Today in Madonna History: July 21, 2001

Madonna performing during the first show in the North American leg of her 'Drowned World Tour 2001' at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pa., 7/21/01. Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect.

madonna dwt ticket philadelphia july 21 2001

Madonna performing during the first show in the North American leg of her 'Drowned World Tour 2001' at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pa., 7/21/01. Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect.

On July 21 2001, Madonna kicked off the U.S. leg of her Drowned World Tour with the first of two sold-out concerts at the First Union Centre (now the Wells Fargo Centre) in Philadelphia.

For the first time in her career, Madonna altered one of her tour set lists by performing You’ll See in the place Gone at select shows during the U.S. leg of the tour. You’ll See made its live debut at the July 21st show in Philadelphia and was performed again the following night. The decision to alter the set list was rumoured to have been made in response to European reviews of the tour, which despite being generally favorable, often lamented the show’s overabundance of new material and lack of hits.

Personally, we were pleased that the Ray Of Light and Music albums were the primary focus of the Drowned World Tour. If she had instead focused on hits, it is likely that these two essential Madonna albums would have been treated similarly to Bedtime Stories–an album from which she has yet to perform anything other than its four released singles.

Were you disappointed at the time by the lack of hits and the focus on recent album cuts during the Drowned World Tour? Have your views shifted at all in retrospect?

5 thoughts on “Today in Madonna History: July 21, 2001

  1. In Fact. I almost went to Drowned World at Wizard Verizon Center! Due to circumstance in my home life at the time I didn’t and couldn’t make it to the show but I’m sure glad Madonna saved my life! It’s been 16 years since Music was unleashed on the Rock audience and to this day, it remains Madonna’s hardest rocking album-in the words of Rolling Stoner Rob Sheffield-by the way, thanks Rob!-The best song on Music is sad ballad Nobody’s Perfect in which Our Lady confesses to a lifetime of sadness and faults-We’re just dealing with the truth here folks! Madonna is crying because she is honest and truthful in this song-and that takes a lot of daring on her part! Ballads are Madonna’s strength and that’s why Madonna will never be forgotten!

    • I agree RB, Nobody’s Perfect is an underrated gem. A lot of fans don’t seem to appreciate it and I assume it’s because of the auto-tuned vocals, but considering it was made before auto-tuner turned trendy (yes we know Cher did it first, but Madonna took it to the next level), I thought it was a boldly experimental move to use it in a sparse ballad, and it gives the vocals a slightly damaged feel which ties in well with the lyric. Plus her ad-libs at the end when the full power of the music kicks in are, in contrast to the title, pure perfection.

  2. I wonder why she went back to Gone if it was because of reviews mentioning the lack of hits. I think You’ll See was done 13 times only…

    • While we’ll probably never know for sure, my guess would be that Madonna preferred the original setlist with Gone, considering that’s the setlist she chose for the HBO special and DVD. She likely realized that her first shows in the U.S. would receive the largest amount of national media attention from the American press, so it makes sense that she would include You’ll See at these shows. That’s my theory anyway…lol. Cheers!

      • Yeah it doesn’t seem she’s a big fan of You’ll See as it hasn’t been performed since then, plus it was shunned from both GHV2 & Celebration. Then again we’ve got True Blue & Take A Bow on the most recent tour so who knows…

        She sang You’ll See beautifully but I think Gone was a more special performance somehow.

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