All photos by Timothy Norris. Click image for entire slideshow.
Two hours inching along Sunset Blvd. to Dodger Stadium from our Silver Lake abode only blocks away, and another one waiting amid bright lights and rabid camera phone-clicking star-mongers who literally cheered like someone hit a home run every time a famous person stepped onto the field before the performance (which was every five minutes)… we should’ve known the LA date of Madonna’s Sticky Sweet Tour, which started over 2 hours late, would be an extraordinary experience.
First of all, forget about the mega-star being 50. Madonna is a super-human at any age. We were winded just watching her mid-way through the show as she writhed, humped, bumped, jumped (rope!), pole-danced, line-danced, booty-shaked, cabbage-patched, robot-ed, strummed guitar, and oh yeah, sang. Hell, the only thing this little lady – and we mean little, from behind she looked like a muscular child – didn’t do was a head spin.
Apparently the show was late due to set problems (part of her stage lighting was canned because of technical issues, which meant it was a lot darker than other tour stops, something she lamented during an acoustic portion of the show). We thought the visuals were amazing, and if the show was less than spectacular in comparison, we didn’t feel cheated.
How could we, when a glowing Britney Spears walked on stage during Madge’s “Human Nature,” almost demurely crooning the chorus along with the icon, “I’m not Your Bitch.” The tune, of course, called for Spears' own silly but now kinda triumphant-feeling B-word catch phrase, “It’s Britney, bitch” which she proclaimed before leaving the stage. And no, there were no smooches this time.
JT’s appearance much later in the set during the hit “4 Minutes” felt less momentous, but it was better staged and had much more sexual chemistry. Still, it was very MTV Awards-ish, with the popsters frolicking around spinning panels and lights, and robotically doin' that “tick-tock” shoulder move from the video one too many times. Also, M’s bedazzled football pads looked silly (as did-we’re shocked to report- a lot of her costumes, at least up close).
In all, the concert was the glitzy, genre-blending circus of movement and music, provocative imagery and political expression (pro-Obama visuals and a denouncement of Prop. 8's passing), and old and new hits, you’d expect. Rhythmic flamenco jams, hip-hop street beats and vibes, melodic spiritual interludes and an attempt at grrrl power rawk (“Borderline” makes a great Cheap Trick-like grind) were less artsy than past tours, but also more free-feeling. The lack of big lights and extra sets might have actually helped her during the more intimate moments too. She really seemed to be trying to connect with the crowd, and they with her. Of course, from our seats (good ones!) that made the extravaganza all the more surreal: Heidi Klum and Fergie sat behind us, Nicole Richie in front of us, and just to our left a party pit pounced and bounced with the likes of Drew Barrymore, Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Lopez, Lucy Liu, Kate Moss and though we didn't see him ourselves, we hear Alex Rodriguez.
Read more about the show (on stage and on the field) in next week’s Nightranger.