Last week I wrote a piece on how meaning seems an important element of the succes of Bruce Springsteen and I noted a not so pleasing comment towards that other popicon Madonna. Yesterday I saw a concert of the Madonna and I want to add some elements to the discussion. For people wondering if I’ll be writing again soon about education and myths, don’t worry .
The concert of Madonna was a stunning visual spectacular with flying drummer boys, dancing monks, choreographies that made many action movies seem like dull. Of course there were the usual sexual/sensual/provocative elements. Last tour there was a gipsy band interludum, now there was a Bask singing trio that worked better in my opinion.
Was it worth the money? There were a lot of comments in advance about the high ticket prices, and actually I received my tickets for free. During the last weeks it was pretty easy to get tickets half price or even for free in lotteries because well, the ticket sales were quite poor. Such a show with such a stage must cost a lot of money and so I could understand why the (regular) prices were so high, but it can be one reason why the concert had between 5000 and 10000 unsold tickets.
A second possible reason was the previous Belgian concert that wasn’t received that well.
A third reason I see actually lies in the distinction between experience and meaning. This show was a great experience. Everything was made to blow you away and to show that Madge is still the queen of pop (and Gaga isn’t even a possible princess). The show was also packed with symbols from Kabala, Christianity,… It depicted the battle between good and evil, … It all suggested a lot of meaning, but to my opinion, it didn’t seem to give meaning.
While I could hardly stand still with all those dance beats aiming at my feet, I did wonder what Madonna was trying to say. Shooting everybody down in the third song, ok? We all have to live together? Yeah, though so? I even want to believe that she is in favor of #occupy, but I have to surpress a feeling that she was merely namedropping?
If I speak with young girls about Lady Gaga, than they talk about how she stands for being yourself, about having doubts but by having those still you be strong. Madonna sang yesterday ‘Express yourself’, but even in the public some people were mentioning that this may seem a bit ironic if it is song by a 53-year old dressed up as a teenager. I thought Madonna actually had authentic moments, but for every true moment there were other where she could be perceived as much less true to her self.
Just a thought. A lot of the meaning seems to be given by a bigger context than the concert itself. Gaga online defending kids who are bullied is something different than Madonna reacting on comments about the expensive ticket prices that her fans should start saving. I think in both cases it’s a real reaction true to the artist, but is it giving meaning?
The bottomline? Nowadays Gaga and Springsteen sell out easier even with similar ticket prices while Madonna don’t, although she gives her audience a great experience.