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MDNA World Tour

MDNA World Tour

By Patrick Samuel • September 13th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 3/5
Interscope Records

Release: September 9th, 2013
Running time: 119 minutes

Directors: Danny B. Tull, Stephane Sennour
Producer: Madonna

MDNA World Tour

There’s no denying the contribution to pop culture that Madonna’s made in a career that now spans 30 years. From the early days when she first emerged on the scene with an array of bracelets and bits of garment tied in her hair and dancing to Holiday and Boderline, to the evolution of the crucifix laden vixen who rolled around on the MTV Video Music Awards stage to Like A Virgin in a wedding dress a couple of years later in 1985, she went on to create a brand name and business empire based around a unique talent for being able to reinvent herself and present her work in always new, exciting and sometimes shocking ways that so far hasn’t failed to get the world’s attention.

This has remained true with each tour she’s embarked on. While love, sex, family and religion have always been major themes of hers, the violence that came with her twelfth studio album, MDNA, struck me as somewhat odd for a woman who now seems much freer, happier and comfortable in her own skin now more than ever before. Then I realised, Madonna’s always been something of a paradox, embodying not only the light, but also the darkness and this time she’s embraced it in a way that makes 2001’s Drowned World Tour look like a picnic in the park.

The MDNA World Tour, which kicked off in Tel Aviv, Israel on May 31st, 2012, showcased mainly songs off the MDNA album but also featured some of the iconic hits from her extensive back catalogue. For the home release, directors Danny B. Tull and Stephane Sennour document her performances at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida during the North American leg of the tour, and, as to be expected, Madonna takes us on an epic journey of a soul from darkness to light, starting with a section of the show labelled Transgression, where guns and violence form the main theme.

MDNA World Tour

The show opens with a cathedral setting, not unlike what we saw with 1990’s Blond Ambition Tour, but here we’re met by the basque Kalakan trio whose ominous chanting is merged with Madonna’s utterances of “Oh my God” as dancers dressed in red robes are seen pulling a long rope that rings a large bell. Eventually a giant thurible can be seen swinging back and forth before Madonna descends from a confessional box wearing a black veil and brandishing a rifle as she starts singing Girl Gone Wild.

It’s this first section of the MDNA World Tour which attracted most of the controversy with its use of guns and violent imagery during Revolver and Gang Bang, but Madonna and guns is nothing new. Remember the live performances of White Heat in 1987, Now I’m Following You in 1990 and Mer Girl Part II in 2001? What’s changed now is how we view guns and Madonna becomes an easy target especially in light of recent mass shootings such as Sandy Hook and Aurora. Does her performance capitalize on these tragedies or does she highlight our society’s tendency to glamourize guns by doing so herself? Either way, the performances have had the media, fans and her detractors engaged in heated debate which is probably the point since the songs themselves are mediocre at best.

The Prophecy section brings us the anthem Express Yourself mashed with elements from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, which in itself was an imitation of the latter. Dressed in a majorette’s outfit, Madonna takes to the stage twirling her baton and every now and then lifting her skirt to offer us a peek at that perfectly defined ass of hers. MDNA World Tour It’s here I really start to enjoy the show and remember the Madonna I admired and danced to in the 80s. It then goes into the Just Blaze Remix of Give Me All Your Luvin with a marching band suspended from the air while Madonna continues to strut around, shake her ass and works the crowd. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the show along with the stripped down version of Open Your Heart that she’s been teasing fans with since 2001.

While on past tours she’s reinvented Vogue, this time it seems much shorter and sounds quite close to the original version. Wearing a modified version of the infamous cone bra designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, the song takes us into the Masculine/Feminine section but lets us down with the instantly forgettable Candy Shop and Human Nature. But the best is yet to come with the Cabaret-style performances of Like A Virgin and Love Spent that reveal a more sensual and intimate side of Madonna as she urges fans to throw their money on the stage for her.

For the final part, Redemption, with Madonna dressed in a Joan d’Arc-inspired outfit, includes I’m Addicted, I’m A Sinner, Like A Prayer and finishes off with Celebration. It might not’ve been the end I hoped for, or even the setlist I’d chosen, but Madonna had a clear vision of the journey she wanted to take fans on for the MDNA World Tour and despite my reservations I can’t deny it was an exhilarating couple of hours while she gave everything and more. Her energy remains contagious and she shows no signs of slowing down any time soon while she continues to challenge herself and those who love and hate her for simply being… Madonna.

MDNA World Tour

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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