Sticky & Sweet Tour (DVD/CD)
Warner Brothers, 2010
REVIEW BY: Mark Millan
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/07/2010
I remember a time (years ago now) when I actually looked forward to new output from Madge. The fresh looks, new collaborations, and sharp videos were not always brilliant, but the fact that Madonna’s stuff was going to make an impact was one that you could take to the bank. As I say, that was some time ago, because as far as I’m concerned, the Queen Of Pop hasn’t released a decent album since Ray Of Light in 1998. So the unfortunate thing here is that the worst album of her career, Hard Candy, is her most recent, and this means her current record-breaking tour is made up of way too many songs from that release to make a positive impact on this reviewer.
Back in the day, Madonna set the benchmark for pop shows with her brilliant Blond Ambition world tour. Since then, though, the only good – and let’s say consistent – show she has put together is her stunning Confessions show, in which she took tracks from an underwhelming disc and turned them into show-stopping moments that matched her trusted hits blow for blow.
Lightning, however, for Madonna doesn’t strike twice, because all of the Hard Candy material presented in her Sticky & Sweet show is dreadful – more like Stale Candy, actually. The plastic beats, lifeless vocal tracks, and confusing video imagery all make for the most disappointing show she has ever put together. All of these elements are disappointing enough, but my main problem with the Sticky & Sweet show is the star performer herself.
Several things really annoyed me during this over-long and un-exciting performance and they are all traits of a washed-up horn-bag that is desperately trying to remain a relevant performer and sex-symbol in a rapidly deepening pool of pop divas who are beating her at her own game at the moment (Lady GaGa being the best of the current bunch.)
A few moments from her performance that I shall raise as evidence for my harsh criticism start with her entrance. Dressed in a black dominatrix-inspired number, Madge rises from the underbelly of the stage reclining in a throne with her legs spread and immediately starts behaving in way that a sex-crazed, junkie hooker would at an all-expenses paid night of karaoke and booze. The tart can’t be bothered singing live but has no trouble adding her own porno sound effects when she’s simulating masturbation (still), dry-humping the stage, and getting it on with her ever-present guitar.
Now, I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but how this “innovative” and “trailblazing” “icon” of American pop culture thinks that this is sexy or even appealing is beyond me. Surely even her teenage daughter would be embarrassed by her childish mother in action. The point where I almost switched off came pretty early on when Madge got down on all fours in front of a male dancer and declared to the crowd, “We’re gonna show ya how to do it South American doggy-style.” They gyrate to the beat and Madge, ever the antagonist, can barely hide her joy at her self-indulgent vulgarity.
Now, I could ramble on and on about what a slut this woman acts like onstage, but that would be boring for me and anyone reading this. Now, if only I could find some salvation in the music of her past…actually, I can, because by the time a rocked-up version of “Borderline” comes along, I was barely able to tolerate this stuff, so it did hit the spot for me and kept me watching through the second half of the show.
Madge can actually still sing and does so on “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” and “You Must Love Me,” which was included for the locals, being that this was taped in Buenos Aires. But the mood again dips for me because she ruined the best song of her career by remixing it to sound like a Stale Candy number. Yep, the glorious “Like A Prayer” is barely recognizable and that is a downright shame indeed.
Reading that this tour is possibly the highest grossing of all time is staggering to me because it is so horribly bad. But then again, Madonna’s fans are sycophants anyway and they are obviously happy to pay the mega-bucks she charges for her elaborately produced but light on substance shows.
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