I sat down to watch the Drowned World Tour from 2001 and it was just breathtaking to see. Madonna had no eyebrows which usually creeps me out because it gives the impression of an albino alien but she pretty much carried it off with her punk Scottish girl outfit and guitar with fuck off written on the strap. It was sparkly. It was a pretty creepy tour to watch as it had weird contortionists and glowing men but then it also had Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon segments with samurais and swords and swooshing humans in the air. This tour definitely focused more on the performance-art than hyperactive dancing. The songs were mostly slow and calming (even if the action wasn't, I mean scenes from the anime Perfect Blue? I really never need to watch animated rape) and the entire show had this ethereal feeling. Ray of Light is pretty much my entire family's favorite Madonna album, which is why I've always wanted to sit and give this film my complete attention as it's from the tail end of that era. I'm glad I watched it at home though, I don't think I would've been able to see much if I'd attended.
Not content to just leave it at that, I then decided to work my way through two other concert DVDs. My sister and mom sat down to watch them with me too. Jonas Akerlund directed the documentary I'm Going To Tell You A Secret which was a behind-the-scenes look at the Reinvention Tour. I loved it. It showed Madonna being so sweet to her young dancers and then being the sassy lady she is to the camera (the first night of the tour, right before she went on, she kept talking about how nervous she was and how she "couldn't stop shitting!" Come on, how can you not lover her?). Guy Ritchie was in it too and sheesh. He really is a redneck British yokel. I liked him before he married Madonna because he had good movies and I never had to hear him but ugh. Good riddance, she can do better. Plus, now that he's not with her, his movies should be getting better. No offense to Ms. Ciccone but holy crap Swept Away was so, so bad. It made me want to tear my eyeballs out so I could have something to throw at the screen. And also then I wouldn't have to watch it anymore. Sherlock Holmes however was pretty good. Nice, fun mystery with good British wit.
I also liked how Akerlund focused on the prayer circle she held every night with the crew before going on-stage. She'd always say different things but one of the best speeches she gave urged those around her to strive to be better versions of themselves and inspire others to do the same. Well knock me over, isn't that what these quests are supposed to do for me?! See, we're that connected.
Seeing her clowning around and then getting down to business and lecturing her dancers and being the hot-headed liberal she is made one thing is clear. She's the type of person you admire from afar. I have many people I'd like to meet but I don't think I could handle meeting her. I'd be too scared and intimidated and I'd rather not be just another fan cooing over her. She doesn't exactly exude warmth and that's why she is who she is. I like knowing she exists and that she will inspire and move me and that's all I really need, nothing more.
"I need to change, and how can I change? Knowing is the beginning."
The thing that stood out to me most about The Confessions Tour was how well it flowed. The thing with Madonna concerts is that she remixes and re-records every song so that it works as a performance not just a concert. This show had a horse theme, I'm assuming it's because she fell off one, and the whole tour was about conquering your fears and "confessing." I've never been a huge fan of the song, "Like A Virgin," but it was done so well. She even had her straddling-a-saddle-humping-a-pole bit that was just so delightful(I was actually supposed to go have horse time with my dad right when I was watching it but plans fell through). I love this version of the song and then it just smoothly segued into, "Jump," and the whole show just had this electric energy. I would've loved to have seen it but the show I did see, The Sticky and Sweet Tour, is the best. It had my favorite song, "Like A Prayer," and the best version of "La Isla Bonita," done with a Romanian gypsy feel. It comes out on CD and DVD March 30th and you know I'm pre-ordering it.
And totally unrelated to this but the other night I went to an art exhibit opening our company held and sponsored. On the way back, I was sitting in the front seat and there was a huge snowstorm whirling outside as we drove home. I listened to the live version of,"Like A Prayer," as we sped along and while the song echoed in my brain head, I looked out straight towards the snow and it seemed like we were flying. It was a pretty epic moment.