks. They're all wearing long Scottish kilts. Madonna takes another laugh with her critics by sporting a shirt emblazoned with "Kabbalists do it better". Of course that reminds us of the "Italians do it better" shirt from the Papa Don't Preach video. No surprise that this songs follows next. The remixed version is accompanied by a cute choreography bringing back childhood memories. It's rather emotional and that mood continues with Crazy For You, which she dedicates to "all the fans that stood by her for 20 years". Many fans are obviously touched by these words.

The show is near its end and Madonna selected the same tour closers as she did for the Drowned World Tour. Except this time, she first sings Music, which got another dance remaster. A disco ball appears from the ceiling and the stage turns into a steamy dance club. The cat walk appears above the crowd again and under a rain of confetti, Madonna closes thhe show with a grand version of Holiday. Flags of different nations appear on the screens and eventually morph into one before the lights go out. Two words left on the screens: 'Re-invent Yourself'. The crowd keeps hoping for more but the only thing left is an audio segment of one of George Bush's war speeches. Enough said.

L.A. - 25 May 2004

Bad luck at the beginning of the tour! Due to some stomach flue, Madonna is already forced to postpone one of her concerts. Tonight's concert at the LA Forum has been rescheduled for tomorrow night (the 26th). Tonight's tickets will be honored there. Take care of yourself Madonna, and get well soon!

L.A. - 25 May 2004

For the lucky fans with a ticket for the opening night, the waiting was finally over. Last night, Madonna kicked off her 2004 re-Invention Tour in the LA Forum. The opening show follows weeks of speculations and wild rumours. The British press was eager to inform that the tour rehearsals completely exhausted Madonna. And apparently, Madonna would be very dissatisfied with the show and the performances of the dancers. Other media dissed the show for being too controversial, with imagery of death, lesbian sex, etc.

What was true of those reports? Not much. The fans and the press got to see a ravishing Madonna in top condition, giving away a magnificent show with her 12 dancers and 5 musicians. The tour setlist that appeared earlier on this site seemed to be correct, except that Dress You Up got replaced at the last moment by Material Girl. The show included heavy dance routines, great costumes, fantastic videos on huge screens, political messages, emotions and so much more. Some of the celebrities seated in the VIP area included Tom Cruise, Christina Aguilera and of course Guy Ritchie.

Read a full report on ths show in our news section. In our tour section you'll find the first press reviews, as well as some pictures of the Vogue, Nobody Knows Me and Frozen performances. Most reviews are positive, but some fans seemed to be bothered by the political messages. Especially American Life uses many references to the Iraq war and the show ends with a war speech by president Bush, which is a clear anti-war statement.

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