The most thrilling thing about going down to watch the first night of Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet Tour in Cardiff this weekend was the fact nobody had seen it.
Usually I see all the images, spoilers, clothes designs and set lists – but this time it was all new. Nothing had ruined this gig. Admittedly, I’d actually avoided most of the coverage beforehand on purpose in the run up to the opening of the tour.
And whereas the Drowned World tour was super dark and serious, the Reinvention tour was hits not necessarily done the way the crowd wanted to hear them and the Confessions tour was trying desperately hard to be cool – this tour was all about the Queen of Pop having fun. And she looked as if she was enjoying every moment up there on stage.
At 50 Madge is looking fitter and more super charged than ever before. Her backside still looks like it could crack a walnut, her legs have muscles like a horse and her arms would make any gym loving man take serious note if she lined up for a bench press.
On Sticky and Sweet the choreography is clearly more hip-hop inspired but it’s just as high tempo as any of her previous tours – even one’s 20 years ago.
The best thing about the gig was the fact that despite having so many of the new Hard Candy album on it – it still kept the 40,000 strong crowd roaring throughout.
It was only a few weeks ago that I watched Pop Princess Kylie Minogue perform tonnes of new album tracks and the Aussie was met with a pretty much static crowd. That’s exactly why Madonna is leagues above any other artist out there. She is all about live performance – not pushing out a pop record and then hitting the road in a tour that will just manage to keep people happy.
She talked to the crowd all night and hilariously at one point announced she was “at the part of the show where she’d like to take requests”. Somebody yelled Express Yourself so Madge started singing: “Don’t call for second best baby, put your love to the test!” And stopped telling the crowd to: “Fuck dat shit, I’m in charge.”
Classic Madonna humour. Always the control freak – and always giving us so much each and every time she goes on the road. This tour is my favourite for quite some time – I hope you all enjoy it.
My track-by-track review breakdown……(SPOILERS!)
A classic Madge tour opening. Arriving legs akimbo on a thrown she means business from the start. She doesn’t sing a lot of vocals on this opener but it’s a powerful start with great build up graphics before. She chants: “My sugar is raw” repeatedly like her life depends on it!
Beat Goes On
Her vocals at the start of this sound amazing. And features the Madonna Pimp Car with the number plate saying “Madonna”. It’s a favourite track from hard Candy and the crowd loved it when Kanye West and appeared on the screen behind her.
Not the best version of the song but all about the cameo from Britney Spears in the video behind her. Britney’s seen trying to get out of a trapped lift and becomes increasingly pretty and visible throughout until the end when Madge sings “I’m Not Your Bitch” from the song and Britney appears large on the screen and says: “It’s Britney Bitch.”
A brilliant rework of the classic song with all new dance troop choreography. It’s a brilliant new take and the crowd loved it. It includes a slight mash up with 4 Minutes and features a sample from Nelly and Timbaland’s Give It To Me.
Die Another Day Remix (interlude)
A zooped up version of the original song that plays whilst Madonna changes. Two dancers appear in boxing gear and they have a big old fight whilst a VT runs behind of Madonna from a photo shoot with Tom Munro. Her face looks seriously “worked on” at times as she pouts for the camera.
Into The Groove
Madonna skips onto stage and doesn’t fail to make a wrong move as she pole dances, skips some more and joins in a big group skip off! The performance is uplifting and Madonna looks about 20 years old skipping out! Seriously uplifting.
Pretty much the same as the album version – and great vocals.
The Queen of Reinvention completely reworks a classic. Thankfully the vocals are actually pretty much the same as the original which was great – and the fans lapped it up. She just adds a heavy rock guitar to it for the 2008 remix!
She’s Not Me
Four Madonna eras are displayed in corners at the end of the runway and Madonna prances around telling them all off. She’s having fun on this one and mocking her former disguises – and ends up literally dancing her butt off at the end with head banging etc!
The Feede Le Grand mix the star delivered the techno version of Music. It also started out with a sample of Last Night A Deejay Saved My Life by Indeep. Not my favourite part of the show….
Video Interlude Rain remix
Another vid interlude while she changes – featuring a mash up of the Eurythmics Here Comes The Rain Again and her own song Rain. Pretty, but nowt to write home about.
Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You
Sitting on top of a piano wearing a Lord of the Rings style cloak complete with hood. It’s kinda creepy and features lots of lights rigged around her on the piano. She was originally going to play the piano. Guess she wanted to give those fingers a rest!
Pretty much kept to the exact version on the album and featuring a brilliant ending with some actual Spanish tap dancing by a great guy….
Other than that I would take a loo/drink break now.
The same as the Promo tour at radio One’s Big Weekend. She’s strumming on her guitar again and singing well.
La Isla Bonita/Lela Pala Tute
This was pretty much the same as the Live Earth version she performed last summer. It was a worry for me having so much of the Gypsy influences – but it actually was a lovely poignant moment of the show.
You Must Love Me
One of her greatest ever ballads and taken from the hit movie Evita. This is where her voice shines in the show. The crowd fell immediately quiet and stayed like it until the end. Her vocals seem to be stronger the older she gets and this proves it….
Get Stupid Remix
The cause of all the controversy from this tour! It features clips from Voices, Give It 2 Me, Beat Goes On and 4 Minutes and film clips. She famously has decided to make a political statement approving of Obama – but has included John McCain in a section alongside Adolf Hitler. I assume she won’t be voting for him then in the US election!
Madonna plays around with Justin Timberlake throughout like she did on the promo tour. He appears on the screens behind her. A monster of a song.
Like A Prayer
The GAY version of a classic track – it had everyone out of their seats and dancing and has exhausting rave style dance moves. Features a sample from 1992 dance hit by Felix “Don’t You Want Me”.
Ray Of Light
The rockier version of her classic hit. Great – but nothing to write home about.
Another rocky version of the dance hit – not half as enjoyable as the last time around on the Confessions tour. This is where I began getting sick of guitars…..
Give It 2 Me
A brilliant ending to an amazing tour night. Pharrell Williams is on the screen behind her dancing. She’s enjoying every minute and ends with getting the crowd to chant “Give it 2 Me”. There’s no encore – when she walks off she’s off.