Today in Madonna History: August 18, 2012

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On August 18 2012, during an MDNA World Tour concert in Zurich, Madonna made this statement for the release of Pussy Riot:

“I protest the conviction and sentencing of Pussy Riot to a penal colony for two years for a 40 second performance extolling their political opinions. Even if one disagrees with the location or how they chose to express themselves, the sentence is too harsh and in fact is inhumane. I call on all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment. I urge artists around the world to speak up in protest against this travesty. They’ve spent enough time in jail. I call on ALL of Russia to let Pussy Riot go free.”

Today in Madonna History: July 26, 2012

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On July 26 2012, Madonna performed at the historic Olympia music hall in Paris, France.

The one-off mini show – performed during her MDNA Tour but not part of the tour proper – featured a selection of performances from the standard set list, plus two additional songs: a Beautiful Killer/Die Another Day mash-up (with choreography adapted from the tour performance of Revolver) and a cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s Je t’aime…moi non plus. A live webcast of the show streamed on YouTube.

The show was not without controversy, although the exact nature of the controversy depends on who you believe. According to some, a small group of hecklers in attendance decided to cause a commotion after the show had ended, booing and throwing bottles on the stage. Others suggested there may have been political motivations behind the heckling due to Madonna’s opposition to the platform of National Front party leader Marine Le Pen. Much of the local media claimed that some fans were upset over the short length of the show (45 minutes), as it had not been explicitly promoted as a mini concert, despite the fact that it was likely the lengthiest of any club show Madonna had performed at the time.

Madonna responded to the kerfuffle with the following statement:

Playing the Olympia was a magical moment for me and it was a real treat to do this special show for my fans and be so close to them. Unfortunately at the end of the show – after I left the stage – a few thugs who were not my fans rushed the stage and started throwing plastic bottles pretending to be angry fans. The press reports have focused on this and not the joyous aspect of the evening. But nothing can take away or ruin this very special evening for me and my fans. When I looked out in the audience, everyone I saw had a smile on their face. I look forward to having this wonderful experience again.”

Set list:

  • Turn Up The Radio
  • Open Your Heart
  • Masterpiece
  • Justify My Love (interlude)
  • Vogue
  • Candy Shop
  • Human Nature
  • Beautiful Killer (featuring elements from Die Another Day)
  • Je t’aime…moi non plus

Today in Madonna History: June 3, 2012

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On June 3 2012, Marine Le Pen threatened to sue Madonna if she included her image with a swastika during her shows in France.

Here’s a snippet of an article that appeared in the Telegraph:

The fleeting image was shown at a concert the US-born singer gave in Tel Aviv last Thursday as part of her MDNA World Tour.

Projected during the song Nobody Knows Me, the film morphed Madonna’s face with a number of famous figures, including Chinese leader Hu Jinatao, US Republican former presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Pope Benedict XVI.

Miss Le Pen’s eyes and forehead then appear for a second before a swastika and the eyes of Adolf Hitler are superimposed onto the FN leader.

Furious, Miss Le Pen threatened to sue the singer if she kept the video unchanged when she performs in Paris on the July 14 national holiday and in Nice in August. “If she does that in France, we’ll be waiting for her,” she told Le Parisien.

Hitting back at Madonna, she was quoted by the newspaper as asking: “By the way, has Madonna given back the children she stole from Africa? Or did she end up buying them?”