Forget marriage, motherhood and the kabbala. Madonna’s startling new MDNA tour — which made its first American drive-by at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Arena Tuesday night — finds her angrier, darker and more unhinged than on any road show of her 30- year career. It’s an idea-intensive, message-packed enigma wrapped in a “what-the?” ethic that must be seen to be believed.
Where to begin
Where all things Madonna must, of course — with her original nurturing place and nemesis: the church. MDNA kicks off in a shrouded cathedral, exuding ritual, mystery and no end of judgement.
That the star herself blasts into the scene miming her zippy electro-dance gem Girl Gone Wild may sound cheeky and even giddy, but she comes in bearing a gigantic gun — one which, before long, she points directly at the audience.
Those who like their art confrontational may consider this a (literal) bangup start. Especially since it’s followed by Maddy mouthing Revolver, which treats sex as a deadly lure, animated by images of ammunition raining down from the heavens.
From there, the star launches into Gang Bang, which could be history’s first disco murder ballad. Here Madonna blows away an army of intruders with enough relish to secure a starring role in the next Quentin Tarantino gorefest.
Unsurprisingly, scenes like this caused many critics who caught the tour’s European dates to consider the show a disturbing downer. Clearly, that made Maddy self-conscious. Right before the American leg started on Tuesday, she issued a statement spelling out the breadth of her intentions. The long-winded directive stresses that she means the show to capture the “journey of a soul from darkness to light.”
If so, that soul takes its sweet old time about getting to the light bit, and even then, it rarely stays there long. Even deep into the night, Madonna performed Human Nature, a song recorded during her most confrontational period, the mid- ’90s.
She animated it with a striptease that was in no way meant to be alluring — though the star, at 54, does look smashing. Instead, the move aimed to reveal the depth of Madonna’s defiant character, a role she by now occupies with unquestioned authority.
Source: New York Daily News