Posted by: King Bee | May 22, 2006

I couldn’t have said it better myself…

Inside the Confessional

Pop icon Madonna launches her “Confessions”
tour Sunday night at the Forum.

By Ann Powers
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

6:29 AM PDT, May 22, 2006

Yes, she played Jesus in his crown of thorns. And James Brown in his cape. And John Travolta in his white suit. Did I mention the glam sequence in which she donned nearly the exact costume that Brian Eno wore in his early Roxy Music publicity shots, and played electric guitar, effectively turning herself into a rock god? Opening her Confessions tour Sunday at the Forum, Madonna, still as hot for the Big Gesture as she was when she sullied a wedding gown on MTV in 1984, struck one indelibly male pose after another, as if to absorb the power of them all.

In the nearly two-hour show’s most obviously controversial sequence, the 47-year-old was positioned on a giant steel mesh cross, singing her poignant ballad “Live To Tell” while pictures of suffering children swirled about her. What was so fascinating wasn’t the message of compassion this outspoken children’s advocate attached to her heretical stance; it was the way she held it, arms outstretched and face serious, for the entire song, until the shock wore off and it seemed less like blasphemy than an ardent attempt to understand what makes such an image so compelling.

If the dizzyingly elaborate Confessions revue said anything in particular, it was that images — Madonna’s stock in trade — have a way of veering out of control and gaining new meanings. The script was well-organized, its tightly produced segments fleshing out a set list favoring songs from her recent “Confessions On A Dance Floor” album. But with 22 dancers, a set so full of screens that some were embedded in the floor, costumes that fell off to become other costumes, and video images of kaleidoscopes, mutating cells, and demonically possessed talking heads (including George W. Bush, at whom the avowed liberal hurled a choice obscenity during “I Love New York”), no single story line could possibly have held.

From Madonna’s entrance within a giant exploding disco ball to her last hurrah in a satin cape adorned with flashing lights, every element of this spectacle achieved a state of astonishing mutation. The governing idea was the remix, the DJ’s way of making songs new, which also defines the disco-kissed “Confessions”album. Actual remixes and reworkings provided musical highlights, as recent songs (such as “Let It Will Be,” here turned almost bluesy) and old favorites (a hard rock “Ray of Light,”) expanded within novel settings. But as usual with Madonna, music was only a vehicle: to get bodies dancing, and perhaps more important, to communicate her vision of a world in which only dreams can be trusted.

Madonna’s dreams, this time, involve trying to connect with those unlike her, from animals to male guitar gods. The show’s first section eroticized her love of horses in “Like A Virgin” (and, with MRI images of her injuries, poked fun at her well-publicized 2005 riding accident); its high point had the still-agile singer acrobatically mounting a combo saddle/stripper’s pole.

The second and most serious section reflected Madonna’s spiritually motivated fascination with the Middle East, with soulful singing from her Yemeni collaborator, Yitzhak Sinwani, beautifying the song “Isaac,” and images of bubbling oil adding a political tinge to the raucous “Sorry.” The third segment, which featured Madonna’s raw guitar riffing, paid homage to rock.

Throughout the night, Madonna worked hard, not just to stay on pitch and dance well, but also to connect emotionally to her material. These subversive roles were a stretch, and she didn’t always seem happy. Her still-sharp eye for trends sometimes heightened the entertainment value; the dance sequence for the inspirational “Jump,” for example, involved “parkour,” a form of street acrobatics whose practitioners leap unpredictably across roofs and up doorways. But even such moments felt oddly serious; a sense of dislocation was inseparable from the fun.

In the end, Madonna turned the party into a disco; a Bob Fosse-esque orgy sequence and a shower of gold balloons capped the night. This is her standard utopia, the dream that never turns into a nightmare, and she took refuge in it. Not surprisingly, the finale was the least gripping part of the show. Safety has never been a position that Madonna’s taken to very well.



  1. Wow one of my wishes is to see her in concert. That looks like it is a good one!!!

  2. she just gets better looking every year.

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