Emrah Güler ISTANBUL
Madonna performed in Istanbul’s Turk Telekom Arena stage, on the third stop in her latest MDNA tour. She managed to impress with a two-hour extravaganza of singing, dancing, acrobatics, visual effects and costumes. DHA photo
Three decades into her career, with her second visit to Istanbul after a twenty year absence, Madonna once again showed an awe-struck audience of 50,000 the very definition of a good show. In fact, the best show anyone could hope to see.
Madonna performed in Istanbul June 7 on the third stop in her latest MDNA tour. The show was vintage Madonna, edgy Madonna, a re-invented Madonna, and an all-too-familiar in-your-face Madonna. Singing perhaps a little too much from her new album MDNA for the casual fans’ taste, the Queen of Pop nonetheless managed to impress with a two-hour extravaganza of singing, dancing, acrobatics, visual effects and costumes.
With nine concert tours undertaken throughout her career, the MDNA Tour is the darkest Madonna has ever done. This was a concert of war, anger and aggression. But against whom it was directed is a bit muddled. There were guns, a shooting rampage on Madonna’s part against her male dancers, a choreographed dance of eye-flinching torture, prison violence and blood, lots of blood splattered across giant screens. Madonna definitely had some issues to work out. She was angry at ex-husbands, ex-lovers, the male authority figures, high school bullies, the church, and a pop star who is 28 year her younger.
Flying dancers and Lady Gaga
While Madonna has been acting like a fairy godmother to a younger pop star, Britney Spears, she apparently has difficulty setting aside her ego when it comes to Lady Gaga. In a playful mixing of “Express Yourself” and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” Madonna showed her disapproval, going a little bit overboard by adding “She’s Not Me” into the mix. Among the songs from the new album and a list of older ones like “Candy Shop” and “Erotica,” that could have been left out, Madonna’s older anthems were the ones that generated the greatest applause from Istanbul fans. “Vogue,” with campy, 1920s choreography, and “Papa Don’t Preach,” which featured a surprise cameo from Madonna’s 11-year-old son Rocco towards the end, had fans screaming.
“Like a Virgin” was the biggest surprise of the show, with Madonna singing the tune with only piano accompaniment, very much unlike its original cheerful rendition, lamenting a lost love, possibly her ex-husband, while a dancer quite literally took the air out of Madonna’s body as he pulled the strings of her corset as tight as they could get. The climax of the show was Madonna as the head of a cheerleading squad singing and marching to “Give Me All Your Loving.” Midway through the song an all-male band emerged above the stage playing their drums suspended in the air, while flying dancers on a par with Cirque de Soleil soared through the air. Madonna alone was a force of nature, cementing her status as the Queen of Pop and the best entertainer of the last three decades.