Madonna – NYC Concert Review: Sweating to the New and the Old

Madonna. A name like no other. A name so strong, so proud that one merely mouths the name and a hush calms the air.
I had the pleasure, no, the opportunity to witness the icon do what she does best – strut her stuff. The buzz had been occurring for months, I think I remember as far back as January that a concert was in the works.

Everyone I knew talked about it and wanted tickets. “How do we get them?” “Where can we get the best seats?” I even heard one person talk about joining her fan club because they would receive an opportunity to buy tickets before they went on sale to the public. I was appalled.

There is not one person I can think of that would cause me so much excitement and anxiety that I would join their fanclub in hopes to get a better view. Maybe I’m just not normal since I don’t succumb to this culture we call “pop” where proclaimed singers who can’t actually sing make millions and those who can sing are stuck slinging drinks or carrying dinners on trays in the local diners.

As the dates approached, the buzz grew. “What would she do this time?” “How will she shock us?” And then she did it. She tried to reinvent herself by doing just that – something she’s already done. This self-proclaimed spiritual Kabala follower hung herself on a cross – AGAIN! It was shocking the first time, even somewhat sexually provocative – when she was in her 20’s. But as a mother of two who has turned to a religion that is very much against hanging yourself from a cross, we get it! You are out of tricks. She is the mother of reinvention.

She has managed to make it through 30 years in the industry and still come out as number one. I applaud that. She is in “a league of her own” and will never be forgotten. But isn’t there a time when you call it quits? The Golden Girls knew to pull the plug when they were number 1. Absolutely Fabulous went out on top. Why won’t Madonna do the same? Sequels don’t work. Originality does and this simply wasn’t original. In fact, I found it actually boring.

I did not purchase a ticket to this blessed event. It was Sunday evening and I was watching tv when the phone rang. “Someone just canceled on me. I have a front row seat to Madonna and I’ll give it to you for $69.00.” I admit, there was a moment when my heart skipped a beat. Here was the opportunity to see this diva, this artist, this goddess for a mere $69.00 when everyone I knew paid $400 for the same view of her sweaty brow.

“What time does the show start?”
“8pm. I need an answer now, yes or no?”

I hesitated. I was comfortable in my seat and didn’t really want to change and rush uptown to Madison Square Gardens amongst all of those people. But then again, the ticket was virtually free. If for the mere fact of going just to brag that I paid $69.00 was enough to get me up.

I throw on jeans and a t-shirt wanting to make sure I look good for Madge since we’ll be spending an intimate evening together. The masses of people flow into the arena as my cellphone starts ringing.

“I can barely hear you,” I yell into the phone. It turns out that other friends would be attending the same event. However, they weren’t there. They were at a local pub asking me to join them – a request I would not have declined if I could have heard them clearly. I didn’t understand why they weren’t rushing to the arena. The show started in 20 minutes.

I’m ushered in after being reminded of no flash photography – I understand, if I was that sweaty I wouldn’t want my photo taken either. I take my seat. But I’m the only one sitting. Everyone around me is standing, jumping, dancing….to nothing. There is no music playing and there is no one on stage. Already I’m feeling out of place. I check my watch. 8:10.

Ten minutes late. Hey, she’s a world proclaimed Diva, why not a few minutes late. I adjust in my seat and check my watch. 8:30. I guess she is a bigger diva then I expected. As I feel my legs start to go numb, I stand to stretch and check my watch. 8:50. Apparently someone printed the wrong time on my ticket. I pulled it out to check – 8pm.

I turn to the young girl next to me in a tight shirt with “Juicy Couture” stretched across her chest and ask “Is there an opening act or are we just here waiting?”

“Oh my GOD! We are seeing Madonna. Who cares how long we wait, she’s HERE.”

Yes, I agree that we are seeing Madonna and I’m sure she is “here” but where exactly is here. It’s at that exact moment that I feel it. I don’t know how I didn’t notice it before; I suppose I was preoccupied with the passing moments I was wasting sitting while those around me seemed to be having their own fun. My chest started pounding and it was as if my body had been ignoring the current temperature settings and holding all perspiration to the edge or my pores for this very moment.

The gushing began. My forehead dripped, my back got moist. I didn’t even realize that it was possible for your arms to sweat – it’s possible. There was NO AIR in the arena. I grabbed a pamphlet off the floor and started fanning myself. I turned to the lesser of two evils – the flamboyant Madonnaite to my right and confirmed my suspicions.

“Yes, she turns the air off. It affects her voice.”

It affects her voice? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Not only does the world know this woman can’t sing, she’s even agreed that she is not a singer, she’s a performer. We are here to see her perform, not to drown in our own perspiration. I was stupefied. Does this woman actually have the power to make these people wait AND turn off the air conditioning in this arena seating thousands of people? And they are actually going to sit there and take it?

I checked my watch again – 9:05pm. My light blue t-shirt was officially dark blue, drenched in sweat. I waited an hour for my date with Madge. I put on my best Sunday clothes so we could share an intimate moment (in which I only paid $69.00) and this is how I get repaid.

I looked around at the crowd, ages ranging from 13 through old. I saw them screaming for someone who wasn’t there, dancing to music that hadn’t even started playing and worshipping someone who was no different than you or me. I respect Madonna for what she has done and where she has come from. I respect the different faces and personas that she has become in order to keep the public interested in her and I respect her sacrifices. But I don’t respect the fact that she disrespects her fans by making them wait for over an hour in a sauna.

I wanted to get everyone to ban together and to walk out. Make a statement. Let her know she can’t treat her fans this way. But as I glanced over the audience again, it looked like it would be the One Man March instead of the Million Man March. I turned back to the stage, blew her a kiss farewell. On my way back to the exit, I passed a young girl. She was dressed with white gloves, black sunglasses, and many necklaces. I stopped as I passed her, handing her my ticket.

“If you promise not to forget who you are and where you came from when you get famous, I’ll give you my front row ticket.” She pulled down her sunglasses and underneath the chomping gum spouted “Shut up” and went back to singing lyrics that weren’t being heard. It was too late; she’d already fallen under the spell.

With one last turn, I glanced out at the people who waited their leader. I looked to the stage where she’d hang herself from the cross and sing the songs she’d sung for 30 years and smiled. It gave me a tinge of pleasure to know that she might come out on that stage and notice there was an empty seat in the front row. She might not know who it was or why it was empty but she’d know none the less. It was the closest thing to revenge I’d ever get for making me sweat and wait for an hour. If I made her wonder for 1/8th of a second, it would have been worth it.

I heard the concert was fantastic – when she finally did come on stage. I’m not sorry I wasn’t actually there to see it.

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