June 26th, 2006 12:35 EST
Concert Review: Madonna's Confessions Tour
"Time goes by so slowly "Time goes by so slowly "
As fans began to get antsy waiting for a certain artist to take to the stage, the main question on everyone`s mind was, Who does this performer think she is? Madonna or something? " Well "yes.
Only one force of nature could pack thousands of people into sauna-like conditions at the Hartford Civic Center in CT Sunday night. That force being the eighth wonder of the world "Madonna.
Slated to open at 8pm, the ever evolving artist didn`t begin the show until an hour later. The crowd was beginning to buzz with anticipation, but it soon turned into jittery angst. All the yelling changed into cheers of adoration as the lights finally dimmed, and wild, tame-less horses fluttered onto the screens. Dancers frolicked out first, mimicking movements of the graceful animals, though out of place given their costumes.
Wrapped in black bondage gear, complete with mouth guards and horse tails, the dancers made their way to the sides of the stage and down the long extended runway reaching into the depths of the floor seats. Descending from the top was possibly the world`s largest disco ball, and once it landed, the sound of the delighted screams seemed to have broken the ball open to reveal the one, the only, the original ring master for the night "Madonna.
Dressed in a top hat with flowing pony tail hair and black equestrian attire, she whipped the audience into full attention. She blasted through Future Lovers ", and tossed in a classic Donna Summer disco vibe with I Feel Love ". Once the opening full of horse power was done, she threw aside the hat and asked the audience to Get Together ".
The crowd, already on their feet, danced and sang along. Long time devotees who remember Madonna writhing on the floor to Like A Virgin " at the MTV Awards, got a shot of deja vous. After gyrating on a mechanical saddle, showing off her strength and acrobatics by flipping onto the pole as well, she refreshed our memories of the 1980`s by once again rolling around on the stage.
She got her fans to Jump, " and then drastically changed the mood. Madonna relinquished the stage to her entourage by disappearing. Spotlight dancers did an aggressive routine, expressing the tortured feelings in the playing dialogue, before Madonna arose again on the most controversial part of the concert in the media`s eyes. Splayed upon a mirrored cross, and adorned with a crown of thorns and a simple red bohemian top over form fitting pants, she began to sing Live To Tell " while images of children stricken by poverty and disease flashed. As numbers representing those who died of AIDS ticked up, the message there`s light even in the darkest places " scrawled across to the audience; she placed the crown down as homage to those hurting most, and continued with Forbidden Love ".
Madonna got vocal help with the duet of Isaac ", and posted her political commentary in a series of photos screening behind her. The lyrics of Sorry " fit in perfect for her backhanded serenade to world leaders, past and present, including Hitler, Nixon and George Bush. She then flashed the "bird` as a flip off to those men, and sang her most self describing song in her catalogue of hits, Like It Or Not ".
Gone and re-emerging in black leather, Madonna rocked an electric guitar in the simple words of her NYC sure-fire crowd pleaser, I Love New York ". The picturesque Manhattan skyline slashed in neon on screen, and she commanded those few who were still seated to get up and dance to Ray of Light ". Let It Will Be " followed before the mood dropped again with Drowned World ". Madonna looked beautifully vulnerable as she sang Substitute For Love " while sitting on the stage steps. Paradise (Not For Me) " followed, performed again as a duet.
The best song and dance number of the night was the Disco Inferno " infused Music ". Backed by two female dancers, all dressed in fitted, white John Travolta suits, Madonna strutted down the runway, giving super models a run for their money, and showcased "70`s dance moves. To enhance the mood, the disco ball hung suspended above, twirling lights onto the fans below, while the dance floor lit up like in the movie Saturday Night Fever ".
The island breeze blew in the hot arena with La Isla Bonita ", and Erotica " had the toned bodies moving in beauty. Another throwback to early Madonna was given when Lucky Star " blasted out. The concert finished off with the mega-hit Hung Up ", while cascading gold balloons gently floated down.
Throughout the performance, her dancers worked just as hard as Madonna, throwing their bodies over bars, climbing side rafters, and at one point running into the stands. The dancers also roller skated, flipped, moved beneath undulating fabric while encaged and fell right back in line to Madonna`s movements without skipping a beat.
Styles displayed ran from disco to crunk to athletic spurts and back to disco. But Madonna was by far the star of the show, displaying her well toned physique and patented sexuality with suggestive gyrations and deep squats, all done in high heeled pumps or boots. She not only danced and sang to every single song, but she managed to sound better than ever. Years of experience apparently agree with her.
The tradition of her concerts being visually striking and ear pleasing was continued for the Confessions Tour. The costume changes included a stunning, purple glitter jacket and matching pumps, knee-high heeled boots, "70`s fitted suits and "80`s inspired leotards, all done with a modern twist. The stage set up was fantastic yet simple enough; a large disco ball, a mirrored cross, mechanical saddle and pole, a large cage and metal bars were all included on an extended stage that reached to both left and right sides, and down center. The new mixes of songs were unmatched and encouraged you to get into the groove.
"If it`s bitter at the start, then it`s sweeter in the end " " The energetic show ended with no encore, disappointing all, but after two hours of continued dancing and singing, Madonna and her crew had earned a well deserved break. Vowing to turn the world into one big dance floor, she did just that and it was well worth the price of admission. Madonna left the audience with one final question "Have you confessed? Judging by the ear shattering cheers of her fans, the answer was clear.
For more information on Madonna`s Confessions Tour, visit www.ConfessionsTour.com.