Set List
  Future Lovers /
I Feel Love (Medley)
  Get Together
  Like A Virgin
  Live To Tell
  Forbidden Love
Like it or Not
Sorry Remix
(Video Interlude)
I Love New York
Let It Will Be
Ray of Light
  Drowned World /
Substitute For Love
(Not For Me)
  Music / Disco
Inferno (Medley)
  La Isla Bonita
  Erotica/You Thrill Me
  Lucky Star
  Hung Up

Madonna The Confessions Tour
United Center - Chicago, Illinois - June 14, 2006

Concert Review by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter

I didn't pay for the tickets. And let me tell ya', Satan will be baking angel food cakes with Christ before I pay $350 to see Madonna or anybody else.

My wife sends me an email from her downtown Chicago office and says, "I can get Madonna tickets for Wednesday night, are you interested?" And of course, my first thought was "Sure!," and then to look for a babysitter. I quickly found an Auntie that was a willing sacrifice for the night, and there I was ready to see Madonna's Confessions Tour with some of the pleasant folks that my wife spends most of her time with. Now, I knew the tickets weren't bargain priced, but I didn't realize that it would've cost us $700.00 (and $20 for parking of course) if we were paying ticketholders. So once I knew what the price of the ticket was, I did some investigating to find out what I was about to see. I knew Christ wasn't going to be her drummer tonight, but for $350 a pop I would expect him to make an appearance of some kind. After placing "Madonna set list" into Google, I was quickly bombarded with reviews of previous shows and set lists galore. I didn't really want to know what went on during the show, so I skipped reading the reviews. I just wanted to know two things how long is the show, and what songs does she do. I heard the show was about 2 hours, which I thought was decent, but we are talking $350. And when I looked at the set list, I just about wet myself. "Holiday," "Borderline," "Material Girl," "Crazy For You," "Into The Groove," "Papa Don't Preach," "Open Your Heart," "Like A Prayer," "Express Yourself," "Cherish," "Vogue," "Justify My Love" . . . none of them on the set list. Instead, Madge was planning to play 10 out of the 12 songs from her latest "Confessions On A Dance Floor" record. My only thought . . . this better be one hell of a visual show.

The wife and I were treated to dinner at one of the city's finest eateries, and it wasn't until 7:25 that we actually arrived at the United Center for the scheduled 7:30 start time. As everyone that we kept company with in our luxury skybox hoisted a beverage and patiently waited for Mo to take the stage, we soon realized that we might have to call the babysitter for overtime. As 8:30 passed with still no sign of life coming from the stage area, the patient crowd started doing "the wave" around the huge arena. Now let me get on my soap box for a moment, if you please. Who does she think she is? I hate this controlling, rock superstar bullshit. These people paid $350 a piece to see you. They rearranged their schedules to accommodate a 7:30 start time. Yeah sure, you got us wrapped around your finger, but did you have to make it the middle finger. (Pri)madonna is more like it. Lo and behold, at 8:50 the lights finally went down.

As the thumping of the set opener, "Future Lovers," came rumbling from the stage, I immediately knew that the sound was going to be fabulous. As the film screens that covered the stage became emblazoned with Her Majesty's image, and the huge mirror ball descended from the center of the arena down to the awaiting dance floor, the crowd noise was overwhelming. She does have a certain something, I must admit. Her presence was felt before she even appeared; it's one of those inexplicable things. As I waited for the half moon shaped film screen to rise from the stage to reveal our star, I was given shivers when the giant mirror ball that had descended, cracked open like a farm fresh egg to reveal the hottest 47-year old chick on the planet. As she stepped out of her shell, she started to sing with both range and strength. She made it immediately obvious that she was in great vocal shape. "Future Lovers" slid right into a short sampling of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love," which suited the theme of this techno-dance extravaganza. As she moved through the set, there were the finest dancers in the world surrounding her every step of the way. And donning an equestrian riding outfit, she had scenes of horrific accidents involving horses and their riders; a small reminder of when she was badly injured in a riding accident herself. As the classic "Like A Virgin" rolled around, she mounted a mechanical saddle and rode it in every sensual way, as it slowly moved up and down like a carousel horse. For the energetic "Jump," a scaffold was lowered from the rafters onto the runway. While Maddy was shaking her groove thing on the stage, a few of her dancers were sprinting through the bars of the scaffold like enraged panthers, only faster. It was inhuman I tell you. The choreography for this show was awe inspiring; a totally flawless production.

The next portion of the show has been getting a lot of press as of late. The controversy centers around Madonna placing herself upon a cross, complete with a crown of thorns, while she pours out the emotional "Live To Tell." She starts the song with a long humanitarian statement done on the film screens. They contain the voice of a child defending the father that beats her, the visions of African famine, along with the web addresses of organizations that are committed to the relief cause. And as those dark visions fade from the screens, the site of Madonna being lifted from the stage, hung on a cross made of steel grating, is spine-tingling. With a bright sunburst on the film screen behind her, she moved everyone in attendance with a heartfelt rendition of "Live To Tell," with arms fully extended on the cross the whole time.

All through this show there were things coming down, things going up, people rising and falling from all areas of the stage it was a complete circus. For "Isaac," Madonna brought out Yitzhak Sinwani to blow a horn of some kind and sing the Yemeni vocal. She refers to Sinwani as "my friend Isaac," and the song is actually named after him. As he stood at the top of one of the two ramps that were on each side of the stage, there were images of an eagle and the desert burning up the screens behind him. There was also a figure, fully covered with a sheet, dancing inside of a cage-like enclosure on the stage. When the song ended and the first notes of the pumped up single "Sorry" hit, the entire place went up for grabs. The Earth shook as the crowd bounced and gyrated. It actually brought back memories of my Rage Against The Machine concert experience (my apologies to all of the Rage fans), where it looked as if the floor was moving when everyone started bouncing. For "I Love New York" we found Madonna dressed with a guitar, and striking one or two chords and doing a pick drag down the neck of the instrument. It was as close as she'd get to looking like Joan Jett all night. We got our first real taste of Bush bashing at this point too, which is becoming as popular as the cell phone substituting for the lighter these days.

When it came time to perform her hit "Music," she started off the segment of the show with a kind of "ode to disco." Her dancers were now roller skating up and down the long runway while the "Disco Inferno" beat played in the background. When she finally did start to sing "Music," it was to the melody of "Disco Inferno," and it really didn't sound right. I think the cleanliness and the sharp snap is what makes that song effective, and that was lost here with the overly busy "Disco Inferno" beat. And the same line of thought continues into the next number as well. "La Isla Bonita" was presented with a big, pumped up calypso sound that just didn't do much for the song. Although, the palm trees and sparkling waters that filled the screens did enhance the moment. As the show started to reach completion, a fully energized Madonna was asking the crowd to keep up the intensity. She was even heckling a few sitting people in the first two rows saying things like "You must be the rich people" and "If you're going to be my front row bitches, you better act like it." As she got everyone singing along to the "time goes by so slowly" passage of "Hung Up," hundreds of gold balloons were released from the rafters. It was a great way to end such a fun and active show.

Much like she appeared, the lady of the hour disappeared. There was no encore, no wave goodbye, no bows, not even a thank you. She was done. She was gone. Madonna is not one to embrace the respect and love of her fans, that's for sure. But, she did turn out to be a hard working performer that seemed to take pride in putting on an entertaining and perfectly executed performance. This concert wasn't so much about WHAT was played, but it was more about HOW the songs were presented. With so much activity and energy, each song seemed like an elaborate music video.

Now, being that I was pleasantly surprised by the magnitude of the show, the question is: Would I pay the $350 asking price to be there? Well, let's just say that I haven't seen any pigs take flight yet, but I would pay up to $100 and coming from me, that's saying a lot. I think this is a show that should be seen. It really was an amazing experience. If you're single and you love Madonna and her latest album, pay the price, you won't be disappointed. If you're married with kids, a house and a car to pay for, and a dog and some fish to feed pay a bill and jump on the cheap(er) seats - definitely get in to see this one though.

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