Thursday, December 14, 2023

Madonna at Barclays Center

Madonna and her daughter, Mercy

I had high expectations for Madonna’s concert last night at Barclays Center after reading Mary Gabriel’s exhaustive new biography, Madonna: A Rebel Life, which confirms Madonna’s place as a cultural icon. I had lost touch with her music after Confessions on a Dance Floor and thought this might be my last chance to see her. (Is she going to keep touring when she’s 80, like Mick Jagger?)

I had heard from a fellow audience member that the 8:30pm show wouldn’t start until 10pm. It actually started at 9pm (only a half hour late), but first we were subjected to a one-hour “set” by DJ Honey Dijon. (I’m sorry, but a DJ isn’t my idea of an opening act.)

Finally, at 10:45pm, Madonna took the stage and, thank God, she delivered.

First of all, she looked amazing. It was classic Madonna: blonde hair and bustier. (Does anyone remember her Pippi Longstocking period? How about the shaved eyebrows and gold tooth? Hello?)

Secondly, I think this was her most elaborate production yet. (I’ve seen her live twice and I’ve seen several of her concerts on cable TV.) She not only hovered above the stage in a steel cage suspended from the ceiling, but at one point she literally set the stage on fire.

And yet it was also strangely intimate. She talked to the audience and even managed to crack a few jokes. (After all, this was her first show in her hometown of New York City.)

Some high points for me: “Live to Tell,” which was accompanied by photographs of people who died of AIDS, like artist Keith Haring and Christopher Flynn, her dance teacher; “Bad Girl,” on which she was accompanied on piano by her daughter, Mercy; and “Don’t Tell Me,” during which she recreated what I think is her sexiest video. (Dancing cowboys! Woof!)

In the end, I forgave her diva behavior because she put on a great show and, well, bitch, she’s Madonna.

Barclays Center. My seat was so high up, I needed oxygen!

Keith Haring and Christopher Flynn

No comments: