Today in Madonna History: July 25, 1990

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On July 25 1990, Blond Ambition Japan Tour 90 was released on VHS and LaserDisc by Warner-Pioneer, exclusively to the Japanese market.

Recorded in Yokohama, Japan on April 26 1990, the show had originally aired as a live television special in Japan. Due to high winds impacting the outdoor stadium during the concert, no stage curtains were used in the performance, allowing viewers the ability to see some of the normally hidden set changes in the darkened background.

It was the only official VHS release of the tour worldwide due to a sponsorship contract which granted Pioneer rights to issue the tour exclusively on LaserDisc in other regions. For this reason, copies of the Japanese VHS were in high demand from fans in other countries that shared the Japanese NTSC video format, with imported copies selling for approximately $100 USD.

Today in Madonna History: July 18, 2004

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On July 18 2004, Madonna played the first of three sold-out dates at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre during her Re-Invention Tour. Playing to a combined total of over 52,000 fans, the shows were the only Canadian stop on the tour and marked her first concerts in Canada in eleven years.

At the second show Madonna proclaimed to those in attendance that they were the best audience of the tour thus far, while the final Toronto date saw Madonna in an uncharacteristically playful mood. Interrupting the show’s normally swift progression between Papa Don’t Preach and Crazy For You, she joked about the infamous 1990 threats of arrest and whipped the audience into a cheering frenzy with her self-described “unprofessional” behaviour.

Today in Madonna History: July 15, 1992

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On July 15 1992, Truth Or Dare was re-released on VHS in the U.S. and Canada, priced for retail purchase. The new edition featured bonus performances of Hanky Panky and Like A Prayer filmed in Paris, following the film’s credit roll.

While bonus features were a relatively uncommon addition to VHS releases, even more unusual was the omission of these same special extras from all other releases of the film, including the subsequent DVD and Blu-ray editions – formats that would normally include any bonus content available. The most likely explanation is that the extra footage has been lost. A recent interview by Queerty.com with the film’s director Alek Keshishian appears to support this when he noted that neither he nor Madonna’s management have been able to locate the whereabouts of any of the film’s outtakes.

The original 1991 VHS release of the film, which had been priced for the rental market at nearly $100 per copy, featured alternate packaging and no bonus content.

Today in Madonna History: July 6, 1985

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On July 6 1985, Angel/Into The Groove reached number-one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart in the U.S., where it spent a single week. It was Madonna’s fourth release to top the Dance chart.

Due to the fact that both sides of the commercial single received a substantial amount of club play, the release charted as Angel/Into The Groove on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. This is despite the fact that Sire/Warner had actually promoted the single to clubs without Into The Groove, as the official U.S. promotional 12-inch single contained Angel on both sides.

In spite of the label’s apparent attempts to downplay Into The Groove, in the end its inclusion on the commercial single unquestionably helped to propel the release to the top of the Dance chart.

Today in Madonna History: July 4, 2009

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On July 4 2009, the Sticky & Sweet Tour‘s 2009 extension began with the first of two sold out dates at London’s O2 Arena.

In January 2009, following the completion of European, North American and South American legs of the massively successful 2008 Sticky & Sweet Tour, it was confirmed that Madonna would extend the tour during the Summer of 2009 with a second European leg before concluding with two dates in Israel in September. The itinerary for the extension consisted largely of markets where Madonna either hadn’t previously performed or hadn’t visited in many years.

In a January 2009 interview with Billboard.com, Live Nation chairman Arthur Fogel commented on the extended run of the tour:

“It absolutely has not happened in the four tours I’ve been involved with, […] There has been talk [of extending] during each one, but it has never come to be. But with this one, she loves the show, she’s had a great time and she’s excited about playing new markets. […] We went to quite a few markets she has never played or hasn’t been to in 15-plus years. This [extension] is really a continuation of that in the sense of playing new and different markets. [The six-month break] is a long hiatus, but everybody was excited to continue. […] So we basically worked out the arrangements for all the performers, crew and equipment and we’ll be ready to go.”

The extension’s opening night and all subsequent dates featured three song changes to the original setlist: Holiday replaced Heartbeat, a guitar-heavy version of Dress You Up took the place of Borderline, and the non fan-favorite “rock version” of Hung Up was dropped in favour of a much more pleasing, club-ready mash-up of Frozen with I’m Not Alone by Calvin Harris (which also threw in snippets of Open Your Heart).

Madonna also included a special tribute to Michael Jackson during Holiday, as well as a quote attributed to him at the end of Frozen (the lyrics quoted from his song Man In The Mirror were in fact written by Madonna’s occasional backing singer, Siedah Garrett, if you want to get technical). At the time of his passing Jackson had been scheduled to begin a run of comeback concerts at the O2 Arena, beginning the week after Madonna’s shows at the venue.

(Thanks to Michael aka MykillICON for the video footage and pictures!)

Today in Madonna History: May 29, 1998

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On May 29 1998, Madonna visited The Oprah Winfrey Show to promote her album, Ray Of Light.

Madonna sat down for a lengthy interview and performed two songs from her new album, the title track, Ray Of Light, and Little Star – both for the first time on television.

The episode marked Madonna’s second visit to Oprah, following a 1996 appearance to promote her film, Evita.