Italian ‘Vogue’ Publishes A Scathing Review Of Madonna’s ‘MDNA’ Tour

"The MDNA Tour ... feels like a very long Glee fantasy sequence"

Yesterday we saw photos and video from Madonna‘s recent concert stop in Rome, Italy on her MDNA World Tour where she happily and brazenly bared her bum (just days after she even more brazenly bared her breast in Istanbul, Turkey). Today we get to read, in full, a review of the concert published by Vogue Italia
. As you can read below, the reviewer didn’t really find much about the show that she liked. In fact, the scathing nature of the review makes it quite evident that the reviewer was not a fan of the show at all. Can Madonna‘s new tour really be that bad? Read on to find out what Vogue Italia says.

The Queen of Pop, Madonna, has left the building. Seconds after the last echoes of the closing number, Celebration (which saw Rocco Ritchie dancing with his mother and sister Lourdes) faded out, a couple of luxury cars were seen speeding out of the back of the stage. There would be no encores, no coming back for more, no extra songs to make up for a very late start: Madonna’s show leaves nothing to chance or spontaneity.

Everything is meticulously calculated and bears little resemblance to what we would normally call a “concert”, including some suspiciously pristine vocals in the middle of very choreography-heavy songs.

The MDNA Tour, like all other Madonna tours, is more akin to musical theatre than music gig. Huge, spectacular, often slightly tacky, obvously expensive, it feels like a very long Glee fantasy sequence crossed with a particularly lavish Eurovision Song Contest performance, with better songs and a lot less humour.

The tracks from her latest album, MDNA, struggle to keep up not only with her earlier material, but also with some of her more recent output: Human Nature and Hung Up seemed to get a far better reception than any of the newer songs, with the possible exception of Girl Gone Wild and Give Me All Your Luvin’. A slowed-down, BDSM-themed re-reading of Like a Virgin drew quite a few hisses and boos from the crowd; elsewhere, honesty paid off, as in the case of a rousing, relatively simple performance of Like a Prayer that had everyone on their feet.

The blame may in fact lay in the poor quality of the sound for anyone not standing directly in front of the stage. The overall feeling was that some of the audience were quite simply left out of the show, which lost most of its punch when viewed from a distance.

And, of course, the controversy, this time in the form of chaste mooning. All somewhat expected from the woman who has been courting controversy for over thirty years, to the point that we have become desensitized to it; and even her tongue-in-cheek, passive-aggressive insertion of Born this Way into Express Yourself only served to remind us of how Lady Gaga’s affectionate, generous approach to live performance is her most valuable asset.

Madonna deserves credit for her longevity and staying power, but there is little she can do to tweak her stage persona without losing status. Gaga gets smacked upside the head by a giant bar and soldiers on through the rest of the gig; Madonna sees a flag land on the stage at her feet and kicks it back down. And there, children, lies all the difference in the world.

Thoughts?

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  1. rOXy

    My thoughts are that the reviewer is a Gaga fan. If I could give a review of the review, I’d say the reviewer missed the mark entirely. Her words come off with a whiff of sour something that I just can’t quite place my finger on. Madonna is Madonna and there is no telling when she might decide to retire, so I’d urge who ever would like to see her perform live to do all they can to get to the show. I think she has more tours in her future, but you just never know.

    • @rOXy — I agree. It reads like the reviewer has an agenda.

    • JCZ

      Once I read the flag comment that does become evident don’t it? I mean yeah sure let’s leave this flag here, in the way of my feet or my dancers, even thought someone can get hurt, just to use it later on.

      Performers get tonnes of stuff thrown at them during performances – its not just pop stars who do. They can’t pick up everything thrown at them and incorporate it into their performance, for someone like Madonna who is heavily choreographed it would just mess it up.

      Obviously this reviewer hasn’t seen footage of Gaga on the verge of passing out and performing. Whilst he may call it soldiering on – I call it a bad performance. As a ticket buyer, I would prefer an artist to re-schedule than lay down and perform a song where she is mumbling some lyrics all because she is dehydrated or whatever.

  2. PixiesBassline

    What the hell? I *LOVED* the slowed down “Like a Virgin”.

  3. Lexifer

    Actually, whether or not the reviewer is a Gaga fan is irrelevant, I thought the review was well written.

    And in regards to the flag comment, at a Rammstein show in Quebec City, someone threw a Quebec flag at Flack, and he picked it up and waved it to the roaring approval of the crowd.

    I think you guys also missed the remark about the show getting a late start, and nothing offered to make up for that. As someone who goes to A LOT of concerts, everything I’m reading sounds like solid complaints, especially the sound issue. That one detail can make or break a concert, especially if you aren’t close enough to the stage to really see the artist.

    That same Rammstein concert I referenced was at the Plains of Abraham, there were a couple hundred thousand people there, I couldn’t see crap, but the sound was crisp and perfect no matter where you were situated. Top notch performance by top notch performers.

    • rOXy

      I agree with you only half way. I was worried about the complaints and was going with it, UNTIL she threw in Gaga. I stopped listening then and everything she said before that felt contrived to make a point in Gaga’s favor. If you’re going to make a complaint, make it, but don’t then compare her showmanship to a Madonna-wannabe. Madonna was what Gaga aspires to before Gaga was born.

  4. PetaF

    Hahahaha I actually enjoy the whole Gaga v Madonna arguments. Just hearing other people’s sides of the arguments is interesting/entertaining. It’s getting old.. But I’m unashamedly all for Gaga. I can’t stand Madonna. No doubt is she an icon and was amazing. But.. Meh I don’t wanna get into it haha I just love reading the difference of opinions. Even i can see this review is biased. Secretly makes me happy haha XD

    • rOXy

      LOL! You are a cute little monster! :)

    • Mhat85

      Haha, I have to agree with you! The arguments either way are quite entertaining/interesting… Overall I’m more of a Gaga fan and this clearly biased review makes me slightly happy as well haha. I do certainly enjoy me some Madonna and do acknowledge her as an icon and social trailblazer, but I don’t know, she never quite did it for me the way Gaga does… Gaga’s voice, whacky style (albeit inspired by Madonna on occassion), and choreography really set her apart and far above… But the arguments and comparisons get so out of hand and will certainly live on forever, just as these two talented and iconic women most certainly will. End scene. lol

    • Smoo

      Can we give Gaga a few more years before labeling her as an “icon” for life. She is clearly slowing down as the only HUGE hit on her record was “Born This Way” which is a CLEAR rip-off of Madonna. The problem me/Trent/most people have with Gaga is her claim of constant “originality”. “Fashion of his love” = I wanna dance with somebody. Really the list goes on and on.

  5. Tricia

    Having seen Madonna in concert – I must urge (like rOXy above) that anyone who gets the chance to see her live do so! She dances so hard and it is always such a well put together show (which I think is a good thing!). The only part of this review that sounds unbiased is the comment about the poor sound quality – which is crappy (and could be the tour or the venue). Although – and here’s my bias – I’d rather see Madonna from nosebleed seats with poor sound than Gaga front row with a full orchestra anyday of the week! ;-)

  6. Tricia

    Also – agree with JCZ’s comment – Madonnna’s shows are very active – dancers doing all kinds of amazing and acrobatic moves. Any item on the stage has the real potential to cause serious injury to a dancer. She was protecting her dancers (and probably herself). Maybe she could have picked up instead of pushing it out of the way with her foot but it sounds like she was in the middle of performing.

  7. Krissy

    I think he was just mentioning Gaga because of all of the comparisons recently, and her show IS pretty spontanious (perhaps too much so, it could tighten up). I think his overall point was that Madonna’s show was so rigid that it lacked some excitment.

    I am pretty surprised about the sound issues. Usually they get touring companies that are solid professionals to do the sound (pop stars are not sound engineers). I don’t think you can fault Madge for that, but the people she hired.

  8. Kate

    “to the point that we have become desensitized to it”

    Is that why there have been countless articles and talk on news shows, talk shows, and so on about what she did? Why people are discussing issues such as ageism, sexism, and women’s rights? From Turkey (where it happened) to the UK and US, it’s caused a frenzy and brought to the forefront social issues that Madonna has been taking on.

    This review is so biased, it reads somewhat delusional. The flag comparison is moronic. Madonna protecting the health and safety of her dancers is somehow an awful thing? Gaga’s speech was filled with passive aggressiveness, to brush that off is also stupid.

    The reviewer obviously made up their mind before even seeing the show and is obviously a biased Gaga fan to the point that they can’t write an objective and fair review. Sorry, but I’ve seen a lot of great reviews for the show in every place she has played thus far, seen videos on YT, and I don’t see how anyone with sense can even give the show a review like that.

    I’ve seen “less than favorable” reviews of Gaga’s show too, but it’s interesting how international press doesn’t pick up on it.

  9. mhat85

    @ Smoo – and “Express Yourself” was a “clear rip-off” as you put it of the Staple Singers “Respect Yourself” some 15 years earlier. Aside from the hook, Gaga’s lyrics to BTW are completely original and indepent from those in EY and have nothing to do with EY at all… Also, for a good part of her career, Madonna’s entire look, wardrobe, and attitude was inspired by and emulated that of Marilyn Monroe. Each and every artist, Madonna and Gaga included, take inspiration from previous artists and eras in Pop Culture. So people need to stop ragging on Gaga for taking such inspiration and making it her own. It’s something that I, along with her millions of fans worldwide, respect about her as an artist, and it’s what millions of people loved and still love about Madonna as well… As far as Gaga being labeled an icon – she’s sold 23 million albums worldwide in just under four years, has inspired and changed the lives of millions of fans the world-over, across race, age, gender, and sexual orientation, has made national and global headlines for her support of Civil/Human/Gay rights(one and all in the same as far as I’m concerned), and has sung with the likes of Sir Elton John and Tony Bennet… I think it’s safe to say that she has reached the status of “icon” in some way, shape, or form… In other news, I know this is completely random, but is “Smoo” a play on the Hook character “Smee” by any chance?? lol

  10. Patrick M

    I actually agree with the reviewer – in general about Madonna. I am a massive Madonna fan AND a massive Gaga fan. Gaga owes a huge amount to Madonna but I would say that Gaga has tried to set herself apart by being more approachable, open, more spontaneous and dare I say, likeable. Madonna has been strong enough and determined enough to still be mega successful 30 years on but this has come because she has kept things so under control. We do live in a different time now – social media – where we can all voice our opinions and discuss things rather than have what we consumer (music, film etc) controlled for us. Gaga gets this but it appears Madonna doesn’t. She probably needs to relax a bit and let her guard down a bit – we go to a concert to participate with the artist, not just numbly watch. Gaga gets this….Madonna needs to take note or her influence on pop culture (today) which has been maasive (in the past) will decrease even more. Sincerely – a huge Madonna fan (who understands that even the Queen of Pop can get it wrong sometimes.)

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