Madonna has been a hot ticket this summer world wide. When I heard she was coming to Ottawa, I was excited and really wanted to get my hands on some tickets for a girls night out. Unfortunately, the tickets went on sale and we couldn’t get through on the phone lines or on-line…the show sold out in just a few minutes, the Scotiabank Centre was packed, with no room for us.
My girlfriend Suzie and I weren’t quite ready to give up though, so the following week when tickets were going on sale for her show in Quebec City, we said “It’s only a 5 hour drive – this could be fun!”. We got ourselves tickets to the outdoor show that was to be held in the Plains D’ Abraham, the home of a very famous battle from the Seven Years’ War over 250 years ago. From the very beginning this particular event inspired controversy across Quebec. The Plains d’ Abraham have always upheld a strict policy when it comes to what activities they allow and the circumstances surrounding such events. Paul McCartney’s 2008 performance for Quebec City’s 400th anniversary was free to the public, and stars like Elton John played for non-profit festivals that demanded no direct entry fee. Never before has there been a for profit commercial concert held on the grounds, until September 1st, 2012 when Madonna wanted to host a giant dance party. What made this even more controversial was that the parks commission didn’t even charge her for the use of the park or a take a cut of each ticket (a practice very common with various parks commissions to go towards the upkeep of the park). So not only did they break their own written policy outlined in the National Battlefields Commission, but they gave it up to the Queen of Pop for free. You can imagine that not everyone was behind this plan.
I have no doubt that the concert brought a massive amount of economic benefits to the city however. A week before the show, it was near impossible to find a hotel for under $200/night and everywhere we went the streets were bustling for the long weekend. The concert in Quebec City ended up hosting over 72,000 people. All tickets sold were general admission, but there were 3 different areas sectioned off. Suzie and I were in the largest mass of people, packed in like sardines for several hours before the show was set to start.
Looking forward to the stage waiting for the opening act:
Looking behind us at the crowd – take a look at the people all the way up the hill:
It had been a long hot day and when it was finally time for the DJ Paul Oakenfold to take stage…he was late. And when he finished, it was at least another hour before Madonna decided to join us all. The concert was slated to start at 8pm. She made her appearance at 10:30pm. After having been standing for several hours…herded like cattle with thousands of other people and then sitting down on the cement for several more hours to hold our place…I was not impressed that she couldn’t even be on time. I would’ve BOO’ed her, had I known how to BOO in French.
In case you are wondering if she played your favourite Madonna song, take a look at her set list for the 2012 MDNA Tour:
- Opening Prayer /Girl Gone Wild
- Gang Bang
- Papa Don’t Preach
- Hung Up
- I Don’t Give A
- Best Friend / Heartbeat (Interlude)
- Express Yourself / Born This Way
- Turn up the radio
- Give Me All Your Luvin’
- Open Your Heart
- Justify My Love (Interlude)
- Candy Shop
- Human Nature / Erotica
- Like A Virgin
- Nobody Knows Me (Interlude)
- I’m Addicted
- I’m A Sinner
- Like A Prayer
- Celebration (encore)
I was lucky, she did play my favourite “Like A Prayer” in her 90 minute show even though there was a heavy focus on her new album MDNA (her 12th studio release).
The only intelligible part of any of my videos is the small portion that was a cappella with the crowd singing…the rest of the time there was so much bass my recordings are a total mess, but I thought this might be fun for some.
I think I would’ve enjoyed the actual show a lot more without the ordeal of a general admission outdoor concert. If I had a seat, in a stadium somewhere, it wouldn’t have been nearly as infuriating that she was extremely late…because we would’ve arrived at 8pm, not 3:30pm. (Even worse for other people who arrived at 10am when the gates to the waiting area opened). And after it was all over, I’m sure you can imagine over 72,000 people all trying to make their way out of a park and to the street at the exact same time. Wading through ankle deep garbage was less than ideal…by the time Suzie and I made our way back to our hotel we were completely and utterly exhausted and drained, with aching feet and blisters. The process of it all was just too much. If I could do it all over again…well I wouldn’t, not under the same circumstances anyway.
The content of the show itself was violent at times and always overtly sexual, mixed with impressive choreography and visual displays. The 90 minute set worked its way from darkness to light. Having just turned 54, Madonna still moves really well and strives to entertain. The New York Times wrote, “Madonna and her team do know how to dazzle.” While New York Daily News called the show “an idea-intensive, message-packed riddle wrapped in an enigma that must be seen to be believed,” arguing that the show’s risky artistry “deserves praise.”
So if you are holding a hot ticket for one of the many cities she has left…here is my advice:
- Be open minded and be ready for anything (she is a wild one and always has been)
- Prepare yourself for lots of leather, push up bras, a strip tease and a whole lot of pelvic thrusting. Not young child appropriate.
- Don’t expect her to be on time, you will likely be disappointed
- Wear some fun make-up, after all, it is Madonna!
What was the best concert you’ve ever been to? Who/what band would you go through all of this for???
If you saw Madonna on the MDNA tour, I’d love to hear what you thought below!