The material girl arrived on stage nearly 3 hours late for her show and by the end was almost universally forgiven by those who stayed for the spectacular production, rife with elaborate sets, costumes and her trademark flawless troupe of dancers. While her inclusion of an opening number in which the black-clad diva brandishes guns and repeatedly "kills" members of her troupe had angered some audiences even before she reached Colorado, site of the recent horrific Aurora Theater Shootings, you can't really be too surprised. Not by any of the above. Being over the top and controversial has been the essence of Madonna from the beginning. Had she deleted the gun number, she would surely have been criticized by fans who prize her position on artistic freedom. Had she come on stage on time she could have easily avoided the strange mix of boos, cheers and crabbing during the 2+ hour wait with almost nothing happening on stage, but you have to wonder would the show have been the same?
As it was, Madonna was in top form, prancing with the grace of a well muscled professional dancer in her twenties rather than fifties, and belting out hits both old and brand new with gusto despite the altitude. Aside from a few odd inaudible electric guitar performances and a torch song rendition of Like a Virgin that worked more to show the limits of her vocal range than anything else, Madonna's performance, and really the entire production, was flawless. One might ask, does the boy toy need something to fight against to really pull out all the performance stops? Some artists claim that they need a challenge, something to work against onstage, to really bring out their best. The example of Jack White's It Might Get Loud claim to need a cheap guitar to pick a fight with for inspiration comes to mind. Maybe Madonna similarly needs the audience to get riled up with irritation so she can fight back with her best work to prove they love her anyway.
At any rate, if you saw the show and weren't impressed, Madonna's probably just not your thing. The slack lining alone would have had me marveling, even if I didn't enjoy a pumping dance beat and the nostalgia of so many Madonna classics in their twenties or now entering their thirties.
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