Friday, June 8, 2012

Madonna in Abu Dhabi

Madonna came to Abu Dhabi last week.  It was the second stop on her world tour.  She opened in Israel and did two shows here.

I did not really plan to go and did not scramble to get tickets for the first show when it was announced.  It sold out in a matter of hours anyway.  I like her, and would not expect her to give a bad show, but I saw her years ago and a late night early in the week in Abu Dhabi did not appeal to my already lack of sleep, over allocated self.  Obviously, I am not a big enough fan.  My husband really wanted to go, so I caved.

My feelings are mixed about the show and the more I read about other shows, the more I confirm that opinion, or lack there of. 

In Israel, her first show, was promoted as the “Concert for Peace”.  Some of the earlier numbers were the most violent I have ever seen at any concert.  The dark stage set and choreographed shooting of several men with blood splattering on a screen every time the trigger was pulled was not too peaceful.  I would not be surprised if she consulted with Tarantino on these numbers.  She announced in Israel, “You cannot be a fan of mine and not want peace in the world”.  She may have said the same here.

Much of the show included the controversy that Madonna has been known for over the years.  Still striving to upset the Catholic Church as she did in the past, but just with bigger crosses and a bigger production.  Sex, ya, that’s all there too.

I am no prude, but she pushed the limits.  I am sure some people who attended, and perhaps some leaders of this country who got wind of what went down were not very happy with her.  There is nothing directed at Islam in the show that I could see, but I am sure her kissing a woman and the cross dressing dances didn’t go over well among other things. 

As my husband points out, “then you don’t invite Madonna to have a concert in your country”.  If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen – or rather, don’t invite that kitchen.  Pushing buttons is what she does and she has never backed down before, so why start now?  It’s her expression, and people pay for it.

Despite this, there were many amazing things about the concert.  The dancing was phenomenal – as expected.  Her entourage is always one of the best.  I would easily sign on to be one of her roadies just to watch them practice everyday.  This also included slacklining as her Super Bowl performance did, but it was even better.  All this was done on a larger than life stage that morphed throughout the show.

Love Madonna or hate her, she is an amazing performer.  Even though I do not always care for her new sound, she has reinvented herself yet once again so she continues to appeal to new generations.  She is continuously evolving.  Yes, she is older, but not dated. 

Any other pop star her age would come out and sing the same songs to an almost boring performance in comparison.  She was never boring and even managed to make most of her older songs new again.  This included a  Basque drum back up to Open Your Heart and a Like a Virgin waltz with a piano that many may not have recognized in this context.

Controversial yes, but she also brought attention to a lot of issues throughout the show and during a photomontage that focuses on several issues we see in the world today.  Images of protests, wars, corrupt politicians and much more all ended with images of victims of bullying.  After watching that, anyone who is upset at Madonna for being controversial should stop in their tracks and see the bigger picture.  We certainly have bigger problems to deal with in this world than Madonna running around in her bra with her amazing cross dressing dancers. 

It will be interesting to see what happens as she makes her rounds.  She has already been warned by the French politician Le Pen about seeing a swastika on the collage of his and Madonna’s head in the montage. “They will be waiting”, he says.  So will her fans.

No comments: