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Madonna faithful head North for sticky, sweet fun
by Richard Kennedy - SGN A&E Writer

October 30 - 7:30 PM
BC Place Stadium
Vancouver, BC

As a Madonna purist, I believe most of the excitement from seeing her live comes from NOT knowing what she is going to do. It feels like it was forever ago when I was a nervous, sweaty mess the morning tickets went on sale for the "Sticky and Sweet Tour" (can you believe we don't have to fly to Vegas or San Jose this time?!). Along the I-5 corridor, from Portland to Vancouver, the excitement has been building since buzz of Madonna's BC appearance broke out - the Northwest hasn't been graced with a Material Girl appearance since '87's "Who's that Girl Tour," for God's sake! Just a month ago when I visited our neighboring city, I saw posters peppered around various Gay bars for the sold-out performance as well as pre and post parties. Here in Seattle, I'd be rich if I had a dime for every queen I've heard talking about it at The Cuff.

The fashion icon's entourage consists of 250 performers and staffers handling 18 racks of couture, 30 wardrobe trunks and 100 pairs of fishnets that comprise eight major costume changes designed by Gaultier, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace and D-Squared - this alone gives me convulsions. My friends and I are already obsessing over which DVD tours we should watch this weekend in preparation, and don't even get me started on creating the road trip playlist. I just want to fast forward to that moment when I walk up to that stadium and see "MADONNA - TONIGHT!"

Most of the concert will represent material from the Grammy-winner's latest album, Hard Candy. For Madonna, it's one of her weaker albums, considering this is the artist who normally plucks underground for experimental producers (Mirwais, William Orbit, Nellee Hooper) and launches them into the mainstream, always a step ahead of fellow pop artists. This time around, she worked with established hip-hop producers to capitalize on the R&B dance wave led by a younger generation. It's completely unpredictable what she will do with the new material; surely she'll find an inventive way to duet with Justin Timberlake on "4 Minutes." There will, no doubt, be solo numbers, where the legend commands the stage with high-energy choreography and crazy hot fashion, and somehow the new stuff will flow with the classics in a thematic fashion.

From my experience, Madonna starts about 30-40 minutes from the scheduled time with no opening act on the bill. The stadium is easily accessible from all downtown hotels - many will be walking distance or a short cab ride. Check out www.seattlegayblog.blogspot.com beginning October 27 for daily blogs from Albert Rodriguez, Jessica Browning and myself as we attempt to keep you updated on all things Madonna in Vancouver.

Here's a look at some of the songs that have defined Madonna's career and could be played on Thursday night, with special attention to neglected classics in recent tours.

1. Borderline - This was the first of her videos that gave a polished storyline. The style kicked off the worldwide sensation of Madonna wannabes. She was on her way to becoming a pop princess and this one has not been performed since The Virgin Tour!

2. Open Your Heart - Quintessential '80s. Madonna's catchy, well-produced dance and pop hit is more than ready for a modern revamp. Like everything she did at the time, it was a giant club, pop and video hit.

3. Justify My Love - I'm hoping for this one because it hasn't been visited since it was brilliantly performed at The Girlie Show. Being the film buff she is, the live version moved away from the overtly sexual video and worked in the styles of Cecil Beaton and Fellini. With its "hip-hop" elements, it would easily fit in to her current sound.

4. Sooner or Later - This Oscar-winning song from Dick Tracy was penned by Stephen Sondheim and the movie's star vixen took her blonde bombshell look to new heights when she belted this at the Academy Awards in '91. It was the first time performing with a live orchestra and the lady took it full-throttle, sounding fantastic and looking like perfection while dripping in millions of dollars worth of diamonds.

5. Keep It Together - Any teenage Gay boy obsessed with Truth or Dare (like myself) watched this extended encore over and over - it was Gaultier meets Cabaret meets Clockwork Orange. The song itself is a heartfelt homage to family that would be more than ironic in light of her brother's trashy tell-all book. Would the sexy mother of three go there? I wouldn't put it past her.

6. Where's The Party - This technically wasn't a single, but it's such an enormous concert and fan favorite that it deserves mention. OK, the lyrics are silly & even trite, but you know it makes you want to raise your drink in the air and dance your ass off.

7. Rescue Me - This is a long shot I know. It was the follow-up single to "Justify My Love" that didn't really take off, but it's the pop musician at her best, both lyrically and vocally. Masterfully written, it imbibes '60s soul with her '90s exploration of spoken verses mixed with a belting chorus. When I fantasize about creating my dream Madonna concert, this one is at the top of my list.

8. Express Yourself - It was so damn incredible in Blond Ambition and Girlie Show. This song and video made the idol both a target and an inspiration to feminists everywhere. It arguably pushed her into icon status with the classic cone bras, crotch grabbing and declaration for respect that hadn't been heard in a woman's pop song since Aretha demanded it in the '60s.

9. Everybody - The first club hit that launched her career as the artist with the most number-one dance hits ever. Commanding us to "Dance and sing, get up and do your thing" is completely infectious. She often revisits her early club stuff, and this is long overdue for an updated adaptation.

10. Hung Up - After the unsuccessful attempt to get a hit single from American Life, Madge went back to her always successful club roots and led Confessions on a Dancefloor off with the pulsating "Hung Up." This could possibly be the hot, energetic encore/finale replacing faves like "Music" or "Holiday." Expect it to morph from the disco sound, as she will no way pull the same version from the previous tour.