Today in Madonna History: September 4, 1987

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On September 4 1987, Madonna performed the second-to-last show of her Who’s That Girl World Tour at the Stadio Comunale in Turin, Italy. Broadcast live in Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Spain, the television special also aired at a later date in Australia and The Netherlands. The commercially released Ciao Italia! combined the Turin & Tokyo broadcasts with additional footage from the tour’s final concert in Florence, Italy.

Today in Madonna History: August 18, 1987

On August 18 1987, Madonna performed the first of three sold-out Who’s That Girl Tour concerts at Wembley Stadium in London.

In total, Madonna performed for 216,000 fans during the three nights at Wembley.

Today in Madonna History: July 24, 1987

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On July 24 1987, Madonna performed her Who’s That Girl World Tour at the Astrodome in Houston, in front of 40,000 fans.

The title Who’s That Girl Tour came to Madonna during rehearsals one-day when she looked at a gigantic image of herself projected on a screen on the stage. She commented,

“Oh god, what have I done? What have I created? Is that me, or is this me, this small person standing down here on the stage? That’s why I call the tour ‘Who’s That Girl?’; because I play a lot of characters, and every time I do a video or a song, people go, ‘Oh, that’s what she’s like.’ And I’m not like any of them. I’m all of them. I’m none of them. You know what I mean.?”

Today in Madonna History: July 23, 1988

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On July 23 1988, Madonna – Ciao Italia: Live From Italy hit #1 on the Top Music Videos chart in the US.

Today in Madonna History: March 9, 1999

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On March 9 1999, the concert film for Madonna’s Who’s That Girl World Tour, Ciao Italia, was released on DVD.

Dennis Hunt from the Los Angeles Times gave Ciao Italia a positive review:

“A festive Italian stadium show featuring the Material Girl, who’s turned into a first-rate entertainer, strutting and singing in flashy production-number renditions of her most recent Billboard topping songs, is indeed a delight. The video captures the enormity of Madonna as a performer, and her theatrics, oomph and chutzpah.”

Today in Madonna History: October 17, 1987

On October 17 1987, Billboard magazine featured a two-page spread taken out by Madonna’s manager, Freddy DeMann, thanking everyone involved with Madonna’s massively successful Who’s That Girl World Tour, which had wrapped up in Europe the month before.

In the same issue of Billboard, Chart Beat columnist Paul Grein marked Madonna’s 13th consecutive top-5 hit as Causing A Commotion moved into the #5 position on the Hot 100. Speculating on how long Madonna’s winning streak could last, he warned of the dangers of over-exposure and artistic complacency. Without the benefit of hindsight, the back-handed compliment and slightly patronizing advice is not altogether unreasonable, and is certainly not unusual for the time.

Less reasonable, however, is his summation that the severity of Madonna’s potential fall from grace would be compounded by the abundance of female singers of the era who “sound like Madonna”.

Because you know, all female singers are only that – female singers. Even though you’re co-writing and co-producing your own songs and radio can’t get enough, neither can your audience or even your peers, you’re breaking records set by top male and female artists alike, you’re selling out stadiums around the world and earning high praise as a live performer – don’t think any of these things should afford you any respect. You may not have entered the business through the back door and you may have paid your dues and then some, but you’ve still just been lucky, that’s all. You couldn’t possibly possess the talent or the drive to evolve or the insight to be able to stay in the game once your luck runs out. Even though you are the one that everyone is copying – you’re still just another female singer, and they’re a dime a dozen.

While we no longer need hindsight to spot the glaring absurdity and blatant sexism of such an argument today, would it be as obvious if Madonna hadn’t stuck around to dispel it?

Today in Madonna History: September 4, 1987

who's that girl tour 550

On September 4 1987, Madonna performed the second-to-last show of her Who’s That Girl World Tour at the Stadio Comunale in Turin, Italy. Broadcast live in Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Spain, the television special also aired at a later date in Australia and The Netherlands. The commercially released Ciao Italia! combined the Turin & Tokyo broadcasts with additional footage from the tour’s final concert in Florence, Italy.

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