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The Devil Wouldn't Recognize You

Dit nummer is opgenomen voor de musical Hello Suckers waaraan Madonna werkte met Patrick Leonard en Mirwais Ahmagzai in 2004/2005. De musical is nooit afgemaakt.
Er gingen geruchten dat Madonna dit nummer tijdens 1 van de laatste optredens van de Re-Invention World Tour zou gaan uitvoeren. Dit gebeurde niet.
Madonna gebruikte het nummer wel voor haar album Hard Candy. Het is toen geproduceerd door Timbaland, Justin Timberlake en Nate Hills.

  • Gepubliceerd in Nieuws

Grote update Mijn Madonna foto's

Vandaag nog een grote update van het onderdeel 'Mijn Madonna foto's' om al een beetje in de stemming te komen voor de 'Confessions Tour'. Vanmorgen al stonden de foto's van Louise al online maar we hebben er nog meer!

De volgende foto's zijn toegevoegd:
- Re-Invention World Tour, 23 augustus 2004, Londen (Mariska)
- Re-Invention World Tour, 5 september 2004, Parijs (Mariska)
- Re-Invention World Tour, 8 september 2004, Arnhem (Petra)
- Re-Invention World Tour, 8 september 2004, Arnhem (Wendy)
  • Gepubliceerd in Nieuws

"Q Magazine" nu in Groot-Brittannië verkrijgbaar!

qcoverVolgens berichten uit Engeland is daar eindelijk de nieuwe 'Q' te koop. Bij deze nieuwe editie van dit magazine zit een gratis cd met covers van nummers van John Lennon. Madonna's versie van 'Imagine' staat er ook op. Er werd gezegd dat de cd de versie van de Tsunami benefiet zal bevatten, maar dit blijkt niet zo te zijn. Gezien het vele gejuich op de achtergrond gaat het hier om een opname van de 'Re-Invention Tour'. De cd is in twee verschillende versies verkrijgbaar maar Madonna staat op beide versies. Houd je ogen open de komende dagen in de Nederlandse boekhandels!


  • Gepubliceerd in Nieuws

Re-Invention Tour: één jaar geleden!

nieuws_reinvention


Door de hype rondom 'Hung Up' en 'Confessions On A Dancefloor', zouden we bijna vergeten dat het vandaag precies 1 jaar geleden is dat Madonna met haar Re-Invention tour in het Arnhemse Gelredome stond. Velen van ons waren daarbij en konden getuige zijn van Madonna's eerste live optreden in Nederland sinds de Blond Ambition tour uit 1990. Het was een warme, drukke, hectische en spannende dag die bij velen van ons nog zeer vers in het geheugen ligt. Nederland was compleet in Madonna mania, diverse televisieprogramma's besteden aandacht aan Madonna. Waar zou ze nou overnachten? Hoe zal de show zijn? Wat voor soort mensen staan er allemaal al in Arnhem te wachten? Het was het media spektakel van het jaar, en terecht! De recensies de volgende dag logen er dan ook niet om, Madonna liet zien dat zij nog steeds de koningin van de popmuziek is en waarom zij dat zal blijven! Bovendien waren de schrijvers zeer verrast over Madonna's krachtige stem, die live zeer goed tot zijn recht kwam.

Rondom 21:00 betrad Madonna dan eindelijk het podium met 'Vogue', gehuld in haar gouden corset, dat voor velen een verrassing was gezien ze in Europa voornamelijk het paarse korset droeg. En gingen heel veel Nederlanders compleet uit hun dak, eindelijk zagen ze haar in het echt, eindelijk na al die jaren was ze daar dan: Madonna! De show was natuurlijk helemaal geweldig, ook al ging er hier en daar iets mis met de beeldschermen en het geluid. Het was een geweldige dag die velen met elkaar hier hebben kunnen delen.

Madonna, Re-Invention Tour, Gelredome, Arnhem, 8 september

Is Madonna nog relevant? Die vraag wordt hardop gesteld op de dag dat de Quen of Pop voor het eerst sinds veertien jaar haar opwachting in Nederland maakt. Staat Madonna volgens de één voor jeugdsentiment, de ander vindt dat zij anno 2004 nog steeds met de scepter op popland zwaait. Eén ding mag zeker zijn: er wordt nog volop over haar gepraat. De enorme mensenmassa bij de ingang van het Arnhemse Gelredome spreekt voor zich. Mensen dringen voor de T-shirtstands, om er haast hysterisch te graaien naar de prijzige merchandise. Groepjes vriendinnen lopen zichtbaar opgewonden met een echte Madona-cowboyhoed arm in arm richting entree. Binnen is het broeierig, en niet alleen vanwege de warmte. Zodra de lichten in de immense hal dimmen breekt een hels gekrijs los. We zijn enkele seconden verwijderd van een blik op een van de grootste artiesten ter wereld. Vanaf diverse videoschermen wordt de shwo ingeluid met een woord van Madonna aan het publiek. Onder de opzwepende beats flikkeren de universele benamingen voor het woord God. Door het uitzinnige gegil van haar fans is Madonna’s boodschap amper te verstaan. En dan is het moment daar: Madonna in levende lijve. Even lijkt het alsof het hele stadion naar adem snakt. Vogue wordt ingezet… let your body move to the music. De eerste flauwgevallen fan wordt afgedragen. Madonna oogt ontspannen en lijkt ook zelf te genieten van haar show. Uiteraard is een excuus op z’n plaatst voor het feit dat ze al zo’n lange tijd niet in Nederland is geweest. Ze compenseert dat met Crazy For You, dat ze opdraagt aan haar trouwe fans. De show is strak, georganiseerd en een lust voor het oog, zoals we bij Madonna verwachten. Naast ‘gouwe ouwen’ zoals Material Girl, Papa Don’t Preach en Express Yourself, wordt er tijdens de show ook tijd vrijgemaakt voor bezinning. American Life, van de enigszins geflopte plaat met dezelfde titel, toont Madonna’s politieke betrokkenheid. Het nummer is een grote anti-oorlogscampagne. Op de videoschermen worden de beelden getoond waar wij de afgelopen twee jaar zo vertrouwd mee zijn geraakt: tanks, militairen, bombardementen. Madonna zelf, gehuld in een militaire outfit, staat te midden van een griep mensen van diverse nationaliteiten (te zien aan burka’s, PLO-theedoeken en keppeltjes). De boodschap mag duidelijk zijn, gezien ook de felheid waarmee zij het liedje zingt. De actualiteit van Lennons Imagine wordt door Madonna nog eens onderstreept. Tijdens de klassieker zien we beelden van kinderen in oorlogssituaties. Een mooi gebaar, maar als aan het einde Madonna’s eigen organisatie Spirutuality For Kids in beeld wordt gebracht, worden we weer herinnerd aan de zakenvrouw Madonna. Ook haar nieuwe levensstijl als kabbala-aanhangster wordt benadrukt, inde vorm van het T-shirt dat zij draagt met de slogan ‘Kabbalists Do It Better’. Zelf lijkt ze nog een fel statement te maken door Don’t Tell Me krachtig te beëindigen met de woorden Don’t Ever Tell Me To Stop. Dat doet ze ook niet, de show dendert in sneltreinvaart voort, waarbij de oude nummers toch beter uit de verf komen dan het recente materiaal. Hoewel dat in een geheelnieuw designersjasje gestoken is, blijkt maar weer hoe tijdloos het oeuvre van Madonna eigenlijk is. Tijdens Into The Groove krijgt ze bijval van Missy Elliott, die vanaf een groot videoscherm meerapt. Het hoogtepunt van de avond wordt ingeluid door en doedelzakspeler en een marching band. De muziek zwelt aan tot een Afro-Celt Sound System-achtige dansbeat en de grande finale hangt na bijna twee uur in de lucht. Grote confettisnippers vallen uit het dak van het stadion tijdens Holiday. Het is een groot feest en Madonna is het stralende middelpunt. Re-invent Yourself verschijnt op de grote beeldschermen, zodra de diva het podium verlaat. Groepen vriendinnen vallen elkaar in de armen, stelletjes geven elkaar nog eens een betekenisvolle kus en men verlaat met een glimlach van oor-tot-oor het stadion. Muisc makes the people come together. En is Madonna vandaag de dag nog relevant? Don’t Ever Tell Her To Stop.

Material Girl's 'Re-Invention' loses message

Her relevance may be fading now, but it is still hard to imagine pop (the music and the culture) without Madonna. The ultimate chameleonic performer, she has dazzled and shocked us for two decades. Every two years or so, Miss Blond Ambition has emerged anew, the images morphing into something different: a Marilyn Monroe-inspired material girl became a gamine-like sex freak, which melted into a centered club queen, which changed into a doting mother of two, a seemingly loving wife and children's book author. She calls her latest show the Re-Invention World Tour, which stopped at the MCI Center Sunday and Monday night. Such a title is interesting - and so obvious. We've stuck by Madonna all this time because she keeps, well, re-inventing herself. But since her last album, American Life, was a commercial and critical dud, we're curious about how she'll bounce back.

What's new, Madonna?
Nothing really. The show is a flashy, sometimes flawed, often fun review of her past selves. The hits are energetically rearranged, the dance routines fresh and tightly choreographed. For two bombastic hours, Madonna proves that at 45, she is still an amazing, charismatic entertainer, one who connects easily with seemingly every person in a packed arena. But her new, more spiritual self mars the production at times.

The opening is long and puzzling. Appearing on two huge screens, Madonna, decked out in an odd, elaborate red costume and mask, sits in a chair. As she recites scriptures from the Book of Revelation, her movements speed up as if she were being controlled by a TiVo remote. The two screens part, revealing a smaller screen on which a bare-faced Madonna tosses and turns on a cot in a dingy-looking cell. Clouds swirl rapidly on two monitors overhead. And I'm thinking, "Huh?"

Finally, Madonna rises on a platform in the center of the stage, dressed in black hot pants, a sparkly bustier-like top and knee-high leather boots. "Strike a pose," she commands as she does a gasp-inducing headstand. Then she and her troupe of dancers, sporting Victorian garb, launch into "Vogue," the thumpin' drag queen classic.

"I've had so many lives since I was a child," Madonna sings at the beginning of "Nobody Knows Me," a solid club cut from American Life. That may be true. But in her previous lives, the performer probably never looked as good as she does in her current one. Her trim body a marvel, Madonna struts across the stage - dancing, singing, striking poses.

The show is fun and more digestible when she's in club queen mode. "Frozen," from 1998's stellar Ray of Light, is almost hypnotic. And the early songs - "Material Girl" and "Burning Up" - benefit from tough, punk-ish arrangements.

But things get a little awkward and boring as the artist, a well-known Kabbalist, inserts fuzzy spiritualism and bloated political messages. Pictures of the Virgin Mary and Jesus on the crucifix sweep across the screens.
During "Imagine," the overrated "protest" song by John Lennon, we're bombarded with images of children from around the world. As an Israeli child and an Arab boy walk side-by-side toward the sunset on the two biggest screens, Madonna blasts us with her message: "Stop all wars!"

All of this comes after "American Life," a busy, military sequence featuring Madonna and her dancers in fatigues and berets. On a V-shaped catwalk that descends from the ceiling , Madonna and her dance troupe stomp and sweat. In the lyrics, the singer asks, "This type of modern life/Is it for me?/This type of modern life/Is it free?"

Perhaps the strangest part of the show is when a thunderous drumline and a noisy bagpipe player introduce "Into the Groove," a Madonna dance classic from '84. But the artist makes up for such clunkiness in the last half-hour with a heartfelt rendition of "Crazy For You," which she dedicates to the fans. She ends the sprawling show with a pumped-up take on "Holiday" as red and white confetti rains down on the house.

But Madonna doesn't leave us without dropping a little advice, something that has made her rich over the years. In bold letters across the giant screens that close in the stage, the message reads: "Re-invent Yourself."

Music icon remains more than a pop tart

WITH ticket prices that run more than $300 a piece for the best seats, Madonna has put her fans in a tough situation. Let's see, do you go see Madonna or do you send the kids to college?

For those who have chosen higher education, based partially on the Material Girl's disappointing showing in Oakland back in 2001, re-thinking that decision might be in order.

Madonna delivered big time Sunday night at the HP Pavilion in San Jose with a show that was vastly superior to her last Bay Area outing in just about every way.

She returns to the Shark Tank tonight and Wednesday and, notably, the promoters have just released a block of great seats for both nights. That means, if you've got the money, you can still get up close and personal with a true pop-music icon.

Madonna has dubbed this latest outing as "The Re-Invention Tour." That's about as redundant a title imaginable. It would be like Eric Clapton going out on "The Electric Guitar Tour" or Jimmy Buffett hosting "The Tequila-Friendly Tour."

Above all else, even through controversy and hit singles, Ms. Ciccone has always been about reinventing herself. Since launching her career with her self-titled debut in 1983, this media-savvy musician has rolled through styles and personas like a pair of dice on a craps table. She makes David Bowie look stagnant.

Currently, she is "re-inventing" her catalog of classic pop hits. That already gives this tour a leg up on her last outing, where she basically ignored her best-known material.

For starters, this is a catalog that really doesn't need reinventing. With a few exceptions, Madonna's music stands tall next to most of what can be heard on Top-40 radio.

Thus it was with some caution that listeners turned out to fill the Pavilion to capacity Sunday night.

We definitely did not want to hear inferior versions of the hits. That would be worse than not hearing them at all.

So it is a pleasure to report that these revised songs were just as enjoyable as -- and, often, even better than -- the originals.

Following a convoluted video segment, the two huge screens that blocked the front of the stage parted as the star rose by platform a good 8 feet in the air. Two male dancers descended to her level from the rafters and the contagious club beat of "Vogue" took the house by storm.

Wearing the first of five outfits, this one featuring tall black leather boots, fishnet stockings, tiny black shorts and a glittery corset, the blond and ambitious singer pranced about the stage like a lioness about to go in for the kill.

The choreography was sensational and, unlike in 2001, it often tied in perfectly with the music.

The staging was as good as the music. The set included a V-shaped walkway that was lowered into the crowd to allow Madonna and her dancers to bring the music to the people.

The show offered a nonstop rush of visuals and sounds, from superb breakdancing and skateboarding on a half-pipe to circus-like scenes and intimate acoustic-guitar-friendly settings.

She mixed the familiar hits perfectly with tracks from her latest studio effort, 2003's underrated "American Life."

She played the new material straight, saving the tweaks and twists for the older songs.

For example, she grabbed the electric guitar to rough up "Burning Up." She changed the dance track originally recorded for her debut record into a rowdy rocker that would have suited Pat Benatar.

The arrangement for "Material Girl" was similar to, yet just different enough from, the one found on 1984's "Like a Virgin." Her voice still managed to carry the carefree squeak of her younger days but it was backed by a swirling'80s new wave-groove that really brought the song to life.

"Hanky Panky," featured on the "Dick Tracy" soundtrack, was deliriously fun and playfully naughty as she upped the flapper feel and wrung out the burlesque vibe.

However, she did make some major missteps. She didn't make any new friends among those who like their music and politics served on separate platters.

She donned a particularly stylish G.I.'s outfit and danced with a rifle while images of young victims of hunger and war were shown on the back screens. The sound of helicopters could be heard as P.O.W.s gyrated in cells on stage during "American Life."

Whatever obvious messages she was trying to convey -- war is bad and harming small children is worse -- came across as heavy-handed and, to put it bluntly, two-faced, given the context.

How can she go from the ultimate ode to wealth with "Material Girl" to singing John Lennon's "Imagine"? How does she sing Lennon's line "imagine no possessions" and justify charging $300-plus for a ticket?

Not likely.She's just being Madonna, a living, breathing contradiction that likes to have her multi-layered cake and eat it, too.

You can write music critic Jim Harrington at Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.

At 45, Madonna strikes a pose of pop maturity

More than a decade has passed since Madonna's admission in the 1991 documentary "Truth or Dare" that she knows she's not the best singer or dancer in the business. "But that's not what I'm interested in," she added. "I want to push people's buttons."

And push them she has over the course of a 22-year career marked by album sales of 140 million copies worldwide but littered with so much sexual controversy that it's safe to wonder whether her legacy will be one of lurid scandal over professional achievement.

If the current "Re-Invention Tour" -- which opened a three-night Northern California run Sunday in San Jose -- is any indication, Madonna is now making a conscious bid for the latter. Displaying markedly improved vocal skills, the 45-year-old mother of two sang, danced and even played guitar for the sellout crowd, presenting herself as an all-around performer. Tickets are still available for tonight and Wednesday.

More telling, however, is the fact that Madonna has ditched much of the sexual content of past tours for overtly political images. It would appear that Madonna is seeking to re-invent herself as a mature artist with relevant opinions on war and peace and not just the battle between the sexes. It's no coincidence that the evening's sole cover was of John Lennon's "Imagine."

From the opening sequence of the Eastern-sounding "Justify My Love" -- where she appeared onscreen alternating between a Salameh-styled harem girl outfit and more modest political-prisoner garb -- Madonna made it clear that she is now a political warrior. The enemy is no longer the societal pressures that seek to stifle women's sexual urges, but warmongering political forces.

The song's closing line -- "I'm coming soon from underneath" -- took on new meaning as the toned superstar emerged from beneath the stage. Madonna then launched into such recent numbers as the overtly political "American Life," during which her dancers, dressed in military fatigues, performed pushups under video images of approaching helicopters. As they maneuvered around the stage, hugging and pushing each other away against images of suffering children, the former Material Girl appeared in her Che Guevara-inspired beret, army shirt and camo pants, singing of materialism's inherent injustice.

Although the visuals were dire, Madonna injected a touch of humor and optimism into the number when on screen, a President Bush lookalike lighted a makeshift Saddam Hussein's cigar before kissing him on the cheek.

"Are you ready?" the singer asked the crowd, as she continued the war motif with "Express Yourself." Like many of her most popular songs, the 1989 hit has been updated for the tour, a process that in some cases transformed the familiar into something totally different. As Madonna and her backup dancers performed rifle maneuvers, the tune -- no longer about women's rights to express their needs -- became an order to fans to express their disgust with the current administration's policies in Iraq.

More followed. There was a rocking "Burning Up" with Madonna on guitar, and an "Into the Groove" remix featuring Missy Elliott rapping onscreen while Madonna, donning a white T-shirt and long plaid kilt-style skirt, sang and kicked her heels up in an updated Charleston.

"I hope no one is sitting down right now," she warned before launching into a soulful "Like a Prayer" as Hebrew words -- not the Catholic imagery long associated with the song -- were displayed on the screen behind her. Madonna kept the Kabbalistic tone going, donning a black "Kabbalists Do It Better" T-shirt for "Papa Don't Preach."

The most heartwarming moment of the night came when the star thanked the audience -- one person held a sign reading, "Thank you for 20 inspiring years" -- by dedicating "Crazy for You" to "my fans, who have dressed like me for the past 20 years."

Drums beat heavily on the closing "Holiday," as effervescent a pop tune as Madonna has recorded. She performed a variety of dance steps to its percolating beat, everything from the bus stop to the electric slide.

This being Madonna circa 2004, however, politics were never far off, as the song played out amid a backdrop of various national flags. The effect was to imbue the lyrics -- "We're gonna have a celebration/all across the world, in every nation/It's time for the good times/ forget about the bad times" -- with an anti-war message the self-described boy-toy of the mid-'80s could hardly have mustered.

Confetti rained from the ceiling and the song kept up its superficial bubblegum beat, but its mood had been altered to strike a note of more serious celebration. In that, it was a fitting closer to a concert that represented Madonna reinventing herself as a mature artist even while continuing to supply what the fans want.

Captivating, absurd, always entertaining,Madonna mixes it up in San Jose show. And is that an anti-war message we hear? Tribal love dance ends show
Chronicle Pop Music Critic, Neva Chonin
8 juni 2004

Madonna's concert Sunday at San Jose's HP Pavilion landed on the 60th anniversary of D-Day. The military tie-in seemed especially apt four songs into the show, when the star appeared onstage to perform the title track from her latest album, "American Life," backed by video screens showing war footage.

This wasn't a chronicle of France's liberation but a darker glimpse at carnage from other, morally ambiguous conflicts: Bombs razed villages; Iraqi and Vietnamese children bled and wailed.

Through it all, a khaki-attired Madonna and a phalanx of dancers dressed as soldiers, nuns, mullahs and priests got into the groove. The crowd cheered obliviously, horrific video images notwithstanding. Note to Madge: When making an anti-war statement, dance beats, star turns and choreographed stage moves distract from the message.

Madonna has always delivered mixed messages, whether flashing pictures of the pope during a song about teen pregnancy ("Papa Don't Preach") in her '80s heyday or going on a vigilante vengeance spree in the video for her latter-day single "What It Feels Like for a Girl." She makes her statements and lets fans interpret them as they will. That's the essence of her two-decade stardom -- at her best, she manages to be all things to all people.

Her "Re-Invention" tour incorporates this melange of personae into a two- hour show that plays like Cliff's Notes to her career, with each new Madonna morphing into the next in a hypnotic jigsaw of sex, lies and videotape. At the first of her three San Jose concerts (there are still floor tickets available for the shows tonight and Wednesday), Madonna was alternately stunning, perplexing and absurd. Most important, she was always entertaining.

The concert highlighted the way in which spiritual iconography has replaced the star's '90s sexploitation, from kabbalah text swirling along to "Like a Prayer" to screens filled with Catholic religious art during "Mother and Father." The night started with a biblical recitation, as Madonna's video image fractured from Whore of Babylon splendor to minimal asceticism. The singer then switched moods, rising from the stage in a glittering bustier and hot pants to recite "Vogue" against a museum backdrop filled with -- what else -- a series of shifting Madonna portraits. This was the night's first production number, with dancers strutting in 18th century garb while a backup band and two singers held down the musical front.

As this is a "reinvention" tour, Madonna has found various ways to retool her repertoire. Some of the best interpretations were those in which Maddie dispensed with lavish theatrics to play artist: "Frozen" and "Like a Prayer" were pared down to musical numbers built around Madonna and her band; "Burning Up" and "Material Girl" became singer-songwriter spotlights as Madonna showed off her competent guitar skills.

The larger ensemble songs were hit and miss. "Express Yourself," another military-themed presentation ostensibly meant to celebrate individuality over indoctrination, shot itself in the foot when Madonna crooned, "What you need is a big, strong hand/ To lift you to your higher ground" while being elevated on the back of a rifle.

But a DJ breakdown of "Music" captured a certain club-land euphoria, and the night's final song, a remix of "Holiday," was a confetti-strewn tribal love dance that fittingly ended the night at the point where Madonna's career began.

For the night's greatest-hits segment, Madonna changed into a kilt and a "Kabbalists Do It Better" T-shirt and joined a bagpiper (yes, a bagpiper; don't laugh, it worked) to cut loose with "Papa Don't Preach" and "Get Into the Groove" (featuring a video cameo by Missy Elliott). A schmaltzy "Crazy for You" followed, dedicated to "all my fans in the Bay Area who have stuck with me for the last 20 years."

Just because something's saccharine doesn't mean its sweetness is insincere -- and one of the tour's most discussed and vilified moments, a cover of John Lennon's "Imagine," smacked of verisimilitude.

When Madonna announced the song by saying, "I didn't write this next song, but I wish I had, and I hope someday it becomes a reality," she sounded as close to bald honesty as a consummate gadfly can.

And here's the punch line: As a treacly international montage of children flickered across the overhead screens and Madonna ran through Lennon's well- worn paean to peace, the audience finally seemed to get it. No whoops greeted the sight of battered war kids; instead, lighters rose and the crowd sang along. Madonna, it seems, still knows how to work a cultural wave

Captivating, absurd, always entertaining,Madonna mixes it up in San Jose show. And is that an anti-war message we hear? Tribal love dance ends show

Madonna's concert Sunday at San Jose's HP Pavilion landed on the 60th anniversary of D-Day. The military tie-in seemed especially apt four songs into the show, when the star appeared onstage to perform the title track from her latest album, "American Life," backed by video screens showing war footage.

This wasn't a chronicle of France's liberation but a darker glimpse at carnage from other, morally ambiguous conflicts: Bombs razed villages; Iraqi and Vietnamese children bled and wailed.

Through it all, a khaki-attired Madonna and a phalanx of dancers dressed as soldiers, nuns, mullahs and priests got into the groove. The crowd cheered obliviously, horrific video images notwithstanding. Note to Madge: When making an anti-war statement, dance beats, star turns and choreographed stage moves distract from the message.

Madonna has always delivered mixed messages, whether flashing pictures of the pope during a song about teen pregnancy ("Papa Don't Preach") in her '80s heyday or going on a vigilante vengeance spree in the video for her latter-day single "What It Feels Like for a Girl." She makes her statements and lets fans interpret them as they will. That's the essence of her two-decade stardom -- at her best, she manages to be all things to all people.

Her "Re-Invention" tour incorporates this melange of personae into a two- hour show that plays like Cliff's Notes to her career, with each new Madonna morphing into the next in a hypnotic jigsaw of sex, lies and videotape. At the first of her three San Jose concerts (there are still floor tickets available for the shows tonight and Wednesday), Madonna was alternately stunning, perplexing and absurd. Most important, she was always entertaining.

The concert highlighted the way in which spiritual iconography has replaced the star's '90s sexploitation, from kabbalah text swirling along to "Like a Prayer" to screens filled with Catholic religious art during "Mother and Father." The night started with a biblical recitation, as Madonna's video image fractured from Whore of Babylon splendor to minimal asceticism. The singer then switched moods, rising from the stage in a glittering bustier and hot pants to recite "Vogue" against a museum backdrop filled with -- what else -- a series of shifting Madonna portraits. This was the night's first production number, with dancers strutting in 18th century garb while a backup band and two singers held down the musical front.

As this is a "reinvention" tour, Madonna has found various ways to retool her repertoire. Some of the best interpretations were those in which Maddie dispensed with lavish theatrics to play artist: "Frozen" and "Like a Prayer" were pared down to musical numbers built around Madonna and her band; "Burning Up" and "Material Girl" became singer-songwriter spotlights as Madonna showed off her competent guitar skills.

The larger ensemble songs were hit and miss. "Express Yourself," another military-themed presentation ostensibly meant to celebrate individuality over indoctrination, shot itself in the foot when Madonna crooned, "What you need is a big, strong hand/ To lift you to your higher ground" while being elevated on the back of a rifle.

But a DJ breakdown of "Music" captured a certain club-land euphoria, and the night's final song, a remix of "Holiday," was a confetti-strewn tribal love dance that fittingly ended the night at the point where Madonna's career began.

For the night's greatest-hits segment, Madonna changed into a kilt and a "Kabbalists Do It Better" T-shirt and joined a bagpiper (yes, a bagpiper; don't laugh, it worked) to cut loose with "Papa Don't Preach" and "Get Into the Groove" (featuring a video cameo by Missy Elliott). A schmaltzy "Crazy for You" followed, dedicated to "all my fans in the Bay Area who have stuck with me for the last 20 years."

Just because something's saccharine doesn't mean its sweetness is insincere -- and one of the tour's most discussed and vilified moments, a cover of John Lennon's "Imagine," smacked of verisimilitude.

When Madonna announced the song by saying, "I didn't write this next song, but I wish I had, and I hope someday it becomes a reality," she sounded as close to bald honesty as a consummate gadfly can.

And here's the punch line: As a treacly international montage of children flickered across the overhead screens and Madonna ran through Lennon's well- worn paean to peace, the audience finally seemed to get it. No whoops greeted the sight of battered war kids; instead, lighters rose and the crowd sang along. Madonna, it seems, still knows how to work a cultural wave.

MATERIAL GIRL'S S.J. CONCERT RICH IN SONGS, COSTUMES, ATTITUDE

If there ever was a concert in recent memory that came close to being worth $300 for a top-tier face-value ticket, Madonna's ``Re-Invention'' tour show Sunday night at HP Pavilion in San Jose would be it.

The high-energy performance -- visually and aurally -- was everything one would expect from someone of Madonna's legendary stature. In the nearly two-hour show, the Material Girl belted out 23 songs, from her biggest hits -- ``Holiday,'' ``Vogue'' and ``Papa Don't Preach'' -- to ``American Life,'' which is still searching for a spot on her hit-filled résumé.

Madonna, who performs in San Jose again tonight and Wednesday, changed costumes six times, going from soldier in camouflage to a Scottish dancer in a kilt. Conspicuously missing from this show, however, were that famous cone-capped bra and the megahit ``Like a Virgin.''

The crowd, made up mostly of women in their 30s and men who aren't afraid of wearing pink, looked as if they had followed Madonna since her ``Virgin'' years, reciting with ease the choruses to the songs. They wore jeans and T-shirts with individual lettering on them that spelled out ``Material Girl'' and ``Madge'' in honor of their idol.

Madonna, 45, commanded the stage, giving a polished and deliberate performance. Every detail was taken into account, from the five huge video screens to the tempo of her songs, which were sometimes slowed down to give her time to breathe.

Singles like ``Frozen'' and ``Nothing Fails'' were sung at the microphone stand, sometimes with a guitar in hand, while others, like ``Don't Tell Me'' and ``Music,'' she sang while dancing. Her voice held up nicely for many of the songs, with the exception of the slow-tempo ``Crazy for You,'' which started out a little too sharp.

The Kabbalah-following fitness junkie looked physically solid, with her biceps bulging, as usual. Her body rivaled those of her dancers, who probably were decades younger.

But the dancers were an important highlight of the show: From yoga-like stances to break dancing and tap dancing, they displayed incredible versatility. Some doubled as vocal backup, drummers and even as a skateboarder.

And it wouldn't be a Madonna concert if she didn't inject some sexually charged behavior or delve into other controversial topics, like religion. At one point, as she stepped over a dancer as he lay, she paused suggestively, to approving cheers from the crowds. Religious overtones made way throughout the concert, from images of the crucifixion of Christ to T-shirts proclaiming ``Kabbalists Do It Better.''

As always, nothing was sacred when it comes to Madonna. She didn't stop at just plastering the cross on screen: Dancers frolicked in rabbi robes, and wore burqas that covered their heads and upper bodies but exposed their legs.

Other political statements were woven into the show. Dancers in bondage strapped her to an electric chair while she sang a haunting version of ``Lament'' from the musical ``Evita.'' And as Madonna covered John Lennon's inspiring ``Imagine,'' screens behind her flashed images of sick, starving and impoverished children.

While her video for ``American Life'' usually concludes with the image of a chummy President Bush and Saddam Hussein, it ended this time with Israeli and Palestinian boys arm in arm.

The theme on this night was obvious: On her and her dancers' boxer bottoms as they flashed the audience were letters that spelled out P-E-A-C-E.

Despite the tour being named ``Re-Invention,'' Madonna's performance seemed more of a well-polished look back at her lengthy career than a re-creation of a pop icon. But that's fine for this diva, who has made a career of confronting topics often banned at the dinner table -- sex and religion among them. And since she did all of that again Sunday night, one can only wonder how she'll address her favorite topics during her next tour.
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