Madonna - amazing musical theatre but not a great concert
Visually stunning and technically striking, Madonna's opening night in Abu Dhabi was an amazing piece of musical theatre – so why are there so many disappointed fans around this morning?
Disappointed and very tired…
The Material Girl kept us waiting more than an hour and a half after Benny Benassi finished his pumping set and I don’t think the crowd ever recovered.
We did gasp in delight when the performance finally got under way with the catchy ‘Girl Gone Wild’ – the stage effects and dancing really were sensational.
We gasped again - some in horror - as Madge shot several men ‘dead’ in ‘Gang Bang’. (Personally I thought this was one of the best bits of the show, but I love a bit of controversy).
And her contortionist dance troop really was something to behold - as was the lady herself as she sang ‘Hung Up’ while dancing on a tightrope.
But we weren’t singing along.
And that was the problem with the whole concert really.
Madonna just didn’t engage the audience at all. Maybe it was because she had irritated us all with the long wait - we’re not a patient lot here in the UAE.
But it was also to do with the type of performance she has put together for this MDNA tour.
It seems so meticulous in its creation that there’s no room for movement - or fun, banter and interaction with the crowd.
We got a ‘hello Abu Dhabi’ - and a ‘Jeez it’s hot here’, but otherwise there was little clue to where she was performing - bar the sweat running off her.
All in all, there was something very mechanical about Madonna’s whole set.
Highlights: ‘Express Yourself’ mashed up with Lady Gaga’s ‘Born this Way’ - complete with a dig at the younger star as Madonna repeated the line ‘She’s not me!’
‘Like a Prayer’ - the only song where everyone was truly singing along, hands in the air – if you’re going tonight, look out for Madge’s son Rocco in the choir.
‘Give me all your Luvin’ - brilliant dance routine including drummer boys suspended mid-air.
Lowlights: ‘Like a Virgin’ sung like a funeral dirge – what was that about?!