On April 26 1994, The Girlie Show – Live Down Under was released by Warner-Reprise Video on VHS and laserdisc.
The concert – recorded on November 19, 1993 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia – was a re-edited version of the concert special that had aired live on HBO. It was directed by Mark “Aldo” Miceli, who directed the live screens on Madonna’s 1990 and 1993 tours, as well as the Blond Ambition Japan Tour 90 VHS/laserdisc release. The Girlie Show – Live Down Under was nominated for a Grammy in 1995 for Best Long Form Music Video and was also one of the first concerts to be commercially issued on DVD in 1998.
On November 20 1993, Madonna – Live Down Under: The Girlie Show (taped November 19th at Sydney Cricket Ground) was broadcast on HBO-TV. In Australia, Madonna postponed a scheduled concert at the Sydney Cricket Ground due to severe rain.
Recording of the November 19th show had been intended to serve as both a practice run for the following night, and as a safety show in the event of technical difficulties or cancellation of the November 20th concert. With Madonna apparently satisfied with the safety footage captured on the 19th, neither the December 3rd show at the Cricket Ground nor the rescheduled date (December 4th) served to provide supplemental footage for the eventual VHS/laserdisc release. The only notable differences between the HBO broadcast and the released version were some alternate camera angles and additional audio mixing.
On September 25 1993, Madonna’s “The Girlie Show” tour opened with 2 sold-out concerts at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Over 144,000 fans attended the two shows in London.
“The Girlie Show” was launched in support of Madonna’s 1992 album, “Erotica“. The show had the central visual theme of a “sex circus”. Described as “a mixture of a rock concert, a fashion show, a carnival performance, a cabaret act and a burlesque show”, the show had a more complex stage than those from Madonna’s previous tours: it had a runway that led from the center of the main stage to a minor stage, a revolving elevated platform in the middle of the main stage, balconies in the rear of the stage, and a giant illuminated “Girlie Show” sign above stage, among other features. The tour was directed by Madonna’s brother, Christopher Ciccone; costumes for the tour were designed by Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana.
Did you see “The Girlie Show” live in person?
On September 2 1993, Madonna opened the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards performing “Bye Bye Baby“. She cavorted on stage with three scantily clad women in a brothel-style setting, dressed in tuxedos and top hats, in a choreographed, highly sexual routine. According to choreographer Alex Magno, he wanted to do “Justify My Love” or “The Beast Within” on MTV, but Madonna decided that they might be too controversial for live television and abandoned the idea. Nevertheless, “Bye Bye Baby” was chosen and performed with the choreography they had been practicing for “The Girlie Show World Tour“, since it represented the whole idea behind the tour. Louis Virtel from The Backlot ranked the performance at number eight on a list for “Madonna’s 11 Greatest VMA Moments”. He praised Madonna’s rendition of the song at the Video Music Awards, calling it “a hell of a VMA performance” and a “killer cinematic throwback”.
On February 9 1995, Madonna: The Girlie Show – Live Down Under video was certified gold for sales of 50,000 units in the USA.