Friday, December 7, 2012

Music T Friday: Material Girl

Few performers have reinvented themselves as many times as Madonna Louise Ciccone has. When my cousin, Rozina, first introduced me to her music, the Like A Virgin album had just come out and I think my parents' poor grasp of English saved the six-year-old me any embarrassing talks regarding lyrics and their meanings. (As a side-note about an equally re-inventive superstar: I didn't think about the story told in Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" until well into my 20s... pretty sure Mum still doesn't realize what the song's about)

Today's Music-T shirt is from Madonna's 2008 Sticky & Sweet tour for the release of her Hard Candy album. It was the only time I've seen her perform live and our seats were on the floor, not that far from the catwalk thrust stage. It was an exciting night and a lot of my memories are more snapshots than a continuous video. I remember realizing that we were never actually going to get to sit in the seats we had paid for. I remember Madonna being extremely pissed off about the green smoke from the arena audience and threatening to leave the stage if they didn't put it out. I also remember I attended with a co-worker from the high school I was teaching at and that there was a woman in front of us - possibly high on ecstasy - who kept stroking everyone around her, until one woman to her left told her to stop it or she was going to "punch her out". The touchy-feely woman's companions tried to calm down the neighbour lady and eventually moved her into the middle seat to try to buffer her from strangers. Yeah, that totally didn't work.

Madonna was going through stuff at the time of the tour. She divorced Guy Ritchie by the end of that year and the overall impression I got from her performance that night in October was "angry talent". The music was good but the energy was definitely not upbeat, even when the song was. It felt like Madonna was at work, determined to get through the show but not really loving the experience. There was an underlying current of negativity which I'd never encountered at a show before or since. There's also the possibility that I was more sensitive to it then as I was a low point, emotionally, myself. Or maybe I'm projecting. Anyhow, as awesome as the show was, I wasn't motivated to see her again when she toured back to Vancouver this year.

I think my most positive Madonna associations will always be my childhood ones - dancing around my living room (where the stereo was) with my cousin in our pajamas, singing "Material Girl" and "Dress You Up" at the top of our lungs - or even my teenage years - recording videos off of MuchMusic and dubbing between multiple VCRs to create video compilation collections (I had no idea about video tape degradation at that time) I could play while I was doing homework (yeah, I couldn't have a stereo in my bedroom but a TV and two VCRs was ok *shrug*). Growing up with Madonna means maturing with her too and just as she hasn't come through the challenges of her life unchanged, neither have I. That's a neat realization (because getting through it is the point, right?) but there's a almost desperate nostalgia sometimes for the more light-hearted Shoo-Bee-Doo days before the world caught up with Susan.

Watch Madonna - Material Girl in Music | View More Free Videos Online at