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August 5, 1990: MADONNA LIVE! - BLOND AMBITION WORLD TOUR 90 on HBO


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BITCH! (er, LA Times reviews the show in 1990)

"TV REVIEW : Seeing Madonna on the Tube Is Like Sitting in the Last Row

August 7, 1990 by Robert Hilburn - Times Pop Music Critic.

The real question Sunday night, when HBO presented Madonna l-i-v-e (though tape-delayed) from the French Riviera, wasn't whether she could come across any better in a television concert than the numerous other powerful pop-rock attractions, including the Rolling Stones, whose impact has been sabotaged over the years by the small screen.

The challenge facing the Material Girl: Could she top her electric recent appearance on "The Arsenio Hall Show"? She virtually had the audience gasping as she unleashed one sexy, provocative comment after another, outpointing the show's host like Mike Tyson on all those HBO fights before Buster Douglas.

Madonna came closest to that freewheeling tone Sunday when she moved away from the tight format of her "Blond Ambition" world tour for some straight talk.

She took advantage of the controversy over comedian Roseanne Barr's recent national-anthem antics before a San Diego Padres baseball game to answer criticism that her own show had been too sexy--notably a masturbation sequence.

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This was just one of several reasons that this R-rated concert couldn't have made it on network TV. While eyebrow-raising to some viewers, Madonna's show is no racier than Prince's and, most certainly, tame by 2 Live Crew standards (see review of the 2 Live Crew video, F1).

"Speaking of grabbing crotches, Roseanne Barr, baby, thumbs up . . . ," she said, adding a message she directed to viewers in America: "Get a . . . sense of humor, OK? Lighten up. Spend your time worrying about more important things like . . . whether Ivana Trump is going to take Donald for everything he has . . . or better yet, how many girls Warren Beatty has slept with. That's an important subject."

The only other time Madonna seemed to open up was at the end of the concert, when she hugged or shook hands with seemingly every cast and crew member as they celebrated the end of one of the most ambitious and appealing pop tours in years.

Otherwise, however, the two-hour affair was static in comparison with the live event.

Because "Blond Ambition" (with its emphasis on such themes as social liberation, sex/salvation and Hollywood glamour) more closely resembles a Broadway revue than a traditional pop concert, it seemed ideal for television.

When the action was tightly focused and when the music was at its brightest, things worked well. But Madonna's show is designed to take advantage of the full stage. It seemed at times you were looking at it through a keyhole--no worse than sitting in the back row of an arena, but minus the compensating audience energy. While a live telecast added drama to the evening, Madonna would have been better served by simply taping one of the earlier stops on the tour. That way the HBO program could have benefited from editing and better shot selection.

From Arsenio Hall to "Dick Tracy" to the live show, this has been a remarkable year for Madonna. But the HBO special probably won't finish any higher than fourth in her scrapbook."

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Did it get high ratings?

Found this 1997 Variety article, posted by Holidayguy on another forum:

Variety

1997

'Garth' has ratings in high places

By Scott Hettrick

HBO's "Garth: Live From Central Park" on Thursday was the highest-rated original program on the network this year and drew the biggest audience of any HBO concert special in three years.

The network plans to rerun the program at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, and, at Garth Brooks' request, offer it free to all basic cable subscribers. "Garth" drew an average of 3.9 million households and nearly 7 million viewers during the 90-minute program.

The special broadcast of the Brooks show, which drew an estimated 250,000 concertgoers in New York, was the fifth-most-watched concert in HBO history, behind the nearly 8 million viewers who watched "Madonna: Blond Ambition" in 1990, the 7.9 million who saw "Whitney: Welcome Home, Heroes" in March 1991, the 7.3 million who watched "Michael Jackson: Live From Bucharest" in 1992, and the 7.1 million viewers who watched "Barbra Streisand: The Concert" in 1994.

http://pulsemusic.proboards.com/thread/117241

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Her absolute career peak. If only I got to see it, I was just starting out to become a megafan then. I taped the amazing infamous Radio 1 F-Bomb fest Wembley show and got the chills big time and was set for life. :inlove:

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Similar with me, loom. I started becoming a big fan in 1989 ( the Borderline single being my only purchase before that),but 1990 signed, sealed and delivered it all.

I remember so looking forward to it and loving it when it aired.

In household numbers, it got, like a 21.5 rating in terms of the percentage of HBO households tuning in. It was a smash.

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Similar with me, loom. I started becoming a big fan in 1989 ( the Borderline single being my only purchase before that),but 1990 signed, sealed and delivered it all.

And what a first single to get. :inlove: Vogue CD single with THAT orgasmic extended mix was mine.

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I bacame fan watching this concert, Only that in my country they aired the Barcelona gig. LOL :laugh: They skip LAV of course.

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Found this 1997 Variety article, posted by Holidayguy on another forum:

Variety

1997

'Garth' has ratings in high places

By Scott Hettrick

HBO's "Garth: Live From Central Park" on Thursday was the highest-rated original program on the network this year and drew the biggest audience of any HBO concert special in three years.

The network plans to rerun the program at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, and, at Garth Brooks' request, offer it free to all basic cable subscribers. "Garth" drew an average of 3.9 million households and nearly 7 million viewers during the 90-minute program.

The special broadcast of the Brooks show, which drew an estimated 250,000 concertgoers in New York, was the fifth-most-watched concert in HBO history, behind the nearly 8 million viewers who watched "Madonna: Blond Ambition" in 1990, the 7.9 million who saw "Whitney: Welcome Home, Heroes" in March 1991, the 7.3 million who watched "Michael Jackson: Live From Bucharest" in 1992, and the 7.1 million viewers who watched "Barbra Streisand: The Concert" in 1994.

http://pulsemusic.proboards.com/thread/117241

Eight million viewers! This must be one of the most-watched programs ever -- live event, concert or otherwise. All the more impressive since HBO had fewer subscribers in 1990.

"The Sopranos" series got 12 million viewers and is, I believe, their most-watch program ever.

I wonder how many people watched the Girlie Show and Drowned World.

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Eight million viewers! This must be one of the most-watched programs ever -- live event, concert or otherwise. All the more impressive since HBO had fewer subscribers in 1990.

"The Sopranos" series got 12 million viewers and is, I believe, their most-watch program ever.

I wonder how many people watched the Girlie Show and Drowned World.

More from Holidayguy's post:

"Madonna- Live Down Under: The Girlie Show" goes into the ratings books as HBO's most-watched non-sports original programming of the year. In HBO's 10.3 million-household cable universe, the live two-hour Saturday concert averaged a 17.0 rating/27 share, according to Nielsen figures released yesterday by the pay-cable channel.

Though Sex and the City and Six Feet Under are done for the summer and the World War II series Band of Brothers is two weeks off, HBO still managed to torment the Sunday competition this past weekend with its Madonna Live: Drowned concert special.

According to Nielsen Media Research, the concert airing from 9:01 to 10:47 p.m. attracted a potent 8.3 rating among adults 18-49 and an 11.0 rating in the HBO universe of about 33 million homes.

Madonna's Confessions Tour, which aired on Thanksgiving Eve 2006, drew 4.6m viewers (and a 1.8 in the 18-49 demo).

http://pulsemusic.proboards.com/thread/117241

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Am I too hypnotized or She is really having much more fun on the Barcelona show? She flips her hair like She feels shes looking so perfect ! And when Vogue comes her bangs are imperious!! I love it!

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Why did they wait until the very last show to film it? Her voice was shagged by then.

:dazed:

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Words cannot express how disappointed I was when she showed up without the ponytail. :( Other than that, the show was awesome and changed my LIFE! It was also the first time I realized she cursed a lot. OMG I was watching the show with my mom, and I was recording it on VHS. I was like, "um, I'm going to stop recording..." Thankfully she told me to let it record. haha I wore that tape OUT! :D

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So, this happened 25 years ago T O N I G H T !

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The last night of the tour live from Nice, France. :wow:

Those ads bring back a LOT of great memories! 1990 was the best year of my life.

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