fri 28/11/2014

Madonna, Hyde Park | New music reviews, news & interviews

Madonna, Hyde Park

The MDNA tour finds Madge disastrously sapping the joy out of even her most triumphant choruses

No concept: Madonna doesn't entertain 65,000 troops in Hyde Park

Madonna earned her place in the pop elite many years ago, and there are many reasons for this, which needn't be reduced into a list. Certainly though, a big reason will be the obvious - how much better her fans' lives are with her songs in them. And 65,000 of them turned up in Hyde Park to see the spectacle and dance to the hits. Her latest album MDNA may be a weak, disengaged affair with singles that have failed to chart well, but with a back catalogue like no other, there was a huge expectation that its best moments may be reinvigorated for the live setting - or at least swarmed with familiar highs.

The biggest surprise was that the MDNA tour felt even more disconnected from the fans than the album. The joy was sapped out of even her most triumphant choruses, with Madonna being dragged around in the lower regions of the stage, hidden out of sight rather than forward-facing, presenting and communicating her music. The presence in the set list of largely untreasured album tracks such as “Candy Shop” felt disrespectful; sure, Madonna’s in control, but whoever thought this would have worked made a decision out of touch with the fans. 

It all felt like a huge gathering of fans watching a rarities DVD

“Like A Virgin” was reworked with Abel Korzeniowski’s "Evgeni’s Waltz", a piece on the soundtrack to her flop film W.E. - there was no post-song applause as the chorus drifted away incomprehensibly and a dancer pulled tighter on Madonna’s corset strings. The ABBA sample on “Hung Up” was similarly stripped, and the song was devoid of punch. “Gang Bang”, from the new album, was presented more as an extended video than something that might work for a live show of this scale. It featured Madonna contorting on a bed, laden with a gun while huge extravagant projections lit the screen with blood-like splatterings every time she pointed it at her lover. This absence of concept would have worked had the song been strong, but unfortunately it was the template for much of the set. 

While the set list was never going to please every fan, this approach lacked a consistent concept to underpin its staunch disregard of the big hitters. Largely, it all felt like a huge gathering of fans watching a rarities DVD: there was a dry lack of atmosphere and connection. An obscure rework of “Open Your Heart” reduced a cheerful song to sinister background noise.

Only untouched versions of “Vogue”, “Human Nature” and “Like a Prayer” saved this show from being an utter disaster. On “Like a Prayer” the audience danced as if it was the first time they’d connected with music. Two hours passed like a black hole, attention never capitulating even for the multi-budget set. The set-closer “Celebration” (a modest song exclusive to her greatest hits collection of the same name) said it all. Rather than bowing out on “Like a Prayer”, she chose an unfamiliar chorus which just underlined the sense of disconnection. Is an acoustic album the next sorry step?

A fan near the front films 'Like a Virgin' in Tel Aviv on the MDNA tour

 

Only untouched versions of 'Vogue', 'Human Nature' and 'Like a Prayer' saved this show from being an utter disaster

rating

2

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Comments

Just wanted to say how much I

Just wanted to say how much I agree with this refreshingly honest and accurate review. I am a Madonna fan but found the concert, her communication with her fans and Hyde Park as a venue to be really disappointing. And yes, I did see lots of people leaving just after 10pm. I nearly left after just half an hour myself because I couldn't see the stage at all, and only stayed once I found a large screen to sit under and watch her on. I paid over £200 for my husband and I to attend and I didn't pay it just to see her on a screen!

I am a long-term Madonna fan

I am a long-term Madonna fan and have been to her previous tours. I have bought the MDNA album, and I know all the songs on it and was one of the few singing along, even to the Nicki Minaj parts. But I too felt cheated, being at the front of the £77 barrier and barely seeing anything, watching a low-volume, mediocre performance. I was not expecting hits, so drop that pathetic one-point argument. I was expecting to be entertained, and all I felt was CHEATED. To those who are desperately trying to convince people it was a great gig, good on you that you enjoyed yourself in the lovely £137 VIP section. I know people in that section who also found it atrocious. Good luck finding even ONE person outside your bubble of delusion who was there who enjoyed it.

I stopped reading after the

I stopped reading after the terrible first paragraph... This review certainly wasn't 'swarmed with familiar highs'.

Unfortunately I have to agree

Unfortunately I have to agree with the reviewer and many of the comments above. My husband has been a long term madonna fan and has even had the privilege to photograph her in new York long before she became famous. I knew the tour was the MDNA tour however I was still expecting an amazing show... With a msture of her new stuff and some back catalogue. We All know tours are to promote new products! What we got was a show that lacked lustre and I believe many people around us felt the same. The only 5 people who seemed to fully enjoying themselves were absolutely wasted and they would have danced to anything! We chose to leave at like a prayer along with hundreds of others after being utterly bored for 90 mins. The tickets are expensive, the screens were obscured and the sound quality was mediocre... The worst gig this year and we go to many.... The good reviews by other papers etc are those that probably were in the half empty VIP area that some of hournhave complained about with their free drinks! Whereas Alanis morissette in Brixton a few weeks ago was absolutely amazing and the crowd loved her new stuff and her back catalogue.

The deluded die hard fans

The deluded die hard fans assume the ones who didn't think much of the concert didn't expect her to promote MDNA. well I did. I don't hate the album - it's not her best but hey ho. BUT to be honest the MDNA tracks were the ones that were best. that's not a compliment. It just shows how bad the rest of this self indulgent show was. SURE it's the audience's fault they didn't enjoy it lol. What planet are you on? Madonna was paid to entertain us. If we went away feeling under entertained, it means SHE didn't do her homework. I've been to loads of gigs and there was no buzz after this. no one leaving singing Madonna songs they had just seen. Mark my words even the die hard fans trying to convince everyone this was a great show will have forgotten about it by next week. A very forgettable conveyor belt of performance, but far too light on entertainment

Yes its true, we all like the

Yes its true, we all like the old Madonna, but the fact is she re invents herself to continue her reign. Would we be even talking about this if she had continued popping out hits like Holiday etc? Doubtfull as she would have probably shrunk in to obscurity way back. I was at Hyde Park, fully expecting the performance that we got...its a little clue in the name MDNA!!! Who on earth goes to a concert where they dont know the music? I was amazed by the members of the crowd who didnt participate in the singing and dancing, who themseves managed to detract from the atmosphere and enjoyment for others. Madonna delivered an amazing performance, lively, exciting and unexpected at times. Dancing all day in wellies is my only complaint!

Great Show - a lot of old

Great Show - a lot of old hits hidden in and between new hits. Had you listened to the new album, could have appreciated the newer songs: Turn Up the Radio I'm a Sinner Masterpiece GangBang A lot of people did not do their homework! and I was so happy she did do some of the hits she has not done for years and grateful she gave Ray of Light, Lise.Bonita, Music a REST. Problem for Madge when she does her greatest tour .....which ones to pick ;)

I went to the Hyde Park gig

I went to the Hyde Park gig last night, ready to enjoy her older stuff and was really disappointed. She is, without a doubt, a legend however we couldn't see a thing! We got as close as we could and could only see the back of a shed and a portaloo - the screen to the side of the stage wasn't very visible & the stage itself was completely obscurred. We couldn't see her AT ALL & got occassional glimpses of the dancers. On top of that, we were actually stopped from seeing properly or getting closer because of the enormous VIP area which was hardly filled - that is disappointing as our tickets were far from cheap! So, I found myself squashed in, unable to see or move & listening to music from her new album that I didn't know & didn't really like. I have never done this before, being a devout live-gig goer, I made my goodbyes to my friends & went home! I left with hundreds of other disgrunted fans & went home to watch it on YouTube - much better viewing! Yeh, i think that was one of the most disappointing gigs I've ever been to & that's sad as i was really, really looking forward to seeing Madonna.

The reviewer has totally

The reviewer has totally missed the point of the show, in fact she hasn't mentioned not even one bit of the story Madonna is telling. I have seen similar reviews for far way more prestigious newspapers for every single one of her tours, yet she is still playing the game 30 years later better than her younger rivals. She put up a rock opera not just a concert, music, lyrics have been rearrenged to fit the concept. It is possible that the youtube clips don't do justice to the live experience because I have seen 65.000 people jumping, clapping and cheering at her command.

Dear Antoion, your lame

Dear Antoion, your lame comparison of the supposed prestige disparity of publications is irrelevant, childish and has nothing to do with Madonna's longevity in the music industry. You may 'have seen 65,000 people jumping, clapping and cheering at her command' but that sure as hell did NOT happen at Hyde Park. What did happen was that hundreds of people walked out early, and disappointed.

Absolutely correct on your

Absolutely correct on your response on the review. Who are these reviewers that go to these concerts and do they live their lives in a quiet library den of classical mucic. There was so much fun in this conert and so much message..... Loosen up and have some fun!

Dear Robert, not everybody

Dear Robert, not everybody finds simulated firearm sequences, bondage and Kaballah themes easy to 'loosen up' to and 'fun'. Which does not automatically polarise them as people who live 'in a quiet library den of classical mucic (sic)'. If it was indeed so 'fun', why was the crowd even in the Golden triangle about as enthusiastic as dead fish?

You don't charge nearly £100

You don't charge nearly £100 for to feed a "Rock Opera" to people expecting the hits... my wife was there last night, and was distinctly underwhelmed. This show sounds like a self-indulgent debacle; poorly judged and pretty tedious to boot.

Not as good as I thought she

Not as good as I thought she would be. Came on late, too much concentration was put into the stage show and not enough into the music. Song choices and the way they were sung were not familiar. Like a virgin was rubbish. She looked amazing but that was it. Didn't interact with the fans felt like she sang for herself. Came back from concert feeling unentertained !

YouTube comments to the "Like

YouTube comments to the "Like a Virgin Waltz" video you posted couldn't disagree with you more...

What an earth are you talking

What an earth are you talking about. The show was sensational. If you want untouched hits buy the damn CD. This show was inventive and creative and sections like Gang Bang were incredible. Open Your Heart was stunning and the opening jaw dropping. Most Madonna fans don't go to watch her tours to hear untouched hits, she has never done that. Get with the times critic

I think the person replying

I think the person replying should get with the times. I am a long term Madonna fan and this concert was attrocious and diabolical that cheated everybody by bastardising the good tracks (which were few) and selfishly over promoting the garbage that was MDNA and that hardly anybody knew. There was a shameful lack of respect for long time fans and the music they wanted to enjoy. This review was fair and spot on and Im glad there are people who are honestly covering the real events of the night rather than being given back handers from the Madonna PR machine to pretend it was a fun and exciting night. It was a total flop sadly, saved only by three good (old) tracks at the most, which out of 24 is a terrible score by any stretch.

You are so right! Spot on! I

You are so right! Spot on! I was so disappointed with the show. Totally ignired what 99% of us want & went for. I love Madge but that was poor.

Wrong wrong wrong. If you

Wrong wrong wrong. If you were or are such a big Madonna fan, then you would know, that as most artists do to promote a new album and singles, is create a tour based on that new album and selection of new/mostly unknown songs. This was the purpose of the concert and show and is for most artists. If it was a general concert with no release of new music, as some of the greats come back and do, Cher, Bruce Springsteen etc, then expect all the hits. But this was not. Madonna is doing what many cannot ever achieve, continue on after so many years. My advice, don't go to anymore of her concerts when she is releasing new stuff, because you won't like it. You are trapped in your 80/90's era and that's fine, that's my most memorable moments for her music too, but I don't have the unrealistic expectation that you have that she will dedicate the latest tour to old music. And I will add that the new versions of the old hits are impressive and artistic. Kylie does it for I should be so lucky, if you ever get the pleasure. I really think your way off the mark. It wasn't the best concert and performance and did lack in some places, but overall, I was left entertained, I followed the message and 'theme' of the evening, and didn't pack my 80's oufit expecting a 'come back tour' which you seemed to have done. Like the other comment, buy a cd and invite your mates around your house for an 80's party, don't go to the latest Madonna concert expecting the same.

I agree totally with all of

I agree totally with all of the above........exactly how my friend and i feel........we are long term Madonna fans and feel amazingly disapointed and fleeced of our well earned money........not good enough Madonna.........won't book to see anothere Madonna concert again.

Is your name Helen Keller by

Is your name Helen Keller by any chance?

I am a big Madonna fan and

I am a big Madonna fan and was at this concert - I and all my friends left feeling disappointed. This concert was a mess from start to finish. Completely agree with the reviewer - song choice was poor, pace and excitement were largely non-existent, energy was lacking - she looked tired and over the whole thing.

Pure poppycock. It was

Pure poppycock. It was obvious from the reaction of the audience (not all of which are diehard fans - she doesn't have that many to go round anymore) that they were only engaged when the big hits were performed. Reaction was muted and forced all around where I was stood for all the MDNA tracks. They are simply nowhere near the standard of earlier songs.

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