It’s been 23 years since Madonna last toured Australia, and after promising to tour down under, then canceling, she was over-due, and she owed one to Australia. Well, she made good. Named Tears of a clown, a special, free, fan-only show was announced for Melbourne only a few days ago.
Panic among the #madonnafamily die hard fans, flights were re-scheduled, holidays taken, some friends flew in half way around the world.
I was already here anyway, but I hadn’t won any of the competitions. Bummer!
I went there anyway to queue, and some of my friends pulled every string they could to see who would have a spare ticket. I really owe them a lot….
In the afternoon then, finally, it was clear, I could make it and get into this special show.
The only thing left to do was wait… wait… wait, partially in the rain Melbourne was pouring down on us. The entry was delayed, due to ongoing rehearsals… from 8.30 to 9.30, to 10.30… we finally got in a few minutes before midnight.
When the show finally started, minutes before 1am, I was halfway delirious I think. I don’t remember all the details, it’s all somewhat a blur… I have pictures, so I must have been there. Here’s what I remember.
It was by far the most bizarre, intimate, vulnerable and somewhat over the top performance of Madonna I have ever seen.
She rolled in in a clown costume on one of these small tricycles, falling over dramatically… and delivered a show to remember.
Skipping most of her hits (as she is tired of singing them over and over again) the set list consisted of her most overlooked, personal songs, and only four of real big hits, but which she has skipped on most tours.
These songs, that probably no one outside of her fan base has ever really taken notice of, would certainly be some of her most revealing.
Despite popular belief that we have seen really everything there is to see about Madonna, I think most of her acts and performances are just that: acts: she slips into a character, explores it, pushes it further, and then, when she feels she has explored it, sheds that hull and slips into something new.
The real persona of Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone though is barely revealed, and by now rather veiled behind the excess of different roles and acts she has taken on throughout her career.
Tears of a clown felt different.
By singing some of her most intimate songs, and linking them up to her personally, with the stories she told in between, be it about the recent problems with her son or the ever-haunting early death of her mother, Madonna briefly exposed more of herself than I had ever seen.
It worked amazingly well, without much dancing, or the over-the-top perfectionism and in-your-face spectacle her shows are normally known for.
I would say she is exploring other ways of performing her music, in more intimate, smaller ways than the full-on stadiums she is used to play.
And I’d say, by presenting her music in this new way, more of a cabaret style, she might well be able to your into her 90s.
In between songs, she joked with the audience (ok, some of the clown jokes weren’t really convincing.. or felt a bit out of place with the story line of the show, but hey, she’s Madonna, she’ll do just what she feels like).
When it was over, I just stumbled home, halfway delirious (I almost ran into a car…).
That’s the only downside to the show: the long, long delay. I simply was pushed way beyond my point of no return.
I would have preferred to start earlier and see a show that was less perfect. She referred to it as work-in-progress, and indeed had to start a song again as she fucked up her intro.
But by the time the show was on, I was so, so tired, and hardly able to go along with it.
Also, a lot of people left around me during the show, having to work the next morning… It’s a bit sad, as this lateness sabotages the big effort she has put into it.
I spent the next day in bed, half delirious with a fever and shivering at the same time.
The things you do to see Madonna!