Mervin Malone
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Review: Madonna - "The Confessions Tour"

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In 2006, Madonna released her first live CD recording, Im Going to Tell You a Secret, which was accompanied by a bonus DVD documentary of the same name. The CD – more of a live music sampler than an outright concert retrospective – boasted songs from Music, American Life and Confessions on a Dancefloor. While certainly entertaining, I'm Going to Tell You a Secret left a bit more to be desired in the way of consistency – namely a more complete rendering of Madonna's live-show prowess. More, the bonus DVD was obviously more directed at longtime Madonna-fans than casual admirers. Now – less than a year later – Madonna delivers a more complete live CD/DVD set highlighting one of her finest concerts to date.

The Confessions Tour is immaculately packaged (no pun intended) in a digi-pak and documents the singer's highly-successful show of the same name. The set is culled from her Augest 13, 15, and 16, 2006 concert performances at Wembley Arena in London and is the official DVD release of Madonna: The Confessions Tour Live From London, which originally aired Stateside on NBC on November 22, 2006 (and was re-broadcast on Bravo on December 29, 2006). The bonus CD boasts 13 live tracks and/or highlights (eight from her 2005 Confessions on a Dancefloor Album). Also, classic songs like "Like a Virgin", "Erotica" and "Lucky Star" get live makeovers. Indeed, "Like a Virgin" – with its contemporary electro re-rendering – never sounded so fresh. Another standout – "Music" – is given the campy mash-up treatment as it is re-spun with the Trammps' immortal "Disco Inferno". And, who could know that "Lucky Star" could be made to effortlessly segue into "Hung Up"? The true meat of this live collection resides not on the CD, however, but on the DVD.

The Confessions Tour is one of Madonna's best concerts. Sure, the woman's reputation for live performance is legendary, but the Confessions Tour Live From London is singularly exceptional based on the fact that Madonna's trademark penchant for controversy is here – more a product of public misunderstanding than the Maddy's intent. Indeed, the show's most poignant (and controversial) moment comes when she [Madonna] performs her seminal classic, "Live To Tell"; Madonna performs this sequence on a metallic, makeshift cross wearing a crown of thorns – an obvious reference to Jesus. Near the end of the performance, a background screen flashes passages from the book of Matthew wherein Christ encouraged philanthropy, love and kindness interspersed with images of suffering in Africa. This sequence has been massively misinterpreted by a segment of [religious] Americans. Madonna's conservative detractors – of which there are many – have totally misread this sequence to be an attempt at controversy, as well as a blaspheming of Jesus Christ, when in fact Madonna seems to be trying to convey a sense of urgency concerning the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Perhaps these conservative "Christians" would be more validated if they dedicated their time to pursuing an end to poverty, racism and war – not to mention ending their obssession with tax breaks for the wealthy – rather than badgering Madonna about her artistic choices.

When all is said and done, The Confessions Tour DVD/CD set is a must for diehards and casual admirers alike. Madonna-faithful will love the CD, but the DVD will most certainly bring in those less-familiar with the star and affirm once and for all why this woman's shows continue to break attendance records worldwide!

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Posted at 04:09 pm by Mervin Malone

February 23, 2007   04:35 PM PST
A GREAT review of a fantastic show. Having seen it live, and owning the DVD/CD, I must say... It was breathtaking in person, but the DVD really does it justice. Every time I watch it, I am taken right back to the show. Nice Job!
M.E. Grant
February 10, 2007   12:41 AM PST
You hit the nail right on the head! Then again, I'm hopelessly biased when it comes to this woman. Anything she breathes on (ahhh), I must buy. The dvd extras give a nice sample of the rehearsal process too.

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