Yesterday evening the Queen of Pop concerted for the first time in Belgium and we had tickets for the sold out concert. I don't consider me as a big Madonna fan at all, but figured such a concert would be a fun event to take in.

The advantage of living in Leuven is the accessibility of the nearby festival site at Werchter. Whereas I was getting messages on FB to warn me about the traffic jams on the highways here while a few ten thousand people were trying to make their way to the little village in the countryside, we simply walked out to the Leuven train station where we'd hop on the shuttle busses. Last year when going to the festival TW Classic I had been particularly impressed by the smooth organisation of the public transport.

So it was a big of a shock when we arrived at the Martelarenplein when we noticed a line of people all around the huge square, continuing in the direction of where the shuttle bus would indeed leave. Damn...seriously...we gave each other a hesitating look, took a deep breath and joined the line at the end. Fortunately it kept moving at about 5 min per square side. In the mean time we kept busy checking out who was going to Werchter for the first time or not (based on the unappropriate shoeware) and who had not been outside in a week to realise that the summer weather had been replaced by very unstable rather grey wet weather.
When arrived on the 3rd side of the square we noticed that the little mobile office from De Lijn at the end of the line all of a sudden drove off and the entire line started walking swiftly towards the waiting busses. Quite funny to see a > 500m row walking ahead. Sure enough the sales of tickets had somehow ended and we were all smoothly waved into the busses that were showing some music notes instead of their usual line number on the electric signs. 26000 music fans were transported this way to the festival terrain and we have no clue why we got treated to a free ride. it's our guess that there was a technical difficulty and considering the long row of waiting people there was no time to have them all waiting for a solution. Anyway 15 minutes later we were walking to the festival entrance.

We were welcomed by a sudden downpour that hardly gave us time to put our raincoats and rainpants on but by the time Madonna was expected it had fortunately all cleared up again. Pheewww, not sure if I'd have the motivation to stand there in the pouring rain all evening.

Time passed, and passed, and we were all waiting and waiting but the diva apparently didn't feel like starting. In the end we got quite irritated and I even started wondering why the hell I was on this (slightly) muddy terrain anyway. Pooh, big star or not, it's very impolite to keep 65000 people waiting and staring at the big empty stage decorated with the shiny huge M's.

45 minutes late her throne finally appeared from large videoscreens but the first songs seemed a bit weak to me, but that might be due to the fact that I don't really now her most recent songs. Slowly though the show picked up rhythm and the setlist moved on a fast speed and she had clearly mastered the gift to remix her own old and new songs in new modern electronic versions that sound fresh again.
Her show (pictures) (setlist) proofed what a good entertainer she is , an amazing dancer and less a good singer. Despite the fact that some of the songs were clearly supported by tape as well (not a surprise if you see her dancing along), she clearly did not bring pure play-back show (unlike the much critised concert of Britney Spears this week in Antwerp) as she also has the gift to sing amazingly out of tune now and then. Ouch.
I had hoped a bit for a bit of shocking provoking elements but it was a quite digestable. The beginning more electronic , then more rock , then balkan ethnic folk mixes including Isla Bonita which I particularly liked, ... Almost at the end she did play "Frozen" as had been predicted although she has lost a court case for plagiarism in Belgium in 2005 and since then it's forbidden to be aired here (quite problematic in some best of charts where radio stations have to get quite creative to "bring" it someway). Clearly Madonna herself doesn't care for potential fines at all :p. Good for her, that case was so ridiculous anyway.

I don't think the concert has converted me into a big fan, but I did have a good night out and I'm glad I was there. I also was in awe for the physical condition of this 51-year old woman. Wow , I can only hope to have a fraction of her shape & energy at that age...or at this age even :p. I also love how she has managed to transform herself over the decades and remain new. Big contrast with the male counterpart of this queen of pop, also 50 year old, who had musically already died long before he has died physically !


Lilacspecs said…
Heh, I'm not a big Madonna fan at all. I do want to get to Werchter one year when we can afford tickets. I liked a lot of the music they were playing on the radio from it. And sorry to any Madonna fans, but I'll take an artist who can actually sing over someone who does gymnastics and uses a tape.
anno said…
I'm not much of a fan of Madonna the musician at all, but Madonna the celebrity sure fascinates me. It's not easy for a woman to hold the attention she has for as long as she's managed to do it. Sounds like an interesting show.
Goofball said…
@lilacspecs: yes I totally get that. Yet I still figured a Madonna concert was an event that at least once I wanted to see. And in that context it was fun.

@anno: I'm not a big fan of her music either...I guess I also agreed to buy the tickets (from jan's colleague who had too many) to see the performer, the celebrity, the eternal star in the spotlight, the potential controversy...more than for her music :p.
Madonnasworld said…
shes 50, not 51
Virtualsprite said…
I'm not a fan either, but if the price is good and the concert is nearby, I'll go. You never know. I'll try anything once. :-)

I'm glad it was a good experience.

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