On July 24 1999, Beautiful Stranger reached its peak position of #19 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was based on the strength of airplay alone, as Maverick Records opted to boost sales of the Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack album by not releasing the song as a physical single in the US. Had it been issued commercially, it would have easily given Madonna another Top 10 hit. The single was released in most major markets outside the US including Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan.
On July 23 2006, Madonna experienced – as she put it – “some technical difficulties in [her] brain” during a performance of Let It Will Be at the second of two Miami shows for The Confessions Tour.
After coming in too early on a vocal cue, she quickly poked fun at herself with some improvised lyrics, only to experience further issues towards the end of the song. She then humourously referenced the glitches – and nearly suffered a G.W. Bush-inspired orgasm – during her post-song banter.
The show marked the final date on the North American leg of The Confessions Tour.
(Thanks to YouTube user Ryan Keefe for the video, and to our friends at Madonnalicious and their readers for the wonderful tour pics from Miami!)
On July 22 1989, Madonna’s Express Yourself reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. Express Yourself was the first song that Madonna and producer Stephen Bray collaborated on for the Like a Prayer album.
“The message of the song is that people should always say what it is they want. The reason relationships don’t work is because they are afraid. That’s been my problem in all my relationships. I’m sure people see me as an outspoken person, and for the most part, if I want something I ask for it. But sometimes you feel that if you ask for too much or ask for the wrong thing from someone you care about that that person won’t like you. And so you censor yourself. I’ve been guilty of that in every meaningful relationship I’ve ever had. The time I learn how not to edit myself will be the time I consider myself a complete adult.”
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?
On July 20 1990, Madonna performed the first of three Blond Ambition Tour concerts at Wembley Stadium in London. She also performed on July 21 and 22.
BBC Radio 1 broadcast the full July 21 show, live from Wembley Stadium with no time delay, which led to controversy over the amount of swear words Madonna uttered live on air and the BBC had to issue an apology. Madonna said the F-word 24 times.
Highlights of the show were later aired after the 1992 interview with Madonna and Simon Bates.
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.
During 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” behavior.
Clearly the audience (myself included) didn’t mind one bit! 🙂