The past few years, every time I go to a big concert (which is like, once a year), I think to myself, “Maybe I don’t need to be spending hundreds of dollars to sit really far back in a stadium and watch a performance on a video screen.” I had thought it would be awesome to see Lady Gaga live, but really, we were too far away to feel like we were really seeing her live.
Plus, there’s so much sitting and waiting in uncomfortable bleacher seats. I would love to be able to show up an hour after the scheduled start time and miss the opening act, but there’s always that fear, “What if this is the one concert where the main act hits the stage within an hour of the start time?”
After Lady Gaga, I didn’t have a burning desire to see any concerts until Madonna performed at the Super Bowl last year, and tickets to her show went on sale very soon thereafter.
I’d never seen Madonna live. I still regret never seeing Michael Jackson on tour. What if this is my last chance to see Madonna?
So we got tickets, and months later planned a trip to Italy and Russia leaving the day after the Madonna show in Vancouver. Not the best timing, but these things happen.
Once again, I found myself sitting in very nearly the back row of the arena, waiting for hours for the show to start. HOURS. Madonna herself didn’t hit the stage until 10:30. Perhaps if I ever go to another concert, I should bring my Nook Tablet with me. I would have enjoyed myself more if I’d been able to read during opening act, DJ Martin Solveig.
With these crotchety thoughts running through my head, I started to feel really old. Although, really, the chicks sitting behind us probably weren’t much younger than me. They were drunk and loud, all decked out in their Madonna best, and honestly, they didn’t seem to be having any more fun than me as we waited.
Finally, the show began, and within a few songs, I was horrified. I mean, I’d heard the song “Gang Bang” from her new album, and thought it was pretty tasteless, but I was not prepared to watch her prance around a motel set wielding a shotgun, singing, “Bang Bang, I shot my lover in the head” while projections of blood splattered on the massive screen behind her.
The article I link to above describes Madonna using a “fake gun to shoot a masked gunman and images of blood splattering on a large screen behind the stage.” Masked gunman? Uh, no, the lyrics are about shooting her lover in the head. Without doing too careful an analysis of the lyrics, that sounds premeditated to me. Maybe if I understood the story a little better, I’d see the entertainment value? Or is it social commentary?
While all this is going on in front of me, I’m full of self-doubt because I find it so offensive. What’s happened to me? I’ve always loved violence in my entertainment. Wild at Heart was my favorite movie the year I was 14. I loved everything about Inglourious Basterds, including the gratuitously balletic, blood-spattering shooting death of woman. I find everything about Natural Born Killers entertaining.
And yet, I thought The Dark Knight Rises was too dark… Madonna’s gun-slinging dance routine creeped me out.
Am I going soft in my pre-middle age?
The MDNA Tour took a turn for the better after that brutal “Gang Bang” number. I calmed down once she changed into her cheerleader outfit. Overall her dancing was incredible, and she sounded pretty damn good too. I wished she had done more of her “classic” numbers, because I enjoyed those more than the techo-dance tracks of recent years, but again, that’s probably because I’m getting too old for this shit.