OK so it happened. I’m pretty much puzzled what to think about this concert. You don’t have to be Madonna’s fan to know this is something you shouldn’t miss. Beside I liked her in my youth very much actually. I remember her concerts at the beginning of 1990-es (“Blond Ambition World Tour” and “The Girlie Show World Tour”) and thinking if I’ll ever see something like this … oh well I didn’t.
I was hoping to go on her concert last year when she was in Montenegro because no one believed she’ll come back in the region. Well she did but it seems that vast majority of people from Serbia who were at the concert in Montenegro decided to stay home last night. Namely there were only 40000 people which is of course far less than what was expected. On the other hand, reviews from that last year’s concert weren’t bright whatsoever. Anyway I didn’t manage to be in Montenegro and when I heard she’s coming in Belgrade I knew it’s now or never (luckily my brother thought the same and gave me this for birthday). As I said that’s something you just don’t miss no mater if you’re not her fan. There are only few artists who are living legends who fits in this category (sadly Michael Jackson is not anymore one of them so I’ll definitively not see him live). I’ve already seen “Rolling Stones” and now after Madonna I really don’t know who could be added in this group? Who is such an institution on the global scale?
Concert itself was true spectacle. Light, laser, computer, dancers, 8 huge mobile LED screens … all effects were absolutely perfect. Of course she is inhumanly fit considering her age. She danced like 10-20 years ago… But then, she wasn’t the same Madonna as she was 10-20 years ago. Her music has evolved and I’m not sure if I like direction she took. She is (and will probably remain) the biggest pop icon ever but the music she’s making now is hardly pop; or if it is it has so many techno spices that it makes special subgenre.
Concert (after exactly an hour delay. That was very surprising. I’m not even sure if she was aware that she’s late) started with “Candy Shop” and really, as much as you were pissed cause you’re standing an hour like an idiot in that moment every negative emotion just vanishes. I mean, the moment when you’re ACTUALLY looking at Madonna only few (tens of) meters from you really shocks you. It does have an impact: at first you are paralyzed like and then you just go wild.
Concert was divided in four parts: First part “Pimp” was homage to art-deco of 1920-ies. After introducing animation she appears sitting on the “M”-shaped throne. The peak of this part is “Vogue” in new design mixed with tones from “4 minutes”.
Second part “Old School” reminding us on her beginnings 1980-ies. I LOVED her “Get Into the Groove” with fantastic paints of Keith Haring (whom I like as well and whose reproduction I even have on my wall). I think this was my favourite part. You know here she was real Madonna, true pop queen.
Third “Gypsy” part was filled with Latino rhythm. There was a Ukrainian Gypsy band who played “La Isla Bonita” mixed with some traditional gypsy songs. It was interesting but I’m afraid that the change of one of her greatest hits ever was so drastic that it became different song. I’m not sure did I like that too much. Later, Gypsies had their solo performance which I’m sure was absolutely stunning in Western Europe, North America or Australia but she came in the part of the world where world’s best gypsy music is producing and I really doubt that anyone was fascinated with that part. I mean common gypsy band in some tavern in Serbian (or Romanian or Bulgarian) province would put more fire and heart in their songs. So the folks here really are used to really go wild with gypsy music so I’m afraid Ukrainians didn’t even produce a sparkle in the audience but hey we are tolerant so we waited Madonna to take microphone. But then when she took she sung “You Must Love Me” from “Evita” which was really slow and didn’t stimulate the mass.
Final part “Rave” was a mix of Far East choreography and visual effects and electronic music and it was OK. It ended with “Give It To Me” which was absolutely fascinating and the very peak of the concert. her commuication with audience was phenomenal during that song, she was giving microphone to the peoples in first raw and whole mass was dancing like crazy. Too bad that climax meant also the end.
There were few very special moments such is tribute to Michael Jackson (this video is not from last night’s show but from London but it was exactly the same so I’m putting it). Indeed, “Long live The King!”
There were no too many shocking things (after all elections in US are over) but since she’s known for her political and ecological activism there were one segment dedicated to this. Namely during video break and song “Get Stupid” which has had the theme global warming, ecological disasters, craziness of consumer society, political dictatorships… there were scenes with Hitler, Robert Mugabe, Kim Jong-il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iranian religious leaders, scenes from political rallies after presidential elections in Iran few months ago including the death of ‘Neda’ video.
Then there was images of destruction and comes one very curious part. Namely on the big screen along with scenes of destruction and bombing appears US flag. Now, without any euphemisms we are not very fond of American foreign politics in last 15 years (we’ve been bombed, US opinion about Kosovo is completely opposite of ours, those are two issues among many other bead ones) so I was curious to see reaction of the audience but (surprisingly!) there was no any. And then image of Barack Obama appeared and the audience reacted with ovations! I so didn’t expect that and I must say I was thrilled with it. I don’t know if he’ll bring some big changes that will have some positive influence on our lives but I’m so glad to see that change has happened in our minds and that we do have faith in American peoples’ choice.
All in all this was good concert but I did have highest expectations. There were not enough big hits (there were beside the ones I mentioned) “Like a Prayer”, “Music”, “Frozen”, “Holiday”, “4 Minutes”. So the set list wasn’t the happiest one; it was more warm/cold when the crowd sunk into delirium after some hit goes something that calms atmosphere down and so on. Too many average songs spiced with cruel, cold professionalism. Communication with the audience was solid but for our standards not nearly enough (just for the record Mick Jagger talked with us IN SERBIAN!).
Now when I’ve mentioned again concert Rolling Stones had I knew they’ve made standard that (I honestly believe) no one will be able to achieve but I didn’t expect that difference between that one and last night’s, Madonna’s, the grates pop icon EVER will be so enormous!
It was a good concert indeed, it was amazing spectacle and I would regret horribly if I have missed it. But that wasn’t nearly the concerts I watched 15 years ago fantasizing to be there.