Today in Madonna History: October 9, 2021

On October 9, 2021, Variety published the following recap of Madonna’s surprise performance at Red Rooster in Harlem, New York (performed the night before):

On Friday night in New York City, Madonna, joined by Jon Batiste, his band and a small group of fans, gave an intimate cabaret performance in the basement of Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant Red Rooster, before spilling out into the Harlem streets for a 2 a.m. parade set to “Like a Prayer.”

The midnight cabaret turned New Orleans-style street party rang in Friday’s release of “Madame X,” a documentary concert film of Madonna’s 2019 tour, released by Paramount Plus.

“Obviously, Madame X has been born,” Madonna said to the basement crowd, dressed in a black cocktail dress, lace gloves and long blonde wig. “She was always here. She’s always been by your side, encouraging you, pushing you, inspiring you, I hope.”

Taking the stage in the dimly lit supper club just after 1:40 a.m., Madonna, who laid on top of Batiste’s piano like Marilyn Monroe and climbed up the basements’ columns to grind up and down the wall, sang lounge renditions of “Dark Ballet,” “La Isla Bonita” and the Portuguese “Saudade.”

“Do you feel like something is missing from your life?” she asked the crowd, softly into the microphone while Batiste played beneath her. “So, what’s our job? What’s our destiny? To go out and find it,” she said. “I was talking to Jon on the way here, and we said to each other: Here’s the big question: How bad do you want it?”

The evening was almost impossibly intimate, attended by a crowd that looked to be about 100-200 friends, family and fans, who sank into the club’s plush banquets awaiting her arrival.

During the performance, after falling to her knees in a contemplative adaptation of “Like a Prayer,” Madonna grabbed a nearby megaphone, gestured to the musicians to pick up their instruments, and told the crowd to take to the streets. Obliging blindly, the partygoers climbed up the basement stairs — propelled by the rhythm of Batiste’s band and the sheer thrill of unpredictability — and filed onto 126th street. 

Tambourine in hand, Madonna led Batiste and a modest group of the party’s attendees through the early-morning streets of Harlem, joining together as the group sang an anthemic “Like a Prayer” into the night sky.

Traveling a few blocks down the street, the congregation ended outside a nearby church, where Madonna, framed by the ecclesiastical doors behind her, offered an invocation. “The Lord is with all of us,” she said. “Sometimes you just have to say a prayer.”

At Red Rooster, where most partygoers returned after Madonna’s streetside sermon ended, the room grooved far into the morning, voguing down the dance floor as the open vodka bar continued to flow.  Nearby, joined by queer icons like Aquaria, the Queen of Pop sank into the same plush banquets and watched from afar as the room danced, high and carried away.

Today in Madonna History: October 8, 2021

On October 8 2021, Madonna released Madame X: Music from the Theatre Xperience to digital platforms for streaming (audio) and Madame X the live film to Paramount +.

The concept film captures Madonna’s theater show performed in front of sold-out audiences worldwide in 2019 & 2020. Filmed in Lisbon & Paris, Madonna is joined onstage by 50 global performers including her children, & the all-female Orquestra Batukadeiras.

The live streaming track listing includes the following songs:

  1. Intro
  2. God Control
  3. Dark Ballet
  4. Human Nature
  5. Vogue
  6. I Don’t Search I Find
  7. American Life
  8. Batuka
  9. Fado Pechincha (feat. Gaspar Varela)
  10. Killers Who Are Partying
  11. Crazy
  12. Welcome To My Fado Club
  13. Medellin
  14. Extreme Occident
  15. Breathwork
  16. Frozen
  17. Come Alive
  18. Future
  19. Like A Prayer
  20. I Rise

Today in Madonna History: October 7, 1989

cherish-october-1 cherish-october-2 cherish-october-3

On October 7 1989, Madonna’s Cherish single hit #2 on the USA Billboard Hot 100 chart.

With the success of Cherish Madonna overtook The Beatles on the list of all-time consecutive top 5 singles in US (16 singles) and also tied with Michael Jackson for the artist with the most consecutive top 10 singles in the 1980s (17 singles).

Today in Madonna History: September 15, 2017

On September 15 2017, Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour was released on DVD, blu-ray and double-CD.

Here is the official press release:

Madonna today released her long-awaited REBEL HEART TOUR concert film on a variety of formats. REBEL HEART TOUR was recorded around the world and features both live and behind the scenes material, as well as previously unreleased footage culminating with performances at the Sydney Qudos Bank Arena (formerly known as the Allphones Arena) in Australia in March of 2016.

REBEL HEART TOUR is nearly two hours long and features Madonna’s most recent hits from the Rebel Heart album, and some of the biggest classics of her career including stunning reinterpretations of old favourites, which were unique to the tour. Bonus features on the DVD, blu-ray and iTunes version are Like A Prayer and ‘An Excerpt From Tears Of A Clown’ – incredibly rare footage of Madonna’s one-off Melbourne theatre show, which was completely different to the Rebel Heart shows in both scale, content and production. Featuring music, art and mischief, the exclusive fan club show was a celebration of Madonna’s return to Australia after 23 years.

Eagle Vision are releasing the film on DVD and blu-ray (both with an exclusive 14-track highlights CD) and digital download. Also released is a 22-track double CD, which is also available on all digital music services. In addition to the physicaland digital formats, madonna.com have exclusive fan merchandise bundles.

MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR was co-directed by Danny B. Tull and Nathan Rissman, both of whom have worked extensively with Madonna on her feature films and tour movies.

The tracklist for MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR film and live concert album span all decades of the iconic superstar’s illustrious career, including songs from her chart-topping Rebel Heart album to classic fan favorites.

Produced by Live Nation Global Touring, the Rebel Heart Tour kicked off on September 9, 2015 in Montreal and visited arenas in 55 cities on four continents over seven months. Madonna performed 82 shows, plus the special Tears Of A Clown fan club show in Melbourne.

Today in Madonna History: May 25, 2004

On May 25 2004, Rolling Stone magazine published a review of Madonna’s Re-Invention World Tour with the headline, “Madonna Reinvents herself. Amid images of war and peace, pop star shows she can sing.”

Here’s the review by Barry Walters:

After twenty years in the limelight, Madonna is expected to cause controversy and reinvent herself for every new tour. So for the May 24th Los Angeles opening of her Re-Invention world trek, Madonna did the most unexpected thing she could: She came back as a great concert singer.

Even the most diehard Madonna fan will concede that her live performances have almost without exception been plagued by a multitude of missed notes, breathy passages, and, as of late, fake British accents. But while Mariah and Whitney have of been losing the acrobatic vocal dexterity and lung power on which their reputations rest, forty-five-year-old Madonna, whom few have ever taken seriously as a musician, has never sounded better than she did during the first of several gigs in her adopted West Coast home. Whether rocking out with classic black Les Paul in hand during a metallic rendition of her early club hit “Burning Up,” or performing “Like a Prayer” behind a screen-projected gospel choir, Madonna belted, and did not once seemed strained. In the midst of a $1 million production festooned with a walkway that jutted out from the stage and over the audience, massive moving video screens, a dozen dancers, a bagpipe player, a stunt skateboarder and a whole lot of emotionally charged anti-war imagery, the focus was nevertheless on Madonna, and how she’s matured into a truly great pop singer.

Opening with a yoga-trained twist on her famous Louis XIV-inspired MTV Video Music Awards rendition of “Vogue” and ending on a kilt-wearing finale of “Holiday” against a video backdrop of national flags that eventually morphed into one, the show was thematically simpler and more focused than her last several productions.

The barbarism of war and the necessity of love were at the heart of the entire show, and both played off each other, sometimes for ironic and decidedly uneasy effect. The original military-themed video footage of “American Life” that the singer withheld at the start of the Iraq war was finally unveiled, and then expanded upon during “Express Yourself,” where Madonna sang her anthem of unbridled, intimate communication in front of dancers dressed as soldiers and goose-stepping with twirling rifles.

By contrast, Madonna closed an extended acoustic section of the show with a straightforward and thoroughly committed rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” as images of war and poverty-ravaged children eventually gave way to footage of a Muslim boy and his Israeli counterpart smiling as they walked with their arms wrapped around each other.

The heaviness of much of the imagery was balanced by Madonna’s own presence, which seemed remarkably fun-loving and self-assured for the opening night of her most technically complex production. Only when she strapped on an acoustic or electric guitar during several songs and repeatedly glanced at her left hand to make sure it was playing the proper chords did she seem at all nervous. “How many people out there really think that I am the Material Girl?” she asked during a break in her most iconic early smash as she strummed with much deliberation.

For the last several songs, Madonna and her dancers donned black and white kilts, an apparent nod to husband Guy Ritchie’s Scottish heritage, and black T-shirts that read “Kabbalists Do It Better,” a cheeky reference to both her religious studies and the “Italians Do It Better” T-shirt she wore during her video for “Papa Don’t Preach,” a song that was performed without the “near-naked pregnant women” described in pre-tour reports of the show. In a number dedicated for the “fans that’ve stood by me for the last twenty years,” she sang her earliest hit ballad, “Crazy For You,” earnestly and without contrivance.

Madonna’s continued relevance was impressive, but it was even more striking that she’s putting more love and genuine passion into her spectacle than ever.

Today in Madonna History: May 4, 2016

may-4-2016

On May 4 2016, Madonna tweeted about her long-time friend and Like A Prayer collaborator, Prince:

“It’s been 7 hours and 13 days since you took your love away……….all the flowers you planted died when you went away……….Nothing Compares 2 U.”

Today in Madonna History: April 29, 1989

81611_001.tif lap-canada-4 lap-canada-3 lap-canada-5 lap-canada-2

On April 29 1989, Madonna’s Like A Prayer album entered its second week at #1 on the Canadian album charts.

Hitting number #1 on April 22 1989, Like A Prayer would remain at the top of the Canadian album charts until the week of June 3 1989.

%d bloggers like this: