Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
This is an overall report of the events that led to the MDNA show in NOLA and my review of the show. I will not discuss “song by song” here, but if you want to find out my individual impression of every song, talk to me on the comments section.
My MDNA experience in New Orleans could not have been more positive than it was, and I traveled to Louisiana just for the show. I was so happy to see Madonna after four years that nothing could have ruined the weekend. New Orleans was the first MDNA show out of four that I am seeing this year - and I want more.
With the help of my readers - the ones who follow me on Twitter - I was a winner of two pit tickets for that show. I was out at a bar the night before the concert with other Madonna fans in New Orleans when I opened my phone and saw the message telling me I was a winner. I was thrilled!
When I woke up Saturday morning, it was freezing cold and windy. After lunch, I decided to go to the New Orleans arena to check things out. At that point, the local people from the box office had no information on the pit tickets I had won, so I decided to wait until I had my pit tickets in my hand to pass the 8th row tickets I had bought months before on to friends.
We walked around the French Quarter, had fun sightseeing, then I received another e-mail from Madonna’s camp with more details on how to get my pit tickets, the time, etc. So I decided to head back to the hotel, get ready for the show and go back to the vsoenue to pick up my tickets.
I was there a little before 6 pm, and there already was a line of fabulous Madonna fans inside the box office area, waiting for the “Competition Winner” window to open. Everything was really well organized, they had our names and our guest’s names on a list and everything. That was when reality hit me - I had the pit wristband on one wrist and the Golden Triangle ticket in my hand. Shit got real! And I was determined to be as close to Madonna, or as I call her “God”, as possible.
I left the box office singing one song - and I’m not kidding:
We headed to a coffee shop inside a hotel next to the venue (where I think Madonna’s band was staying at) just to kill time. I would have stayed outside the venue, meeting other Madonna fans, but it was so cold and windy, I could not take it. But anyway, there at the hotel, we met other fabulous Madonna fans, and it was fun talking to everyone. We met people from everywhere: New York, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Argentina, Australia, Brazil. They were all there for Madonna. Her music really makes the people come together.
For some mysterious reason, my phone battery was going down really fast, so I decided to save it for the show. My initial plan was to take my own pictures of the best dressed Madonna fans for the blog. I’ll do it next time in Atlanta. Anyway, let me shut up and go straight to the point:
We walked in the venue, and one of the first things I did was take this picture:
This was around 8 pm, so we had plenty of time to walk around, visit the merchandise booth, buy drinks, talk to people etc.
At the Golden Triangle, we met Guy Oseary, Madonna’s manager. He is a very nice guy - he walked around the whole time, talking to everybody and taking pictures.
Later on, when Paul Oakenfold was on stage DJ’ing, Guy Oseary’s kids and wife were also in the pit, dancing to the music Oakenfold was playing. It was really nice seeing that the families of the MDNA team also enjoy the event.
I tried to “snap” it when she was jumping mid-air
At 10.30 the lights went off and the church bell started ringing - and so started my religious experience with Madonna.
Overall, the MDNA show seems to sum up everything we know of/about Madonna. And it does so by using the iconography of several women in history.
It seems that, for the show, Madonna decided to ditch the other innuendos for the name “MDNA” by making it loud and clear that it is all about her DNA.
The MDNA show, just like the album, brings us all sides of Madonna - her dark side, her desperate side, the hopeful aspects of her personality, her light, her joyful side. It brings us the Madonnae of all eras, or at least, the perceptions we have had of her in different periods of time.
The “religious” Madonna from Like a Prayer is there, the Erotica Madonna is there, Dita is there, the playful dance queen from the Holiday era is there. But this is not a Greatest Hits show, so when we see all the references to these old personae, it is not through regurgitation, it is through who Madonna is today.
All these personas are part of who Madonna (the artist and the woman) became - in other words, they are part of Madonna’s DNA - and that was very clear to me.
Madonna said that her show is “the journey of a soul from darkness to light”, and she fully accomplished that goal by intertwining her own story with a beautiful and honest music show.
While telling the story of this journey, Madonna tells the story of human growth:
We all make mistakes, we all go through dark moments in our lives, we are all imperfect until we find the light, or our own happy state of mind. And that is what the MDNA show is about - but it is told from Madonna’s perspective, through her own life experiences as a woman and as a woman-artist.
Every little aspect of the show was so well-thought and developed that my respect for Madonna, as an artist, is even bigger than ever. No one, and I repeat, no one in music does a better job than Madonna. Especially, when it comes to performance art.
The religious opening of the show is so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes. The opening is not only beautiful to look at, but it is deep and meaningful.
The show starts with a worship ceremony inside a Gothic cathedral, with a huge thurible swinging above our heads in the Golden triangle.
The monks there are worshiping the Mother of God (also known as Madonna), and the Gregorian chant they sing includes summoning her as they repeatedly call her name: “Madonna, Madonna, Madonna”.
According to the Catholic church, Mary, the mother of Jesus (Madonna) did not die. God sent angels to Earth to take her alive into heaven. That is what’s called the Assumption of Mary. And what we see at the MDNA show is a ceremony that celebrates and worships the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
The Assumption of the Virgin Mary or Assumption of the Holy Virgin, by Peter Paul Rubens
So there we have monks calling her name. Madonna hears their calling and descends from heaven - inside a confessional booth! And boy, is she pissed! Maybe because she’s a woman who is worshiped by men in the Catholic church while other women have no voice in this extremely patriarchal organized religion? Who knows?
There are many reasons why both Madonnas (the singer and the Mother of God) would be pissed at the use the media and the church have made of their name(s) and image(s) over the years. So here we have Madonna at the angriest and wildest we have ever seen her.
Throughout the show, her anger gives room to joyful playfulness, the discovery of sexuality, the search for spiritual guidance, the fight between good and evil, and finally, nirvana.
The MDNA show tells its story by deconstructing female iconography:
The Virgin Mary is a violent bad-ass bitch who seeks revenge. The all-smiles 1940’s majorettes (a role model for class, honor and good behavior) are all sassy and get down shaking their asses. The party girl gets old and lonely. Then there is Joan of Arc fighting darkness, and a celebration of the victory of good over evil at the end of this journey.
Some may see the end of the show as death, especially when the church bells from the beginning of the show ring again, this time, symbolizing the end. But that is what is amazing about the show -and that is what makes Madonna’s art bigger than life: her show, her art will have different meanings and interpretations according to our own individual experiences and world knowledge.
Unlike that other popstar who always feel the need to explain her videos, and shows, and the stories behind every little thing she does (you know who I’m talking about), Madonna lets her art speaks for itself. Madonna understands her role as an artist. And being an artist who works with communication and interaction, Madonna knows when to give room for her audience to put together the pieces of information she gives us, and interpret the whole experience on a personal level.
The MDNA Tour is even better than I expected, and I hope people that go see it experience the whole show with an open mind and heart. It’s not only to be seen, but felt.
Here are some other pictures I took in New Orleans (yes, I was that close to Madonna):
The highlights of the show, for me, were Girl Gone Wild, Express Yourself, Like a Virgin/Love Spent, I’m a Sinner/Cyberraga, Like a Prayer and Celebration.
Have you seen the show? Do you want to discuss your favorite parts? Let’s do it in the comments section below. If you have only seen the show on YouTube, feel free to join the conversation as well.