WHAT A VIRGIN!
MADONNA World Tour 2012
Lanxess Arena Cologne
10 JULY 2012
© SAM H. SHIRAKAWA
At age 53, Madonna can still look and sing “Like a Virgin” as sensually as she first performed it 28 years ago. But she now imbues the lyrics with new and deeply touching resonance.
How would I know? I heard her sing it at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne on Tuesday night, during the last of three concerts she gave in Germany on her current MDNA World Tour -- 26 cities in Europe and Israel, 26 coming up in North America and still more in Australia and Latin America.
|Photo: Frank Michelotta|
The show is slick, inventive and exciting. But not perfect:
> The pair of jumbotrons flanking the stage are much too small for an event that seeks to be epic.
> The warm-up act consisted of a DJ spinning what we should have been hearing live. For over an hour yet. C’mon! If Judy Garland was able to procure up-and-comer Alan King for her warm up at the Mastbaum in Philadelphia (1957), surely the Queen of Pop can come up with somebody who's a somebody for her opener in Cologne.
> Perambulating vendors selling beer blocked views of the stage during the performance.
> The show was 45 minutes late in getting started -- actually 2 and quarter hours behind target. The scheduled start was set for 8 pm, but it was tacitly understood that the show would get underway about 9.30. Madonna finally appeared at 10.15. She may well be the Queen of Pop, but many restive members of the audience would remind her that punctuality is the politeness of kings and their consorts.
I am not a Madonna worshiper, but I’ve always liked her, especially when she appeared in David Mamet’s Speed the Plow on Broadway some years back (1988). I think much of her appeal has to do with her success in continually re-inventing herself and in redefining splash and style irresistibly. Time dubbed her “one of the 25 most powerful women of the 20th Century.” Her concert in Cologne certainly exploded with power. She is, for better or worse, a force to be reckoned with in any millenium.
Grafix: Sam H. Shirakawa