Concert Reviews

Madonna at the Pepsi Center, 10/18/2012


Don't fuck with Madonna. She'll shoot you dead. Or, at the very least, if you're at the Pepsi Center on a Thursday night in October, she'll make you wait an extra hour until she goes onstage. But this is Madonna we're talking about here. She can do whatever the hell she wants, even if that means not going on until 10:45 p.m. -- and playing until 12:45 a.m. You will happily oblige for the Queen of Pop. Or so you would think.

See also: - The twenty best Madonnabes at last night's Madonna concert at the Pepsi Center - Slide show: Madonna at the Pepsi Center - Review: Madonna at the Pepsi Center, 11/11/08 - Slideshow: Madonna at the Pepsi Center, 11/11/08

Before the show last night, Madge's legions of fans weren't as patient as she had assumed. Between the forgettable set by tour deejay Misha Skye and the start of Madonna's show, some Denver fans booed and hollered, thinking -- mistakenly -- that such greedy behavior would get her to start her show sooner rather than later. Not so much.

Once the show did begin, however, it was worth the wait. Really fucking worth it. Striking hard and fast, Madonna played to her strengths immediately: sex, violence, religion, all mixed together. The themes may have been tried and true for Madonna, but she took them to new heights last night. Guns and God? Yes, she went there... when she pistol-whipped the stained glass off a stage church with an AK-47. (And people dared to boo this woman?!)

Oddly, songs that cheapen Madonna's recorded catalogue by mere inclusion, like "I Don't Give A" and "Give Me All Your Luvin'," came off great live. Madonna just brought a new energy to them that is nonexistent on record. The visuals were especially interesting. Nicki Minaj appearing on screen dressed as a nun to deliver her rap from "I Don't Give A" played perfectly into Minaj's own stage antics from her oddity of a Grammy performance earlier this year when she did "Roman's Holiday." (Lil Wayne donned priest garb to do the same for his guest verse on "Revolver.")

Likewise, Madonna could have gone the lazy route for the choreography to "Give Me All Your Luvin'," recycling already-used concepts from her Super Bowl Half Time show performance this year, but instead she only recycled the costumes. The choreography focused more on the drumline than on Madge herself, as drummers were literally carried on stage via harness, in an assembly line fashion, owing much of aesthetic to "Babes in Toyland." Here, "Give Me All Your Luvin'" wasn't juvenile; it didn't feel rehashed. Rather, the abundance of drummers gave Madonna the closest she'll ever get to a collaboration with the USC Trojan Marching Band, and that was as exciting as watching her tout a weapon.

For "Gang Bang," the standout of the evening, Madge swapped the AK-47 for a handgun and went on a killing spree. Madonna's shooting gestures to the pulse of the music were impeccably timed; the dancers' reaction moves could not have been more spot-on. The icing on top of her already gory cake, however, was the use of the screen projections to imitate bloodshed. Every blast of Madonna's gun was followed by a dramatic twitch by a dancer (one was even shot down from a harness mid-air) synchronized with a splash of blood on screen. It was the perfect combination of blood, sex and more blood.

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Cory Lamz
Contact: Cory Lamz

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