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SIDEWALKING: Lady Madonna

 

MDNA, Wells Fargo Center, 10:02 PM by JEFF FUSCO

PHILLY POST: With the time at 10:15 p.m. on a weeknight, the first “bull-shit” chants ring out. Bull. Shit. Bull. Shit. Bull. Shit. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” says the guy behind me. “She has until 10:30, and then we’re out of here.” The subject of refunds emerges on Twitter. At 10:23 p.m., the full-on “boos” begin while the neighbor to my right shows me her ticket and points out, “$355 per ticket,” with her companion adding that this was after paying to join the fan club just to gain access to the pre-sale. “She forgot she’s in Philly. They boo Santa Claus here.” The boos roar. At 10:24 p.m., just like that, the house lights drop. The boos become raging cheers. And the Wells Fargo Center is transformed into a cathedral, with stained glass images and religious iconography on the high-def backdrop screens, a giant, smoking incense ball swinging out over the audience, and a cast of cloaked, chanting monk-like characters who seem to be preparing for some incantation or virgin sacrifice. Who knows which? It was at this point when some of Madonna’s more fair-weather fans from the ’80s, hoping to hear a string of hits from that era, must have wondered, “What they hell have I gotten myself into?” And from there, a breathlessly choreographed and hyper-produced show played out. Much like Roger Waters’s The Wall performance at Citizens Bank Park in July, the Madonna show transcended the standard “concert experience” and was as much over-the-top, scripted theatrical spectacle as it was pop concert. Around the 45-minute mark, she took an opportunity to say she was sorry:

“It’s so good to be back home, and I want to apologize for being late. We had many changes to make from Europe to America, and I wanted the show to be perfect for you because my fans deserve it and quite frankly I deserve it. This is the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed. We are in the land of democracy. We started the word, motherfuckers. Well, actually, some Greeks did, but … In my country, we have freedom of speech, freedom of expression, even though it’s far from perfect. But in Moscow, there are three girls in jail. Yes, free Pussy Riot. In St. Petersburg, there are gay men in jail for exhibiting that they are gay. How fucked up is that? Never forget how lucky you are to live where you live. Don’t get fat and lazy and take that freedom for granted, or your fat, lazy gay ass will land in jail.” MORE

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