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http://blogs.chron.com/intune/2008/11/mado...hat_fizzle.html

Everyone, even fairweather fans, has a favorite Madonna tune. Holiday, Borderline, Open Your Heart, Express Yourself, Vogue and Take a Bow rank among the all-time favorites. She'll sing a few of the oldies during a sold-out show Sunday at Minute Maid Park.

But Madonna -- gasp -- is human, despite that astonishingly athletic figure and those acrobatic dance moves. Her pop catalog sparkles, but she's released her share of clunkers through the years:

Angel (1985): The laugh that marks the beginning of this track is more cloying than cute, and Madonna's then-tiny voice gets lost in a sea of synths. It was a pop hit, but she (or her label) didn't even think it was good enough for a proper music video.

Dress You Up (1985): OK, so this one isn't really bad. But it's also not quite up to par with early hits Like a Virgin and Material Girl.

This Used to be My Playground (1992): Madonna gets dreary with this theme song for the film A League of Their Own. Her voice wavers between a mournful, low pitch and quivering high notes. It feels almost as long as the film, which clocked in at just over two hours.

Die Another Day (2002): In all fairness, James Bond theme songs are almost uniformly howlers. (Check the Alicia Keys/Jack White duet for recent proof.) Madonna's entry is one of the most commercially successful, but the production and vocals are devoid of character. It's like lyrics set to hospital noises.

4 Minutes (2008): Probably the most blah moment of Madonna's career. It's not a terrible track, but Timbaland's production is too busy -- there's a surprise -- and roping in JT was an obvious bid for radio play. It worked, but 4 Minutes just doesn't sound like Madonna. She could, for the first time, be any generic pop diva.

OK, your turn. What's your least favorite Madonna song, and why?

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I just got here to Houston. I am in the hotel room now ugh it's really starting to hit me now that I am gonna see Her Vadesty!!!!

Anyway I was gonna go out tonight ,but we got here kinda late so I am just chill here and have a few beers. Plus I don't wanna be all tired and hung over for the show.

YAY

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Guest Danny86

Madonna gives Houston fans a tasty tour treat

http://blogs.chron.com/handstamp/archives/...11/madonna.html

madhou1.jpg

There were references, visual and lyrical, to lip-smacking treats throughout Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour, which played to a frenzied, sold-out crowd Sunday night at Minute Maid Park.

Gumdrops and candies bounced across the stage's huge video screens (saving graces for anyone not seated on the floor). The cracked peppermint theme of Madonna's Hard Candy disc was all over the merchandise.

"My sugar is raw," she purred during opening track Candy Shop.

She definitely played up the tartness. But most surprising about Madonna's impeccably choreographed, frequently fantastic show was her willingness to show fans the flipside. She was still larger-than-life -- and astonishingly fit for 50 -- but Hard Candy's toot-toot disco beats seem to have softened her edges.

A sweet Madonna? Maybe not. But throughout her two-hour, four-act performance, the world's most famous woman seemed intent, even happy to connect with the crowd. She smiled often and seemed completely comfortable, at ease with her still-considerable powers.

If you've seen previous Madonna tours, the chatter is usually kept to a couple of sentences. She could zip through the show without an audience. This time around, she addressed fans frequently, even taking a late-set request for '94 hit Secret from a front-row fan (only if the crowd would help).

It made the late start -- more than two hours after the printed time -- seem like a faraway, minor quibble.

"I need you to have a good time," she ordered. "I don't come here very often."

Indeed, Madonna's last Texas appearance was the 1990 kickoff of her Blond Ambition tour at the Summit (now, ironically, Lakewood Church). Sunday's show was her only Texas appearance, and the Madonna party started early in the day.

Fans began lining up hours before doors opened. Several watched in awe from outside as Madonna performed an early evening sound check. Nearby restaurants and bars were at capacity, and several blared Madonna music into the streets. Traffic was often at a standstill.

Inside the venue, several fans were dressed like early Madonna incarnations (wedding dresses, cone bras). Others sported vintage T-shirts. And still more looked ready to walk the runways.

madhou2.jpg

Giant M curtains towered over the floor, and Madonna made her entrance seated on a throne as 10 dancers gyrated around her. The pop queen was finally ready to see her loyal subjects.

There was burlesque charm during Candy Shop and The Beat Goes On, which paired top hats with knee-high boots, gloves and a white Rolls Royce convertible. And she strummed the first of several guitar riffs during a brassy Human Nature, which featured a Britney Spears video appearance. (A virtual Justin Timberlake showed up later during a cleverly staged 4 Minutes.)

A backing track was sometimes apparent, but Madonna's voice was still surprisingly forceful. Up close, there are no signs of odd facial distortions rumored to be the result of plastic surgery, and her arms don't look so frighteningly thin. She raced effortlessly through intricate dance sequences that pop stars half her age couldn't master.

Vogue was a synchronized dominatrix-cabaret opus, mashed up with snippets of recent 4 Minutes. It gave way to a colorful stretch inspired by artist Keith Haring -- all jump ropes and short-shorts and '80s NYC street culture -- that included Into the Groove and newer tune Heartbeat.

The first few words of Borderline incited rapturous cheers, but Madonna wasn't interested in a complete retro-trip. She transformed the winsome pop classic into a revved-up arena rocker. And she sized up past personas during She's Not Me, which featured a quartet of dancers dressed in some of her most iconic outfits.

The entire show had an aggressive clubland sensibility that's lost on most major pop stars. It gave the tunes an electric undercurrent that regularly blasted through the surface. (Images of Al Gore and Barack Obama also drew roars from the crowd.)

Slower moments were filled with theatrical drama. Madonna crooned Devil Wouldn't Recognize You inside a video tunnel, shrouded in a hooded cape atop a piano. And You Must Love Me, her lovely Evita original, got an extra boost via somber scenes from the film. It also showcased an emotive vocal lilt.

The show's gypsy-folk sequence veered from the bilingual kick of Spanish Lesson to La Isla Bonita, which was transformed into a joyous, flamenco-fueled highlight. It was invigorating, especially with so many acts (George Michael, Janet Jackson, New Kids) relying on note-for-note retreads to sell tickets.

A twisting, tempestuous Like a Prayer kicked off a stretch that found Madonna in a silver bustier and blond bangs, soaring on risers like a superheroine. Ray of Light pulsed with a delirious urgency, and Hung Up was recast as a riot-grrrl anthem before kicking into the familiar ABBA beat.

By the time she hit the remix finale of Give It 2 Me, it was an all-out Madonna freak-out. She stomped across the stage, dancers at her side, in a pair of black-framed glasses. The lights slowly rose as Madonna's candy shop came to a close, and Holiday played as fans filed out, still singing along and savoring the taste.

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Guest Pud Whacker
Madonna gives Houston fans a tasty tour treat

http://blogs.chron.com/handstamp/archives/...11/madonna.html

madhou1.jpg

There were references, visual and lyrical, to lip-smacking treats throughout Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour, which played to a frenzied, sold-out crowd Sunday night at Minute Maid Park.

Gumdrops and candies bounced across the stage's huge video screens (saving graces for anyone not seated on the floor). The cracked peppermint theme of Madonna's Hard Candy disc was all over the merchandise.

"My sugar is raw," she purred during opening track Candy Shop.

She definitely played up the tartness. But most surprising about Madonna's impeccably choreographed, frequently fantastic show was her willingness to show fans the flipside. She was still larger-than-life -- and astonishingly fit for 50 -- but Hard Candy's toot-toot disco beats seem to have softened her edges.

A sweet Madonna? Maybe not. But throughout her two-hour, four-act performance, the world's most famous woman seemed intent, even happy to connect with the crowd. She smiled often and seemed completely comfortable, at ease with her still-considerable powers.

If you've seen previous Madonna tours, the chatter is usually kept to a couple of sentences. She could zip through the show without an audience. This time around, she addressed fans frequently, even taking a late-set request for '94 hit Secret from a front-row fan (only if the crowd would help).

It made the late start -- more than two hours after the printed time -- seem like a faraway, minor quibble.

"I need you to have a good time," she ordered. "I don't come here very often."

Indeed, Madonna's last Texas appearance was the 1990 kickoff of her Blond Ambition tour at the Summit (now, ironically, Lakewood Church). Sunday's show was her only Texas appearance, and the Madonna party started early in the day.

Fans began lining up hours before doors opened. Several watched in awe from outside as Madonna performed an early evening sound check. Nearby restaurants and bars were at capacity, and several blared Madonna music into the streets. Traffic was often at a standstill.

Inside the venue, several fans were dressed like early Madonna incarnations (wedding dresses, cone bras). Others sported vintage T-shirts. And still more looked ready to walk the runways.

madhou2.jpg

Giant M curtains towered over the floor, and Madonna made her entrance seated on a throne as 10 dancers gyrated around her. The pop queen was finally ready to see her loyal subjects.

There was burlesque charm during Candy Shop and The Beat Goes On, which paired top hats with knee-high boots, gloves and a white Rolls Royce convertible. And she strummed the first of several guitar riffs during a brassy Human Nature, which featured a Britney Spears video appearance. (A virtual Justin Timberlake showed up later during a cleverly staged 4 Minutes.)

A backing track was sometimes apparent, but Madonna's voice was still surprisingly forceful. Up close, there are no signs of odd facial distortions rumored to be the result of plastic surgery, and her arms don't look so frighteningly thin. She raced effortlessly through intricate dance sequences that pop stars half her age couldn't master.

Vogue was a synchronized dominatrix-cabaret opus, mashed up with snippets of recent 4 Minutes. It gave way to a colorful stretch inspired by artist Keith Haring -- all jump ropes and short-shorts and '80s NYC street culture -- that included Into the Groove and newer tune Heartbeat.

The first few words of Borderline incited rapturous cheers, but Madonna wasn't interested in a complete retro-trip. She transformed the winsome pop classic into a revved-up arena rocker. And she sized up past personas during She's Not Me, which featured a quartet of dancers dressed in some of her most iconic outfits.

The entire show had an aggressive clubland sensibility that's lost on most major pop stars. It gave the tunes an electric undercurrent that regularly blasted through the surface. (Images of Al Gore and Barack Obama also drew roars from the crowd.)

Slower moments were filled with theatrical drama. Madonna crooned Devil Wouldn't Recognize You inside a video tunnel, shrouded in a hooded cape atop a piano. And You Must Love Me, her lovely Evita original, got an extra boost via somber scenes from the film. It also showcased an emotive vocal lilt.

The show's gypsy-folk sequence veered from the bilingual kick of Spanish Lesson to La Isla Bonita, which was transformed into a joyous, flamenco-fueled highlight. It was invigorating, especially with so many acts (George Michael, Janet Jackson, New Kids) relying on note-for-note retreads to sell tickets.

A twisting, tempestuous Like a Prayer kicked off a stretch that found Madonna in a silver bustier and blond bangs, soaring on risers like a superheroine. Ray of Light pulsed with a delirious urgency, and Hung Up was recast as a riot-grrrl anthem before kicking into the familiar ABBA beat.

By the time she hit the remix finale of Give It 2 Me, it was an all-out Madonna freak-out. She stomped across the stage, dancers at her side, in a pair of black-framed glasses. The lights slowly rose as Madonna's candy shop came to a close, and Holiday played as fans filed out, still singing along and savoring the taste.

fantastic on every level!!!! :thumbsup:

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I think the guy who said Holiday was thinking they asked what his favorite song of hers is. I think he was just confused or drunk. That could explain Ray of Sunshine too! LOL

Did anyone notice the large amount of *gasp* straight males there who seemed to like her?

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Did anyone notice the large amount of *gasp* straight males there who seemed to like her?

i sure did notice!

i cant believe so many people were leaving while GI2M was still going. whats up with that? :confused:

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i sure did notice!

i cant believe so many people were leaving while GI2M was still going. whats up with that? :confused:

Well, the concert was 2 hours late. On a Sunday night. I don't think most people think much of leaving at the end especially since she was late coming onstage.

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The Houston Press

Aftermath: Madonna at Minute Maid Park

Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:24:20 AM

madonna-at-minute-maid-park%20guitar%202

Photos by Daniel Kramer

“Did you cry?” Aftermath asked a new friend during the mass exodus from Minute Maid Park after Madonna’s first Houston show since she opened 1990’s Blonde Ambition tour at the Summit. “Yes,” she said, and from what Aftermath could gather from an informal straw poll, she was far from the only one.

Madonna’s memory may be faulty – “I’ve never played Houston before,” she said at one point – but that’s about it. Now 50, the pop icon thrilled the sold-out crowd for almost two solid hours of sci-fi stagecraft (opener “Candy Shop” began like something out of The Terminator), steamy choreography and indelible songs.

madonna-at-minute-maid-park%20chickenfig

Impressively, she did so without turning the affair into a greatest-hits revue – about half the set came from this year’s Hard Candy, and there was only one song from Like a Virgin and no “Papa Don’t Preach,” no “Lucky Star,” no “Express Yourself.” They weren’t missed, mostly because like Madonna herself, nobody stopped moving long enough to notice.

How many of Hard Candy’s songs – gloriously superficial mega-disco, with hooks for miles and beats for days - will survive into subsequent tours remains to be seen, but as a sonic backdrop to the outsize stage production that included a Rolls-Royce, gypsy minstrel troupe and video-screen guest appearances from Pharrell Williams, Kanye West and Justin Timberlake, they were perfect. Anything smaller just wouldn’t be Madonna, and the songs’ glossy hi-res production, freely mingling pop, R&B, hip-hop, rock and dance, is as cutting-edge as anything she’s ever done.

madonna-at-minute-maid-park%20rolls.jpg

It must be hell on Madonna to have to comb through her prodigious catalog when touring time rolls around, but Sunday’s older material was well-chosen and rebooted to suit Madonna’s contemporary technorama. “Vogue” was sleek and chic, with her shirtless hardbody dancers striking a pose in S&M gear, while “Human Nature” piled on mad heavy beats and more vocoder than three Zapp & Roger albums. “Into the Groove” was retrofitted with a house beat as big as Carlos Lee’s contract and bass deeper than the Mariana Trench as Madonna and company, clad in vintage Wild Style wardrobe, flitted about and ended with a jump-rope-off. “Borderline” was a stunner, redone as a Joan Jett-like rocker, one of several instances where Madonna proved her guitar was far more than a prop.

Let’s see… what else? Hard Candy’s “She’s Not Me” found Madonna sparring with four look-alikes outfitted from her “Erotica,” “Material Girl,” “Like a Virgin” and “Vogue” videos – very meta, Madge – “Music” married A Chorus Line to Dr. Dre and “La Isla Bonita” ushered in a mid-set gypsy interlude featuring a fierce fiddle/accordion duel while one of her bohunks fed her a much-needed (I’m sure) drink of water.

madonna-at-minute-maid-park%20guitar.jpg

And by the way, the glitzy “4 Minutes” proved she can still sing her ass off, while “Like a Prayer” brought together gospel, techno, dancers in bondage/gimp getup, Mecca-like bowing and Arabic script, Hindu art and scattered proverbs onscreen. Aftermath isn’t sure what it all meant, but it sure was something. Then, “Ray of Light.” You know the song, folks. Cue up a ginormous techno beat in your head, picture Madonna back on guitar and let your imagination go crazy. On a night when Minute Maid Park temporarily became the largest gay disco in North America – you have to wonder what Astros owner Drayton McLane thought about that – the song sounded as big as the cosmos onscreen.

You did Space City proud, Madonna. Don’t wait another 18 years to come back.

– Chris Gray

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The Houston Press

Aftermath: Madonna at Minute Maid Park

Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:24:20 AM

madonna-at-minute-maid-park%20guitar%202

Photos by Daniel Kramer

“Did you cry?” Aftermath asked a new friend during the mass exodus from Minute Maid Park after Madonna’s first Houston show since she opened 1990’s Blonde Ambition tour at the Summit. “Yes,” she said, and from what Aftermath could gather from an informal straw poll, she was far from the only one.

Madonna’s memory may be faulty – “I’ve never played Houston before,” she said at one point – but that’s about it. Now 50, the pop icon thrilled the sold-out crowd for almost two solid hours of sci-fi stagecraft (opener “Candy Shop” began like something out of The Terminator), steamy choreography and indelible songs.

madonna-at-minute-maid-park%20chickenfig

Impressively, she did so without turning the affair into a greatest-hits revue – about half the set came from this year’s Hard Candy, and there was only one song from Like a Virgin and no “Papa Don’t Preach,” no “Lucky Star,” no “Express Yourself.” They weren’t missed, mostly because like Madonna herself, nobody stopped moving long enough to notice.

How many of Hard Candy’s songs – gloriously superficial mega-disco, with hooks for miles and beats for days - will survive into subsequent tours remains to be seen, but as a sonic backdrop to the outsize stage production that included a Rolls-Royce, gypsy minstrel troupe and video-screen guest appearances from Pharrell Williams, Kanye West and Justin Timberlake, they were perfect. Anything smaller just wouldn’t be Madonna, and the songs’ glossy hi-res production, freely mingling pop, R&B, hip-hop, rock and dance, is as cutting-edge as anything she’s ever done.

madonna-at-minute-maid-park%20rolls.jpg

It must be hell on Madonna to have to comb through her prodigious catalog when touring time rolls around, but Sunday’s older material was well-chosen and rebooted to suit Madonna’s contemporary technorama. “Vogue” was sleek and chic, with her shirtless hardbody dancers striking a pose in S&M gear, while “Human Nature” piled on mad heavy beats and more vocoder than three Zapp & Roger albums. “Into the Groove” was retrofitted with a house beat as big as Carlos Lee’s contract and bass deeper than the Mariana Trench as Madonna and company, clad in vintage Wild Style wardrobe, flitted about and ended with a jump-rope-off. “Borderline” was a stunner, redone as a Joan Jett-like rocker, one of several instances where Madonna proved her guitar was far more than a prop.

Let’s see… what else? Hard Candy’s “She’s Not Me” found Madonna sparring with four look-alikes outfitted from her “Erotica,” “Material Girl,” “Like a Virgin” and “Vogue” videos – very meta, Madge – “Music” married A Chorus Line to Dr. Dre and “La Isla Bonita” ushered in a mid-set gypsy interlude featuring a fierce fiddle/accordion duel while one of her bohunks fed her a much-needed (I’m sure) drink of water.

madonna-at-minute-maid-park%20guitar.jpg

And by the way, the glitzy “4 Minutes” proved she can still sing her ass off, while “Like a Prayer” brought together gospel, techno, dancers in bondage/gimp getup, Mecca-like bowing and Arabic script, Hindu art and scattered proverbs onscreen. Aftermath isn’t sure what it all meant, but it sure was something. Then, “Ray of Light.” You know the song, folks. Cue up a ginormous techno beat in your head, picture Madonna back on guitar and let your imagination go crazy. On a night when Minute Maid Park temporarily became the largest gay disco in North America – you have to wonder what Astros owner Drayton McLane thought about that – the song sounded as big as the cosmos onscreen.

You did Space City proud, Madonna. Don’t wait another 18 years to come back.

– Chris Gray

FANTASTIC REVIEW!!!!

thanks for posting!

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San Antonio Express

Web Posted: 11/26/2008 12:00 CST

Madonna's still relevant at age 50

By Hector Saldaña - Express-News Staff Writer

Madonna, the voice of reason — who would have thought?

But there she was, this 50-year-old mother of three, this nonstop dervish, gently admonishing fans in the front row at the end of her concert at Minute Maid Park in Houston that they had best get in shape.

And it wasn't just abs the buff pop icon cares about. She simply walked offstage to let the call-to-action “Get Stupid” video try to awaken some social consciousness at her impressive circus.

The mantra: “The time is right now, you've got to decide.”

Bully and bravo. Madonna as tough-love guru — I like it. I get it. She's a sloganeering, occasionally lip-syncing Gen. Patton as much as modern-day Marlene Dietrich.

We are the same age, she and I. Two Leos, two Eisenhower babies, now twice divorced.

Both of us are products of the late '50s and '60s: kids of the Dick and Jane generation, Barbie and GI Joe, Slinky and Easy Bake Ovens.

Duck 'n' cover was still in play when air raid drills rang across schoolyards. Recess was daily. We picked books from the same Weekly Reader. And were frustrated by TV signing off at midnight.

Catholics. Football player. Cheerleader.

All these years later, the past long gone, I'm watching in awe.

Not just because she doesn't break a sweat in a workout that would kill Mick Jagger, Avril Lavigne (a fantastic live performer) and everyone in between.

Not just because I went to her concert this month, her only Texas stop, for much the same reason that I saw the Rolling Stones as a teenager in 1975 — because I thought I should before she's gone.

I'm in awe because she is better than she has ever been. She's relevant.

I have colleagues who don't believe that. But to dismiss her as just a pop culture icon, brand name or lucky brat who slept her way to the top is dead wrong.

Her voice still cuts much in the way Diana Ross' did, maybe not technically great, but perfect in every track.

She's a confident musician. So what if that Gibson Les Paul electric guitar looks as big on her as George Harrison's Beatles-era Gretsch.

She's also rooted in an American can-do attitude that's all but vanished.

American business and bean counters could learn a lesson from Madonna.

At a time of retrenchment, of cutting corners for some fat-cat bottom line, Madonna is working harder and expanding her act — forgetting her past and looking forward.

She's an example of how a bailout should work. Live Nation wanted her brand, and the vertically integrated, multimillion-dollar deal she struck delivers so much more — there's substance in her “Sticky and Sweet.”

It allowed for reinvention yet again.

The dividends are enormous. All around there were smiles on people's faces, and a big one on Madonna's face.

This is Madonna in the present tense, no pretense of nostalgia — just redefining young.

She knows no glass ceiling. She set the bar when it comes to courting controversy with sex and religion and politics.

Papa don't preach, but she's been a living, preaching example of diversity without the fine print of don't ask, don't tell. The tears of joy on the faces of gay members in her audience are real. As is the fantasy and fun of the hard-looking cougars and cougars-to-be watching in the skimpiest of clothes. As is the talent and pride of the African American and Latinos onstage with her.

Dazzled by the petite star, it's near impossible to see her as a person. Such glimpses are fleeting.

For those deluded into thinking such spectacles are easy, Madonna jump ropes, dance boxes, changes costumes and piles on in an onstage mosh pit. And this is night after night.

She reshapes some of her old music such as “Borderline” to sound like glam powerpop worthy of the Sweet or Marc Bolan. This is not gloss. These are songs that will last.

There's a lot of wannabes and copycats out there. But like her new breakup revenge song “She's Not Me” goes, there's only one Material Girl.

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  • 1 month later...

houstonpress.com

Aftermath Extra: The Best Concerts of the Year, Part 8

Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 06:45:21 PM

Madonna, Minute Maid Park, November 16: "About half the set came from this year's Hard Candy, and there was only one song from Like a Virgin and no 'Papa Don't Preach,' no 'Lucky Star,' no 'Express Yourself.' They weren't missed, mostly because like Madonna herself, nobody stopped moving long enough to notice."

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