Madonna Induced a Semi-Religious Experience Last NightBy Kathleen Flood, Photos by Andrew St. Clair
When Noisey asked me last minute to cover Madonna's MDNA show at Madison Square Garden last night, I started jumping up and down like a giddy school girl. I was momentarily transported back to my high school theater days, when the cast would dance to "Like a Prayer" before literally every performance (it was Catholic school, after all). Madonna's basically the patron saint of young girls who want to move to the city and make it big… and I was going to get to go worship her.
I showed up to MSG at 8:30 PM sharp, and while we were waiting for "the Queen," French producer Martin Solveig opened the show DJing a set composed of Madonna songs (duh) mashed up with classic pop songs like Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and JT's "Like I Love You." The crowd was primarily made up of middle-aged moms with bedazzled jeans pockets (who were hilarious to watch trying to dance to Martin's dubstep transitions), men on dates with much younger women, and of course, the fabulous gays.
When it was finally time for Madonna to come on stage (two hours and 45 minutes later), two cloaked men started ringing a church bell as a urn of incense wafted back and forth across the stage like a pendulum. The cross projected onto the stage split apart and Madonna appeared in a confessional booth reciting her own version of the Our Father as satanic contorting gargoyles crawled around the stage. She broke out into one of the singles off MDNA, "Girls Gone Wild," followed by "Gang Bang," which spurred a whole Kill Bill-esque shootout where Madonna proceeded to assassinate all her dancers—you knew they were "dead" because blood splattered all over the gigantic screen behind the stage.
She then disappeared for a costume change before coming back out for the whole majorette scene for "Give Me All Your Luvin'" spliced up with samples of Gaga's "Born This Way"—now that is what I call sports.
At one point, Madonna sang a few lines of "Papa Don't Preach" and then started preaching to the crowd about rallying together, citing President Obama and Pussy Riot for leading the stand against inequality. "Why does there have to be catastrophe for us to show compassion," lamented Madonna, referring to Hurricane Sandy.
I had to stop taking notes at one point because I didn't want to miss one second of the production, but she sang "Justify My Love," "Masterpiece," "Candy Shop," and then transitioned into a classical version of "Like a Virgin" while slowly stripping off her clothes to reveal dollar bills tucked into her lingerie. She flung the bills onto the front of the stage and said, "Get over my naked ass and give me your money," collecting for the hurricane relief (of course). She straddled her piano player at the front of the stage—as a mysterious violin wailed—and spread her legs as fans on the floor chucked money onto the stage. Her ass is still fucking fine, by the way.
The show started wrapping up with "Erotica," built to a climax with "Vogue" and "Like a Prayer," and ended with another single off MDNA, "I'm A Sinner."
This morning I woke up to "Give Me All Your Luvin'" still churning though my head, and I even tore apart my jewelry box looking for the gold crucifix I got for my First Communion. Guess it's still back in Nebraska, because I had to settle for pearls and my Marc by Marc Jacobs razor blade… 'cause just like Madge, I'm a sinner and I like it that way too.
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